When fans and pundits talk about sports, there is rightly a focus on the players. After all, the players are the ones making the plays. But the impact of a great coach cannot be understated. Here are five of the best to ever do it.
- John Wooden
Known as the “Wizard of Westwood,” he is the first man to go into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and as a coach. But what he is most known for is winning 10 NCAA Championships across a 12-year span, including seven in a row. That will never be matched again.
- Phil Jackson
We know about Michael and Scotty. We know about Kobe and Shaq. But the man behind those tandems may have been the catalyst. Jackson has 10 NBA titles as the coach of the Bulls and Lakers, with another pair of titles playing with the Knicks. The “Zen Master” is known as the ultimate manager of egos and personalities.
- Vince Lombardi
You don’t get a major sports trophy named after you without being great. Lombardi took the Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls ever, compiling a 96-34-6 record over his career. With five total NFL championships, including the famed Ice Bowl win in 1967, there may be no more famous coach.
- Pat Summit
Enough about the men. Pat Summit may not only be one of the most successful women’s college basketball coaches of all time, but she may be one in the most successful period. With a 1,005-192 career record, there are few records she does not hold.
- Casey Stengel
There may be some argument from Yankees fans that Joe Torre is a greater manager, but there was no one more charismatic than Stengel. He led the Yankees to 10 World Series in 12 years, capturing the title seven times including a record five-straight. His #37 is retired by the Yankees and the Mets and he has a plaque in Monument Park memorializing him.