Wilcox shares life lessons

Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Former Alabama Crimson Tide player Tommy Wilcox speaks to the members of the Selma Quarterback Club Monday. -- Tim Reeves

For four years on the football field, former University of Alabama defensive back Tommy Wilcox said the lessons he learned from head football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant made him a champion. Those same lessons, he said, also paved the way for the rest of his life.

Wilcox, who hosts an outdoors program and attends various speaking engagements, told the Selma Quarterback Club Monday night that one of the most important things he learned from Bryant was accountability.

“One thing about Coach Bryant was that you had to go to class, you had to get up and eat breakfast. There were so many rules he had,” he said. “You had to give it everything you had, there were no shortcuts. He held all the players and assistant coaches accountable.”

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Wilcox, who was a standout high school football player before being recruited to  Alabama as a wishbone quarterback, said he quickly learned that life was unpredictable when he was moved to defense.

Though the switch was a challenge, Wilcox said the constant motivation from coaches helped him excel at his new position. Many times, Wilcox said, athletics can be one of the best ways to prepare for life’s curveballs.

“It’s a funny thing about athletics and life,” he said. “Often people that are successful in life were successful as athletes. I think a lot of the traits you have to have co-mingled. I think that is why so many people that play sports and have a hunting and fishing license are successful in life.”

Equally important, Wilcox said, is the concept of teamwork. When people work together in athletics and in life, Wilcox said people can accomplish great things.

“When you come together as a group of guys, whether it’s business or football, and you believe in your cause and you are willing to pay the price and never quit, that’s the recipe for success,” he said. “I think of that a lot of times when things get tough.”
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