John Wooden: Greatest Coaches Ever?
News broke last night that legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden is currently in "grave" condition at the UCLA Medical Center.
Whether one is a UCLA basketball fan or not, that news fell like a lead weight.
Wooden, 99, is not only recognized for his achievements as a head coach, but as an individual as well.
If this is Wooden's time, it would be a great loss to the sports world. The author of sports' arguably greatest dynasty is beyond an icon in Los Angeles and around the sporting world.
That got us thinking about where he ranks among the greatest coaches of all-time.
Where does Wooden rank?
What about some of your favorite coaches, where do they rank?
Look inside to find out.
25. Pat Summitt
Summitt is one of two legends in women's college basketball.
Her 1,035 career victories rank atop NCAA Division I basketball, men's or women's.
She has won a mind-boggling 84 percent of her games en route to eight national championships.
She took the reins at Tennessee in 1974, creating a dynasty that has lasted since the late 1980s.
24. Bobby Bowden
The newly-retired Bobby Bowden finished second in career wins in FBS history with 377.
His Florida State dynasty reigned from 1987-2000 during which he led his team to two national championships, a top five finish in each of those seasons, nine straight ACC championships, and 11 consecutive bowl victories.
23. Mike Krzyzewski
Mike Krzyzewski moved to into rarefied air when he and his Blue Devils captured their fourth national championship in school history in 2010.
That mark combined 868 career victories, 11 Final Four appearances, 12 ACC regular season and conference championships, an Olympic gold medal, and no signs of slowing down.
Coach K should move further up the list in coming years.
22. George Halas
Halas is one of the iconic figures of the early days of the National Football League.
The long time Bears coach and owner led his team to six NFL championships (five as a coach) and went 42 years before his first and last title.
He was a model of consistency, winning 68 percent of his games as a coach and reaching 10 championship games.
21. Joe McCarthy
McCarthy managed for 24 years in Major League Baseball, but it was his 15 years with the Yankees that defined his career.
Not only did he win 2,125 games with the Yankees, but his teams claimed seven World Series titles while becoming the first American sports team to win four straight championships (1936-1939).
He owns the most wins of any Yankees manager in history (1,460) and the highest winning percentage of any manager in baseball history (.615).
20. Tom Landry
Landry was the longtime legendary head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, serving for 28 years, winning two Super Bowls, five NFC titles, and 13 division titles.
His 270 wins rank third all-time in the NFL.
Additionally, Landry is credited with inventing the 4-3 defense which forever changed the complexion of the National Football League.
A winner and football inventor.
19. Joe Paterno
Joe Paterno enters his 44th year on the job as the head coach at Penn State.
The FBS all-time winner in wins (394) is still kicking and winning at a high level.
Paterno should become the first FBS coach to eclipse 400 wins this season to go along with two national championships, 24 bowl wins (most all-time), and a .753 career winning percentage.
18. Fielding Yost
Fielding Yost brought college football out of Ivy League seclusion and into the 20th century with his dominant University of Michigan teams.
Yost won 83.3 percent of his games and six national championships. Yost's forward thinking changed the sport.
He was also a catalyst for the westward growth out of college football.
17. Al Arbour
Arbour was the last head coach to lead a North American franchise to four consecutive championships when he steered the New York Islanders to four straight Stanley Cups from 1979-1983.
Arbour, who won 740 games with the Islanders, and 782 overall, led the Islands to 15 playoff appearances (a 16th with the Blues) and five finals appearances.
16. Bob Knight
Knight is is arguably the best men's college basketball coach not named John Wooden.
Knight's 902 Division I victories is the most in the history of the men's game. He led Indiana to three national championships, and his 1976 Hoosiers are the last Division I men's team to navigate an undefeated season.
15. Adolph Rupp
Rupp led the Kentucky Wildcats for 42 years and is the man that built UK into the basketball powerhouse we've come to know.
Rupp won four NCAA championships and was the record holder in Division I victories (876) before he was surpassed by Dean Smith and Bob Knight.
His 82.2 winning percentage ranks second all-time.
14. Bill Walsh
Walsh's tenure with the San Francisco 49ers was not as long as his peers on this list, but his 10 seasons on the 49ers sidelines left as much of an impact as any in football history.
His 49ers won three Super Bowl titles in the 1980s.
Yet, Walsh will best be remembered for the West Coast offense which has revolutionized the way the game is played and his extensive and successful coaching tree.
13. Eddie Robinson
Eddie Robinson was the iconic head coach of Grambling State University, which he led for 56 years and to 408 career victories.
Robinson ranks second all-time in victories across any level.
Robinson's teams compiled 45 winning seasons and 17 SWAC championships.
Aside from his talents as the football head coach, throughout the early years of his career, Robinson served as the girls and boys basketball coach during the 1940s, and as the band director.
12. Chuck Noll
Noll's career record of 193-148 is rather unimpressive, but the long time Pittsburgh Steelers head coach is the only head coach to win four Super Bowls.
Noll went 16-8 in postseason play.
11. Hector Blake
Blake was the head man of the Montreal Canadiens during their dynastic years in the 1950s and 1960s.
Blake led the Canadiens to five straight Stanley Cups from 1956 to 1960 and three additional Cups in four years from 1965 to 1968.
He remains the winningest coach in Canadiens history with 500 victories, and his eight titles in 13 years is the best stretch of any coach in NHL history.
10. Scotty Bowman
Bowman is the most decorated head coach in NHL history. He is the only head coach in the history of the four major sports to win championships with three different franchises.
Bowman won five Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens, three with the Detroit Red Wings, and one with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bowman won 1,248 games in his career and led his teams to 28 playoff appearances. Stanley Cup championships in three different eras of hockey speak to his status.
9. Don Shula
Shula remains the NFL's all-time leader in head coaching victories with 347. His six Super Bowl appearances as head coach is the best in league history. He was a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Dolphins and won five AFC Championships.
He also won the 1968 NFL Championship with the Baltimore Colts. He had two losing seasons in his 32-year career than ran from 1963 to 1995.
8. Dean Smith
Smith led the North Carolina Tar Heels for 36 years and was Division I men's basketball winningest coach of all-time (879 wins) when he retired in 1997. Smith won two national championships and reached 11 Final Fours. His Tar Heels won 13 ACC Tournament titles. Smith is also widely regarded for his 96.6 percent graduation rate.
7. Knute Rockne
Knute Rockne is the biggest legend in Notre Dame football history. He won 105 of his 122 games as Irish head coach, leading Notre Dame to five national championships. Rockne not only is the father of Notre Dame's program legacy, but he is also credited with developing the all-important forward pass.
6. Casey Stengel
First there was McCarthy in the Bronx, but it is Stengel who is often credited as being the greatest manager in Yankees history. Stengel won seven World Series as Yankees skipper plus two additional pennants. He and his teams from 1949 to 1953 are the only ones in Major League Baseball history to win five straight World Series.
Only one in Stengel's 11-year tenure as Yankees manager did his team fail to win 92 games, and nine times the Yankees won 95 games. The Yankees reached the World Series nine times on his watch, though his winningest team failed to do so.
The 1954 Yankees won 103 games but finished second in the American League behind the then-AL record setting Cleveland Indians.
5. Bear Bryant
Though Bryant's 323 career wins at Alabama were later surpassed by Bowden and Paterno, Bryant stands alone with six national championships (a seventh thanks to a poll championship at Kentucky) to his credit. He won 14 SEC titles during his 25 years on the Crimson Tide sideline.
4. Red Auerbach
Auerbach won nine NBA titles at the helm of the Boston Celtics, including a record eight titles in a row from 1959 to 1966, which stands as an unmatched feat in North American sports. Auerbach's record of nine coaching titles stood for 33 years. He and Scotty Bowman were the only North American coaches to win nine titles, until....
3. Phil Jackson
...Phil Jackson earned his 10th title last season. Jackson has won 10 NBA championships and made 13 Finals appearances as a head coach. Jackson is the all-time winningest coach in NBA postseason history and has won less than 50 games twice in his career.
2. Vince Lombardi
Lombardi still remains the preeminent, legendary coaching figure in NFL history. He orchestrated the Green Bay Packers dynasty that earned five NFL championships and two Super Bowl victories. It can be argued that the Packers won five straight titles after winning the NFL title in 1965, 1966, 1967, and Super Bowl titles in 1968 and 1969.
Lombardi won 74 percent of his games and suffered just one postseason loss in 10 tries.
1. John Wooden
Yes, Wooden remains the greatest coach in coaching history. Wooden won 664 games in his career at an 80 percent rate. His UCLA Bruins won seven consecutive national championships and 10 titles in 12 years. Wooden's Bruins reached 11 straight Final Fours. Lastly, his UCLA teams from 1970-1974 won 88 consecutive games and 38 consecutive NCAA Tournament games.
In addition to his skill and success as a head coach, Wooden is equally admired for his skills as an expert motivator, curator of men, and best-selling author on basketball tactics and life lessons.