I’ll tell ya what, ESPN really dropped the ball here. Just way too many great fictional coaches left off the list to even consider this credible. This is the Mickey Mouse Club of coaches. We’re all stuck in quarantine and this is what we get? No no no ESPN. Not on my watch. I present to you, the new and improved top 15 fictional coaches of all time.
15. Jackie Moon – Semi-Pro – A great owner? No doubt about it. A serviceable big on an undersized team? Sure. But a good coach? I don’t think you could find a worse leader of men than Jackie Moon. It took a washed up Boston Celtic to move back home and look for one more shot at glory for the Tropics to even get a playbook.
14. Patches O’Houlihan – Dodgeball – Sorry Patches, but there’s no correlation between dodging wrenches and dodgeballs. RIP in peace.
13. Norman Dale – Hoosiers – Yes, I fully acknowledge I’m in the minority here. Hoosiers never really did it for me. It’s slow and grainy and I wasn’t compelled by any of the characters. Not a trait you look for in a head coach.
12. Gordon Bombay – Mighty Ducks – The Minnesotta Miracle Man is a phenomenal skills coach. He pushes all the right buttons when teaching kids the basics of hockey. The egg toss passing drill will be written about in books one day. However, I can’t rank an alcoholic youth coach who ties his 10 year old goalie to the net while the team (and himself, with an AHL level snapshot) fire hundreds of pucks at the poor boy simultaneously. Oh, but Goldberg turned out to be a decent goalie you say? Well, this is him now
11. Morris Buttermaker – Bad News Bears – Our second of the alcoholic youth coaches on this list. You ever hear the saying “you can’t make chicken soup out of chicken shit”? Well Morris Buttermaker did just that. Any man that can take his team to the league championship with Timmy Lupus on it gets my seal of approval.
10. Coach Klein- Waterboy – A creative mind, no doubt. One does not simply draw a play like “he fakes right, no, he fakes left, NO…he thinks about faking. He pretends to fake” without some stroke of genius in his brain. His green book of plays lead to multiple National Championships. And I don’t want to hear a peep about how he fell apart after his book of plays was stolen. It’s called PTSD, ever heard of it?
9. Michael Jordan – Space Jam – The GOAT gets his reputation from being the best basketball PLAYER of all time. Not the best coach. His saving grace was going along with Bugs’ idea of “Michael’s Secret Stuff”. Coaches need to know when to put aside their pride and let new ideas grow. Michael did just that and it lead to the most improbable second half comeback in Looney Toons history.
8. Danny O’Shea – Little Giants – Danny O’Shea gets the nod here as a master recruiter. He had to build a team from scratch with only a month or so to prepare to take on the powerhouse Cowboys. In that time he found himself a quarterback, an offensive coordinator that left John Madden speechless, a running back that was unfortunately taken away after recruitment violations (if you can’t get an all state running back to join your team by pretending to be your Heisman Trophy winning brother then that’s not a league I want to be a part of), and even got his daughter to play linebacker.
7. Mr. Miyagi – The Karate Kid – I’m not sure why we ever doubted Mr. Miyagi. As if a Japanese man who’s practiced karate in his homeland his entire life wasn’t going to beat a bunch of white prep school boys? Ya, okay.
6. Chubbs- Happy Gilmore – The top winner in ESPN’s list is Chubbs. What a specimen. Chubbs could’ve been one of the greats had that damn aligator not bit his hand off. Where Chubbs lacked in fingers he made up for in coaching tactics. Its all in the hips, the mini golf putt putt, getting Odyssey Golf to sponsor Happy and create him a hockey stick putter to get Happy over his mental hurdle? Genius. Not many guys can walk up to some nutjob taking balls off the skull in a batting cage and recognize his raw talent in the world of golf.
Here’s where the real list begins. The top 5 fictional movie coaches of all time. Leaders of men who put the team first and cherish molding minds as much as winning titles.
5. Tony D’amato – Any Given Sunday – I won’t even bother with a write up. This speech says it all.
4. Billy Haywood – Little Big League – Billy Haywood is 12 years old and lead the lowly Minnesota Twins to the playoffs. His calm demeanor and deep knowledge of the history of the game helped gain the trust of his players that Billy knew what he was doing. He’d pull stings like contract negotiations and put the right players in the right situations to succeed. Not to mention, it was the American League, they have the DH. How hard could it be?
3. Buck Weston – Kicking and Screaming – Ya I know, you all want this to be Phil Weston played by Will Farrell. Let me tell ya, Phil couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag. He had to recruit Hall of Famer Mike Ditka to even become relevant in the standings before chasing him away over a damn juice box. That egomaniac had his kids running rampant and even drilled his best players, the Italians, into the ground. Now his dad, Buck? Now there’s a winner with the Premier League written all over him. A successful business man, a loving husband to a woman 20 years his junior, and a superstar son that keeps his head down and does his work. There’s a reason Buck’s Gladiators are the most dominant team in the district.
2. Jimmy Dugan – A League of Their Own – Jimmy honestly deserves his own blog. You know how the Stanley Cup has 4 rings around it with all the names of the players on the winning team engraved forever in history? Well you could do that with Jimmy Dugan quotes three times over. He’s a quote machine and a national treasure. The man who brought us “there’s no crying in baseball” and “Avoid the clap” (good advice) deserves his own wing in Cooperstown.
- Coach Boone – Remember the Titans – Okay, so technically Coach Boone was a real person. Depending on what you read Denzel may or may not have taken him to the next level. The first meeting the team has says all you need to know about the man. He sets the tone right off the bat by putting soon to be bench warming running back Petey Jones in his place. “Football is fun? You sure? Now you thinking, first you smile, now you think? Do you think football is still fun?”. That’s the type of mental warfare that will have any competitor ready to do anything you say. Commanding respect from the room and instilling fear in your players the second you walk in is textbook coaching.
There you have it. The top 5 best coaches in cinematic history. Ya it was a long read but hey, what the hell else are you doing during this pandemic? Plus it’s good to break a mental sweat now and again.
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