Listen, I’m very vocal about thinking Mike McCarthy is a terrible coach. I think the guy would be pushing a broom around somewhere if he didn’t have Aaron Rodgers bailing his ass out every step of the way. Do I think the Packers will make some sort of splash and land an elite Head Coach in the offseason? No, I don’t. But I have been thinking about a couple of fictional elite coaches and dreaming what Rodgers would be able to do under their tutelage. So I did a little research and came up with some of the greatest fictional coaches of all-time, regardless of sport, call it a Ring of Honor if you will. As with the fictional QB blog I broke down, real coaches are excluded. This means no Gary Gaines, no Herb Brooks, no Herman Boone or Bill Yoast (even though Remember the Titans is complete Hollywood bullshit, albeit a great flick). You may not agree with who I’ve selected here, but tough shit.. this is my list. Let’s dive into this.
Kesuke “Mr.” Miyagi
I don’t know if many people would call Mr. Miyagi a coach in the conventional sense of the term, but there is no question that he is arguably the greatest movie coach, or sensei if you will, of all time. The guy took one of the biggest candy asses in all of California and molded him into the 1984 All Valley Karate Champion. In the process, Miyagi got hours and hours worth of free labor out of Daniel-San, sky rocketing the property value of his home in the process. When Daniel-San finally gets fed up and starts bitching and moaning about all the work he’s been doing, Miyagi shows him how effective his methods are. Talk about a fucking electric scene.
He also may look pretty frail, but that doesn’t mean Miyagi can’t still whoop ass wholesale. When the Cobra Kai try to beat the piss out of Larusso on Halloween night, Miyagi beats the absolute tar out of all of them without breaking a sweat. He also damn near forces John Kreese, embattled sensei of the Cobra Kai, into retirement, serving him a fresh tea bag after the All Valley and making his knuckles bleed, embarrassing the shit out of him in front of several of his students. All you need to know about Miyagi is that he took Daniel Larusso and molded him into the fiercest sonofabitch from Reseda to Okinawa. I just wish we could’ve gotten a prequel showing Miyagi’s exploits in the 442nd during ‘Nam, I can only imagine how many confirmed kills he would’ve racked up in hand-to-hand combat.
It’s tough to find a better rags to riches story than Gordo Bombay. Guy was an elite player at one time in his own right, and after choking big time at a young age, he essentially threw the towel in on what could’ve been a lucrative hockey career. It wasn’t until he sucked down one too many Moulson’s while driving that led to his DUI which allowed him to start coaching perennial doormat, District 5. Hard to argue with Bombay’s cache as a coach. Looking at District 5 in the original Mighty Ducks, that team was fucking trash. Plain and simple. About 70% of them got shitcanned when Bombay made the leap to coach Team USA in the Junior Goodwill Games. Which reminds me, Bombay was also an elite recruiter. Getting rid of bags of shit like Dave Karp and Terry Hall and replacing them with the likes of Dean Portman and Dwayne Robertson helped establish Bombay as an elite hockey mind. In terms of motivation, it’s hard to find a better locker room orator than Bombay. Wihtout his 2nd period speech to Team USA in gold medal game of the Junior Goodwill Games, they get routed by Wolf “The Dentist” Stansson and Team Iceland, no question about it. (Excuse him saying 3 points up instead of 3 goals up, that’s just poor writing.)
Although he didn’t play a prominent role in D3, Bombay is still the beating heart of the franchise. After talking Charlie Conway away from the brink of suicide after Han’s death, he also solidifies his relationship with incumbent coach Ted O’Rion. And when the sky appears to be falling and the Ducks are in jeopardy of losing their scholarships, Bombay polishes off the law degree and goes Atticus Finch all over the Board of Trustee’s asses at Eden Hall Academy.
Bombay went from coaching one of the shittiest teams in the state of Minnesota, to winning a gold medal in the Junior Goodwill Games, to eventually overseeing the USA’s Junior hockey development program. It’s a shame he blew his knee out and never got his shot in the bigs, because he would’ve been flinging pucks bardown on a regular basis.
This guy is the definition of an innovative ball coach, No coach in the history of coaching has gotten more out of less talent than Norman Dale got out of his Hickory bunch. The guy was an elite recruiter before it was even a thing, paving the way for the likes of John Calipari, Coach K, Roy Williams, Bill Self, etc. If he doesn’t pluck Jimmy Chitwood off the farm, Hickory IS GARBAGE. What an incredible in-game coach too. The man was a psychological mastermind and owned every referee by shitting on and berating every one them. He also took a major flier on Shooter Flatch being one of his assistants, the drunkest sumbitch in the state of Indiana. Without that decision, we never get Hickory perfectly executing the picket fence. I can guarantee one thing, anyone who has ever seen Hoosiers sure as hell won’t get caught watching the paint dry.
I can smell the booze on Shooter’s breath from here. Also, people always love to tip Any Given Sunday for Al Pacino’s speech which I’ve touched on before and will again at length at some point, but Norman Dale’s speech before the state championship blows that speech out of the water every day of the week. That, and I think it also created the slow clap.
Imagine anyone playing Norman Dale besides Gene Hackman. Talk about going from sugar to shit. Hackman was the GOAT, is still the GOAT, and may pop up again here in 3….2….1….
The guy I want coaching Aaron Rodgers. Period. Gene Hackman’s 2nd greatest coaching role, and miles and miles (of heart) better than most, Jimmy McGinty is a fucking icon. Taking a lockout stricken team and recruiting players from mini-marts, futbol pitches, sumo wrestling schools, jail, SWAT teams, and general washouts doesn’t sound like it would bode too well. But most people aren’t leaders of men the way Jimmy McGinty is. His first major move was obviously negging the piss out of Falco and shitting on his living situation to get him to suit up at quarterback for the Sentinels. Although he doesn’t often get credit for such, the man was an offensive mastermind, very similar to an early, bootleg version of Mike Martz dialing up an air raid with Falco’s UUUUUGEEE arm. The X’s and O’s and motivational tactics are incredible qualities, but Jimmy McGinty’s trust in HIS quarterback is what takes him to the next level
The video cuts it off a bit, but you know how it ends. Falco was late because of traffic, comes in, gets the Sentinels into the backdoor of the playoffs before the strike ends. What we don’t see at the end of the film is where McGinty signs a 4 year contract extension with Falco and proceeds to defecate down the throat of every opposing coach in the league. You take a group of scabs and sneak them into the playoffs while firing off Eisenhower-esque speeches, your place is firmly entrenched in the pantheon of elite coaches. Again, the guy has miles and miles of heart.
By far the youngest coach on this list, Bill Heywood has the baseball knowledge of man 4x his age. Going from a shitty Little league left fielder who hits 8th in the lineup to managing the Twins is no easy task, but Bill Heywood sure as hell was the right man for the job. Making his presence felt almost immediately, Heywood whacks George O’Farrell and names himself manager after cucking pitching coach Mac Macnally in front of the GM.
This is the definition of making an older, more seasoned veteran eat shit in front of his superiors. Imagine Sean McVay and Jeff Fisher going head to head in a duel of football IQ. In one conversation, Heywood cements himself as a wunderkind a la Theo Epstein. The major difference between Heywood and a lot of younger GM’s and coaches is how much of a players manager he was. Whether he was dropping water balloons with some of his middle infielders on that horse’s ass Mike McGreevy, or letting the bullpen help him with his long division, Heywood had his finger firmly placed on the pulse of the clubhouse. Also, what other manager has to deal with his star player banging his mom? Not an easy conversation to have, but Bill swallowed his pride and allowed Lou Collins to continue smashing and eventually propose as well. The idea that a 12 year-old kid could take a team that habitually sucks and lead them into a one game playoff against Griffey Jr. and Randy Johnson’s mullet tells you a bit about his coaching prowess. Although the Twins came up short, the change he brings to the locker room is evident, and his players were willing to a bite a cyanide capsule for him by season’s end.
The only downfall for Bill was his proclivity for pay-per-view porn whenever the team would go on road trips, his personal favorite being Night Nurses From Jersey (“They’re off the Turnpike and ready for love!”). If he was able to fend off a potentially crippling sex addiction, I think we’re talking about a first ballot Hall of Famer here.
All of these guys are the upper crust. Later this week, I’ll come in hot with some of the other coaches and GM’s that are deserving of a spot on this list, but as of now, these guys own everyone else.
What do you guys think, who got snubbed?