10 Coaches Who Stole the Headlines

Oct 20th, 2011

Most coaches do a good job of staying out of the spotlight, but some just can’t help themselves when the opportunity arises. A recent example of this headline-stealing behavior was Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz’s fight, which proved to us that coaches are just as emotional as players, and sometimes they let it show. Here are 10 coaches who stole the headlines:

  1. Hal McRae

    Former Kansas City Royals manager Hal McRae may be more widely known for his temper than his baseball career. In 1993, McRae stole the headlines when he lashed out at reporters and had one of the biggest meltdowns in baseball history. The manager went berserk when a reporter asked him a "stupid question" about his batting lineup decision. McRae started cursing and throwing objects off his desk, including a telephone, a bottle of vodka and a tape recorder, which struck a reporter and cut his cheek. After trashing his room, McRae continued to berate the reporters and ended the interview with the zinger "put that in your pipe and smoke it."

  2. Bryan Murray and Lindy Ruff

    NHL coaches Bryan Murray and Lindy Ruff stole the headlines when they started a brawl during a Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators game. Few people actually remember who won the game, because most people only recall Murray and Ruff fighting between glass walls and a rinkside reporter who picked up some of the smack-talking on his microphone. Although the coaches never actually got physical, the incident turned out to be a memorable fight that helped fuel the longstanding hockey rivalry.

  3. Mike Gundy

    Oklahoma State University head coach Mike Gundy managed to stay out of the limelight for the first few years of his coaching career, but all of that changed in 2007, when he went on a major media rant. Gundy’s famous postgame tirade was over a newspaper article that was critical of the former starting quarterback Bobby Reid. The three-minute, 20-second rant uttered the famous line "I’m a man! I’m 40!" The meltdown became a YouTube hit and has spurred many parodies.

  4. Rex Ryan

    The New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan is bold and brassy and never fails to find his way in the headlines. Ryan’s reputation as an outspoken coach with a great deal of confidence has gotten him in the headlines on multiple occasions. Ryan also found himself in the media for a non-football related incident involving a series of foot-fetish videos that featured a woman who appeared to be Ryan’s wife and he was the alleged cameraman. And for once, Ryan had no comment for the media.

  5. Bob Knight

    Retired college basketball coach Bob Knight is known as much for his sideline outbursts and tirades as he is for his coaching achievements. The legendary coach earned a reputation as a hothead who yelled profanities, berated officials and allegedly grabbed and verbally abused players. Knight was full of insane, spotlight-stealing moments, but none was as great as his infamous chair throw during the 1985 Indiana-Purdue game. Knight continued to entertain audiences and anger referees, but his abuse of the "zero-tolerance" policy got him canned from Indiana University.

  6. Ron Washington

    The Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington may be known as a strong leader in baseball, but 59-year-old surprised everyone when he confessed to using cocaine. Washington admitted to his "stupid" error after failing a MLB drug test and said that he only used it once. Washington’s confession stole the headlines of MLB pre-season and, unfortunately, took the initial focus away from what would be one of the Rangers’ best seasons.

  7. Lou Piniella

    Lou Piniella may be nicknamed "Sweet Lou," but this former Chicago Cubs manager has had his fair share of not-so-sweet moments throughout his baseball career. Piniella developed a reputation for having outrageous meltdowns and tirades on the field that would result in dramatic ejections from games. Piniella became famous for yelling in the faces of umpires, kicking dirt on them and throwing down his baseball cap in anger while cheering fans egged him on. Piniella’s outrageous outbursts may have gotten him ejected from a few games, but he definitely won the spotlight.

  8. Lloyd McClendon

    Former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon had a long history of challenging umpires on close calls, but it was his reaction during a 2001 Pirates-Brewers game that really stole the headlines. In his traditional argumentative fashion, McClendon walked on to the field to dispute the call and got ejected from the game, but this time he took a souvenir – first base. McClendon tore up first base and walked back to the dugout with it. McClendon never lived down the meltdown, and we never forgot it.

  9. Mike Leach

    Mike Leach was a one-of-a-kind college football coach who didn’t hold back from saying exactly what was on his mind. The former Texas Tech head football coach stole the headlines on multiple occasions, mostly for his outrageous commentary and odd fascination with pirates. Sportswriters called him the "mad scientist of football." Leach was notorious for lecturing his players on everything from Apaches to pirates, and told them to "swing their swords" before games. His peculiar behavior and snide comments about other teams didn’t sit well with a lot of people, but it was his alleged mistreatment of Adam James in 2009 that got him the boot.

  10. Phil Jackson

    Phil Jackson may have won more NBA championships than any other coach in league history, but his well-known feuds with Kobe Bryant have frequently stolen the show from the otherwise successful team. Jackson’s supposed pompous attitude and arrogant behavior caused problems on the team and affected some of his player realtionships.