Special Report

Greatest Coaches of All Time

Source: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

5. Phil Jackson
> Teams: Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers
> Record: 1,155-485
> Years active: 1989-2011
> Championships: 11

Phil Jackson was a solid NBA player for the New York Knicks in his 20s, but he showed an early aptitude for coaching. He even served as an assistant coach while playing for the New Jersey Nets later in his career. Jackson became a near-instant coaching success once he took over the Michael Jordan-led Bulls teams of the 1990s. Those Bulls had two separate three-peats: 1991-1993 and 1996-1998. Jackson moved on to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999 and again found instant success, winning three straight titles his first three seasons. His career crescendoed when he won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. He retired in 2011, finishing his career with 11 championships in just 20 seasons.

Source: Ron Jenkins / Getty Images

4. Geno Auriemma
> Teams: Connecticut Huskies
> Record: 1,032-136
> Years active: 1985-present
> Championships: 11, 2 gold medals

The University of Connecticut Women’s basketball team has redefined the meaning of the word “dynasty” under Geno Auriemma. Since Auriemma was named head coach in 1985, UConn has won 11 national championships, including six undefeated seasons. Auriemma has also branched out into international coaching as well. He led the U.S. Women’s National Basketball Team to Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016. Auriemma was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Source: Harris & Ewing / Library of Congress

3. Joe McCarthy
> Teams: Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox
> Record: 2125-1333-29
> Years active: 1926-1950
> Championships: 7

Joe McCarthy, known as a disciplinarian, steered the New York Yankees of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio to seven world championships in the 1930s and 1940s. Before he managed the Yankees, McCarthy had already turned around the fortunes of the Chicago Cubs in the late 1920s. When he wasn’t offered a contract by the Cubs after the 1930 season, the Yankees and Boston Red Sox vied for his services. The Yankees prevailed, and McCarthy took over the club starting in 1931. McCarthy was criticized for being a “push-button manager” because of the wealth of Yankee talent at his disposal. But he pushed all the right buttons. Besides the seven world titles, the Bronx Bombers won eight American League pennants and won 100 games in a season six times. McCarthy managed three MLB teams in 24 seasons and never had a losing record.

Source: Al Bello / ALLSPORT / Getty Images

2. John Wooden
> Teams: Indiana State, UCLA
> Record: 664-162
> Years active: 1946-1975
> Championships: 10

John Wooden was called the “Wizard of Westwood” because of his tactical prowess and because the dominance of his UCLA teams in the 1960s and 1970s seemed almost magical. Wooden’s Bruins won with all-time big men like Lew Alcindor (who later changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton, and smaller squads whose stars included guard Gail Goodrich and forwards Sidney Wicks and Curtis Rowe. Under Wooden, UCLA won 10 NCAA championships in 12 years. Four of his Bruins teams went undefeated, and he won 80.8% of his games at UCLA before retiring after the 1974-75 season.

Source: Tom Pidgeon / Getty Images / NHLI

1. Scotty Bowman
> Teams: Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings
> Record: 1244-573-314
> Years active: 1967-2002
> Championships: 9

Scotty Bowman is far and away the greatest hockey coach of all time, and his success has made him the greatest pro sports coach in history. Unlike many other coaches on this list, Bowman led many different teams and won everywhere he went. Bowman coached five different franchises and won nine Stanley Cups. He won five Cups with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1970s, one with Pittsburgh in 1992, and three more with the Detroit Red Wings towards the end of his career in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He retired with 1,244 wins to his name after 30 seasons — no other hockey coach even has 900. Bowman’s teams picked up 65.7% of the possible points they could have earned, the highest percentage of anyone who coached for a significant amount of time.

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