Philadelphia has had some incredible athletes play in our city. However, they are nothing without the incredible coaches. When I first started on this journey, I wanted to do a coaches article. Just like every article, picking just four was incredibly hard. That is why I decided to break it up into professional coaches and college coaches.
There have been a lot of coaches that have had hall of fame careers while in Philly or got their first start here. Three of the coaches that made this list are active coaches while one is a legend in his sport. Coaches rarely spend their entire career with one school and these four are no exceptions. Even though they all worked for multiple schools over their hall of fame careers, it was during their time at a Philly school that helped them stand out.
The only person on this list that is still active at a Philadelphia school. Over the last 2 decades Coach Wright has transformed Villanova not only into a national contender but into the standard of college basketball. 3 final fours, 2 national championships, and 2 Naismith College Coach of the Year awards. My favorite quality in Coach Wright is all of his players graduate. Not only does he win National Championships but he also focuses on academics. One of the best coaches in all of basketball has to be an easy pick for this honor.
Do you have any idea who has the most wins in college football amongst active coaches? It is not Nick Saban or Dabo Sweeney, it is Al Bagnoli. With over 250 career victories Al Bagnoli led Penn to 9 outright Ivy League championships (the most of all time.) Many college football coaches got their start from a Philly school but they all went to larger programs. Bagnoli stayed at Penn for over 20 years and turned them into an Ivy League powerhouse.
I really wanted to focus on coaches that most of their success came while they were in Philadelphia. However, Dawn Staley was incredible at Temple and then went on to do even greater things at South Carolina and for USA Basketball. In 8 years at Temple, she led the team to the NCAA Tournament 6 times, 5 conference championships, and is the winningest coach in program history. She represented Philadelphia tremendously while at Temple and has been nothing but amazing at South Carolina.
There is no doubt that Coach Chaney should be on this list. With over 700 career victories, he was a head coach for a basketball team in Philadelphia since 1966. He first started off as a high school coach at Simon Gratz, then moved on to Cheyney State, and then finally took Temple to new heights. He is best known as a very strict and tough coach, but his teams always were respected. Best known for revolutionizing the match-up zone defense, he helped lead Temple to the Elite 8 5 times.
Honorable Mention: Rollie Massimino and Phil Martelli
Coming soon: Philadelphia Phillies