Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit – Bear Bryant

Who Was Bear Bryant?

Bear Bryant (actual name Paul Wiliam Bryant), was a college football coach and player of American origin. His nickname was given to him after he wrestled a carnival bear at the age of 13 [1]. Many consider him to be the best college football coach in the history of the game. While he did coach some other teams, his fame is mostly due to being the head coach for the University of Alabama. He spent around 25 years in this position, achieving 12 conference championships and 6 national championships. When he retired in 1982, he had a record for securing 323 wins as the head coach of a team. This was the highest number in all of collegiate football history at the time. Today, there are several places named after Bear Bryant, including the Paul W. Bryant Hall, Paul W. Bryant Drive, the Paul W. Bryant Museum, and the Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Paul Wiliam Bryant

The Origin of the Quote

While Bear Bryant was known for his many idiosyncrasies and even a few controversies, he is also remembered for his quotable words about quitting, winning, and losing. The quote about never quitting was probably uttered many times in his pep talks, speeches, and interviews. These words reflected his attitude towards the game and how he trained his players.

The exact origin of the quote in question is not clear. Most likely, these words were uttered in a speech or an interview. They were also probably said more than once during the coach’s lifetime; perhaps not in the same combination but with similar terms.

The message remained the same: quitting, to Bryant, was a sign of weakness and taking the easy way out. One should never stop setting goals for themselves, even after attaining their initial aims.

Bear Bryant was a big proponent of never quitting and always trying to win–if not the whole game, then at least a part of it. Some of his other quotes have similar messages, such as:

  • “If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.”
  • “There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and guts between dreams and success.”
  • “Don’t give up at halftime. Concentrate on winning the second half.”
  • “The first time you quit, it’s hard. The second time, it gets easier. The third time, you don’t even have to think about it.” [2]

Coaching and Preaching

Coaching and Preaching

Bear Bryant’s mother originally wanted her son to become a minister or preacher. However, Bryant told his mother that coaching is very similar to preaching [3]. He certainly took his job very seriously from the start, with his words being like that of a preacher. Many of his quotes revolved around the same concepts of not quitting and always giving your best effort.

Basically, he wanted the players under his training to never think about quitting even when they had almost lost the game. This is also why he pushed his players into very tough training situations, including a two-week training camp in the scorching desert [4].

Other quotes by Bear Bryant can help us understand the concept of not quitting more clearly. It takes a lot to achieve victory–effort, blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifices–but the rewards are worth it in the end. This is what it takes to achieve success. Moreover, if a team or player didn’t do well in the first half of the game, that’s no reason to lose hope and give up entirely. The focus should be on winning as much as possible in the second half. Even if they don’t win the whole game, they will not have given up.

This mindset and its application are what led to Bear Bryant’s great legacy; many of his assistant coaches and players went on to become successful head coaches themselves [5].

The Ease of Giving Up

The Ease of Giving Up

This quote and a few others by Bear Bryant also mention that giving up is the easy way to go. It also gets easier the more one does it. The first time a truly dedicated player gives up, it can be mentally hard for them to do so. However, it will get easier and easier to just give up when they reach a hard part of their journey. Eventually, giving up might even become instinctual. This is the kind of trap one has to avoid if they want to truly do well in their field.

We may better understand this when looking at how Bear Bryant treated his players while they were practicing. He would send off the field any player who showed signs of quitting or giving up on an obstacle. According to Bobby Drake Keith, who was one of the players trained under Bear Bryant, the coach hated to see anyone quit while practicing. He would say that when a player could quit while training, they could quit when on the field during a proper game [6].

Applying the Quote in Real Life

Applying the Quote in Real Life

We don’t have to be playing or practicing football to take inspiration from this Bear Bryant quote. The concept of not quitting also applies to daily life, both personal and professional. Someone might be facing a tough time in their office or educational journey. Giving up is not the answer, though, especially not when a person has the potential to keep going. For those running a business, there are several months where they might make a loss. If the business is truly their passion, they should keep at it and fight to make a profit next month. If it seems useless to keep going, there could be many ways to pivot and start a new kind of venture.

When we are feeling tired and frustrated, it might be useful to view this quote as a guideline for the next decision. Since giving up only gets easier the more you do it, we shouldn’t stop trying until we succeed in some way.


Bear Bryant’s legacy lives on to this day, with many awards and other honors dedicated to his name. There’s even a shark named after him! He applied those words about not quitting to his own life and work as well. He is sometimes criticized for being too tough on his players, but he was certainly successful as a coach. We may use his life’s work and his quotes as guidelines and inspiration for always giving our best.


[1] 2022. ESPN Classic – Bear Bryant ‘simply the best there ever was’. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 September 2022].

[2] BrainyQuote. 2022. Search Results. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 September 2022].

[3] 2022. The Last Coach A Life Of Paul Bear Bryant. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 September 2022].

[4] Los Angeles Times. 2022. Cruel Paradox of Camps. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 September 2022].

[5] Weisband, B., 2022. Bear Bryant’s coaching tree. [online] Saturday Down South. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 September 2022].

[6] Google Books. 2022. The Last Coach: A Life of Paul “Bear” Bryant. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 September 2022].