Athletes, by their nature, are extremely competitive people. Every time they compete, their pride is on the line so it's not really surprising that close games tempers can quickly get out of hand and violence can break out. These are young guys, and sometimes girls, in their twenties with a lot of testosterone (hopefully, not the gals). so asking them to maintain some perspective (i.e. that it's only a game) isn't always the easiest point to get across. But there are people who should know better. I'm, of course, talking about the coaches.
Coaches are supposed to be the adults. They're well dressed, they're expected to set an example in terms of decorum and behavior, but it's so much fun when they don't. There's just something special about two people in their forties, or older, that haven't been in a fight in years talking smack to each other. Coaching feuds show us you're never too old to be immature and that some people just don't get it. Here's ten of our favorite ones.
10 John Calipari Vs. Everyone
Okay, so maybe not everyone, just Rollie Massimino, Bobby Knight, Lute Olsen, Jim Reid, Lou Carnesecca, etc. There's just something about John Calipari that rubs people the wrong way. Is it his look, his hair, his arrogance? It's all three and then some. It's not fair to blame him for all his 1-and-dones, because he didn't come up with that system, he's just been really good at exploiting it. He is also the only coach ever to have two Final Four appearances vacated at two different schools. Classy.
Cal's fight with Massimino involved recruiting. Bobby Martin committed to play for Villanova but was wooed hard by Calipari who was coaching Pitt. Martin blamed his change of heart on a misunderstanding with the Villanova coaching staff. The best part was that Martin's announcement that he was switching occurred hours before the two schools were to play each other. The coaching staffs almost brawled or as Calipari put it, "That was a war that turned ugly."
The feud with Coach Jim Reid was unique because both men were coaching at UMass with Reid coaching football. Reid was the one who came up with the slogan, "refuse to lose" but it was Calipari who had it copyrighted and sold it for six figures. Ouch.
9 Bill Belichick Vs. Eric Mangini
This one's kind of sad because these two used to be good friends. Well, more like mentor and mentee. Both men are graduates of Wesleynan University and when Mangini showed up at the Brown's training camp as a ball boy, Coach Belichick decided to take Mangini under his wing and makes him a special assistant. Belichick even took Mangini with him to coach under Bill Parcells with the Jets. Yes, there was a time when coaching the Jets was a big deal.
Things changed when Mangini was coaching the Jets and Belichick, the Patriots, and as divisional rivals, they would play each other at least twice a year. The Patriots were accused of illegally video taping the Jets defensive signals during the game, a big no no. Mangini informed the league and thus, the scandal known as "Spy Gate" was born.
8 Jose Mourinho Vs. Arsene Wenger
Our first soccer entry. Mourinho, the manager of Chelsea and Wenger the manager of Arsenal have been sniping at each other since 2005. Mourinho feels that Arsenal has an undeserved reputation for being "angels" while his team is viewed as "the devil." From there, it expanded to actual dislike with Mourinho saying, "Maybe Wenger should explain to Arsenal fans how he cannot win a single little trophy since 2005." Wenger, of Mourinho, "He's out of order, disconnected with reality...When you give success to stupid people it makes them more stupid..." Mourinho, "He's a specialist in failure."
7 Rick Bennett Vs. Seth Appert (2014)
Did you know that fighting isn't allowed in college hockey? Coaches Rick Bennett of Union College and Seth Appert of RPI didn't. There was one second left with a final face-off. Once the puck was dropped both teams went a little nuts. It would take forever to explain why both teams wanted to beat the crap out of each other, but suffice it to say the schools have a long standing rivalry, so everything gets magnified.
6 Lou Albano vs. Freddie Blassie
Okay, while technically these two aren't coaches, they're managers but the job is the same; guiding their athletes to the championship.
5 Geno Auriemma vs. Muffet McGraw
Feuds don't often occur in woman's basketball but when they do, it's a doozy. Okay, not really because it's mostly one sided. Muffett hates Geno but Geno seemingly could care less about Muffett. (The preceding is a sentence I never thought I'd write). Geno's undefeated UConn team met McGraw's undefeated Notre Dame team in the 2014 NCAA Championship game. McGraw was under the impression that Geno didn't respect her or her program. Geno feigned ignorance.
4 Dick Williams Vs. Joe Torre
On August 12th, 1984, Dick Williams San Diego Padres were playing Joe Torre's Atlanta Braves. The Padres were well on their way to a pennant and the Braves to an 80 and 82 season. The previous night, the Padres Alan Wiggins bunted for two hits and the Braves felt they were being shown up. So the next day, Pascual Perez (Braves) hit Wiggins in the back. There was no way Dick Williams was gonna let this stand, so he announced to his dugout, "We knew what we have to do" which meant Ed Whitson thew at Perez but Perez kept getting out of the way.
At this point, the umpire warned both teams to knock it off. On the next pitch, Whitson tried to hit Perez and again, he missed. Williams was thrown out of the game but not before saying again, "we know what we've got to do." It wasn't until the eight inning when Craig Lefferts finally hit Perez. At that point, it should've been over because both teams had one batter hit by a pitch. For some reason, in the 9th, Torre ordered Donnie Moore to hit Graig Nettles. From there, both benches were emptied and it was an all out brawl. Even Dick Williams son, who was sitting in the stands, joined in.
3 John Tortorella Vs. Bob Hartley (2014)
Tortorella, head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, was incensed that Bob Hartley, coach of the Calgary Flames sent all his brawlers out for opening faceoff. Tortorella responded in kind. The result? Five separate fights in the opening seconds.
2 Ozzie Guillen Vs. Buck Showalter (2004)
Buck Showalter is known for being meticulous in his game preparation. That coupled with his encyclopedic knowledge of the rule book makes him a very good manager. The man is so calm in his demeanor that he's been pronounced clinically dead twice but it turns out he was just deep in thought. Then there's Ozzie. "Calm" and "meticulous" or not words one thinks of when thinking of Ozzie Guillen. Oz is more of a seat of the pants type manager who can be pretty sensitive.
1 Bryan Wells Vs. Rick Seiling (1997)
It doesn't matter that you probably haven't heard of either man or that it's minor league hockey (Wichita vs. Tulsa), this has to be number one. Why? Because, unlike the other entrants, where two coaches attack each other verbally or shove each other before it's broken up, these guys actually fight each other. Punches are thrown between the two coaches and it's pretty awesome. Enjoy!
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