Best coaches ever?


The Sporting News is rating the top 50 all-time coaches in sports in its latest issue. Not surprisingly, very few are from hockey. Herb Brooks — who coached what is widely recognized as the greatest sports moment of the 20th century — barely made the list at No. 50.

The voting panel included Hall of Famers. Here’s the list.


1. John Wooden, college basketball
2. Vince Lombardi, NFL
3. Bear Bryant, college football
4. Phil Jackson, NBA
5. Don Shula, NFL
6. Red Auerbach, NBA
7. Scotty Bowman, NHL
8. Dean Smith, college basketball 
9. Casey Stengel, MLB
10. Knute Rockne, college football
11. Pat Summitt, women’s college basketball
12. Paul Brown, NFL
13. Joe Paterno, college football
14. George Halas, NFL
15. Chuck Noll, NFL
16. Bob Knight, college basketball
17. Joe Gibbs, NFL
18. Tom Landry, NFL
19. Mike Krzyzewski, college basketball
20. Bill Belichick, NFL
21. Adolph Rupp, college basketball
22. Joe McCarthy, MLB
23. Eddie Robinson, college football
24. Bobby Bowden, college football
25. John McGraw, MLB
26. Bill Walsh, NFL 
27. Woody Hayes, college football
28. Connie Mack, MLB
29. Bud Wilkinson, college football
30. Pat Riley, NBA
31. Pete Newell, college basketball
32. Joe Torre, MLB
33. Bill Parcells, NFL
34. Tom Osborne, college football
35. Walter Alston, MLB
36. Bo Schembechler, college football 
37. Toe Blake, NHL
38. Sparky Anderson, MLB
39. Al Arbour, NHL 
40. Amos Alonzo Stagg, college football
41. Tony La Russa, MLB
42. Geno Auriemma, women’s college basketball
43. Dick Irvin, NHL
44. Ara Parseghian, college football
45. Chuck Daly, NBA
46. Bobby Cox, MLB
47. Hank Iba, college basketball
48. Tommy Lasorda, MLB
49. Gregg Popovich, NBA
50. Herb Brooks, NHL

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  1. Cindy Crosby on

    Repost –

    Hi Everyone,
    I got my new seat location. 413 Row C, behind net where rangers shoot twice. I am trying to sell half the season so let me know if anyone is interested in anything from a couple to 5 or 10 games. Thanks

  2. you know that list is bull when Tom Renney doesn’t even make it!

    Brooks dead last on the list?? Take that list and use it properly…in the toilet…wiping the you know what.

  3. I think it’s a fair list… Football, Basketball, and Baseball coaches dominate the list because those sports have the most in-game influence by the coach/manager.

  4. I am so relieved that Pat Summit ranks ahead of Bill Walsh, Knute Rockne, Paul Brown, and George Halas. But what is she doing ranking behind Red Auerbach? Male chauvinist pig poll, if you ask me.

    Of course Mrs. Bill Walsh, Mrs. Knute Rockne, Mrs. Paul Brown,and Mrs. George Halas rank ahead of Pat Summit in the kitchen and in the bedroom, where it really counts, but that’s another poll.

    Are we having a slow summer, or what?

  5. okay, i’m not a sport fanatic but i still follow sports so the majority of names on there are familiar… to placement and worthiness, that’s for some other post
    but seriously
    who is Adolph Rupp, Joe McCarthy and Eddie Robinson?!?!?!?!?

    never heard of any of ’em. the last person sounds vaguely famliiar but the first two. no way.

  6. …or do the team have time to mull over the award – and search for trade partners?

  7. Can we sneak my man, Charlie Manuel onto the Top-50 list? After all, Charlie still thinks Brad Lidge, complete with his 7-run ERA, is his closer. Plus Charlie played the redoubtable David Bell ahead of Chase Utley for an entire season, and loves the 6-run ERA guys like Jose Mesa, and Rheal Cormier. Charlie just NEVER holds any one of his guys to a standard of performance. Sort of the Glen Sather of Major League Baseball, you might say. And Sather did some coaching, why is he not regarded as one the the all-time best?

    Can we just have a Bottom-50 GM and coaches poll and really have some fun with this? And it too, would be a Politically Correct joke because no one would dare put a woman or Davey Lopes or Dusty Baker on a Bottom-50 that list.

    How about a list of the Bottom-50 women in politics – boy, this is heating up!

  8. Adoph Rupp, college basketball, led Kentucky to five national titles in the early John Wooden head coaching years. Joe McCarthy did alright managing a couple pikers named Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. History may not be your thing.

  9. UK, I am not sure if the award is announced immediately, and then I think the team has 24 or 48 hours to decide to accept the award or walk away. So Z has a few more days as a Ranger. But not many.

    PS, I think Josh Thomson was No. 26 on that list.

  10. Viktor Tikhonov isnt on the list???

    13 straight Soviet titles 1978-1989

    World Championship gold in 1978-1979, 1981-1983,1986,1989,1990,1993.

    Olympics gold of 1984,1988,1992.

    1979 Challenge Cup and 1981 Canada Cup.

    I am calling the Kremlin right away!!

  11. It’s hard to rank college coaches among pros because they get a lot of the good players based on school reputation more so than pro teams get players based on team rep, but the college coaches still have to get the job done with more pressure upon them.

    I wonder how Parcells feels about being ranked so far behind Belichick, who was a failure in his stops before New England.

  12. Joe Torre should be off that list. He didn’t do too well when he had lousy players and not the best ones free agency could buy.

  13. JOEPA is was to low… easily top 10. Most wins in college football history and still counting!

  14. Rob(the first) on

    Cindy Crosby,

    Would be interested in a couple of games, how many tix and how much per?

  15. I think Gaborik and Dubinsky will get the alternate captain slots. Gabby because of his overall importance to the team’s success (let’s face it, if he gets hurt or struggles this season we are in big trouble) and Dubi because I believe the franchise is looking for him to take on that leadership role over the next two seasons and possibly replace Drury as captain once Chris hangs em up or moves on. I would have no problem with Cally getting one but his physical style may lead to a breakdown of his body over time and I think the team will consider that in their choice.

    Eddie Robinson was the legendary coach of college football’s Grambling University and I’m pretty sure he had like 500+ wins. I was surprised by no Scotty Bowman and no Chuck Daly.

  16. Actually I would say 5 out of 50 (10%) is a pretty good representation.

    We are looking at 7 sports so 10% isn’t bad when you think an even spread would be 14%

    College Football
    College Basketball
    College Woman’s basketball

  17. Tikhonov Brooks and Arbour should be in the top ten.
    Seriously who cares about college basketball.
    ohh yeah all the Gamblers

  18. What does a used car salesman have to do to get on that freaking list!? Quite honestly, I am very disappointed. My team was the best conditioned team EVER!

    No other coach in the history of coaching never ever gave anyone as much to think about as I gave to St. Louis Blues!

    And who can forget the night when I got hit with a stick over my empty head?! Can Scotty Bowman, or Herb Brooks, or freaking Phil Jackson take a hit like that and have their team win w/o them behind the bench? I don’t think so! But my team did! They couldn’t win a game with me behind the bench but they won one w/o me! That should tell you all about my character! No doubt about that!

  19. you forgot to mention the words “poise” and “process” in your little speech there …. im very disappointed in you

  20. im tired of hockey getting snubbed by general sports media. it’s one thing to give it less coverage because its less popular, but when making comparisons between athletes and personnel of different sports as far as greatness goes, you cant snub a sport.

  21. Mike D (#96) on

    No BU’s Jack Parker????? Is this list-writer out of his mind???

    How many College Championships? How many Beanpots? How many coach of the year awards? WTF!


  22. Haha, yet another stupid popular baseball player on performance enhancers. How can anybody here honestly watch that sport and enjoy it ? Baseball players are pathetic wimps with no guts, and no pride. I hate them with a passion. Go to hell you cheating pieces of garbage !

    Im so happy Hockey players aren’t like those losers, they have more class than baseball players wish they can have.

    Go Hockey !!

  23. I hope Wade Redden logs into this blog once in a while, he would get a big boost of confidence just knowing that two fans already voted for him to get an A next year, the fans are already starting to rally around him for the 2009-10 season hah
    Seriously though I hope the fans dont boo when he comes out for the home opener when they announce all the players, everyone should be pulling for him to have a good year and everyone should have faith and believe that he is capable of having a solid year, not a year like he had with Ottawa 5-10 years ago, but just a solid year, no reason he cant do that
    Dubi & Cally for A’s, Staal gets one when somebody is hurt

  24. I think Phil Jackson is the most overrated coach ever. I’d like to see him take the L.A. Clippers and turn them into a winner. Both times, he took over teams on the cusp of championships with HoF players. He never once had to build from scratch, to me, the sign of a great manager. I say that those teams would have won a championship anyway.

    These lists are always biased to Football and Basketball. SI has foresaked hockey for years and has dimishing coverage of baseball, except when there’s a steroids scandal. One baseball guy in the top 10? And as big a yankee fan as I am, Casey was also a manager in the right place at the right time. His other manager jobs were busts. Herb should be in the top 10. At least they got Scotty Bowman where he belongs, although I might put him higher.

  25. “Haha, yet another stupid popular baseball player on performance enhancers. How can anybody here honestly watch that sport and enjoy it ? Baseball players are pathetic wimps with no guts, and no pride. I hate them with a passion. Go to hell you cheating pieces of garbage !”

    Orr, breathe man. Baseball makes the summer go faster so we can get to hockey, trust me. Now pick a team and get going.

  26. Cross Check Charlie on

    ORR – “Baseball players are pathetic wimps with no guts,”

    Really? Have you seen some of the guts on those guys? It’s a wonder they can get a jersey that big. Must be XXXXXXXXXL.

  27. As great as Jackson is, I’d put Bowman ahead of him. He was just unreal. Once again, hockey gets the shaft.

  28. This is Reddens break out year. I just have that feeling. I’m not sure what he might break out of maybe the NHl into The AHL, but never the less a break out year. Wouldn’t you all agree? Go Redden possibly away, maybe not.

  29. “Really? Have you seen some of the guts on those guys? It’s a wonder they can get a jersey that big. Must be XXXXXXXXXL”

    Haha, oh yeah, i forgot aboot that.


    I cant watch baseball, it’s slow, and puts me to sleep.

  30. Doodie Machetto on

    Carp, I am a little unclear about Cablevision’s spinning off of MSG. Is Dolan the head honcho of the MSG company too, or just of Cablevision?

    Do you think MSG being free of Cablevision will hurt the fans in their pockets, help, or will it stay the same?

  31. Complete crap.

    Parcells SAVED franchises after he left the Giants. He won his championships and he wanted a challenge of bringing teams back from the dead.

    He did that for the Patriots, Jets, Dallas and he’s doing it now for Miami. He’s top 20.

    As for Herb Brooks, he had that one run in the 80 olympics, he never did anything of note after that though.

  32. Im dying laughing every time I read these “I got the feeling” comments, esp. about Wade “Mustang” Redden! LoHud Rangers Psychic convention!

    What kind of a feeling is it? Is it the feeling people get when the bowel movement isn’t so regular?
    And where exactly do you feel that feeling? Is it in the “lower” or “upper” body?

    I mean, really… the guy is finished! He is a year older and 8 million richer! Don’t wait for him to show up!

  33. alright so last night i met up with an old flame. i hadnt seen her in a long time and we were just catching up when i mentioned how id like to bring her to a Ranger game this year. She then tells me more stories than i can write here about how she got all “chummy” with Dubs. From, what she learned hangin with the guy,seems he really loves playing in new york, thought he simply played “terrible” last season and he wants nothing more than to play the top line with gabby…this is all true. i wish i could write the full stories haha

  34. bull dog line on

    Brooks also took another olympic team to the silver medal, as well as winning a few college titles. Brooks was also a very good NHL coach, just could not get past the Islanders dynasty.

  35. CCCP, i dont know about anyones “feelings”, but I mean can you quit the pessimism and just root for the guy to do better so that our team can be better? instead of just talking about how he is done like 99 out of 100 other rangers fans say every single day

    And i know your next response would be “but our team would be better WITHOUT him” but you know what hes going to get a chance to play, most likely for the entire year, so deal with him and hope that he plays better instead of writing him off

  36. These lists are garbage. Especially when the author (who only compiles lists because he has nothing legit to write) forgets. . . . . .

    JOHN McKAY!!!!!!!!
    4 NCAA football championships!!!!!

    and who can forget his sense of humor:

    McKay often came up with humorous one-liners during press conferences. One of the best-known quips came when he was asked, “What do you think about your team’s execution?” McKay responded, “I’m all for it!” When he was asked why one of his tailbacks carried the ball so much, he replied, “Why not? It’s not heavy and he doesn’t belong to any union.” He even managed to find humor after USC’s 51–0 loss to Notre Dame: “After that game, I told the team, ‘Forget it. There are 700 million people in China who didn’t know anything about it.’ The next day, a guy called me from China and asked ‘What happened, Coach?'”. He also knew why Notre Dame was so lucky: “They have an official named Patrick Murphy.”

  37. Ugh, it makes me sick to see players go to the KHL. Zubov, and Jagr can still play in the NHL and be effective, if they stay healthy.

    I would have loved to have Zubov at the right price, to mentor some of these young guys, and to QB the PP.

    Damn shame. But i guess we can now scratch him off the list. I don’t know what Slats is thinking, but ill be surprised if he actually does go with a young defense this year. He sure as hell is taking long figuring out what to do with this team if he’s not done already.

  38. onecupin69yearsand counting on

    Herb Brooks deserves to be lower than 50,top 20 at least.

    The best NY coaches Red Holtzman, Weeb Ewbanks
    Tom Coughlin, Bill Parcells,Lou Carneseca (st.Johns), Al Arbour 4 cups and he did a good job when he returned, Joe Torre,Casey Stengal .
    Honorable mention-Mike keenan-he almost killed the team in the finals.
    Davey Johnson-Mets, thanks to Bill Buckner.
    Gil Hodges.
    Now the worst coaches..Walt Michaels, Allie Sherman, John Tortorella (he will be , you just wait)

  39. agree with Orr
    would have liked to seen zubov in here for a year to mentor a gilroy or potter.

    next week sather will be busy after the 48 hours expire from friday afternoon hearing and he walks away.

    leaving sat for vegas until tuesday so will need to check in to see latest with z and others. keep me updated CARP

  40. bull dog line on

    Bottom 5.
    Ron Low, Bryan Trotiier, Glen Sather, Phil Esposito, and Michele Bergeron.
    What do you think?

  41. Bergeron and Espo, I guess, would have to be just beyond the last 20 years, since they were both fired in the spring of ’89.

    But even if they are in there, Muckler’s got to be on the list.

  42. Torre over LaRussa. No way. They both managed in St Louis Torre was not decisive as a coach there. They let him go. Ditto Atlanta ,NY Mets. All the Yankee money has skewed this managers ability. Not to say that he is not good. He just does not manage a team as effectively as LaRussa. Sure LaRussa relies on his pitching coach, Dave Duncan. But LaRussa would never coach the Yankees. LaRussa has to make his own decisions, not rely on George Steinbrenner.

  43. Brooks did a wondrous job as Team USA’s coach, but what did he accomplish in the NHL? Jack-squat!

  44. I heard a rumor that there was a big UCLA backer that paid all of the great UCLA player to play there. And it appears that John Wooden elected to look the other way. Was John Wooden the best college basketball coach or was he one of the best cheaters??

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