9 Coaches Who’ve Also Coached Their Team’s Biggest Rivals
A head coach is often the face of the team he's leading and is paid not just to win, but to beat down the team's chief rival. That isn't too complicated, but it can get dicey when the coach once fronted that rival team. Yup, there are some coaches guiding squads whose fanbases once urged them to beat. We're talking about coaches who also coached their team's biggest rivals. Take a look:
One of the more unheralded coaches in recent NCAA memory, Montgomery towered over Stanford from 1986-2004, collecting a Final Four berth in 1998 along the way. After a brief stint in the Bay Area with the Golden State Warriors, Montgomery did the unthinkable to the Cardinal faithful: he took over Cal in 2008 and remained there until his retirement in 2014. It wasn't so successful -- he went to the NCAAs three times, but never made it past the third round.
There are few coaches who are as decorated in NCAA men's basketball history as Pitino. He paced the sidelines at Kentucky from 1989-1997, winning a national championship, finishing as national runner-up, collecting another Final Four and appearing in a pair of Elite Eights. Pitino went to cross-state rival Louisville in 2001 and all he's done is win another national title in 2013 and make two other Final Four appearances.
This one is a bit complicated. The Hooded One was the New York Jets head coach twice, but never actually coached a game. In 1997, he was named interim head coach while the Jets and Patriots worked out details letting Bill Parcells leave New England for New York
After Parcells resigned as head coach of the Jets in 1999, Belichick was named his replacement, but the day after word of his hiring got out, he announced he was resigning. Shortly afterward in 2000, he became head coach in New England starting a run of winning that continues to vex Jets fans to this day: four Super bowl titles in six appearances.
Parcells doesn't get off the hook here. In fact, he can be on this list twice. His biggest success came with the New York Giants, earning two Vince Lombardi trophies. He later coached the Dallas Cowboys during a four-year tenure from 2003-2006 that yielded two playoff appearances, but zero playoff wins.
Sandwiched in between the Giants-Cowboys years were turns first with the Patriots (1993-1996) that resulted in a Super Bowl appearance, followed by his stint with the Jets (1997-1999), punctuated by a loss in the AFC Championship Game in 1999.
This comes with an asterisk. Saban patrolled the sidelines at LSU from 1999 to 2004, claiming a BCS National championship in 2003. In 2007, Saban became coach of Alabama, where he's collected three more titles. To be fair, Alabama's biggest rival is Auburn, but LSU fans certainly felt this sting, since 'Bama and LSU are both in the SEC. Saban's run in Tuscaloosa has put him on the Mount Rushmore of college football coaches -- three national titles and an astonishing six top 10 finishes, with plenty of time for more.
Let's hop in the way back machine for this one. Durocher was manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1939-46 and again in 1948 before serving as skipper of the rival New York Giants. But here's the twist: he left the Dodgers in '48 and joined the Giants that same season. He stayed on until 1955, winning a World Series title in 1954.
Having won four World Series during a wildly successful run as manager of the New York Yankees, people tend to forget that Torre once managed that other team in the Big Apple. Torre racked up an unimpressive 286-420 record while leading the Mets during a five-year span between 1977-81. He went on to manage in Atlanta and St. Louis, failing to win a playoff game in his managerial career before taking the reins in the Bronx, where his work ultimately paved the way for his induction into the Hall of Fame. Torre, by the way, is one of four men to manage both the Yankees and the Mets. The others? Dallas Green, Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra.
The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has been burning for nearly a century now and one man has managed to serve as skipper for both franchises: Ralph Houk. He succeeded Casey Stengel in the Bronx, winning the World Series his first two years (1961 and '62). He enjoyed a long tenure with the Yankees (including a two-season stint out of the dugout as GM) before moving on to Detroit for five seasons in the '70s and then settling in with the Red Sox from 1981-'84 where he is given a lot of credit for helping to assemble the roster for the 1986 American League champions.
The late Burns coached 14 seasons with four teams, including stops with the Canadiens and their longtime rival, the Maple Leafs. His coaching career began in Montreal, where, in his maiden season in 1988, he lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. He never duplicated that success and ultimately resigned before taking over Toronto in 1992. He was let go after the 1995-'96 campaign and went to Boston before winning his one and only Stanley Cup in New Jersey in 2003.