Special Report

Greatest Coaches of All Time

Source: aaronisnotcool. / Wikimedia Commons

20. Pat Summitt
> Teams: Tennessee
> Record: 1098-208
> Years active: 1974-2012
> Championships: 8, one gold medal

At just 22 years old, Pat Summitt became the head coach of the fledgling Tennessee women’s basketball team. She built that program into a dynasty, winning six championships between 1987-1998, rounding it out with an undefeated 1997-1998 season. The Volunteers later won back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008. Summitt also coached the US Women’s National Team to a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics.

Source: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

19. Gregg Popovich
> Teams: San Antonio Spurs
> Record: 1205-549
> Years active: 1996-present
> Championships: 5

For decades, the NBA has been dominated by the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, two franchises that hold a combined 33 titles. But the San Antonio Spurs have been able to find success in recent years, largely thanks to coach Gregg Popovich. Since taking over in 1996, Popovich has never missed the playoffs in any full season he has coached. Pop led San Antonio to five NBA championships, along with all-time great player Tim Duncan. Though Popovich can come off as prickly in his interviews, he is beloved by his players and Spurs fans alike.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

18. Casey Stengel
> Teams: Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Bees/Braves, New York Yankees, New York Mets
> Record: 1,905-1,842-19
> Years active: 1934-1965
> Championships: 7

Casey Stengel, nicknamed the “Old Perfessor,” managed four teams over a 25-year career. He is known for implementing a platoon system, in which two players — usually one right-handed and one left-handed — share playing time. Though Stengel was known for his clownish persona, he was all business as the Yankees skipper, winning 10 American League pennants and seven World Series titles, and rolling up a winning percentage of about 69.6%. He was fired following the Yankees loss in the 1960 World Series, after which he famously said “I’ll never make the mistake of being 70 again.” Stengel had one last act as manager, shepherding the expansion New York Mets in their first four years of their existence.

Source: 97453745@N02 / Flickr

17. Vince Lombardi
> Teams: Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins
> Record: 96-34-6
> Years active: 1959-1969
> Championships: 5

Vince Lombardi only coached the Green Bay Packers for nine years, but his impact on the franchise was immense. The Packers went 1-10-1 in 1958, the year before Lombardi arrived. He immediately turned the franchise around and won two straight NFL championships in 1961 and 1962. The Packers would go onto win three more NFL titles in 1965, 1966, and 1967. Those last two titles earned them the right to play in a new game — the Super Bowl. Lombardi’s Packers claimed the first two Super Bowl titles, crushing the Chiefs and Raiders of the AFL. The Super Bowl trophy is now named in his honor.

Source: Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons

16. Bill Belichick
> Teams: Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots
> Record: 257-121
> Years active: 1991-2018
> Championships: 5

Bill Belichick is the architect of the greatest dynasty of the NFL’s Super Bowl era. Since Belichick teamed up with Tom Brady in 2001, the New England Patriots have been perennial contenders to win the Super Bowl. Belichick coached the Browns for five years starting in 1991 before that franchise left for Baltimore and fired him. That turned out to be a mistake as Belichick has proven to be a mastermind. Since taking over New England, Belichick has amassed a 74.2% winning percentage, eight Super Bowl appearances, and five championships — more than any other coach of the recent era.