Winningest fired coaches

Who are the winningest coaches in the history of the “big 4” sports fired from the job most associated with them? (I have a guess for NFL)

For NFL I’d have to guess Tony Dungy ranks pretty high. Even fired on a winning season unlike some other coaches whose star was fading (Landry)

Landry is the NFL leader. (270 wins)

He’s not in the running for the winningest coach/manager fired, but Davey Johnson was canned by Orioles owner Peter Angelos in 1997 after just two years as manager.

Before Johnson was hired, the Orioles hadn’t been to the post-season in 12 years. The Os won a WC berth in 1996 and held 1st place wire-to-wire in 1997, making it to the ALCS both years. On the same day he was named the 1997 Manager of the Year, Angelos fired Johnson over a personal conflict. The Orioles haven’t had a winning season since.

The Marlins fired Joe Girardi after the 2006 season, even though he had just been named NL Manager of the Year.

Joe Paterno in college football.

Oakminster-smack: DUH!!! Obviously. I forgot about College sports.

Jim Tressel?

Woody Hayes

Are we going solely by CAREER wins? If so…

Tom Landry is definitely the winningest NFL coach ever to get fired… but that’s partly because Don Shula was pressured to resign as the Dolphins’ coach.

THAT happens a lot- great coaches who stick around too long often get fired or asked to resign. So, technically, some guys who pretty much WERE fired don’t count.

Joe Paterno is surely the winningest college football coach ever to get fired.

In baseball, SEVERAL of the winningest managers ever got fired at one time or another. Sparky Anderson was fired by the Cincinnati Reds. Joe Torre was fired by multiple teams before hooking up with the Yankees… but the Yankees didn’t fire him, exactly. They just didn’t give him a new contract after his old one expired.

In college basketball, Bobby Knight got fired by Indiana University.

Don Nelson has more career wins than any other NBA coach in history, but was fired more than once along the way.

Now, if we’re asking "Who had the best record the year he got fired… several guys got fired after leading their teams to excellent seasons. Examples:

  1. Marty Schottenheimer took the San Diego Chargers to a 14-2 record, but lost in the playoffs to the Patriots, and got fired for it.

  2. In 1964, Yogi Berra managed the Yankees. They won the pennant, then lost the World Series to the Cardinals in 7 games. He was fired afterward, and replaced by Cardinals’ manager, Johnny Keane.

The Yankees also fired both George Weiss the GM and Casey Stengel the manager after they lost the 1960 World Series. They were told they were too old. Presumably this was before the law forbidding discrimination against persons over 40. Casey, in his inimitable style said “I’ll never make that mistake again.” Both went to work in the same position for the 1961 N.Y. Mets.

Girardi was fired by Jeffrey Loria simply because Loria disliked him. That is something Girardi should be proud of.

That’s an easy one, since he’s the winningest college football coach ever, and he got fired. Bobby Bowden is right behind him; although he didn’t officially get fired, he was forced out of his job before he wanted to retire.

So, now that 100+ of Paterno’s wins are vacated, is he no longer the winningest coach to be fired?

Paul Brown was the most innovative, probably most successful coach in NFL history*, and he was fired from the team named after him.

  • dispute away mofos, you’re going down. 11 championship games in 17 years, winning 7.

I think Pat Quinn getting canned by the Maple Leafs takes the cake for the NHL.

Never mind…

Really, the AAFC counts? In NFL history, he has 3 rings. Otherwise I suppose we can say that Hank Stram has 3 NFL titles because he won 3 AFL titles.

Different league, even if the NFL counts AAFC stats. He was indeed a great coach, and perhaps he was the greatest, but I’d put him up against Lombardi, Noll, Landry and his protege Bill Walsh in that contest.

Speaking of Landry, I never hated the Cowboys until he was unceremoniously fired by Jerry Jones. That was to me the most unjust firing in NFL history, Brown included. But that’s neither here nor there, I posted only to stamp out the Browns fanboyism.

Yeah, I think the AAFC probably should count for this purpose. We’re talking about a winning coach, and he was winning as part of the same program during those years. It was one continuous run.

The NFL sneered at the AAFC being some sort of minor league (as they later did the NFL), so when the NFL admitted the 49ers, Browns, and Colts they thought the new teams would get their ass handed to them. In the very first game, they put the NFL champion Eagles against the AAFC Champion Browns just to show them who was boss. And I assume you know what happened - the Browns kicked the shit out of the Eagles, and then the rest of the NFL.

Those late 40s Browns teams would’ve won the NFL championships anyway, and if you’re looking at the cohesive unit that Paul Brown built, I think you can count those times as part of his history. Certainly if it’s in the context of trying to evaluate which coach got fired despite being wildly successful with his team, and there’s no reason to exclude Paul Brown’s AAFC years when evaluating that story.

Those other guys were great coaches. Paul Brown invented the modern NFL. And he had a team named for him which he lead to two decades of dominance. And then he was fired by one of the worst owners in sports history due to his own ego. He wins the thread.

Paul Brown, in his prime, was light years ahead of all other coaches. Half the routine plays we fans take for granted (the draw play, the screen) were drawn up by Paul Brown. He was the first coach to study film, the first to assemble a playbook, one of the first coaches to embrace black players… everyone in the NFL had to play catchup to the Browns.