For all the great coaches in pro sport history, there are just as many awful coaches. Coaching at the top level takes an innovative and brilliant mind for the sport, the ability to manage high pressure situations, and a knack for leadership.
Whether they started out strong in coaching or player roles, here are some of the worst coaches in sport history.
Ned Harkness began his tenure as head coach for the Detroit Red Wings in 1971 with a promising resume, but his time in charge is now remembered as the “Darkness with Harkness.” He enforced uptight policies and earned the contempt of his players, and his disorganized coaching led to a long string of blowout losses.
For a dictionary definition of a clueless coach, look no further than Rod Marinelli, head coach of the Detroit Lions from 2006 to 2008. Despite a talented roster including Jon Kitna, Kevin Jones, and Shaun Rogers, Marinelli brought the Lions to a historic low with a 0-16 record in 2008.
Good Players, Bad Coaches
Despite a respectable career as a tight end for the Giants and Steelers, Rick Kotite is regarded as one of the worst coaches in NFL history. His coaching career began modestly successful with the Eagles until he was fired, after which he led the Jets to criminally bad season records of 3-13 and 1-15 and promptly retired from coaching.
Likewise, historic baseball figure Eddie Matthews segued his long career into a stint of coaching. He coached the Atlanta Braves from 1972 until a tragic 50-49 record in 1974.
Magic Johnson, point guard NBA superstar, took command of the Lakers in 1993 and similarly failed to transfer from player to coach. He led the team to a dismal 5-11 record before switching to part-owner and buying into the team instead of coaching.