Thursday, January 16, 2014

Who Are The Best Professional Coaches?

The New York Jets agreed to a multiyear extension with Rex Ryan today and it got me wondering, how many GOOD-GREAT coaches are really out there?  I'm talking about all professional sports, not just the NFL, but the MLB, NBA and NHL too.  I don't know enough about hockey to comment, but if you do, please feel free!

As far as the NFL, Bill Belichick is the one guy who stands out for many reasons.  But the thing to me that makes him the greatest head coach of my generation (1986-2014) is that he continues to have success with a single key player, Tom Brady.  The Patriots have run through players, yet continue to be extremely successful and outside of Randy Moss have never truly added a superstar via trade or free agency.  Many teams have become great, thanks to an offense or a defense, but the success doesn't last.

The Baltimore Ravens defense made Rex Ryan famous, but can anyone remember who was on the offensive side of the ball during their 2000 Super Bowl victory?  Or better yet, who the Head Coach was?  Belichick is great and everyone knows it because it is HIS team, not the offensive or defensive coordinators.

In the NBA, Gregg Popovich is the top guy.  Yes the San Antonio Spurs have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but Pop gets the most out of all of his players, and everyone buys into his system.  The Spurs are another organization that has not made a big splash via trade or free agency, yet continues to rack up the Ws.

Is Doc Rivers THAT great of a head coach?  He wasn't that great until Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined him and Paul Pierce in Boston, and now he inherited a team with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

When Mike D'Antoni was with the Phoenix Suns, he WAS a great coach.  He created Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion, Leandro Barbosa, and Boris Diaw.  How many coaches can say they jump started that many players careers in such a short time?

In Major League Baseball, Joe Maddon is the manager I look at and think to myself, how on earth does he get those guys to win games?!  His lineup is different everyday and the players understand their roles and that they play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back.

How do you feel about Don Mattingly managing the Los Angeles Dodgers?  With a roster like that, you and I could manage the Dodgers!

What are some examples of great coaching jobs in recent memory, or sports history that make you believe that the coach actually had an impact on the teams performance?  

What about coaches who took over a great roster and screwed it all up!?!

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