What sports personality actually coined the phrase ‘Winning Isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”?
Henry Russell (Red) Sanders, a former football coach at UCLA and Vanderbilt uttered two versions of the phrase on two different occasions. In 1950, at a Cal Ply San Luis Obispo physical wellness workshop, Sanders told his group, “Men, I’ll be honest. Winning isn’t everything. Men, winning is the only thing.”
In 1955, in a Sports Illustrated article about the 1956 Rose Bowl, Sanders said, “Sure, winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
Vince Lombardi is on record as saying the phrase in 1959 in his opening day talk for the Packer’s training camp. However, sources say Lombardi claims he was misquoted or misunderstood, and that he meant to say, “Winning isn’t everything. The will to win is the only thing.”