Coach Willie Spears

Dream B.I.G.

January 16, 2019

In 2010 my running back had a great season, becoming the first thousand yard rusher in the past ten years. However, Greg did not have the same success academically.

As he walked into my office I could tell he was very emotional; he had failed the graduation test again and the reality of not graduating brought him to tears. As his coach I had failed him. As a student-athlete he had failed himself.

Failure is a key ingredient in the recipe of success. Michael Jordan once said, “I have failed over and over again and that is why I succeed.” I believe failure of losing the National Championship last year was the motivating factor in Clemson winning the National Championship this year.

I believe the same could be true for Alabama next season. Failure will motivate them this off season because failure is the best teacher. There are several books on becoming successful; however, there aren’t many on how to maintain success.

I believe two things hold us back from achieving success. Small dreams and the way we respond to adversity or failure. Through tears Greg lamented how he was a failure and as I consoled him he told me I wouldn’t understand because I was a teacher. He assumed I had not experienced failure to the extent he had and therefore couldn’t relate to his current situation.

Greg knew I had a master’s degree, had written a book, was named teacher and coach of the year, but what he didn’t know is that I failed the teacher test twelve times before I was fully certified.

I started working on my certification in 2002 but I didn’t pass all the necessary test until 2010. Although I failed, my teaching certificate doesn’t mention my failures. I have the same certificate as the person who passed all the test the first time. The same is true of Greg who graduated the following summer.

How did Greg and I overcome our failures? B.I.G. Dreams. My dreams are Bold, Impossible, and Genuine.

Bold - My dreams are so big if I mentioned them you would literally laugh out loud. The reason we aren’t bold when we dream is probably because we care what people think.

Impossible - My dreams are so big that it is impossible to accomplish them on my own. Are your dreams that big?

Genuine - Dreams need authenticity. Meaning they should be genuine to who you are and what you are passionate about. I’m wired to communicate, serve, and motivate. My dreams line up with those traits.

Are you living the dream? Chasing your dreams is exhilarating and heartbreaking at the same time. With B.I.G. dreams come big failures.

In my life I have:

Scored the touchdown to seal a college football national championship (success)

Failed to score in high school to solidify playoff berth (failure)

Written five books (success)

Had to self-publish because major publishing companies rejected my proposal (failure)

Master’s Degree in Education (success)

Scored 17 on ACT (failure)

Teacher of the Year and Coach of the Year (success)

Fired twice as teacher and coach (failure)

Set several records at several schools as a coach (success)

Won only one game in 2011 (failure)

If people don’t laugh at your dreams they aren’t big enough.

When you dream big expect jealousy and haters. This guy named Joseph had eleven brothers that were so jealous of his dream; they went to the extreme to get rid of him.

Since I’m still living, I’m still dreaming.

People will use their limitations on what they think is possible when evaluating your dreams.

Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lack of imagination. The Beatles were told they have no future in show business. Steve Jobs was fired from the company he started. Oprah was demoted because she wasn’t fit for television.

Dream B.I.G. I dare ya! It Works!

Willie Spears is a teacher, coach, author, minister and motivational speaker. He has been awarded teacher and coach of the year. He speaks to thousands each year through his business The Willie Spears Experience. Willie may be reached at

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