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Five Most Admirable College Coaches

Most college sports teams dedicate a great deal of time and effort to gaining victory. Behind every great player is an even better coach. Coaching take patience and persistence. From the past and present, here are five of the most admirable college coaches. These individuals are and were known for their inspiration on and off the field or court.

1. Mike Krzyzewski

Since 1980, Mike Krzyzewski, or Coach K, has been the men’s basketball coach for Duke University. During his tenure, his teams have earned four National Championships. Outside of college, he led the United States to two gold medals in the Olympic Games.

Besides his amazing record, he is an inspiration outside the game as well. He is a strong leader who is known for his character. “People will not follow you unless you show them you are real. They will not believe you unless they trust you, and they will not trust you unless you tell the truth and admit you did wrong.” A testament to his dedication is the way he encourages others to dream big. He began the Emily Krzyzewski Center, a non-profit in Durham, with a mission to inspire school-aged kids to act with character and reach out to their community.

2. Lou Holtz

Although Lou Holtz retired in 2004, he will always be remembered as a successful college coach. He is most famous for coaching football at Notre Dame from 1986 to 1996. He took the Irish to nine consecutive bowl games. He later joined a college football program in South Carolina. Here, he turned a losing team into a force. Thanks to his love of the game and his incredible inspirational spirit, he is the only person to lead six different schools to bowl games within the first two years of becoming head coach.

Holtz is a devout Catholic. He credits his faith for much of his success. He explains everyone needs a passion for something, someone to love, something to hope for, and someone to believe in. This is an admirable creed that he lives by and teaches to individuals on and off the field.

3. Joe Paterno

Even after his death, Joe Paterno lives forever in the minds of Penn State football fans. He is another great coach that brought honor to the game. Since 1950, he passionately served the school and its sports program with distinction, principle, and success. Throughout his tenure, he led the Nittany Lions to two National Championships and five undefeated seasons. The student body viewed him as a father figure and referred to him as “JoePa.”

Paterno stressed education just as much as football. Under his leadership, his players had an 87 percent graduation rate, much higher than the national average. In the outside community, he and his wife supported the Special Olympics and donated over $4 million for the college’s main library. His legacy is something that will not be soon forgotten.

4. Nick Saban

After Alabama’s football coach Nick Saban shared his fifth National Championship with the Crimson Tide, many sports enthusiasts called him the best coach of all times. He has managed to motivate his players and encourage a team atmosphere. He always tells players working together helps everyone achieve more. He also stresses the importance of being a champion on and off the field.

At one point, Alabama was slammed with negative allegations of misconduct. When he took control of the football program, he brought the idea of honor back to the team. He explains everyone faces adversity, but it is vital to fight the challenges with heads held high. People admire him for how he raises the bar, recruits great players, and understands the value of teamwork.

5. Pat Summitt

After 38 seasons, Pat Summitt is the most winning coach in NCAA I history. She always fought hard to put women’s basketball on an even standard as men’s sports. Besides her dedication to basketball, she emphasized the need for education. Everyone who played for her earned a college degree. She demanded her players work hard and respect others on the court and in life. Upon retirement, she revealed she was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. She continues to raise money and bring awareness to Alzheimer’s disease so that effected individuals can live with dignity and someday receive a cure.

The above coaches evoke feelings of admiration for their work in sports and the community. They have encouraged students to succeed as players and in life. They have earned the respect of the college sports community and enjoy legacies that speak volumes about their characters.

Another worthy resource:

30 Most Influential Women in College Sports