Coaches are every bit as competitive as the players they coach, some more so. They all have their own methods, way with words and individual personalities.
Some are cool as cucumbers under the most serious of circumstances. Barely registering the slightest bit of emotion, no matter what is going on around them. Possessing the same strange gene that all the great poker players have.
While others veer toward the other side of the spectrum. They can be emotional and prone to fits of rage or are blessed with the type of quick wit and acid tongue that can make a grown man cry.
Sticks and stones my ass. Words can hit you like a punch in the face. Even harder than a punch to the face when delivered in the right way.
The latter of which are kind of like snowflakes. Really mean or crazy snowflakes. Or really mean and crazy snowflakes.
There have been plenty of coaches, both past and present, that occupy that space. Countless of them literally just don't care. They never have and they never will.
Here are 20 such coaches—and if your favorite loose cannon was left out, let me know about it!
When Rex Ryan was hired to coach the Jets in January 2009, his reputation was preceded by that of his famously grouchy father and famed former NFL coach Buddy Ryan. The younger Ryan certainly doesn't have quite the same nasty edge as the elder, but he does do things his own way—no matter what the costs.
Stubbornness, arrogance, and a big mouth all run in that family.
Ryan made it clear that—when he took over the very job that Bill Belichick, a decade earlier, famously resigned from after a single day—he wasn't there to "kiss Belichick's rings."
It was just six months into his tenure with the Gang Green when he made that bold declaration, intent on proving that no one, not no one, was going to intimidate these Jets.
Not only that—he also guaranteed a Super Bowl win in each of his first three years with the organization. Well, Ryan's success has been sporadic, but his defiance has remained the same. He's stuck with struggling quarterback Mark Sanchez through thick and thin for nearly four years.
And after a very disappointing end to the 2012 season, Ryan ditched town with his wife without giving his mandatory season ending press conference. Eventually he came back and went through the motions with the press…begrudgingly.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy doesn't have a long and storied history of behaving like he walks on water and treating everyone around him like garbage.
It only takes a single event to forever prove you don't give a damn—but it's gotta be a big one. Like real big.
Gundy's infamous press conference after a 2007 victory against Texas Tech definitely qualifies. The fact that he came into the room seething over a mildly critical article after winning was crazy enough to begin with—you'd think he'd have been in a better mood.
But Gundy wasn't in a good mood and he came prepared to rip every reporter on hand a new one, launching into a repetitive rant that increased in volume and absurdity as the minutes ticked by. The most memorable line from Gundy's grouchy reaming was, "Come after me! I'm a man! I'm 40!"
It was in reference to what he asserted was an "inaccurate" portrayal of quarterback Bobby Reid in a local publication. Gundy doesn't care if you come after him or know that he's 40, but he'll come at you like a spider monkey if you report that one of his players is a momma's boy that enjoys a boxed chicken meal.
Former MLB manager Lou Piniella is often remembered for legendary tirades and ejections, but surprisingly his antics didn't get him tossed from games nearly as often as you may think.
He didn't even make Forbes' 2009 list of "Baseballs' Most-Ejected Managers."
It's just that every time he did get ejected, it was such a momentous event that it stuck with fans for years. This clip of him kicking dirt at an umpire is one of the greatest things that ever happened in the entire history of the sport.
Piniella may have been nicknamed "Sweet Lou," but he was anything but during much of his career.
A former intern hoping to score an interview with Piniella in 1996, when he as managing the Mariners, scored only a view of Piniella's testicles through tattered tighty whities, as he was ushered out of the manager's office. Sweet Lou just wasn't in the mood for a discussion, and he was hanging out in his office in his underwear.
By the time he was managing the Cubs a decade later, Piniella had really packed it in mentally. In 2008 he showed up three hours late after getting lost on the way to the Reds ballpark in Cincinnati. His response—"Anyway, we're here." In 2009 it was revealed that he didn't really know his players names and didn't really care either.
And after dealing a year later with turds like Milton Bradley and Carlos Zambrano for the entire season, Piniella finally retired in 2010. He probably just wanted to get everyone off his lawn once and for all.
We all know that Alabama coach Nick Saban doesn't give a damn about anything. After winning a championship with LSU, he ditched the program to coach the Dolphins in the NFL. When things looked like they weren't working out in Miami, he skipped town for Tuscaloosa.
Saban didn't just quietly resign from his job with the 'Fins either, he denied reports that he was leaving for five weeks and notified his players of his departure via text message.
In 2011 it was reported that after a long practice in 2005, a player collapsed into convulsions in the locker room and Saban simply stepped over his body, heading upstairs to his office without saying a word.
He's continued his proud tradition of being callous and borderline threatening as coach of the Tide. This clip perfectly encapsulates Saban's way of making everyone around him feel like they're being lectured by the school principal.
Presumably the former manager of the Mississippi Braves, the Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, Phillip Wellman existed prior to a fateful game against the Chattanooga Lookouts in June 2007.
And presumably Wellman continues to exist today, six years after he put on a show for the ages. His legendary tirade is quite possibly the most amazing FU meltdown in the history of baseball–if not all of sports.
Various versions of the video on YouTube have amassed millions of views. Wellman starts off pretty traditional by getting in the umpires face after a call, but then things take a turn for the weird.
The very weird.
Wellman proceeded to get on his hands and knees and cover home plate with dirt, wander around to yell at other officials, pick up third base, throw third base into the outfield, crawl to the mound on his belly and chuck the rosin bag at the ump.
Eventually he seems to just get tired, but then he finds the strength to grab another base and wander off with it, before tossing it in the outfield. Wellman signed off by blowing a double-handed kiss to fans and pumping his fist as he exited the game.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick is what you might call a "cold fish." He's short with the media, avoids all sentimental attachments with his players, and basically just has ice water running through his veins.
How else do you explain needlessly cutting a player the day before the Super Bowl?
Although, after over a decade of success and three Super Bowls in New England, no one can argue that his methods don't work. With a career that has stretched almost 40 years, you'd think it'd be impossible to pinpoint the exact moment the Belichick declared to the world that he doesn't give an F. But, of course, you'd be wrong.
In January 2000 he was named the head coach of the New York Jets after Bill Parcells resigned. It was an opportunity Belichick savored for exactly one day, before resigning abruptly—via an extremely formal exit letter he scrawled on a napkin.
To this day Belichick's exit napkin remains one of the biggest metaphorical middle fingers in sports history.
Twitter isn't exactly a learning tool, but one of the few things I've taken away from it is the fact that everyone in the world who didn't go to Duke hates Duke. Maybe it's because they lose so rarely, but every time it happens hoops fans celebrate like we just averted a nuclear attack.
Coach's K's record of unprecedented success at the university has made him synonymous with the program. He is the program. He's also smug, condescending, a poor sport and absolutely devoid of a sense of humor.
Then again, what he lacks in humor, he more than makes up for in meanness. After a two-point loss to Maryland in February 2013 Coach K balked at the insinuation the teams had a rivalry, saying, "If it was such a rivalry they'd still be in the ACC. Obviously they don't think it's that important or they wouldn't be in the Big Ten."
That's Coach K for you. He's all smarmy smiles when he wins and all snide comments when he loses. He's been known to curse like a sailor at his players and even at fans. Basically Coach K says and does whatever the F he wants because he can.
He's approaching 1,000 victories in his coaching career, which makes him untouchable—and he knows it, which is why he doesn't give a damn about the "haters," as the kids say.
Over the last decade, Wally Backman has had a pretty interesting career as a manager. On one hand, he's had some success on the field, and in 2004 the Sporting News named him the "Minor League Manager of the Year."
After a solid but relatively undistinguished career as a player, the accolades apparently went straight to his head because started to get out of control at approximately the same time. Shady business dealings and an arrest for domestic assault make Backman is about as confrontational as it gets in baseball.
He's a bonafide YouTube star thanks to his many colorful NSFW speeches, going absolutely ballistic on umpires and reacting with the grace and dignity of a drunken Russell Crowe after (rightfully) getting ejected.
That stuff is par for the course for a lot of managers, though. What wasn't par for the course? Backman's decision to walk off the field with his team and forfeit a game in 2007 after a brawl with the other team. That's something you don't see…ever.
Taking your bat and ball and going home! That's a pretty good way to prove your point. It's that kind of behavior that is the reason he has "zero chance" of taking over for Terry Collins as the Mets manager.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier isn't the type of person who is going to make headlines for getting physical with a player or be a public menace for letting his temper get the better of him.
Some people battle with their brawn, while others battle with their brains.
That's not to say that Spurrier isn't egotistical and vindictive—he is. It's just that he enjoys biting back with his acid tongue and by wielding the substantial power he possesses as the head coach of an SEC football team. He did the same thing back when he was coaching at Florida.
Needling Dabo Swinney, the coach of in-state rival Clemson, has become one of his favorite pastimes. In October 2012 Spurrier referred to Clemson as "that school that used to beat us a lot that doesn't beat us much anymore, that one."
Which was right around the time he mocked their stadium, which is nicknamed "Death Valley," for being a knockoff of the first one in LSU. Spurrier literally can't resist because Swinney can't resist taking the bait and making himself look silly.
Spurrier doesn't even care if his antics make himself look silly, as they did in this clip. In October 2011 he held a very interesting press conference in which he refused to speak while reporter Ron Morris was in the room.
Spurrier accused him of writing something untrue months prior and offered to do individual interviews with everyone in the room except Morris. Now that's a devotion to a grudge.
Everything about retired soccer great Diego Maradona conveys the message that he doesn't give a damn about anything.
Seriously, that may sound like an overstatement, but it really isn't. Looking at this in list form is probably the best way to prove it.
- He actively looks for opportunities to disparage and fuel his feud with Pele.
- He has a history of using steroids and abusing cocaine.
- He's got a giant tattoo of Che Guevara on his upper arm.
- He routinely speaks of his hate for the United States and cozies up to anti-American dictators.
- He doesn't pay his taxes.
- He's openly hostile to the media, often swearing at them and saying things like "suck it and keep on sucking it."
- He's been a sweaty, screaming and foaming-at-the-mouth mess during most of his coaching career, which is probably why his stints have been short lived.
Despite the fact that he's been one hot mess since the late 80s, he remains a golden god in his native Argentina, and throughout much of the soccer loving world.
Maradona has never had an incentive to hold back, and if people haven't turned on him by now, he never will.
After a 13-year career as an NFL quarterback, Jim Harbaugh made the leap from player to coach in 1994. Although it wasn't until he accepted the head coaching position at Stanford University in 2007 that he hit the football world like a sonic boom.
Harbaugh immediately set out to get under the skin of Pete Carroll, then the coach of powerhouse and conference rival USC. He claimed that he had inside sources telling him that '07 would be Carroll's last year with the Trojans.
It wasn't and Carroll was ticked.
Later that season tStanford defeated USC in one of the biggest upsets in college football history. Two years later the Cardinal defeated the Trojans 55-21 in a 55-21 blowout victory, causing Carroll to famously ask Harbaugh, "What's your deal?" in response to the Stanford coach obviously running up the score.
In 2011 Harbaugh returned to the NFL again, this time as the coach of the 49ers. In San Francisco he toyed with the emotions of former QB Alex Smith, made national headlines for having too manly of a handshake for Lions' coach Jim Schwartz and he did an awful lot of yelling.
Harbaugh also led the Niners just one game short of the Super Bowl in his first year and one game further in 2013. He's going to be around for a very long time.
Longtime MLB manager Bobby Valentine had a bit of a reputation that was earned long before he was hired by the Red Sox in 2012.
Obviously he had his share of run-ins with umpires, as all managers do. But very few managers would attempt to return to the dugout by donning a ridiculous disguise after being ejected.
And by "very few," I mean only Bobby V.
As the Skipper of the Mets back in June 1999, Valentine was ejected during a game against the Blue Jays. He returned later and was spotted in the dugout donning sunglasses and a fake mustache.
A year later Valentine had his very own "gate" incident. A scandal dubbed "Whartongate" ensued after Valentine had said some very unfavorable things about Mets players and management while giving a speech at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.
Although it wasn't until before, during and after his one-year tenure as manager of the Red Sox that we truly learned that Valentine couldn't possibly give a damn about anything. The hire was a mystery from the get-go and most people saw a train wreck in the distance immediately.
The players didn't like Valentine or his managerial style, and at times it seemed he didn't like many of them either. It as a bad fit from the start, and he was fired after the team had it's worst season in 50 years.
Obviously he was going to get fired.
Yet Valentine still continues to take take shots at the Red Sox and the Boston media at every opportunity. He just doesn't care.
Valentine spent a year getting beat up in Beantown, and he's going to spend the next 10 years giving it back.
Nothing belongs on this list more than verbally berating your players, chucking basketballs at them, hurling homophobic slurs at them, and physically assaulting them. Former Rutgers coach Mike Rice was caught on video doing all of those things to his players.
Rutgers actually proved they didn't care much either, since Rice wasn't fired four months earlier when the allegations of abuse first came to light. Initially they suspended the mentally unhinged man for just three games, forced him into counseling for his anger management issues and fined him $50,000.
Rice kept his position until the video allegations made national news, after which he and the athletic director were both fired within days. Someone who recognized the magnitude of his actions would have probably taken a year or so off to let the story die and actually get some help.
Rice is not that someone.
Within weeks of being terminated from Rutgers, he was already coaching again. A stunning revelation made all the more stunning by the fact that now he's coaching junior high girls, and he's still acting like a psychopath.
It seems that the time he spent at an "in-patient anger clinic" really did him a world of good.
All the mandatory apologies aside, you know the man behind the Saints "Bountygate" seriously could not care less.
Gregg Williams, the coach who once told his former players "Kill the head, the body will die" during a 12-minute speech caught on tape, reveled in the violence of the game.
The same level of violence that commissioner Roger Goodell has been trying to stamp out.
Williams even reportedly instructed his players to seek out offensive opponents with concussions and go for their heads during games.
The bounty program has been a signature of his for years, encouraging his defensive players to shoot to kill—so to speak. Williams rhetoric was so far over the line that he couldn't even see the line anymore by the time he was suspended for it.
The suspension was supposedly indefinite, but it didn't last any longer than that of Saints head coach Sean Payton. He's already been hired by the Titans and has said he "never doubted" he'd be reinstated.
Just like I don't doubt that Williams isn't sorry for anything he's ever said or done. Money may not be exchanging hands in Tennessee for brutal hits, but the spirit behind the system will remain the same.
Recently fired coach of the Rangers John Tortorella might belong on this list more than any other coach on earth—certainly when it comes to dealing with the media, but also in dealing with his own players and the officials on the ice.
Torts getting the boot was most unfortunate because there is no man better equipped to deal with the New York sports media.
He has a zero-tolerance policy on arguing semantics, and sometimes the policy carries over to answering any questions at all. Tortorella has a foul mouth that he doesn't bother to censor with microphones in his face. Honestly, he spends more time telling reporters how stupid they are than answering their questions.
As for his relationship with the players and what role it may have had in his termination, it's safe to say they played a part. There has been speculation that Torts and Rangers superstar goalie Henrik Lundqvist didn't see eye-to-eye, and that it may have come down to a "him or me" situation.
Neither party would comment on the issue personally, but Lundqvist's good friend Sean Avery, who retired in 2012, did it for them. The notorious agitator and diva fashionista recently told the New York Post that he "had a huge smile on [his] face" when he heard the news.
So that's that.
YouTube is loaded with clips of cantankerous Spurs coach Gregg Popovich being…well…cantankerous. Looking a bit more weathered than his 64 years, Pop reached the age where he just doesn't give a damn quite awhile ago.
He's been teeing off on NBA reporter Craig Sager for years, always managing to find new and inventive ways to hit home the fact that he's not interested. There's even a greatest hits reel.
This clip of him shutting down Charles Barkley after two questions is vintage Pop. Sir Charles is lucky he even got one answered, going for a third was just ill-advised. Someone less confident than Barkley could have easily been rattled.
That was actually Popovich being his nicest self. He's got an acid tongue, a quick wit and a very short fuse—in short, you won't like him when he's angry.
And he's angry a lot.
Honestly, is it any wonder that legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson is on here?
He's got 11 championship rings—more than any other coach in history—and he spent three decades as the boss of some of the biggest egos the sports world has ever known.
It takes some serious self-confidence to stand your ground against the likes of Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Jackson's zen-master approach was the only way to work with superstars like that—guys who don't respond well to being pushed around.
Instead of pushing his players around, he saved it for reporters like Craig Sager, who he routinely dressed down just for the sport of it. Current Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni has also been on the receiving end of Jackson's jabs.
In this clip from 2007 he lashes out at D'Antoni and straight up orders him to sit his ass down. Jackson upped the ante in 2013 when he revealed his reaction to the Lakers choosing D'Antoni over him early in the season. All Jackson could do was laugh.
Tough talking Mike Ditka was known to have a temper during his coaching days. Heckling fans with obscene gestures and throwing chewing gum at them isn't a common practice among NFL coaches, but Ditka isn't typical. Generally when someone loses it like that on a fan like that, a swift and heartfelt apology tour is the order of the day.
After Ditka threw his gum at a woman in the stands after a game in December 1987, the Bears coach responded by limiting his availability to the media as punishment for their reporting of "trivial incidents that [had] occurred over the past several weeks."
This clip of sound bytes is Ditka in a nutshell—combative, unpleasant, and prone to use of excessive vulgarity. He has always said and done whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and however he wants. People tend to love him or hate him for it.
Not that he gives a damn about your opinion either way.
Where to even begin with former Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. To call him combative would be an understatement and to call him outspoken would be far too generous. Guillen has had all your typical baseball manager run-ins with officials and opposing players, but that's only the tip of the iceberg.
After winning the World Series with the White Sox in 2005, he decided to skip the traditional White House visit in favor of a vacation in the Dominican Republic. A year later Guillen came under fire for using a gay slur to insult a member of the Chicago sports media. Then he started getting political, speaking out in not so eloquent ways about immigration and race relations.
And then things got really real. In April 2012 Guillen was suspended for five games and damn near lost his job in Miami before it even began, after expressing his "love" and admiration for longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in an interview—reiterating a position he had held for years.
The fact of the matter is that Guillen lives for wreaking havoc. In 2005 he admitted as much during an interview on HBO'S Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, confessing: "I like trouble."
Guillen actually loves trouble, which may be why nobody likes him—well that and he responds to reasonable questions in unreasonable ways, as demonstrated in this clip.
Bob Knight, the legendary former coach of the Indiana basketball team, is as much remembered for his hot temper as his success on the court. We all know he didn't earn his nickname "The General" for being a warm and fuzzy guy.
Knight's combative and authoritarian nature made him a magnet for controversy throughout his career. By 2000 it was finally decided that his "pattern of unacceptable behavior" at Indiana had reached a tipping point—just three years after he caught on videotape choking a player during practice.
Knight had been continuously warned about his volatile behavior, like hurling chairs onto the court during games, but university officials believed it had only gotten worse. Which is shocking considering quite early in his career he once stuffed a fan in a garbage can, kicked his own son on the bench and was convicted of assaulting a Puerto Rican police officer.
He may not have liked how he went out in Indiana, but he's certainly not filled with a lifetime of regret. In a March 2013 interview with The New York Times, Knight spoke frankly about his approach to coaching and why yelling was an integral part of it.
He also spoke about the sports media, who he once referred to as "one or two steps above prostitution." Knight's antagonistic nature with reporters came from a place of true joy, he said, "I enjoyed needling the press. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't have done it."
So why is Bob Knight such an unpleasant old man? Because shut the hell up—that's why!