10 Toughest Coaching Jobs in Sports
After recording the third-most all-time wins of any baseball manager — and his third World Series championship — Tony La Russa proved he is definitely smarter than most big league skippers by retiring instead of trying to top his own, great final act. Poor Mike Matheny must now somehow follow LaRussa in St. Louis, which means winning at least two titles and about 1,000 games or so. Good luck, Mike.
Fortunately for Matheny, managing in St. Louis is slightly more forgiving than having one of the following jobs. For the men who have one of the 10 toughest coaching jobs in sports, winning is the only acceptable result.
Manager, Boston Red Sox
After 86 years without a World Series title, Terry Francona guided the Red Sox to two championships in four years, yet they still declined his option after the team squandered a nine-game lead and missed the playoffs. Newly hired Bobby Valentine may need more than a fake mustache to hide behind if things don’t go well in Boston.
Head Coach, UCLA Basketball
The late John Wooden won 10 NCAA national championships in a 12-year span in Westwood. The Bruins have only managed one (1995) since. No one escapes the ghost of ‘The Wizard.’
Any Coach of a Cleveland Professional Sports Team
While the city of San Diego has waited a year longer, Cleveland hasn’t celebrated a title in 46 years and has had at least three pro sports teams for most of those years (to San Diego’s two).
Head Coach, Dallas Cowboys
The ghost of legendary Cowboys coach Tom Landry and the success of three-time Super Bowl champ Jimmy Johnson hangs over Cowboys Stadium. Head coach Jason Garrett has two Super Bowl rings from his time as Dallas’ back-up quarterback in the ’90s, but owner Jerry Jones won’t rest until Garrett brings a sixth Super Bowl trophy to Dallas. Jones didn’t build the world’s largest domed stadium to see other teams win inside it.
Head Coach, University of Alabama Football
A statue of current Alabama coach Nick Saban is outside the football stadium…which is named after the late Paul “Bear” Bryant, the Crimson Tide’s legendary coach whose teams had a home record of 72-2 while playing there.
Head Coach, Montreal Canadiens
Hockey is Canada’s national sport, and the Canadiens may be more popular than the national team. The franchise has a record 24 Stanley Cups and rarely lets a coach stay for long if they don’t drink from one.
Head Coach, Oakland Raiders
With the death of owner Al Davis earlier this year, Oakland’s entry may soon slide out of the top 10. The Raiders have had six head coaches since 2002. None have managed to get to the Super Bowl since Bill Callahan appeared with a team that was largely assembled by Jon Gruden, whose Tampa Bay Buccaneers thumped Oakland in 2003.
Head Coach, University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball
Seven national championship banners hanging at Rupp Arena – and blue-clad fans everywhere- remind coach John Calipari that he must get to the Final Four – and win – or else.
Head Coach, Notre Dame Football
Football is the denomination of Fighting Irish fans around the world, all of whom are waiting for coach Brian Kelly to add to the 11 national championships the school has won.
Manager, New York Yankees
While being the manager of the 27-time World Series champs may have been tougher under the eye of late owner George Steinbrenner in the 1970s and ’80s, it’s still no easy task for Joe Girardi, whose every move during a 162-game season is scrutinized in the media capital of the world.