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NHL legend and Blackhawks Senior Advisor Scotty Bowman is No. 7 on Sporting News’ list of sports’ 50 greatest coaches of all-time, as selected by a panel of 118 Hall of Famers, championship coaches and other experts. The 14-page feature is part of the new Sporting News Magazine, which hits newsstands this week.
No NHL coach ranked higher than Bowman, who won a record nine Stanley Cups with the Canadiens, Penguins and Red Wings.
UCLA’s John Wooden was a runaway winner, picking up 57 first-place votes from SN’s panel, which includes seven World Series-winning managers, four Super Bowl champion coaches and the winningest coaches in the NBA, NHL and college basketball.
Bowman was among the coaching greats who filled out ballots for SN, joining Bobby Bowden, Larry Brown, Whitey Herzog, Tommy Lasorda, Marv Levy, Tom Osborne, Don Shula, Steve Spurrier, Bob Stoops, Pat Summitt, Barry Switzer, Lenny Wilkens and Roy Williams, among others. The full voting panel is below.
Luc Robitaille, who won a Stanley Cup for Bowman in 2002, wrote an appreciation of his former coach in the new issue of Sporting News Magazine.
“The biggest impact Scotty had on me came the first day I met him as a member of the Red Wings,” wrote Robitaille, who’ll be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. “It was the first day of training camp in Traverse City, Mich., and I was on my way to the ice when we crossed paths in a hallway behind one of the goals.
“How are you feeling?’ he asked.
“We’re going to start camp, and the first few days, we’re going to skate easy. We don’t want anyone to get hurt,’ he said.
“And then came one of the boldest statements from a coach I’ve heard: ‘We’re here to win the last game of the year in June,’ he said.
“It’s the first day and he’s talking about how we’re going to start resting now to win a championship in June. I couldn’t believe it. I knew then that I was there to win a championship.”
Wooden, who won a record 10 Division I men’s basketball championships in 12 years, beat out Green Bay Packers great Vince Lombardi for the top spot. Rounding out the top 20 of SN’s list: 3. Bear Bryant (college football), 4. Phil Jackson (NBA), 5. Don Shula (NFL), 6. Red Auerbach (NBA), 7. Bowman, 8. Dean Smith (college basketball), 9. Casey Stengel (MLB), 10. Knute Rockne (college football), 11. Pat Summitt (women’s college basketball), 12. Paul Brown (NFL), 13. Joe Paterno (college football), 14. George Halas (NFL), 15. Chuck Noll (NFL), 16. Bob Knight (college basketball), 17. Joe Gibbs (NFL), 18. Tom Landry (NFL), 19. Mike Krzyzewski (college basketball) and 20. Bill Belichick (NFL).
In addition to current and former coaches, SN’s panel includes a Super Bowl-winning owner (the Steelers’ Dan Rooney), former commissioners (MLB’s Fay Vincent, the NHL’s John Ziegler) and award-winning broadcasters (Brent Musburger, Marty Brennaman), The complete panel is below.
SN turned to former players of the top 20 coaches on the list, asking each to relive a moment that best defined their greatness. Among the guest contributors: Hall of Famers Bart Starr (on Lombardi), Dwight Stephenson (on Bryant), Paul Warfield (on Shula), Tommy Heinsohn (on Auerbach), Ara Parseghian (on Rockne), Mike McCormack (on Brown), Gale Sayers (on Halas), Lynn Swann (on Noll), Isiah Thomas (on Knight) and Roger Staubach (on Landry).
The new Sporting News Magazine, also featuring a special conversation between star running backs Jim Brown and Adrian Peterson, hits newsstands later this week and can be purchased at all Barnes & Noble, Borders and Hudson Retail outlets. All questions and requests should be directed to editor-in-chief Jeff D’Alessio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPORTING NEWS’ TOP 50 COACHES
1. John Wooden, college basketball
2. Vince Lombardi, NFL
3. Bear Bryant, college football
4. Phil Jackson, NBA
5. Don Shula, NFL
6. Red Auerbach, NBA
7. Scotty Bowman, NHL
8. Dean Smith, college basketball
9. Casey Stengel, MLB
10. Knute Rockne, college football
11. Pat Summitt, women’s college basketball
12. Paul Brown, NFL
13. Joe Paterno, college football
14. George Halas, NFL
15. Chuck Noll, NFL
16. Bob Knight, college basketball
17. Joe Gibbs, NFL
18. Tom Landry, NFL
19. Mike Krzyzewski, college basketball
20. Bill Belichick, NFL
21. Adolph Rupp, college basketball
22. Joe McCarthy, MLB
23. Eddie Robinson, college football
24. Bobby Bowden, college football
25. John McGraw, MLB
26. Bill Walsh, NFL
27. Woody Hayes, college football
28. Connie Mack, MLB
29. Bud Wilkinson, college football
30. Pat Riley, NBA
31. Pete Newell, college basketball
32. Joe Torre, MLB
33. Bill Parcells, NFL
34. Tom Osborne, college football
35. Walter Alston, MLB
36. Bo Schembechler, college football
37. Toe Blake, NHL
38. Sparky Anderson, MLB
39. Al Arbour, NHL
40. Amos Alonzo Stagg, college football
41. Tony La Russa, MLB
42. Geno Auriemma, women’s college basketball
43. Dick Irvin, NHL
44. Ara Parseghian, college football
45. Chuck Daly, NBA
46. Bobby Cox, MLB
47. Hank Iba, college basketball
48. Tommy Lasorda, MLB
49. Gregg Popovich, NBA
50. Herb Brooks, NHL