50 Greatest Coaches List

July 31, 2009

Who tops the list of 50 Greatest Coaches? UCLA legend John Wooden. Read more about the story plus see photos and video below.

John Wooden Greatest Coaches

John Wooden tops list of 50 Greatest Coaches

50 of the Greatest Coaches of all time. Who would you pick? Sporting News asked 118 people to choose the best of the best.

The 118 people – comprised of current and former players, coaches and broadcasters, picked John Wooden, the UCLA men’s basketball legend, as the number one greatest coach, with a total of 57 first place votes.

Wooden, who was the Sporting News’ 1970 Sportsman of the Year winner, had an illustrious career as head coach of the UCLA men’s basketball team; Wooden won a record 10 national championships during his 27 seasons with the Bruins. As far as topping the list of 50 Greatest Coaches, he said:

“No one is deserving of being called the very best. No one.”

In second place, with 20 votes, was Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers. The remaining top 10: Bear Bryant, Phil Jackson, Don Shula, Red Auerbach, Scotty Bowman, Dean Smith, Casey Stengel and Knute Rockne.

Here is the full list:

1. John Wooden, college basketball
2. Vince Lombardi, NFL
3. Bear Bryant, college football
4. Phil Jackson, NBA
5. Don Shula, NFL
6. Red Auerbach, NBA
7. Scotty Bowman, NHL
8. Dean Smith, college basketball
9. Casey Stengel, MLB
10. Knute Rockne, college football
11. Pat Summitt, women’s college basketball
12. Paul Brown, NFL
13. Joe Paterno, college football
14. George Halas, NFL
15. Chuck Noll, NFL
16. Bob Knight, college basketball
17. Joe Gibbs, NFL
18. Tom Landry, NFL
19. Mike Krzyzewski, college basketball
20. Bill Belichick, NFL
21. Adolph Rupp, college basketball
22. Joe McCarthy, MLB
23. Eddie Robinson, college football
24. Bobby Bowden, college football
25. John McGraw, MLB
26. Bill Walsh, NFL
27. Woody Hayes, college football
28. Connie Mack, MLB
29. Bud Wilkinson, college football
30. Pat Riley, NBA
31. Pete Newell, college basketball
32. Joe Torre, MLB
33. Bill Parcells, NFL
34. Tom Osborne, college football
35. Walter Alston, MLB
36. Bo Schembechler, college football
37. Toe Blake, NHL
38. Sparky Anderson, MLB
39. Al Arbour, NHL
40. Amos Alonzo Stagg, college football
41. Tony La Russa, MLB
42. Geno Auriemma, women’s college basketball
43. Dick Irvin, NHL
44. Ara Parseghian, college football
45. Chuck Daly, NBA
46. Bobby Cox, MLB
47. Hank Iba, college basketball
48. Tommy Lasorda, MLB
49. Gregg Popovich, NBA
50. Herb Brooks, NHL

See photos and video of John Wooden below.

John Wooden Greatest Coaches
John Wooden Photo

John Wooden Tops 50 Greatest Coaches List – Video
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3 Responses to “50 Greatest Coaches List”

  1. 1
    SoCal Says:


  2. 2
    Bill Says:

    Where is Frank Leahy??

  3. 3
    dw Says:

    In my opinion, Wooden was an even greater coach because of what he did for his athelete’s character. I think this video does a pretty good job summing up his philosphy on the role a coach should play,