The Most Successful Coaches of All Time: Ranking the Best

Choose the coaches you think is the most successful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 22, 2024 05:17
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion matters! Today, we invite you to participate in a thrilling ranking of the most successful coaches of all time. From the strategic masterminds in football to the motivational gurus in basketball, our list features the brilliant tacticians who've shaped the sporting world and etched their names in history. So, whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual observer, step right up and cast your vote for your favorite coaching legend. And if you think we've missed a worthy contender, don't hold back – suggest a missing option and let the world know who deserves a spot in this prestigious ranking. Let the games begin!

What Are the Most Successful Coaches of All Time?

  1. 1
    48
    votes

    Phil Jackson

    Phil Jackson
    With 11 NBA championships under his belt, Phil Jackson is widely considered one of the greatest coaches of all time. He led the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers to multiple championships, utilizing his famous triangle offense and a strong emphasis on team chemistry.
    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
    33
    votes

    John Wooden

    John Wooden
    Considered the greatest college basketball coach of all time, John Wooden led UCLA to 10 national championships and an 88-game winning streak. He is known for his emphasis on character development and his famous Pyramid of Success.
    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
  3. 3
    28
    votes
    Vince Lombardi
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain

    Vince Lombardi

    Tiffany & Company
    As the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi led the team to five NFL championships and two Super Bowl victories. He was known for his strict discipline and emphasis on teamwork and mental toughness.
    The Vince Lombardi Trophy is the trophy awarded to the winners of the National Football League (NFL) annual championship game, known as the Super Bowl.
    • Design: The trophy is made of sterling silver and stands about 22 inches tall, weighing about 7 pounds.
    • Base: The trophy sits on a black base made of elegantly carved wood.
    • Name: The trophy is named after Vince Lombardi, former head coach of the Green Bay Packers
    • Inscription: The trophy features the words 'Vince Lombardi Trophy' engraved on it, along with the Super Bowl logo.
    • Yearly update: Each year, a new Lombardi Trophy is created for the Super Bowl champions with the team name, game number, and date inscribed.
    Vince Lombardi in other rankings
  4. 4
    19
    votes

    Bill Belichick

    Bill Belichick
    With six Super Bowl championships as the head coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick is widely considered one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. He is known for his strategic genius and his ability to develop players who fit his system.
    Bill Belichick is an American football coach who is widely regarded as one of the most successful coaches of all time. He has achieved immense success as the head coach of the New England Patriots in the National Football League (NFL).
    • Super Bowl Championships: 6
    • Conference Championships: 9
    • Division Championships: 17
    • Coach of the Year: 3
    • Winning Percentage: 68.8%
    Bill Belichick in other rankings
  5. 5
    17
    votes
    Pat Summitt
    Blueag9 · Public domain

    Pat Summitt

    Pat Summitt
    As the head coach of the University of Tennessee women's basketball team, Pat Summitt won eight national championships and became the winningest coach in Division I basketball history. She was known for her toughness and her ability to develop players both on and off the court.
    Pat Summitt was one of the most successful coaches in the history of women's college basketball. She was known for her remarkable leadership, passion, and dedication to the game. Summitt's coaching career spanned over four decades and was characterized by her relentless pursuit of excellence.
    • Total Wins: 1,098
    • NCAA Championships: 8
    • Final Four Appearances: 18
    • SEC Regular Season Titles: 16
    • SEC Tournament Titles: 16
    Pat Summitt in other rankings
  6. 6
    12
    votes

    Sir Alex Ferguson

    Sir Alex Ferguson
    As the head coach of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson won 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, and two Champions League titles. He is known for his ability to build and maintain a winning team culture, as well as his ability to develop young players.
    Sir Alex Ferguson is a legendary Scottish football coach who is widely regarded as one of the most successful coaches of all time. He is best known for his 26-year tenure as the manager of Manchester United, one of the most celebrated football clubs in the world.
    • Total Trophies: 49
    • Premier League Titles: 13
    • UEFA Champions League Titles: 2
    • FA Cup Titles: 5
    • League Cup Titles: 4
    Sir Alex Ferguson in other rankings
  7. 7
    14
    votes
    Gregg Popovich
    The Obama White House · Public domain

    Gregg Popovich

    Gregg Popovich
    As the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich has won five NBA championships and has consistently fielded competitive teams for over two decades. He is known for his emphasis on team play and his ability to develop players who fit his system.
    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
  8. 8
    9
    votes
    As the head coach of the University of Alabama football team, Bear Bryant won six national championships and became the winningest coach in college football history at the time of his retirement. He was known for his tough, disciplined approach to coaching and his ability to get the most out of his players.
    Bear Bryant in other rankings
  9. 9
    6
    votes

    Joe Gibbs

    Joe Gibbs himself
    As the head coach of the Washington Redskins, Joe Gibbs won three Super Bowl championships and became known for his innovative offensive strategies and his ability to motivate players. He was later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
    Joe Gibbs is a legendary American football coach known for his exceptional success in the National Football League (NFL).
    • Super Bowl Wins: 4 (in 1982, 1987, 1991, and 1992)
    • Head Coaching Stints: Washington Redskins (1981-1992, 2004-2007)
    • Total Seasons Coached: 16
    • Overall Record: 154-94
    • Playoff Appearances: 12
    Joe Gibbs in other rankings
  10. 10
    11
    votes

    Red Auerbach

    Red Auerbach
    As the head coach of the Boston Celtics, Red Auerbach won nine NBA championships and is credited with revolutionizing the game of basketball. He was known for his ability to identify and develop talent, as well as his emphasis on team play and unselfishness.
    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

Missing your favorite coaches?

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Discussion

Ranking factors for successful coaches

  1. Consistency of success
    In addition to winning big titles, a successful coach should have a proven track record of maintaining consistently strong performance over an extended period.
  2. Player development
    A great coach is able to nurture and develop the talent of their players, helping them to reach their full potential both individually and as part of a team.
  3. Adaptability
    A successful coach should be able to adapt to changes in the game, whether that is adapting their strategy to suit the strengths of their players or staying updated on new strategies and tactics within the sport.
  4. Longevity
    Coaches who have been successful over a long period and across multiple generations of players are often considered among the greatest.
  5. Impact on the sport
    Many successful coaches are also known for their positive impact on the sport as a whole, whether it is through their innovative strategies, mentoring of other coaches, or the inspiring story of their own careers.
  6. Team culture and chemistry
    A great coach is able to foster a positive and productive team environment, building strong relationships with their players and instilling a sense of unity, trust, and respect.
  7. Win-loss record
    While not the sole determination of success, a coach's overall win-loss record is often considered when evaluating their career successes.
  8. Recognition and accolades
    Awards or other recognitions such as "Coach of the Year" can also play a role in assessing the success of a coach.
  9. Influence and legacy
    A truly great coach leaves a lasting impact on the sport, setting the standard for future coaches and inspiring countless individuals both inside and outside the world of athletics.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most successful coaches of all time. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Coach is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!

Statistics

  • 1936 views
  • 193 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.

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More information on most successful coaches of all time

When it comes to sports, coaches play a crucial role in the success of a team. They are responsible for developing game plans, motivating players, and making strategic decisions during matches. Over the years, there have been some truly exceptional coaches who have left an indelible mark on their respective sports. These coaches have achieved incredible levels of success, winning championships, breaking records, and transforming their teams into powerhouses. From Vince Lombardi in football to Phil Jackson in basketball, the most successful coaches of all time have become legends in their own right. In this article, we will explore some of these iconic coaches and delve into what made them so successful.

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