Cal Football: Coach Aristotle Thompson Uses Quote from Philosopher Namesake

Jake Curtis

The first thing you notice about new Cal running backs coach Aristotle Thompson is his name. You think of just two people -- Aristotle Onassis and the Greek philosopher Aristotle.

It is distinctive.

"I am pretty certain you will never meet another Aristotle," he says in the video.

Thompson has done a bit of research on his Greek philosopher namesake, and has borrowed one of his quotes for use as a coach.

"You are what you repeatedly do, therefore success is not an act, it's a habit."

Thompson expands on that adage and applies it to his coaching.

"I use some of that in what I give to the players," he says. "If you repeatedly do the right things on the football field, you repeatedly do the right things in the classroom, you repeatedly to the right things in life, that becomes your habit, that becomes who you are, that's what you're going to be.

"When you work on these things to be successful, you take a rep in practice, do it right, again and again and again, you can expect and know that rep is going to be that way on Saturday."

Such words of wisdom might have an influence on someone like Cal running back Christopher Brown Jr., a smart guy whose goal is to have a 4.0 grade-point average. (He nearly reached that goal during the fall.)

There is some debate as to whether Aristotle, the Greek philosopher of the 4th centery B.C., actually made this statement about success (or "excellence") or whether it was a modern interpretation of an Aristotle sentiment. 

It doesn't matter. It seems to fit. And we encourage Aristotle Thompson to use it.