Pull up a barstool. It’s time to have an old fashion barroom debate. Here’s the question very simply put–who are the best coaches in sports right now? I wondered the same thing the other night as I watched the Lakers-Spurs. It dawned on me as I watched Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich coach that I was watching two of the very best ever. So here we go. Below I will list my choices for the best current coaches in football, basketball, baseball and both college football and basketball. Then you give me yours. Let the debate begin
· Bill Belichick: I know some of you are going to consider him a cheater and wonder about his accomplishments, but love him or hate him, you can’t take away what Belichick has done in New England in a hard salary cap era. He gets players to buy into a philosophy, and he quickly puts down any thought of individualism.
· Runner Up: Tony Dungy, solid in every sense of the word.
· Honorable Mention: Mike Holmgren has taken two different teams to the Super Bowl.
· Pete Carroll: He has rebuilt USC into a modern day dynasty. He has combined an excellent recruiting touch with a combination of collegiate enthusiasm and NFL coaching smarts.
· Runner Up: Jim Tressel of Ohio State, despite his failure in the big game recently, has had Ohio State in position three times this decade to win a national championship.
· Phil Jackson: Yes, he has had great players, so do all coaches who win consistently. Yet somehow he has taken his unreal personality and philosophy and molded teams into winners. He is going for a 10th championship this year.
· Runner Up: Gregg Popovich is easily the most underrated coach in American sports today. He just wins.
· Honorable Mention: Jerry Sloan, Utah. Doesn’t it seem as though he has been coaching forever? Somehow in a league notorious for players not playing hard, every night his team gives everything it has.
· Mike Krzyzewski: My skin is starting to itch with this selection, but give the Blue Devil his credit. What he has done with Duke has been nothing short of phenomenal
· Runner Up: Rick Pitino, Louisville, has taken three different schools to the Final Four and has taken an NBA team to the playoffs.
· Honorable Mention: Tom Izzo of Michigan State. Nobody is a better in-game coach.
Major League Baseball
· Tony LaRussa of St. Louis: This superb handler of pitchers has taken three different teams to the playoffs and won World Series with two different teams over the last 25 years. Very innovative and able to get players to perform.
· Runners Up: Terry Francona & Joe Torre. Yes, they had huge payrolls, but they won with these payrolls. Both have won with a mix of older and young players.
Pour yourself a beer and let’s hear your thoughts.