The Most Famous Basketball Coach: Ranking the Elite

Choose the Coach you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Sep 28, 2023 10:45
Step right up, basketball enthusiasts and aficionados! It's time to settle the debate once and for all at StrawPoll, where we bring you the ultimate showdown: "Who is the most famous basketball coach?" Join us as we dive into the world of hoops, whistles, and clipboards, and rank the legends who have revolutionized the game from courtside. We've got thousands of polls and rankings spanning a myriad of topics, and now it's your turn to have your say. Vote for your favorite mastermind of the hardwood, or champion an unsung hero by suggesting a missing option. Don't just be a spectator – participate in this thrilling battle of wits and tactics, and help us crown the true king or queen of the court. Click further, and let the games begin!

Who Is the Most Famous Basketball Coach? (October 2023)

  1. 1

    Phil Jackson

    Phil Jackson
    He has won 11 NBA championships as a coach, the most in NBA history. He coached Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O'Neal during their prime years.
    Phil Jackson is a renowned basketball coach known for his success and achievements in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is widely regarded as one of the most successful coaches of all time.
    • Number of NBA Championships: 11
    • Number of NBA Finals Appearances: 13
    • Number of Coach of the Year Awards: 1
    • Career Regular Season Win Percentage: 70.4%
    • Career Playoff Win Percentage: 68.8%
    Phil Jackson in other rankings
  2. 2

    Red Auerbach

    Red Auerbach
    He won nine NBA championships as a coach, including eight in a row with the Boston Celtics from 1959-66. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history.
    Red Auerbach is a legendary American professional basketball coach. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful coaches of all time, having achieved great accomplishments during his career.
    • Championships: He won a record-breaking 9 NBA championships as the head coach of the Boston Celtics.
    • Innovations: Introduced various groundbreaking strategies such as the fast break and full-court press.
    • Player development: Known for developing players' abilities and bringing out their full potential.
    • Mentoring: Mentored and impacted the careers of many successful coaches in the league.
    • Winning record: Achieved an impressive winning percentage of nearly 70% throughout his coaching career.
    Red Auerbach in other rankings
  3. 3
    Gregg Popovich
    The Obama White House · Public domain

    Gregg Popovich

    Gregg Popovich
    He has won five NBA championships as a coach with the San Antonio Spurs. He is known for his coaching style that emphasizes teamwork and defense.
    Gregg Popovich is a highly successful basketball coach known for his tenure with the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in basketball history.
    • Coaching Career: He has been the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs since 1996, leading them to five NBA championships in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014.
    • Consistency: Under Popovich's leadership, the Spurs have made the playoffs in every season from 1998 to 2020, making it a record 22 consecutive appearances.
    • Winning Percentage: He holds the highest winning percentage of any active NBA coach and ranks third all-time in winning percentage (regular season and playoffs combined).
    • Player Development: Popovich is renowned for his ability to develop young players and mold them into key contributors, with a track record of success stories like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Kawhi Leonard.
    • International Success: He has also had success coaching international teams, including winning gold medals with Team USA at the 2002 FIBA World Championship and the 2004 Olympic Games.
    Gregg Popovich in other rankings
  4. 4
    Pat Riley
    Department of Defense · Public domain
    He has won five NBA championships as a coach, including four with the Showtime Lakers in the 1980s. He is also known for his work as an executive, building championship teams with the Miami Heat.
    Pat Riley in other rankings
  5. 5

    John Wooden

    John Wooden
    He won 10 NCAA championships as a coach with the UCLA Bruins, including seven in a row from 1967-73. He is considered one of the greatest coaches of all time in any sport.
    John Wooden is widely regarded as one of the most successful coaches of all time in American collegiate basketball. He is known for his achievements as the head coach of the UCLA Bruins men's basketball team.
    • NCAA Championships: 10
    • Consecutive NCAA Championships: 7
    • Overall NCAA Tournament Appearances: 12
    • Conference Championships: 19
    • National Coach of the Year Awards: 7
    John Wooden in other rankings
  6. 6
    He has won both an NCAA championship (1988 with Kansas) and an NBA championship (2004 with the Detroit Pistons) as a coach. He is known for his ability to turn around struggling teams.
  7. 7
    He won two NBA championships as a coach with the Detroit Pistons, including the "Bad Boys" team that won in 1989 and 1990. He also coached the "Dream Team" that won gold at the 1992 Olympics.
    Chuck Daly in other rankings
  8. 8
    He has won five NCAA championships as a coach with the Duke Blue Devils, and he also coached the USA men's national basketball team to gold medals in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics.
    Mike Krzyzewski in other rankings
  9. 9
    Rudy Tomjanovich
    Unidentified (Ensian published by University of Michigan) · Public domain
    He won two NBA championships as a coach with the Houston Rockets, and he also played on two championship teams with the Rockets in the 1990s. He is known for his famous quote "never underestimate the heart of a champion."
    Rudy Tomjanovich in other rankings
  10. 10
    Rick Pitino
    MKultra · CC BY-SA 3.0
    He has won both an NCAA championship (1996 with Kentucky) and an NBA championship (2008 as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics). He is also known for his success at multiple college programs, including Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville.
    Rick Pitino in other rankings

Missing your favorite Coach?


Ranking factors for famous basketball coach

  1. Number of championship wins
    The number of championships a coach has won is often a key factor in determining their fame and success.
  2. Overall win-loss record
    A coach's overall win-loss record and winning percentage is another important factor to consider.
  3. Coaching style and innovations
    Coaches who have developed unique and successful coaching styles or game strategies that have influenced the sport can also be highly regarded.
  4. Hall of Fame induction
    Being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame is a significant achievement for any coach.
  5. Impact on the game
    In addition to winning championships, a coach's impact on the development and evolution of the game of basketball may also be taken into consideration.
  6. Media presence
    Coaches who have a strong media presence and have been involved in high-profile games or controversies can also contribute to their level of fame and recognition.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous basketball coach. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or your favorite Coach is missing from the list, feel free to help us improve the ranking.


  • 188 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Coach once every 24 hours. The rank of each Coach is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous basketball coach

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, and it's no surprise that the coaches who lead their teams to victory are often just as famous as the players themselves. Over the years, countless great coaches have made their mark on the sport, each with their own unique style and approach. From the legendary John Wooden to the innovative Gregg Popovich, there's no shortage of candidates when it comes to determining who is the most famous basketball coach of all time. Whether you're a die-hard fan or just someone who appreciates great coaching, exploring the history and legacy of basketball's greatest coaches is an endlessly fascinating journey.