In the past decade, the sports world has seen some of the greatest minds leading teams to remarkable feats of excellence. One of those great minds decided to retire after over 50 years of coaching as an assistant and a head coach.
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban shocked the sports world by announcing his retirement after leading Alabama to six national championships since 2007. The conversation now surrounds who the greatest head coaches in sports history are — from college to professionals.
Top 10 Greatest Coaches in Sports: What Is Nick Saban’s Ranking?
Saban’s retirement and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s departure from the team have brought up the conversation of who the best head coaches in the history of sports are. College and professional sports leagues have multiple leaders who could be added to the list.
This list will show a variety of coaches from most of the major sports leagues to showcase the number of top coaches. When breaking down the list, the criterion for the list includes the number of titles won and the winning percentage.
10) Joe McCarthy, Chicago Cubs/New York Yankees/Boston Red Sox
Major League Baseball’s greatest manager of all time discussions usually include Joe McCarthy. He won 2,125 games for three different clubs from 1926 through 1950. The manager also won nine pennants and seven World Series titles during his career. He never produced a losing record for the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, or the Boston Red Sox.
9) Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packers
When Vince Lombardi was walking the sidelines, the NFL was growing in popularity, and his Green Bay Packers team was becoming a dynasty. Lombardi won 74 percent of the games he coached in 10 seasons as a head coach.
He won five NFL Championships/Super Bowls with the Green Bay Packers, including three straight titles from 1965 through 1967. The Super Bowl trophy was named after him, so there hasn’t been a coach who has influenced the NFL more than Lombardi.
8) Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
In the modern-day era, Bill Belichick set the standard of what success looks like in the NFL. Multiple teams even hired his assistant coaches to build the same “Patriots Culture.” Belichick coached 24 seasons with the New England Patriots, winning 266 (69%) games.
During his coaching career, he won 302 games (65%) and six Super Bowls. Although the news of Belichick and the Patriots parting ways on Thursday was expected, it was shocking nonetheless. He will go down as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history.
7) Red Auerbach, Boston Celtics
Before Phil Jackson controlled the NBA, Red Auerbach won multiple NBA titles coaching the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1966.
In his 16 seasons with Boston, Auerbach won nine NBA titles, including eight straight titles from 1958 to 1966. He finished his career winning 938 (66%) of his games.
6) Scotty Bowman, Montreal Canadiens/Detroit Red Wings/Pittsburgh Penguins
From 1967 through 2002, Scotty Bowman won at every team he coached in the NHL — never producing a losing record. Bowman won 63 percent (1,244) of his games as a coach.
He also won nine Stanley Cups with four of the six teams he coached in his 30-season career.
5) Paul “Bear” Bryant, Alabama Crimson Tide Football
The original Alabama Crimson Tide coach to take over college football was “Bear” Bryant. During his 37-year career, Bryant won 80 percent of his games — 323 total wins — six national titles, and 14 SEC titles. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and is widely considered one of the best head coaches in college football history.
4) Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide Football
Excluding what he did with the Miami Dolphins in the NFL, Nick Saban has dominated the football world since 2007 with Alabama. Since coaching the Crimson Tide, he won 87 percent of his games, going 201-29 overall and winning six national titles.
His overall win percentage is 80 percent, with 292 wins and an additional national title win with the LSU Tigers. This type of dominance with one team has not been seen in the history of college football.
3) Geno Auriemma, UConn Huskies Women’s Basketball
Women’s basketball has never seen the type of success that Geno Auriemma has had at UConn. Since 1985, Auriemma only had one losing record — in his first season — before winning 1,193 games and losing just 159.
He won 88 percent of his games as a coach, collecting 11 national titles and eight Naismith Coach of the Year awards. Adding three gold medals at the Olympics, Auriemma proved to be the best coach in women’s sports and one of the best in sports history.
2) Phil Jackson, Chicago Bulls/Los Angeles Lakers
In his 20-year coaching career with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson dominated the NBA in the ’90s and ’00s. While coaching great players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal, Jackson never had a losing record and won 1,155 (70%) games from 1989 through 201. He won 11 titles as a coach, which is the most in the history of the NBA.
1) John Wooden, UCLA Bruins Men’s Basketball
Nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” John Wooden dominated college basketball as a head coach at UCLA from 1948 through 1975. During that span, he won 10 national championships — including seven in a row — and 15 Pac-10 titles.
He finished his career with 664 wins and an 80% win percentage. This type of dominance may never be seen again in basketball — or any other sport — as he changed how the game was played.
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