Jack Shafer has an excellent piece on the Paul “Bear” Bryant lessons on leadership Howell Raines failed to absorb. Some excerpts:

The Times blamed the Blair debacle on Blair. Here’s Bear on accepting responsibility and delegating credit:

If we have an intercepted pass, I threw it. I’m the head coach. If we get a punt blocked, I caused it. A bad practice, a bad game, it’s up to the head coach to assume his responsibility. … If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it.


Raines and the Times tried to save Jayson Blair from himself. Bear knew better:

The biggest mistake coaches make is taking borderline cases and trying to save them. I’m not talking about grades now, I’m talking about character. I want to know before a boy enrolls about his home life, and what his parents want him to be.


And, finally, the Raines regime disregarded Blair’s personal deficiency and promoted him beyond his abilities. Bear cautioned against such double standards:

We can’t have two standards, one set for the dedicated young men who want to do something ambitious and one set for those who don’t.

Raines ain’t no Bear.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Nick says:

    Man, great invocation of the Bear! As an LSU fan, I officially hate him…but he was great!

  2. I assume that means Raines isn’t infatuated with teenage girls…