RIP to Two Coaching Legends, Buddy Ryan & Pat Summitt
Very sad news this morning as news broke of the passing of these two coaching greats, Buddy Ryan and Pat Summitt. Both of these individuals revolutionized their respective sports, and defined what it meant to be an unbelievable coach and mentor to their players.
The job of being a coach, at any level, is incredibly challenging for more than a couple reasons. But the best one's always put their players first and cared about them as if they were their own children. Buddy Ryan did just that, and also formed the greatest defensive football unit of all-time while doing it.
If the 1985 Bears weren't the best football team of ever, they most certainly had the best defensive in NFL history thanks to Buddy Ryan. However, his success did come at a cost.
Ryan was largely regarded as difficult to get along with, and abrasive. Hell, the Bears personnel director Bill Tobin even called him "the most self-centered man I've ever met in the NFL."
Despite the comments and rivalries, Ryan always put a winning product on the field, and even if it was hard for his players to believe at time, he truly did love them.
Five years after battling onset dementia in the form of Alzheimer's, legendary Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt lost her fight. The winningest coach in college basketball history, men's or women's, won a whopping 84% of her games (1,098-208) over her 38-year career. Summitt also won 8 National Titles in her tenure at Tennessee. That is simply unbelievable, and you have to believe if she was afforded a few more years, those numbers would have only increased.
The way Pat Summitt recruited, coached, and mentored her players may never be seen again in Sports history. An 84% winning percentage over 38 years tells you all you need to know about this incredible woman. Baylor women's coach Kim Mulkey has compared her to John Wooden, and I can concur that she is 100% in that class.
Check out UConn's women's coach Gene Auriemma's thoughts on Pat Summitt:
Buddy Ryan and Pat Summitt changed the game, and their excellence and determination will try to be embodied by coaches in any sport, at any level, for years to come.