Who Is the Greatest Coach in Sports History?

Sam Tastad@@samtastadCorrespondent IIIJune 20, 2010

There are many great coaches in the history of sports. After all, a team is not complete without one. Coaches make players who they are, and help develop them as players.

Who is the greatest coach in all of sports history?

First, we need to look at one of the best, and one of the first great coaches, Vince Lombardi. His name is even on the Super Bowl trophy that is rewarded every year to the best team.

He was general manager and head coach in the Packers organization. He was the Giants offensive coordinator for five years before the Packers, and he didn't enter the limelight until he began coaching with the Packers. In his first year with the Packers, he guided them to a 7-5 record, which was a drastic improvement from the year before, where they earned a 1-10-1 record. He is known for his time with the Packers, and how that truly made him a household name in the National Football League.

During the next eight years, Lombardi made the Packers a dynasty team in the NFL. He had a lifetime record of 105-35-6. He guided them to six divisional and five NFL championships, and then the first two Super Bowl victories. He would also become the Washington Redskins head coach later in his career. Almost everyone knows who Lombardi is around the NFL, and in Green Bay, a 14-foot statue stands of him in front of Lambeau Field.

Lombardi said after his first year coaching the Packers, "I have never been on a losing team, gentlemen, and I do not intend to start now."

He would never have a losing season while with the Packers. Lombardi had a great deal of success, and confidence while with the Packers. He was famous for saying, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." He was truly a winner, and will be forever remembered around football. He transformed the Packers into a historical franchise as well as transforming the NFL as a whole.

Lombardi needs to be considered one of the greatest because of what an impact he had on the game of football. Lombardi is one of the best coaches of all-time, and is one of the reasons why football is so big today. Lombardi was a great motivator, and had a big heart for the game of football, sports, and life.

Second, John Wooden is perhaps the best college coach ever. He is often known as the Wizard of Westwood. Wooden recently died of natural causes, but will be forever remembered of how he changed college basketball, and the influence he had on the game of basketball on and off the court. He won 10 national championships while at UCLA, seven of which were in consecutive years. He owns the most appearances in the Final Four, the most consecutive appearances in the Final Four, and most victories in the Final Four. His UCLA teams once won 88 consecutive games, and had 38 consecutive victories in the NCAA tournament from 1964-1974.

His UCLA teams also had eight perfect conference records during his career. He also transformed many of his good players into great players. He is known for his pyramid of success. One of his great quotes is, "Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable." He has done so many great things for basketball and sports. He has encouraged and touched many young athletes to keep succeeding, and helped them on their paths to greatness.

Wooden was an excellent leader, and shown many athletes on what it takes to be a great leader. He was truly selfless, and wanted to help out others before himself. He made greats Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton become who they are today. He was one with a love for the game of basketball and others. He was truly a coach for the ages, and one that will be forever remembered in basketball, life, and in sports. He is perhaps the best college coach of all-time, and possibly the greatest coach of all-time.

Third, Phil Jackson has been a historic NBA basketball coach that will always be remembered for his coaching in the game of basketball.

He is often referred to as the "Zen Master." Jackson is known for his great defensive mind, and his triangle offense scheme, which he got from Tex Winter, that is used around the NBA today. Jackson's record stands at 1098-460—an astounding .705 winning percentage. In the playoffs, he is 225-98, a .697 winning percentage.

He has coached the legendary Micheal Jordan as well as Kobe Bryant. He has also coached many other talented players such as Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O'Neal, Derek Fisher, and Pau Gasol. He has dealt with player egos and made players think about their team, rather than themselves. He did this with Rodman, and recently, Ron Artest.

Jackson guided the Bulls to three straight titles, and then another three straight titles, and the Lakers to three straight, and now two in a row. He has 11 NBA titles and is the NBA's career leader in playoff wins and playoff win percentage. He is perhaps the most decorated NBA coach alongside Red Auerbach, and can even be possibly considered to one of the great coaches in the history of sports.

Fourth, Red Auerbach formed a dynasty of the Boston Celtics with great players, and magnificent coaching. He had a fiery temper, but was one of the greatest NBA coaches, if not the greatest, and one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NBA.

He coached 11 Hall-of-Fame basketball players, including Bob Cousy and Bill Russell. He won ten NBA titles. From 1959-1966, he won eight straight NBA titles. In 1980, the Profession Basketball Writers Association America named him the greatest coach in the history of the NBA. His coaching record is 938-479, a .662 winning percentage.

He led Boston to 99 playoff victories while their coach. David Stern, commissioner of the NBA, said of Auerbach, "he was a consummate teacher, leader, and true pioneer of the sport of basketball, and that the NBA wouldn't be today without him."  Auerbach was indeed a great coach in the NBA.

Fifth, Scotty Bowman, coach of the Detroit Red Wings, was a great hockey coach.

He holds the record for most regular season wins, and playoff wins, with 1,244 and 223, respectively. He won three Stanley Cups as coach of Red Wings. He also coached four other NHL teams.

He won a total of 13 Stanley Cups, including nine with the Montreal Canadiens. In 1976-1977 season he won a record 60 games, and in 1995-1996, he improved to 62 games. He became the only coach to win a championship with three different teams in the MLB, NHL NFL, and the NBA. He is certainly the best coach in the NHL, and possibly of the greatest coaches of all-time.

Sixth, and finally, Joe McCarthy was a great baseball coach, and will remembered for a long time.

He coached 24 years, for the Yankees, Cubs, and Red Sox. He won nine pennants, and seven World Series Titles. All seven came with the Yankees. He was a career 3487-1333, an astounding .615 winning percentage. He was perhaps the first great baseball coach of all-time, and will be always known to be one of the best in baseball, and in sports.

There you have it. Six great coaches. All have great cases to be the best of all-time in sports, and I will leave it up to you, the reader, to decide who is the best coach of all time.