The 10 Most Philly Coaches Ever

Charlie Manuel? Andy Reid? Buddy Ryan? Here are the guys who say “Philly sports” more than anyone else.


Illustration by James Boyle.

This is a strange moment in Philadelphia sports. For the first time, all four of our major teams are led by rookie managers or coaches—the Eagles (Chip Kelly), Phillies (Ryne Sandberg), Flyers (Craig Berube) and Sixers (starts with a B … I think). Of course, this also means four guys got canned.

With such historic bloodshed and so many questions about the new men in charge, it’s a good time to look back at the best coaches and skippers in this city’s history. What, exactly, do I mean by “best”? One way to define it would be by championships won, but that would not only be relentlessly boring; the resulting list would also be—in this land of crushed sports dreams—ridiculously short.

Instead, for the purposes of these rankings, I’m defining “best” by Philly-ness—some essential Pattison Avenue quality about each of the men honored here, in ascending order of their bona fides. You’ll see that Andy Reid didn’t make the cut; despite his success with wins and losses, we see nothing of ourselves in Big Red (aside from, perhaps, his waistline). And in this town, your record alone doesn’t earn you a statue. Instead, this list pays tribute to the assholes, the also-rans and the epic losers (along with a winner or two) who, for better and often for worse, made us who we are as sports fans.

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