By David Schoenfield
Page 2

Much like Jim Mora at a postgame press conference, all of us have two sides to our personalities.

For example, when the topic of the "Best 25 Coaches of the Past 25 Years" came up, I was conflicted. So I had an argument with myself. Fortunately, I won ...

ESPN 25: Best Coaches
Check out the list of the best coaches of the past 25 years. Then rank 'em yourself!

  • See how ESPN ranks the coaches Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on ESPN on the latest edition of "Who's #1?"
  • Grumpy Dave: I just saw the list of best coaches and let me tell you, I'm more outraged than Bob Knight at a diversity-in-eduction seminar. I could throw my keyboard farther than Lou Piniella hurls first base. I feel like Woody Hayes at the Gator Bowl ...

    Nice Dave: What's got you all worked up? Looks like a pretty good list to me.

    Grumpy Dave: You think so? Where's Bobby Cox? All the guy does is finish in first place every freakin' year. No manager or coach in any sport has ever had a run like him. And Steve Spurrier's on the list? How does that happen? Are we supposed to pretend the Redskins' fiasco never happened? And Bela Karolyi? If you're talking Olympics, don't you need to put Herb Brooks on there over a gymnastics coach?

    Nice Dave: I prefer to look at it this way: I was glad to see some coaches from minor sports make it, like Dan Gable and Pat Summit. Gable coached Iowa to nine straight NCAA wrestling titles and Summit has won six championships. It's good to see them on a list of 25 best.

    Bobby Cox
    The 'A' on Bobby Cox's hat may as well stand for his coaching grade.

    Grumpy Dave: Wrestling? Geez, you're gonna make me weep like Dick Vermeil with comments like that. Let me tell you why Bobby Cox should be on the list. I know he's only won one World Series championship, but he doesn't get enough credit for that team's success. Twelve straight division titles? Name me another coach who can match that. He keeps his pitchers healthy, for years he had a different closer every season, and he turns lumps of coal into a good bullpen season after season. Meanwhile, Joe Torre got run out of jobs with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, joins the team with the highest payroll in baseball, hands the ball to Mariano Rivera and suddenly he's one of the greatest managers ever.

    Nice Dave: Yeah, but I'm guessing the panel put a lot of emphasis on championships.

    Grumpy Dave: Then why is Don Shula on the list? Hello?!?! He won his two Super Bowls before 1979! Definitely overrated. In fact, let me present the five most overrated coaches on the list:

    1. Don Shula. Sure, he's the all-time winningest NFL coach. But he had the greatest quarterback of all time and still couldn't win the Super Bowl! So he made two Super Bowls in this era. Big deal. So did the Bengals.

    2. Steve Spurrier. Won a national title, but never coached Florida to an undefeated season. Why would he deserve to be on the list over Dennis Erickson or Don James or Lou Holtz? Sorry, no extra credit because he coined the term "Fun-N-Gun."

    3. Bill Walsh. Holds the record for most times being called a "genius," supplanting the old record held by Albert Einstein. He was so good that he won 14 games once. His replacement, George Seifert, won 14 games in three of his first four years.

    4. Bill Parcells. Won two Super Bowls, just like Seifert and Mike Shanahan did. That's one more than Barry Switzer. They can't all be geniuses, can they?

    5. Tony La Russa. He was an innovator. Trouble is, his innovation was using three relief pitchers to face one batter apiece.

    Lou Piniella
    AP
    Lou Piniella hasn't been able to stop the bleeding in Tampa Bay.

    Nice Dave: Wow, I thought you'd go for the clean football sweep. No Bo Schembechler? You don't wanna take Joe Paterno down while you're at it? Just to balance you out, here's my list of the five most underrated coaches:

    1. Joe Gibbs. Not only won three Super Bowls, but did it with three different quarterbacks -- Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien. That's impressive.

    2. Tom Osborne. He never seems to get mentioned alongside JoePa or Bowden or Bear as an all-time great, but his mid-'90s teams were absolute powerhouses (just ask Spurrier). Plus, huge props for going for two.

    3. Lou Piniella. Didn't even crack the final 25. But he won a World Series with the Reds, he turned the worst franchise in baseball into a winner and now he's turning the Devil Rays around. Plus, bonus points for throwing bases, kicking dirt and fighting Nasty Boys.

    4. Jerry Tarkanian. Seriously. Keeping UNLV off probation all those years? You think that was easy?

    5. John McNamara. Just kidding.

    Grumpy Dave: You're a moron. Stick to the facts and leave the humor to me.

    Nice Dave: Geez, what is it, really, that's got you so upset?

    Grumpy Dave: Ricky Williams. I had him on my fantasy team.




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