Just saw former Super Bowl champion coach Joe Gibbs’ NASCAR team won another championship. Now I guess we could debate if NASCAR is a “sport” and if Gibbs really runs or just owns his team, but his success at the highest level in two completely different competitions is something I find remarkable.
The only other example I can think of is Stanley Cup champion Fred Shero coaching the New Jersey Rockets of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
Are there other examples of 2-sport coaches, and even better ones that had success in both sports?
Stretching the definition of coach quite a bit, but there is a guy in the UK called Steve Peters who is an elite sports psychiatrist, and has a serious reputation for coaching performance across diverse sports.
He was full time at British cycling for years when they dominated track cycling, and moved onto dominate the road with TeamSky. He’s worked with football teams, track and field, snooker players [the green baize is up there with the oche as the loneliest, most pressured place in sport].
I guess it’s hard to quantify a sports psychiatrist’s results, and the field is mired with charlatans, but Peters is held in very high esteem. He also wrote a book called the Chimp paradox that was a bestseller and dealt with recognising and harnessing one’s irrational and rational emotions to deliver performance.
Just a minor correction. He never managed the Cardinals. He was player-manager for the Cleveland Indians and led the Tribe to their most recent World Series victory in 1948. He later managed the Red Sox, Athletics and A’s, but never the Cardinals. I never knew he had coached college basketball, which is interesting.
He was definitely a multi-sport star; before he really got into coaching, he was playing both major league baseball and pro football (in the days before the NFL), at the same time.
As a coach, he primarily coached football, and was pretty successful at it – he took his Washington & Jefferson team to the Rose Bowl in 1921, and won two NFL championships with the Eagles in the 1940s. He did double-duty as coach of both football and baseball when he was at Marietta, and as coach of both football and basketball when he was at Virginia; he had a winning record as a coach in all three sports.
Odds are high that most of you have never heard of him, and as his coaching career was at the high school and Division III college level, the OP may not feel that he qualifies, but Don LaViolette was extremely successful coaching both football and basketball.
(I know of him because he was our coach at Abbot Pennings High School, just outside of Green Bay, WI; he left Pennings to become the coach at St. Norbert College the same year that I graduated from high school.)
Hugo Bezdek was a major league baseball manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates 1917-19 and the head coach of the NFL Cleveland Rams 1937-38.
Red Rolfe was a major league baseball manager of the Detroit Tigers 1949-52 and the head coach of the Toronto Huskies of the Basketball Association of America, fore-runner to the NBA, in the 1946-47 season.