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Vince Lombardi
1913 - 1970

American football coach. Lombardi was the most successful coach in professional football history. His Green Bay Packers dominated the game from 1959-1968, winning five national championships and the first two Super Bowls (1967, 1968) in nine years. He then led the 1969 Washington Redskins to their first winning season in 14 years. His life and extraordinary record were cut short by cancer, but not before he explained his success in a luncheon speech to businessmen in the American mid-west. The text of the speech is available here on conservativeforum.org.


Click here for an essay by Vince Lombardi
The difference between a successful man and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in lack of will because the character rather than the education is manís greatest need and manís greatest safeguard because the character is higher than the intellect.

Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
... conquests are won primarily in the hearts of men and once you have won their hearts, theyíll follow you anywhere.

Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
None of us is born equal, in spite of everything they say about it - we are born only in certain inalienable rights. But we are born rather unequal... it is becoming increasingly difficult to be tolerant of a society who has sympathy only for the misfit, only for the maladjusted, only for the criminal, and only for the loser.

Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
... we need a rebirth... of courage and stamina and coordinated efficiency; we need a rebirth of discipline, we need a control, we need a restraint. I'm not talking about repression; there is a great deal of difference between the right to dissent and the right to destroy. One is articulation and the other is anarchy.

Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
I think before we can embrace freedom we first have to embrace those things which underline freedom, and they are duty, respect for authority, and a development of a mental discipline.

Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
Right now in a large sense I think, weíre engaged in a struggle which is far more fiercely contested than anything, and it's a struggle for the hearts and it's a struggle for the souls and minds of all of us. And it's a game in which there are no spectators, only players, and it's a struggle which is going to test all of our courage, and all of our stamina, and all of our teamwork. ... At no other time in our history have the prizes and the perils at one and the same time been so great. But I think we have to decide whether we want to provide a full life for humanity or destroy ourselves with our own problems. And the test is going to be whether man mistakes the growth of wealth and power with the growth of spirit and character. Or like some infant who is playing with matches destroys the very house he may have inherited.

Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
We have to be hard sometimes to get the most out of people. We have to be tough sometimes to get the most out of ourselves...

Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
Today we have a new ideology - that is to be homogeneous, no letter grades, no classification. The only line that some of our people seem to want today is a line between passing and failing. There is no hunt for excellence in other words. And you and I both know that this is the easy way. The prevailing idea today is to take the easy way - and that effort and that work are unnecessary.

Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
Success is not a sometime thing - it is an all-the-time thing. In other words, you donít do what is right once in a while, but all of the time.

Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
After the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser and all the pomp and fanfare has faded, the enduring things that are left are: the dedication to excellence, the dedication to victory, and the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.

It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.

If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.

... the quality of each manís life is the full measure of that manís personal commitment to excellence and to victory... it teaches that work and sacrifice and perseverance and competitive drive and the selflessness, a respect for authority is the price that each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal thatís worthwhile.

Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech