Columnist: Wooden the greatest of all time in my book too

Published 8:06 am Friday, July 31, 2009

An email came across my desk Wednesday afternoon that caught my eye.
It was the Sporting News’s Top 50 Coaches.

Now this wasn’t any ordinary listing that you might see from time to time.
These were the best coaches regardless of sport.

Now that is an interesting list.

Quite often I am disappointed with these types of who’s who. But this one was much different.

I actually agreed with most of them – scary isn’t it?

The top three coaches are in perfect order as far as I am concerned.
John Wooden, the “Wizard of Westwood” topped the list and well he should.

Wooden was a great coach and perhaps even a better person.

Second on the list was Vince Lombardi, maybe the toughest son of a gun to ever put a whistle around his neck.

Third was Bear Bryant, who I admired so much, I once had a friend buy me a houndstooth hat to wear.

Now I have a little bit of an issue with the order of the next four of five guys, but no problem with them being on the list.

Phil Jackson at No. 4 bothers me a bit when you see that he is ahead of Red Auerbach and Scotty Bowman.

No one should be ahead of Auerbach when it comes to NBA coaches plain and simple.
And Bowman is the king of NHL coaches. He did some amazing things with some of his hockey teams.

In between Jackson and Auerbach sits Don Shula at No. 5.
Shula definitely belongs in the top five, but not just for coaching the only team to an undefeated season (by the way, I loved the 1972 Dolphins) but for his work with spinal cord injuries.

I know that wasn’t part of the criteria, but being a great coach and a good person should count for something.

The remaining top 10 coaches are Casey Stengel and Knute Rockne.

Well deserving of a top 50 honor, but should Stengel be listed before Pat Summitt, the only woman to make the list, or Bob Knight?

Other notables on the list that I admired as coaches are George Halas (14), Chuck Noll (15), Eddie Robinson (23), Woody Hayes (27), Bo Schembechler (36), Sparky Anderson (38), Chuck Daly (45), Tommy Lasorda (48) and Herb Brooks (50).

I usually don’t go out and buy sports magazines because there are just so many of them and I don’t have the time to read them, but this one I might. I would like to see just what they had to say about these coaches.

So if you are out and about, make sure you grab a copy of the Sporting News and check this article out.

Scott Novak is sports editor of Leader Publications. He can be reached at or by phone at 687-7702 Follow me on my daily blog: