Dye pushes athletes to work hard

Published 10:33 pm Monday, November 7, 2011

Former Auburn University head football coach Pat Dye speaks to the members and guests of the Selma Quarterback Club Monday evening at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center. Monday’s event was the final meeting of the year for the quarterback club. -- Tim Reeves

With a number of high school athletes on hand, former Auburn head football coach Pat Dye encouraged each to focus on areas they can improve on the football field and in their personal and academic lives.

Success, Dye said, comes from turning weaknesses into strengths, which can only be accomplished through hard work.

“If you are a student and you are weak in math or science, spend a little extra time in that area,” he said. “Get good where your weaknesses are, and it will pay dividends for you.”

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These principals, Dye said, will also come in handy when they enter the workforce.

“If you want to have a quality life, and if you want to enjoy the best life has to offer, do everything you are supposed to do and some more,” he said. “If you are working for a company, be the first one to step up. If you need to get there early, get there early. If you need to stay late, stay late.”

These ideas, Dye said, are not just lip service. They are the very same guidelines that led him from a small Georgia town to one of college football’s most recognizable names.

“I came off of a farm in Georgia and I had no name,” he said. “I wanted to find out if I could be a head football coach and East Carolina gave me that opportunity. When I came to Auburn, I didn’t have any guarantee that I would be the head coach there. But I had guts enough to make a decision.”

During his visit, Dye also discussed the current state of college football’s process of crowning a champion. The system, as it stands, leaves too many loose ends. To crown a true champion, Dye said there must be some kind of playoff system.

“Really and truly, what would really be super, would be to play all the bowl games and a plus-one,” he said. “You could play all the bowl games and get them matched up as best you can, then take the two highest ranked teams and let them fight it out to see who the best man is.”

With the Iron Bowl approaching, Dye urged fans from both sides to enjoy the rivalry the right way.

“It’s great to live in a state where people have a passion for college football, but don’t let it get out of hand,” he said. “Don’t let it get nasty and don’t let it get nasty. It doesn’t have to be. You can play the game with as much passion and as much aggressiveness and still be under control and play with class.”

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