Bruce Arians describes Bear Bryant’s last words

“Coach them hard and hug them later.” Those were the last words legendary coach Bear Bryant said to Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, before stepping down from his post at Alabama.

That type of wisdom is fitting for Arians. He’s known for a rough-around-the-edges confessional approach with his players, but he expects excellence in return for his heartfelt muse and it’s working.

He’s turned the Arizona Cardinals organization from cellar dweller to NFL elite. The team currently has a 12-2 record, and is considered one of the more balanced squads in the league.

Arian’s style of communication was the key to making free safety Tyrann Mathieu great. The team took a huge risk when drafting him, and Mathieu has rewarded them with a Pro Bowl worthy season.

Mathieu told cochingsearch.com why he’s responded so well with the Cardinals.

“I remember the first time I sat down with BA after he drafted me,” Mathieu said, “He told me that story, about him getting kicked out of high school. Me as a player who’d just gotten a second chance, I’m able to come into work every day comfortable, more relaxed, because my coach showed me his scars. He showed me what he’d been through in life, and he didn’t try to hide it from me. That’s why we relate to each other.”

To think Bear Bryant, even after death, continues to ripple through into today’s crop of young athletes is stunning. That’s what makes great people great. Their wisdom is passed from one hand to the other, like a business transaction; except the difference is everyone wins.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports