25 Funniest Coaches of Film and Television
Great films and television shows about sports are filled with unforgettable, inspirational coaches who can make history and change the world with a single speech. The Norman Dales and Herman Boones of the world have changed the course of countless lives for the better.
Unfortunately, for every Norman Dale there are 10 disgruntled coaches or gym teachers who really just don't give a crap. You know, guys that are there for one of three reasons: simply for the paycheck and nothing more, to get ahead in their own lives or just because they are old and have nowhere else to go and nothing else to do.
Sometimes these people are useful and find some modicum of success, while other times they simply trudge along being unpleasant until someone mercifully puts them out of their misery. Either way, the result is usually pretty funny.
Here are 25 of the funniest coaches ever in film and television.
25. Ms. Stoeger, Clueless
Actress and former MTV personality Julie Brown (not to be confused with "Downtown Julie Brown") played the stereotypical lady-lovin' gym teacher, Ms. Stoeger, in the classic comedy Clueless. Ms. Stoeger's part as the frustrated and irritated gym teacher was short but memorable.
Amber: Ms. Stoeger, my plastic surgeon doesn't want me doing any activity where balls fly at my nose.
Dionne: Well, there goes your social life.
24. Ernie 'Coach' Pantusso, Cheers
Actor Nicholas Colasanto played Ernie "Coach" Pantusso for the first three seasons of the hit sitcom Cheers, preceding Woody Harrelson. Coach was Sam Malone's former coach with the Boston Red Sox and was known for goofy puns, funny anecdotes and giving absurd explanations with deadpan delivery.
Ernie "Coach" Pantusso: [about being held back a grade at school] It's just as bad to skip a grade.
Carla Tortelli: You skipped a grade, coach?
Ernie "Coach" Pantusso: Yeah. I skipped four. High school, I think they called it.
23. Billy Heywood, Little Big League
In Little Big League, young Billy Heywood inherits the Minnesota Twins from his beloved grandfather and almost immediately institutes himself as manager. Initially, the players are about as happy as you'd expect them to be playing for a know-it-all kid in junior high, but eventually, Heywood wins them over with his childlike wonderment and willingness to engage in kooky shenanigans.
Joey: You should start, Webman. He always beats the Rangers.
Billy Heywood: He always beats everybody. That's why he's 3-7.
22. Coach Mickey Morrison, Just One of the Guys
In Just One of the Guys, coach Mickey Morrison is the gym teacher whose class puts lead character Terry Griffith, a teenage girl posing as a boy for journalism reasons, in more than one awkward position.
Morrison is hilarious as the clueless gym teacher who is obviously there for a paycheck and cares little for the teenage torment going on all around him.
21. Coach Sonski, Saved by the Bell
Like many of the adults in the Saved by the Bell world, coach Sonski pulled double duty as coach of the wrestling team and the teacher of a completely unrealistic class on auto repair. Coach Sonski is probably best remembered as the sexist lunk who tried to keep new girl Kristy Barnes off the wrestling team but eventually came around.
Coach Sonski: Hey, you worked on the full nelson and the half-nelson—why don't you show her the Willie Nelson? That's a country and wrestling joke, heh heh heh heh. [singing] I've got spurs that jingle jangle...
Coach Sonski: That's cute, honey, but this is a gym, not a Jane.
Coach Sonski: You wanna wrestle with girls, date 'em.
Kristy Barnes: That's not fair!
Coach Sonski: Well, I don't have hair and that's not fair, either.
Coach Sonski: I don't care if I'm hated—I have pets at home who love me.
Coach Sonski: OK, I'm sensitive to dames. I watch Oprah.
20. Coach Ben Fredricks, Freaks and Geeks
Ben Fredricks was the gym teacher and coach in Judd Apatow's tragically short-lived television show Freaks and Geeks. A wise-cracking loud-mouth, Fredricks was basically just a grown-up jock, but with an understanding human side that characters like his normally lack.
Fredricks: [Reads question] If a pregnant woman has sex, can the baby get poked? [Class laughs] Listen up, hyenas, can I get through one question before you guys get hysterical on me? Listen, sex is perfectly safe for the fetus. It's not going to come out with dents all over its head like a golf ball or something.
19. Irv Blitzer, Cool Runnings
In Cool Runnings, comedian John Candy plays retired bobsledder Irv Blitzer, who is recruited to coach the disgraceful Jamaican bobsledding team. Blitzer helps turn the team around and, even though a mishap costs them a victory, the team is treated like heroes when they return home.
Irv: Gentlemen, a bobsled is a simple thing.
Man: Yeah, so's a toilet!
Irv: Our Father, who art in Calgary, Bobsled be thy name. Thy kingdom come, gold medals won, on earth as it is in turn 7. With liberty and justice for Jamaica and Haile Selassie. Amen.
British Official: We must also be concerned about the potential for embarrassment.
Irv: Oh, pardon me. I didn't realize that four black guys in a bobsled could make you blush.
18. Dauber, Hayden and Luther, Coach
Coach was a long-running sitcom that centered on the life of Hayden Fox, the head football coach at Minnesota State University, and those around him. Fox himself was funny, but his assistant coaches, the lovable Luther Van Dam and the dopey Dauber Daubiknksi, generally stole his thunder.
Fox: You graduated from college and now you won't wash my car?
Fox: You see, this is why I hate education.
17. Romeo Posar, Tin Cup
In Tin Cup, Romeo Posar is the drinking buddy-turned-caddie of former golf prodigy Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy. Posar serves as caddie, coach and moral compass for the suddenly ambitious (because he wants to impress a girl) McAvoy.
McAvoy: [Asking Romeo to be his caddy again instead of Earl] Look, I love Earl, OK, but...I need you.
Romeo: You don't love me?
McAvoy: Yeah, yeah, I-I love you, too, goddammit.
Romeo: Well, as much as Earl?
McAvoy: I don't know! I mean, when I was with Earl, I was thinking of you...Yes, uh, as much as Earl. More than Earl. More than Earl.
Romeo: Am I special?
McAvoy: Well, if you can remove the sexual overtones and add a golf theme, then Romeo, I am your Juliet.
16. Assistant Football Coach, Dazed and Confused
As the school year draws to a close in Dazed and Confused, star quarterback Randall "Pink" Floyd is seriously considering giving up football his senior year. Floyd's disdain for the game and authority in general is particularly obvious when dealing with his overenthusiastic assistant coach.
Assistant Coach: Hey ladies, are you gonna be ready to play football this fall? Huh?
Benny O'Donnell: I don't know, coach, I've been doin' so well in English I thought I might work on bein' a writer. What do ya think about that?
Assistant Coach: Boy, you woudln't know how to spell your own name if it wasn't stencilled on your locker. No, seriously everybody. Now don't go getting soft on me this summer. You know, you're sitting around the pool all day, chasing the **** around. Breakdown! Hell man. My grandmother's quicker and tougher than you pansies. 'Course she's 6'3", 250 and runs a 4.5 40.
15. Coach Klein, The Waterboy
In The Waterboy, The Fonz plays Coach Klein, the head coach of the hapless University of Louisiana football team. Coach Klein recruits Bobby Boucher, the team's stuttering weirdo water boy who has mommy issues and an anger management problem. Individually, they're both zeros, but together they become heroes.
Bobby Boucher: So that's what opening up a can of whoop-ass feels like.
Coach Klein: Son, you just opened up a whole case of whoop-ass.
Bobby Boucher: But what about the finely-tuned athletic machine?
Coach Klein: I am not telling you to go on a shooting rampage!
14. Sparky Polastri, Bring It on
In Bring it On, the Rancho Carne Toros perky cheerleader captain, Torrance Shipman, is caught between a rock and a hard place when she finds out that the squad's old captain had been lifting their award-winning routines from the East Compton Clovers. After being publicly confronted, Shipman is forced to hire crazed choreographer Sparky Polastri, who turns out to be a pernicious jackass.
Sparky: I am a choreographer. That's what I do. You are cheerleaders. Cheerleaders are dancers who have gone retarded. What you do is a tiny, pathetic subset of dancing. I will attempt to turn your robotic routines into poetry, written with the human body. Follow me, or perish, sweater monkeys.
Courtney: Why does everyone have to go on a diet?
Sparky: Because! In cheerleading we throw people into the air. And fat people don't go as high.
Sparky: I want you to think of what you ate today. Got it? Now cut that in half; this is called a diet, people, everyone start one today! Darcy, you should stop eating. You see, when you skip a meal, your body feeds off its fat stores. And if you skip enough, maybe your body will eat your ass!
13. George O'Farrell, Little Big League
In Little Big League, the junior high school owner of the Twins has himself appointed manager, replacing manager George O'Farrell, whom he butted heads with immediately. O'Farrell is combative, sarcastic and downright condescending to everyone in his charge and eventually is kicked to the curb by Heywood after a particularly hilarious rant.
O'Farrell: Hey "Blackout," I didn't get you for your curve ball. I don't like your curve ball. As a matter of fact, I hate your curve. You know why? Because the damn thing don't curve!
O'Farrell: Your grandfather hired me to rattle the cages of these animals, and that's exactly what I'm going to do.
12. Chester Lee, Ladybugs
In Ladybugs, comedian Rodney Dangerfield plays Chester Lee, an unlikely girls soccer coach who takes the job in a desperate attempt to impress his boss and gain a promotion. Lee recruits his fiance's son who is a soccer superstar to help improve the team—dressing him up as an unconvincing girl. Naturally, nobody suspects a thing. Dangerfield brought plenty of his patented "I don't get no respect" one-liners to the film.
Chester: I read a book once, 100 Ways to Make Love. I ended up in traction; it was a misprint!
Chester: [opposing team scores first goal within 15 seconds of whistle] Wow! The only thing quicker than that is when I'm having sex!
Chester: Two-story house. Yeah, before you buy it, they give you one story, after you move in you get another story.
Chester: What a lady. When she walks in a room, mice jump on chairs. At Christmas, they hang her and kiss the mistletoe. I tell ya if she went to a dog show, she'd win.
11. Coach Cutlip, The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years is a classic coming-of-age sitcom set in the 1960s, which documented the world news of the time, family life and junior high school through the eyes of Kevin Arnold. Mr. Cutlip was Kevin and Paul Pfeiffer's (Kevin's best friend) out-of-touch and almost inhumanly awkward gym teacher.
Coach Cutlip: Now, if I hear any giggling, if I see any smirking, this class is over. Do you read me, people? Over! Now the female reproductive organs look like this...
Coach Cutlip: The ovaries. The ears would be up here. [He points to top of board.]
Boy: Uh, why don't you draw the whole lady? So we know where everything goes.
Coach Cutlip: All right. [He turns back to board and draws the worst diagram of a lady the boys have ever seen.]
Narrator: Suddenly, it became very clear why Mr. Cutlip had never been married. Any man who saw women that way would have no reason to.
10. Gordon Bombay, The Mighty Ducks
In The Mighty Ducks, Gordon Bombay is a cocky defense attorney who who is forced to coach a youth hockey team as community service resulting from a DUI arrest. Eventually things work out, but it takes awhile for Bombay to warm to the kids and even longer for them to warm to him.
Bombay: I hate kids. They're barely human.
Bombay: Now here's the long and the short of it: I hate hockey and I don't like kids.
Peter Mark: What's this supposed to be, a pep talk?
Bombay: I'm sure this will be a real bonding experience. One day, maybe one of you will write a book about it in jail.
9. Chubbs, Happy Gilmore
In Happy Gilmore, former PGA golfer Chubbs spots inept wannabe hockey player Happy Gilmore hustling at the driving range and convinces him to take up golf instead. Chubbs and his ridiculously fragile wooden hand steal every scene they're in.
Chubbs: Yeah. tournament down in Florida. I hooked my ball in the rough down by the lake. Damned alligator just popped up, cut me down on my prime. He got me, but I tore one of that bastard's eyes out, though. Look at that. [Shows Happy a small glass jar with an eyeball in it.]
Happy: You're pretty sick, Chubbs.
Chubbs: What are you doing, Happy? Riding a bull? You're acting like a damn fool!
8. Phil Weston and Mike Ditka, Kicking & Screaming
In Kicking & Screaming, funnyman Will Ferrell plays Phil Weston, the coach of a children's soccer team who is desperately trying to find a way to beat a rival team coached by his father, Buck. Weston enlists the help of an excessively competitive loud-mouthed neighbor who happens to have a background in coaching—turns out it's Mike Ditka…played by Mike Ditka.
Weston: You're my assistant. You're supposed to back me up and go get me juice boxes whenever I want. Now go get me a juice box!
Ditka: DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU'RE TALKING TO?
Weston: I'm talkin' to the juice box guy!
Ditka: You're crazy!
Weston: I'm not crazy, I'm just thirsty!
Ditka: OH, YOU GO TO HELL!
Weston: No, you go to hell, and while you're there, why don't you grab me a juice box!
7. Mr. Connors, South Park
South Park's Mr. Connors is the wrestling coach of South Park Elementary's Junior Wrestling Club. Connors appears in a few episodes and tries his best to teach the boys the fine art of "wrassling," which he thinks is being ruined by the WWE. Unfortunately, the boys had something more like the WWE in mind and eventually ditch the club to start their own league.
Mr. Connors: This is just a bunch of garbage! And you are all ruining the good name of wrassling! [the boos continue] Wrassling is from ancient Greece! It's in the Olympics!
Mr. Connors: You want to know pain? Pain is dedicating your entire life to a sport, to a career, and then having it all ripped away from you like a babe from its mother.
6. Coach Carr, Mean Girls
Coach Carr is by no means the star of Tina Fey's hit comedy Mean Girls, but his sex education class is one of the most memorably ridiculous scenes in the film.
Coach Carr: Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant and die! Don't have sex in the missionary position, don't have sex standing up, just don't do it, OK, promise? OK, now everybody take some rubbers.
5. Sue Sylvester, Glee
If you aren't into a bunch of high school kids ruining once great music with horrendous glee club covers, then Jane Lynch's maniacal gym teacher Sue Sylvester is the only redeemable part Glee!. After her roles in Role Models, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Talladega Nights, it's no surprise that Lynch has been able to bring some much-needed dark humor to FOX's Glee!
Sue Sylvester: [Picking out the minority glee kids] Santana! Wheels! Gay kid! Asian! Other Asian! Aretha! Shaft!
Sue Sylvester: I don't trust a man with curly hair. I can't help but picture little birds laying sulfurous eggs in there, and it disgusts me.
Sue Sylvester: I'm all about empowerment. I empower my Cheerios to live in a state of constant fear by creating an environment of irrational, random terror.
Sue Sylvester: You think this is hard? I'm passing a gallstone as we speak! *That's* hard!
4. Coach Morris Buttermaker, Bad News Bears
In The Bad News Bears, the cantankerous, beer-swilling coach Morris Buttermaker was first played by a cranky Walter Matthau and then later by a cranky Billy Bob Thorton. Buttermaker is an ultra-competitive former minor league coach who finds himself coaching a little league team of misfits.
Coach Buttermaker: Now get back to the stands before I shave off half your mustache and shove it up your left nostril.
Engelberg: You're not supposed to have open liquor in the car. It's against the law.
Coach Buttermaker: So is murder, Engleberg. Now put that back before you get me in real trouble.
3. Phil Brickma, Rookie of the Year
In Rookie of the Year, junior high schooler Henry Rowengartner finds himself pitching for the Chicago Cubs after a broken arm heals, leaving him with super-fast pitching powers. Henry's pitching "coach" is Phil Brickma, an eccentric and largely useless weirdo who spends more time locked in a cage than doing any useful coaching.
Brickma: The key to being a big league pitcher is the three R's: readiness, recuperation and conditioning!
Brickma: Punctuality, Henry. Without it, time stands still.
Brickma: I wrap the cake up in my vomit bag and voila!...breakfast!
[pounding the airplane tray table] Conservation, managing resources...that is the key to baseball.
2. Jimmy Dugan, a League of Their Own
In A League of Their Own, candy magnate Walter Harvey creates a women's baseball league and hires drunken ex-ball player Jimmy Dugan to coach the Rockford Peaches. Initially, Dugan's attitude and his way with the women leave a lot to be desired, but what he lacks in compassion, he makes up for in comedy.
Harvey: You kind of let me down on that San Antonio job.
Dugan: I, uh, yeh, I, uh...I freely admit, sir, I had no right to...sell off the team's equipment like that; that won't happen again.
Harvey: Let me be blunt. Are you still a fall-down drunk?
Dugan: Well, that is blunt. Ahem. No sir, I've, uh, quit drinking.
Harvey: You've seen the error of your ways?
Dugan: No, I just can't afford it. [giggles]
Harvey: It's funny to you. Your drinking is funny. You're a young man, Jimmy: You still could be playing, if you just would've laid off the booze.
Dugan: Well, it's not exactly like that...I hurt my knee.
Harvey: You fell out of a hotel. That's how you hurt it.
Dugan: Well, there was a fire.
Harvey: Which you started, which I had to pay for.
Dugan: Well, now, I was going to send you a thank-you card, Mr. Harvey, but I wasn't allowed anything sharp to write with.
1. Lou Brown, Major League
In Major League, Lou Brown is the unlucky bastard tasked with managing a Cleveland Indians team that is built for the sole purpose of losing. Without his sick sense of humor, there's no way Brown could have seen the season through, let alone turn the club around.
Roger Dorn: Lou! Can I have a word with you, here?
Lou Brown: Sure.
Roger Dorn: See, I've got it right here in my contract. It says, "I don't have to do any calisthenics that I don't feel are necessary." So what do you think about that?
Lou Brown: [drops the contract on the ground and urinates on it, then walks off]