Top Ten Physical Altercations Involving Coaches

Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin \ USA TODAY Sports Images

There were several important Premier League fixtures on March 1st, 2014. Chelsea remained top of the league and due to Arsenal's 1-0 defeat at Stoke City, Liverpool grabbed second spot after a 3-0 win at Southampton. In addition, the final of the Carling Cup was played on the following day between Manchester City and Sunderland. Despite all these events, the single incident that captured the headlines of all the sports newspapers in England was the behavior of Newcastle manger Alan Pardew. In a game that Newcastle were comfortably winning against Hull City, Pardew claimed the spotlight by attempting to headbutt a Hull City player. Pardew has subsequently been charged by the Football Association for improper conduct and was fined by Newcastle.

Pardew is not the only manager or coach who has conducted himself in a crazy manner. There have been coaches from different sports who have periodically crossed the line. Some of these coaches aimed their displeasure at their own players, others acted violently towards their opposition, while others even attacked their own supporters. This list highlights ten coaches whose conduct crossed the line from a physical perspective. While this list is subjective and countless other coaches have been left off, there is no disputing that these individuals did not display exemplary behavior.

10. Don Zimmer in 2003

Who could ever forget this ridiculous moment in baseball history? There is a lot of hilarious stuff here, but let's start from the top. It all began with Pedro Martinez throwing pretty tight to Karim Garcia. His fastball skimmed the top of his head and Garcia was enraged. Both teams got involved and things escalated quickly. 72-year old first base coach Don Zimmer decided to have a run at Pedro Martinez and was subsequently thrown to the ground. Don Zimmer's apology was emotional and can be seen above. Martinez? He had one question. Who is Karim Garcia?

9 Pat Riley in 2003

A NBA game in 2003, between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat, was memorable for one reason, the confrontation between Ron Artest and then Miami Heat coach Pat Riley. Riley and Artest first started arguing in the opening quarter of the game after Artest and Heat forward Caron Butler got into an altercation and both Riley and Butler received technical fouls. In the fourth quarter of the game, Artest hit a layup after being fouled and walked over to the Heat bench flexing his right bicep. While posing for the cameras, Artest apparently bumped into Riley and the two exchanged words before Riley shoved Artest. Artest received a technical for his troubles and was suspended for four games by the NBA.

8 Jose Mourinho in 2011

When Jose Mourinho arrvied at Real Madrid, each of their matches with historic rivals Barcelona were marred with several ugly incidents. Yellow and red cards were commonplace in the several 'El Clasico' matches between the two teams in the Mourinho era. A 2011 match between the two teams turned ugly after Madrid defender Marcelo's tackle on Cesc Fabregas sparked a melee between the two teams. Instead of trying to bring calm to the volatile situation, Mourinho proceeded to poke the eye of Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova. Vilanova retaliated with a shove and both coaches were fined 600 euros and banned from future Spanish Super Cup matches.

7 Mike Rice in 2012

In December 2012, Mike Rice was suspended by Rutgers University for physically and verbally abusing his players during their practice sessions. His suspension was for three games and he was additionally fined $50,000. Rutgers planned to reinstate Rice for the 2013/2014 season. However in April of 2013, ESPN obtained the footage of Rice abusing his players. The footage showed Rice throwing basketballs at his players as well as kicking and screaming at them continuously throughout the practice session. The video sparked a movement to have Rice fired, which included the support of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Rice was ultimately fired the next day after the Rutgers school President reportedly saw the video for the first time.

6 Bob Knight in 1997

Bob Knight was one of college basketballs most innovative and successful coaches. He quite possibly was also one of the angriest coaches to ever walk the sidelines. Throughout his career, he has been guilty of berating officials, throwing a chair across the basketball court during a game and was even arrested for assault. From 1971-2000, Knight coached at Indiana University where he won three NCAA championships. In March of 2000, CNNSI ran a video showing Knight choking former player Neil Reed in a 1997 practice. After seeing the video, the Indiana University President instituted a zero-tolerance policy with regards to Knight's conduct. In September of the same year, Knight got in an altercation with freshman Kent Harvey which eventually led to his firing.

5 John Tortorella in 2014

John Tortorella, who currently coaches the Vancouver Canucks, is one of the more fiery NHL coaches currently in the league. On January 18, 2014, Tortorella's behavior crossed the line according to the NHL. In a match against the Calgary Flames, which had a brawl after the opening seconds of play, Tortorella was visibly angry at Flames coach Bob Hartley. After the end of the first period, Tortorella attempted to enter the Flames locker room to confront Hartley and was restrained by several coaches and players. As a result of his actions, the NHL suspended Tortorella for fifteen days and banned him from any contact with his team.

4 Nigel Clough in 2011

Nigel Clough is the first member of his family to make this list, as another Clough will be appearing soon. A 2011 match between Nottingham Forrest and Derby County turned ugly and Clough was one of the responsible parties. Clough who was the manager of Derby County apparently kneed Nottingham Forrest manager Billy Davies as players and staff members clashed after a match between the two rival clubs. Both clubs were fined 45,000 pounds for their actions. While kneeing the opposition is not exemplary behavior from a manager, what Clough did pales in comparison to the actions of his father, Brian, who also appears on this list.

3 Alan Pardew in 2014

Alan Pardew's poor disciplinary record as a Premier League manager is extensive. He has got himself in several altercations with opposing managers and has even shoved a linesman. However on March 1st, 2014 Pardew took his bad behavior to a new level. In a match where Pardew's Newcastle defeated Hull City 4-1, Pardew managed to dominate all the headlines for headbutting Hull City's David Meyler. The ball went out for a throw-in near Pardew and in Meyler's attempts to grab the ball he shoved Pardew. Instead of exuding calmness, Pardew reacted by confronting Meyler and aiming a headbutt at the player. Meyler was incensed and receive a yellow card for his actions and Pardew was sent off and received a charge for improper conduct by the Football Association and a 100,000 pound fine from Newcastle.

2 Delio Rossi in 2012

Alan Pardew should consider himself lucky for still being the manager of Newcastle. A 2-2 match between Fiorentina and Novara ended up being the final match for Fiorentina Manager Delio Rossi. While Fiorentina were trailing 2-0, Rossi substituted Adem Ljajic. The Serbian forward reacted by sarcastically giving the thumbs to Rossi when he reached his bench area. When the player sat down, Rossi ran over and appeared to slap Ljajic in the face. It appeared Rossi was lining up a punch, but the coach was pulled away by his assistants and other players. For his actions Rossi was fired by Fiorentina and was handed a three month ban by the Serie A.

1 Brian Clough in 1989

Brian Clough is often regarded as one of England's best ever football managers. His highly successful career is marked with one moment of madness in 1989. After Clough's Nottingham Forrest team defeated Queens Park Rangers 5-2, fans of Forrest ran onto the pitch to celebrate with their players. Clough walked onto the field amidst the delirious fans and proceeded to admonish the fans and even punch a couple of unsuspecting fans in the face.  Two of the fans who had been punched by Clough came to the City Ground to say sorry for what they'd done a few days later. Unfortunately, the Football Association was not as forgiving and as a result of his actions, Clough had to manage from the stands for the rest of the season.

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