Coaches have little interest in BCNTHWAC club
Roy Williams got voted off the island a year ago -- and was so happy about it he cried like a newborn. Jim Boeheim got booted two years before that. Bobby Bowden lost his membership in 1993. Tom Osborne lost his in 1994.
They used to belong to the world's most exclusive club: BCNTHWAC. Best Coach Never To Have Won A Championship. But that was before the Gatorade showers, the trophy presentations, and later, the ring ceremonies.
BCNTHWAC is both a compliment and a curse. It is the only frat you want to join and then immediately leave.
"People didn't believe me," says North Carolina's Williams, who won his first Final Four after 17 years of trying, "but I was dadgum flattered. Gosh, there's a lot of guys who haven't won one."
Boeheim, who spent 27 years as Syracuse's head coach before snipping an NCAA championship net, was flattered, too. Sort of. Being BCNTHWAC is like wearing the best toupee in the world. It looks good, but you'd rather have the real thing.
"I'm glad I'm not on that list anymore," says Boeheim. "There's so many guys who are really, really good coaches. Some of them don't even get to the Final Four."
And then there are coaches who don't get to Super Bowls, or NBA Championships, or college football championships, or to a World Series. Or they get there, but don't win. They remain forever on the honor roll of BCNTHWAC.
Who is the No. 1, all-time, without-a-doubt, win-a-bar-bet BCNTHWAC?
I'm glad I asked.
Our pool of candidates comes from five divisions: the NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA football and NCAA hoops. I briefly considered adding NHL-related nominees, but I'm still ticked off about the world's stupidest lockout. Plus, Barry Melrose was busy combing his mullet, so I couldn't get him on the phone.
One candidate from each division will advance to the BCNTHWAC playoffs.
The nominees are:
Bill Cowher, Marv Levy, Dan Reeves, George Allen, Chuck Knox, Bud Grant, Jim Mora and Marty Schottenheimer.
So that leaves Levy, Reeves and Grant.
Levy led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls ... and four consecutive Super Bowl losses. It is a feat that likely will never be duplicated. Thank god.
Reeves led two different franchises -- Denver and Atlanta -- to a total of four Super Bowls. His teams got waxed in three of those games. He lost the fourth one to Denver's Mike Shanahan, the same guy he fired as offensive coordinator when Reeves coached the Broncos.
Grant's Minnesota Vikings teams advanced to four Super Bowls in eight years. And in the immortal words of Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."
And the finalist is ... Reeves, but by a margin thinner than a blade of artificial grass. Reeves not only led two different teams to Super Bowls, but he did it with a quarterback, John Elway, who wanted to throw him into a wood chipper.
I'm just being polite mentioning the other guys. There is only one possible choice.
And the finalist is ... Mauch. The Little General managed 3,951 games over a 26-year span. But only 12 of those games came in the postseason.
No manager has ever suffered more.
Gene Keady, Rick Majerus, Jack Hartman, John Chaney, Billy Tubbs, Tom Davis, Lou Carneseca, Lou Henson, Norm Stewart, Ray Meyer, Ralph Miller, Eddie Sutton, Digger Phelps, Bob Huggins, Jack Ramsay and Lefty Driesell.
"If I had to pick one guy, Eddie Sutton's probably as good a coach who's been around," says Boeheim. "He's taken different teams [Arkansas and Oklahoma State] to the Final Four. He could have won one easily, but it just didn't break for him. He'd have to be the guy at the top of the list."
Don Nelson, George Karl, Rick Adelman, Joe Lapchick, Fred Schaus and Jerry Sloan.
And the finalist is ... Sloan. The guy has coached 21 seasons, has more than 1,000 wins, but makes his two Finals appearances the same years Michael Jordan, even with an intravenous fluid tube hanging from his arm, can't miss a shot.
Tommy Tuberville, Frank Beamer, Bill Snyder, Mack Brown, Terry Donahue, Bo Schembechler, Hayden Fry, Kirk Ferentz, Pat Dye, Frank Kush, Jerry Claiborne, Barry Alvarez and Mike Leach (you'll understand years from now).
And the finalist is ... Schembechler. He had 234 wins, which makes him the 10th-winningest coach in Division I-A history, and 17 bowl appearances. Of course, we'll conveniently ignore his 5-12 bowl record.
So, our Fab Five: Schembechler, Sutton, Sloan, Mauch, and Reeves.
Sloan is eliminated first -- not that he'll give a damn. Schembechler goes next, but only because I can't get past that postseason record. Sutton is out, only because I think it's harder to reach four Super Bowls, as Reeves did with two teams, than two Final Fours with two schools.
Yeah, I know. The Philadelphia Phillies gagged like they had cotton stuffed down their throats in 1964. Mauch's California Angels did the same thing in 1982 and 1986.
But if you measured baseball IQ, Mauch would have been president of Mensa. His teams were victims of cruel fate, but not poor managing. Every decision was considered to the nth degree. Even his mistakes had logic to them.
He never got to slip a World Series ring on his finger. Will a posthumous BCNTHWAC do?
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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