Revealed: The Most Successful US Coaches of all time

best coaches in the US revealed

So often in sports, the focus is typically on the players. Who’s the best quarterback in the world? Who’s the next LeBron James? Individual talent aside, it becomes difficult to ignore the contributions that coaches make to a successful team. In fact, it’s the coach that ensures their group of players is a team.

When things go wrong for a team, it is always the coach that’s held responsible and asked difficult questions by the team ownership, fans and the media. So, why wouldn’t the coach be held more responsible for the team’s successes?

Who are the Best Coaches of all time?

With that in mind, we at Betsperts have compiled a list of the most successful NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, College Football and College Basketball coaches. As explained in the methodology below, the results of how our research was conducted ranks them on the number of titles won their average win rates and the amount they earn.

Best College Coaches

Which College Sports Coach had the most titles?

best college coaches revealed by most titles won

John Wooden – College Basketball

NationalityPlace of BirthTitles Won
USAHall, Indiana10

Nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood”, John Wooden rightly earned that title during his time with the UCLA Bruins.

During his 28 years at UCLA, Wooden led his team to 10 NCAA national championships in the span of just 12 years. During this period, UCLA finished first in their conference every year but one, when in 1965-66 they clinched second.

Nick Saban – College Football

NationalityPlace of BirthTitles Won
USAFairmont, West Virginia7

Considered one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, Nick Saban certainly has a record to back that up. Saban has the most national championships of any college football coach and became the first coach to win one with two different NCAA Division 1 teams. He won his first with LSU Tigers in 2003 and then went on to win six more national titles in 12
years with Alabama Crimson Tide.

Augie Garrido – College Baseball

NationalityPlace of BirthTitles Won
USAVallejo, California5

Augie Garrido previously held the title of most wins in college baseball, until Mike Martin surpassed that record in 2018, and is best known for his time coaching the Cal State Fullerton Titans and the Texas Longhorns. At Fullerton, Garrido won three World Series titles and two more with the Longhorns, with appearances in three finals for them. These accomplishments see him often claimed to be the greatest coach in college baseball history.

Jerry York – College Ice Hockey

NationalityPlace of BirthTitles Won
USAWatertown, Massachusetts5

Jerry York has the most NCAA college ice hockey wins of all time and is the only Division 1 ice hockey coach to reach 1,000 wins. York has won five NCAA national titles, the second most of any college ice hockey coach. He claimed his first with Bowling Green Falcons of Green State University, Ohio in 1984. With the Boston College Eagles, he went on to claim four more national titles, in eight finals appearances.

Mike Krzyzewski – College Basketball

NationalityPlace of BirthTitles Won
USAChicago, Illinois6

Mike Krzyzewski, nicknamed “Coach K”, coached the Duke Blue Devils, Duke University’s men’s basketball team, located in Durham, North Carolina. During his 42 years with the team, he received multiple offers to coach NBA teams, every one of which he turned down. He went on to win five national championship titles with Duke Blue Devils, highlighting why the NBA wanted him so bad.

college coaches with the most titles won most successful coaches study

Which college sports coach had the highest win rate?

college coaches with the highest win rate in the US

Urban Meyer – College Football

NationalityPlace of BirthWin Rate
USAToledo, Ohio85.39%

With a total of just 219 games before retiring from coaching college football in 2019, Urban Meyer ended his career with an 85.39% win rate. During this brief period of coaching, Meyer also became just one of three NCAA college football coaches to win national championship titles with two different colleges. The first two with the Florida Gators and then one more with the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Mark Few – College Basketball

NationalityPlace of BirthWin Rate
USACreswell, Oregon83.61%

Mark Few hasn’t yet won an NCAA national championship title. However, he has qualified for the tournament every single year he’s been in charge at Gonzaga Bulldogs, out of Washington, aside from the 2019-20 season when the tournament was canceled. To gain access to the tournament, you must win, so Few’s 83.61% win rate is no surprise.

Adolph Rupp – College Basketball

NationalityPlace of BirthWin Rate
USAHalstead, Kansas82.18%

Adolph Rupp stands at seventh for the most wins amongst NCAA Division 1 coaches, with 876 total wins while coaching the University of Kentucky’s Wildcats. In college basketball, only Mark Few has a higher overall win percentage, as seen above, however, unlike Few, Adolph Rupp has four NCAA national championship titles under his belt. With success on two fronts, Rupp can surely be considered one of the college basketball greats.

college sports coaches with the highest win rate

Best NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB Coaches

Which North American Professional coach had the most titles?

Professional US Sports Coaches with the most titles won

Phil Jackson – NBA

NationalityPlace of BirthTitles Won
USADeer Lodge, Montana11

He was nicknamed the “Zen Master” for his holistic approach to coaching his players which was inspired by Asian practices, though that’s not all he’s known for. Jackson surpassed the previous record of nine NBA titles, by earning 11 during his coaching career. He won his first six with the Chicago Bulls and then during two spells coaching the LA Lakers he won himself another five NBA titles. There’s no wonder he’s considered one of the greats even a decade after his time.

Red Auerbach – NBA

NationalityPlace of BirthTitles Won
USANew York, New York9

One of the pioneers who truly shaped professional basketball into the game it is today, Red Auerbach redefined the game’s play style with a focus on defense, team play and the fast break. In a span of ten years, Auerbach’s Boston Celtics did not fail to make an NBA final, winning nine titles out of those 10 final appearances.

Scotty Bowman – NHL

NationalityPlace of BirthTitles Won
CANVerdun, Quebec9

The current holder of the NHL coach with the most Stanley Cup wins in history, Scotty Bowman is arguably the sport’s most successful coach. He won his first five with the Montreal Canadiens, one with the Pittsburgh Penguins and then his final three with the Detroit Red Wings for a total of nine. He’s also the only NHL coach to have won the Stanley Cup with three different teams.

Toe Blake – NHL

NationalityPlace of BirthTitles Won
CANVictoria Mines, Ontario8

Toe Blake previously held the record for the most Stanley Cups won by a coach in the NHL, until Scotty Bowman, of course. Nevertheless, he still won eight Stanley Cups for the Montreal Canadiens, the most any coach has won for them and in the short span of 13 years, should not be overlooked as anything less than incredible. On top of that, he also has the most wins of any Montreal Canadiens coach, with exactly 500.

North American professional coaches with the most titles won

Which North American Professional Coach had the Highest Win-Rate?

Professional sports coaches in the US with the highest win-rate

Vince Lombardi – NFL

NationalityPlace of BirthWin Rate
USABrooklyn, New York70.6%

Vince Lombardi, one of the NFL greats and the coach to win the very first Super Bowl, the trophy of which was named after him upon his death. In his 10 years as a coach, Lombardi spent nine of them with the Green Bay Packers, where he established them as a dominating force. Under Lombardi, the Packers had an average conference position of 1.5, coming in first in 1965-1967 and going on to win an NFC Championship and the first two Super Bowls averaging a 77% win rate over those three seasons. In 10 short years of coaching, Lombardi established himself as one of the greats and his 70.6% win rate would support that.

Phil Jackson – NBA

NationalityPlace of BirthWin Rate
USADeer Lodge, Montana70.4%

In 1996, on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the NBA, Phil Jackson made it into the official list of the top 10 NBA coaches of all time. With a 70.4% win rate and 11 NBA Championships under his belt, it’s easy to see why. He’s won six titles with the Chicago Bulls and five with the LA Lakers, between the 1995-96 to 2001-02 seasons, Jackson won six back-to-back titles, split evenly between the Bulls and Lakers. Throughout his career, he’s coached 1,640 regular-season games, winning 1,155 and in the playoffs, he’s coached 333 games, winning 229.

Billy Cunningham – NBA

NationalityPlace of BirthWin Rate
USABrooklyn, New York69.8%

Billy Cunningham, nicknamed the Kangaroo Kid for his abilities as a player only coached for eight years with the Philadelphia 76ers before retiring. He led his team to appear in three NBA Championship finals, winning just one of those. Despite that, the 76ers never finished lower than second in their division, which speaks to the consistency of the team’s performances. Cunningham is also the coach to reach the 300 and 400 win milestones in the fewest number of games and finally, he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame as one of basketball’s all-time greats.

North American professional coaches with the highest win-rate

Which North American Professional Coach had the Highest Earnings?

US Professional sports coaches with the highest earnings of all time

Bill Belichick – NFL

DollarsPoundEuros
$18,000,000£14,313,600€16,812,000

It stands to reason that the best coaches would be at the best teams and as such, likely be earning the most money. With all the success he’s had with the New England Patriots, Belichick would be entitled to a lucrative salary, $12 million per year though with bonuses that could be seen to rise to around $18 million, and his current contract runs until 2025, making it worth around $36 million at the very least.

Andy Reid – NFL

DollarsPoundEuros
$12,000,000£9,542,400€11,208,000

Currently the coach of the Kansas Chiefs, we have Andy Reid who as of 2021 was widely recognized as one of the best-paid American sports coaches. So, it’s no surprise here that Reid would also rank very well, with his $12 million per year salary with the Chiefs, on a contract that runs until 2025. As head coach, Reid has only won one super bowl, however, it was with a declining Kansas Chiefs team, giving them their first super bowl in half a century. This truly highlights his talent as a coach and why the Chiefs offered him such a lucrative salary.

Gregg Popovich – NBA

DollarsPoundEuros
$11,500,000£9,144,800€10,741,000

Gregg Popovich, aka Coach Pop, earns around $11 million a year with the San Antonio Spurs and there are some arguments that he’s the best active coach in the NBA. The credentials for such a claim are, from 2002 to 2007 he led the Spurs to three NBA Championship wins in five years and has won five titles with the Spurs overall, and has won NBA Coach of the Year three times (2003, 2012, 2014). This current contract ran for three years, ending in 2023, making it worth at least $33 million and likely even more than that with bonuses.

us sports coaches with the highest earnings ranking table
Methodology –

To analyze the best coaches in the US of all time, our research collected a list of the coaches from the NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA as a whole, with the highest win rates, using Wikipedia; MLB, NFL and NBA.

We then acquired their personal information such as nationality as well as birthplace using Wikipedia data. For the NHL as it was available, we used their official records page.

For the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL we used Sports Reference sites, this allowed us to get their win rates and titles won.

We then replicated this for the college coaches, taking their stats from these Wikipedia pages: College Baseball, College Basketball, College Football and College Ice Hockey coaches with the most wins, with the exception that each one of them had coached an NCAA Division 1 team. To get their biographical information, we clicked on the coach’s specific page which is also where we found the number of titles they had won. Some of the college coaches from the upper rankings were omitted due to a lack of data.

Finally, for their salaries, that involved researching various publications such as ESPN for US Sports and Fan Nation for the soccer coaches. Older coaches were omitted from this ranking, due to being unable to find accurate data from that far back, as such, only recently active and currently active coaches were included. All earnings were converted on 18/05/2022 for the US coaches and 19/05/2022 for the soccer coaches.

References
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_League_Baseball_managers_by_wins
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Football_League_head_coach_wins_leaders
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NBA_championship_head_coaches
  4. https://records.nhl.com/records/coach-records
  5. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/coaches/
  6. https://www.basketball-reference.com/coaches/NBA_stats.html
  7. https://www.baseball-reference.com/managers/index.shtml
  8. https://www.hockey-reference.com/coaches/NHL_stats.html
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_college_baseball_coaches_with_1,100_wins
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_college_men%27s_basketball_coaches_with_600_wins
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_college_football_coaches_with_200_wins#Coaches_with_200_career_wins
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_college_men%27s_ice_hockey_coaches_with_400_wins
  13. https://www.si.com/fannation/soccer/futbol/news/highest-paid-premier-league-managers-named-with-pep-guardiola-top
  14. https://espnlafayette.com/10-highest-paid-nfl-coaches-in-2021/

WRITTEN BY

Austin Harper

Austin is a co-founders at Betsperts and a devoted father of 2. Born and raised in Atlanta Georgia, Austin is passionate about the Atlanta Hawks, Braves, and Falcons. Austin received his Bachelors of Science from Clemson University and gets back for Clemson football and basketball games every chance he gets!

Deals of the Day

See All