Sports history is littered with great head coaches. A few can be considered the best in his sport, but who are the best in the history of all sports?
Imagine reaching the pinnacle of your profession. Not many do, and only the greatest do in sports. Some don’t and can still be considered all-time greats. Let’s delve into the greatest to ever lead teams.
T5. Herb Brooks (hockey), Mike Krzyzewski (basketball)
Herb Brooks is synonymous with the Miracle on Ice. That was one of the great upsets in the history of sports, but that was also the semifinals of the Olympics that year. The team did go on to win the gold. In addition to that gold medal, he also led the United States to a silver medal in 2002. In addition to two Olympic medals, he led the Minnesota Golden Gophers to three national titles. Unfortunately for Brooks he never tasted the top of the mountain at the NHL level, even though he made it the playoffs five times, he never lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Krzyzewski is one of the best college basketball coaches ever. With 1,157 wins, he is the winningest coach in the history of college basketball, and he also has five national championships. Just because he hasn’t coached in the NBA, that doesn’t mean he has never directly coached professionals. He led the U.S. men’s basketball team to five gold medals (two in the FIBA World Championships and three in the Olympics). It’s hard to put Krzyzewski anywhere higher on this list, though, because he’s never coached in the NBA.
4. Larry Brown (basketball)
Brown coached at the college and pro level of basketball. He coached for over 40 seasons and has the most wins (1,593), but what keeps him low on this list is the lack of championships. He’s only won two championships, but he cracks the top-five because he is the only coach in basketball history to win the NCAA tournament and a professional title. If he had won his lone appearance in the ABA Finals, he’d likely be higher on this list as well.
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3. Pete Carroll (football)
Carroll has 241 career regular and postseason wins combined. He also was the fourth coach in football history to win a national championship and an NFL championship (1933-present). Carroll is also three college wins shy of being the only coach ever to amass 100 wins on both levels.
2. Jimmy Johnson (football)
The old cliche is that it’s hard to top the original. For the Super Bowl era, in football, Jimmy Johnson set the standard. Johnson was the first coach in history to win a national title and a Super Bowl and the second coach in football history to win a championship at both levels. He’s also the only coach enshrined in both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
1. Paul Brown (football)
When people talk about records, Paul Brown stands alone in football. Paul Brown is tied for 57th all-time in the history of football in wins. However, the 56 coaches ahead of him or tied with him coached only high school, college, or professional football.
Brown coached for 41 years, and he coached at all three levels. He won six state titles, one national title, four All-America Football Conference league titles, and three NFL championships. He holds two major distinctions to be on the top of this list. Brown is the only coach/manager to win on all three levels, and with the four AAFC titles and six NFL Championship game appearances in the first six years in the league, he was the first of two coaches/managers to appear in 10 consecutive championship games or series at the professional level.