15 Greatest Coaches

The NBA unveiled the 15 Greatest Coaches in NBA history as part of the continuing celebration of the league’s 75th Anniversary Season. The list was selected by a panel of 43 current & former NBA head coaches in collaboration with the National Basketball Coaches Association.

Click on the names below to jump to view a coach's resume.

Red AuerbachLarry BrownChuck DalyRed HolzmanPhil JacksonK.C. JonesSteve KerrDon NelsonGregg PopovichJack RamsayPat RileyDoc RiversJerry SloanErik SpoelstraLenny Wilkens

Red Auerbach

NBA Seasons Coached: 20
Regular-Season Record: 938-479 (.662)
NBA Championships: 9
NBA Coach of the Year Awards: 1
Basketball Hall of Fame Class: 1969

  • Guided the Boston Celtics to nine NBA championships (1956-57 and 1958-59 – 1965-66).
  • Ranks second in career NBA championships, behind Phil Jackson (11).
  • Won a record eight consecutive NBA championships (1958-59 – 1965-66).
  • Ranks 12th on the all-time wins list in the regular season and fifth in the playoffs (99).
  • Retired in 1966 as the winningest head coach in NBA history and held the record until 1995.
  • Has the fifth-highest winning percentage in the regular season (min. 400 games).
  • Named the 1964-65 NBA Coach of the Year – his second-to-last season as a head coach and the third season of the award.
  • Worked as a head coach in each of the NBA’s first 20 seasons.
  • Served as a head coach in the NBA All-Star Game a record 11 times.
  • NBA Coach of the Year Award trophy is named in his honor.

Larry Brown

NBA Seasons Coached: 26

Regular-Season Record: 1,098-904 (.548)

NBA Championships: 1

NBA Coach of the Year Awards: 1
Basketball Hall of Fame Class: 2002

  • Ranks eighth on the all-time wins list in the regular season and fourth in the playoffs (100).

  • Tied for fourth place in seasons coached and ranks sixth in regular-season games coached (2,002).
  • Coached an NBA-record eight different franchises to the playoffs: Denver Nuggets, New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn Nets), San Antonio Spurs, LA Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Bobcats (now Charlotte Hornets).
  • Guided Detroit to the NBA championship in 2003-04.
  • Reached the NBA Finals with Philadelphia in 2000-01 and Detroit in 2004-05.
  • Named the 2000-01 NBA Coach of the Year with the 76ers.
  • Served as a head coach in the NBA All-Star Game twice.
  • Received the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Basketball Coaches Association in 2021.

Chuck Daly

NBA Seasons Coached: 14

Regular-Season Record: 638-437 (.593)

NBA Championships: 2

Basketball Hall of Fame Class: 1994

  • Guided the Detroit Pistons to back-to-back NBA titles (1988-89, 1989-90).
  • Ranks 25th on the all-time wins list in the regular season and tied for 14th in the playoffs (75).
  • Has the 12th-highest regular-season winning percentage (min. 400 games).
  • Recorded a .595 winning percentage in the playoffs (75-51).
  • Qualified for the playoffs in 12 of his 13 full seasons as an NBA head coach.
  • Posted a 467-271 record (.633) in nine seasons with Detroit – the winningest head coach in franchise history.
  • Led the Pistons to five straight seasons of at least 50 victories from 1986-87 – 1990-91.
  • Coached Detroit to the NBA Finals in 1987-88, the first of three appearances in a row.
  • National Basketball Coaches Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award is named in his honor.

Red Holzman

NBA Seasons Coached: 18
Regular-Season Record: 696-603 (.536)
NBA Championships: 2
NBA Coach of the Year Awards: 1
Basketball Hall of Fame Class: 1986

  • Ranks 20th on the all-time wins list in the regular season and 19th in the playoffs (58).
  • Retired in 1982 as the second-winningest head coach in NBA history.
  • Guided the New York Knicks to two NBA championships (1969-70, 1972-73).
  • Led New York to a 613-483 record (.559) in 14 seasons – the winningest head coach in franchise history.
  • Coached the Knicks to the NBA Finals in 1971-72.
  • Named the 1969-70 NBA Coach of the Year – the first winner of the award in Knicks history.
  • Served as a head coach in the NBA All-Star Game twice.

Phil Jackson

NBA Seasons Coached: 20

Regular-Season Record: 1,155-485 (.704)

NBA Championships: 11

NBA Coach of the Year Awards: 1

Basketball Hall of Fame Class: 2007

  • Holds the record for most NBA championships as a head coach.
  • Won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls (1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97 and 1997-98) and five with the Los Angeles Lakers (1999-00, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2008-09 and 2009-10).
  • Has the most career playoff victories (229).
  • Ranks seventh on the all-time regular-season wins list.
  • Owns the highest winning percentage in the regular season (min. 400 games) and second-highest winning percentage in the playoffs at .688 (min. 25 games).
  • Won three consecutive NBA championships twice with the Bulls and once with the Lakers.
  • Named NBA Coach of the Year for 1995-96 after leading the Bulls to a then-record 72 wins.
  • Worked as a head coach in the NBA Finals a record 13 times.
  • Served as a head coach in the NBA All-Star Game four times.

K.C. Jones

NBA Seasons Coached: 10

Regular-Season Record: 522-252 (.674)

NBA Championships: 2

  • Has the fourth-highest regular-season winning percentage (min. 400 games)
    Guided the Boston Celtics to two NBA championships (1983-84 and 1985-86).
  • Led the Celtics to four consecutive NBA Finals appearances (1983-84 – 1986-87).
  • Posted a winning percentage of .751 (308-102) in five seasons as Boston’s head coach.
  • Coached the Washington Bullets (now Washington Wizards) to NBA Finals in 1974-75.
  • Ranks ninth on the all-time playoff wins list (81).
  • Compiled a record of .500 or better in every season as an NBA head coach.
  • Served as a head coach in the NBA All-Star Game five times.
  • Co-recipient (with Jerry Sloan) of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Basketball Coaches Association in 2016.
  • Elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player (1989).

Steve Kerr

NBA Seasons Coached: 8
Regular-Season Record: 417-184 (.694)
NBA Championships: 3
NBA Coach of the Year Awards: 1

  • Guided the Golden State Warriors to three NBA championships in his first four seasons as a head coach (2014-15, 2016-17,  2017-18).
  • Stands as one of six head coaches to win three or more NBA championships.
  • Led Golden State to five consecutive NBA Finals appearances (2014-15 – 2018-19), the second-longest streak in league history.
  • Has the highest playoff winning percentage in NBA history (min. 25 games) at .733 (77-28).
  • Ranks third in career regular-season winning percentage (min. 400 games).
  • Joined assistant coach/interim head coach Luke Walton in leading the Warriors to an NBA-record 73 wins in 2015-16.
  • Named NBA Coach of the Year for 2015-16.
  • Coached the Warriors to NBA records for the most playoff victories in a row (15) and the best single-season playoff winning percentage (.941; 16-1 record), both in the 2016-17 season.
  • Has served as a head coach in the NBA All-Star Game twice.

Don Nelson

NBA Seasons Coached: 31

Regular-Season Record: 1,335-1,063 (.557)

NBA Coach of the Year Awards: 3

Basketball Hall of Fame Class: 2012

  • Has the most regular-season victories in NBA history.

  • Surpassed Lenny Wilkens on April 7, 2010, as the winningest head coach in NBA history.

  • Ranks second in seasons coached and regular-season games coached (2,398).

  • Named NBA Coach of the Year for 1982-83, 1984-85 and 1991-92.

  • Shares the NBA record for most Coach of the Year awards (along with Pat Riley and Gregg Popovich).

  • Won at least 300 games with three different franchises: Milwaukee Bucks (540), Golden State Warriors (422) and Dallas Mavericks (339).

  • Recorded 13 seasons with 50 or more wins, including two with 60 victories.

  • Served as a head coach in the NBA All-Star Game twice.

Gregg Popovich

NBA Seasons Coached: 26

Regular-Season Record: 1,330-687 (.661)

NBA Championships: 5

NBA Coach of the Year Awards: 3

  • Ranks third on the all-time wins list in both the regular season and playoffs (170).
  • Has the most combined victories across the regular season and playoffs (1,496).
  • Guided the San Antonio Spurs to five NBA championships: 1998-99, 2002-03, 2004-05, 2006-07 and 2013-14.
  • Tied for the third-most NBA championships (along with John Kundla and Pat Riley).
  • Named NBA Coach of the Year for 2002-03, 2011-12 and 2013-14.
  • Shares the NBA record for most Coach of the Year awards (along with Don Nelson and Pat Riley).
  • Has coached San Antonio for 26 seasons, the longest tenure with one franchise in NBA history.
  • Ranks sixth in career regular-season winning percentage (min. 400 games).
  • Served as a head coach in the NBA All-Star Game four times.

Jack Ramsay

NBA Seasons Coached: 21

Regular-Season Record: 864-783 (.525)

NBA Championships: 1

Basketball Hall of Fame Class: 1992

  • Ranks 14th on the all-time regular-season wins list.
  • Retired as the second-winningest coach in NBA history.
  • Led the Portland Trail Blazers to the NBA championship in 1976-77.
  • Coached four different franchises to the playoffs: Trail Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers, Buffalo Braves (now LA Clippers) and Indiana Pacers.
  • Guided Portland to the playoffs in nine of his 10 seasons as its head coach.
  • Winningest head coach in Trail Blazers history (453 regular-season victories).
  • Led Buffalo to the first three playoff berths in franchise history.
  • Named co-recipient (along with Tex Winter) of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Basketball Coaches Association in 2010.

Pat Riley

NBA Seasons Coached: 24

Regular-Season Record: 1,210-694 (.636)

NBA Championships: 5

NBA Coach of the Year Awards: 3

Basketball Hall of Fame Class: 2008

  • Ranks fifth on the all-time wins list in the regular season and second in the playoffs (171).
  • Led the Los Angeles Lakers to four NBA championships (1981-82, 1984-85, 1986-87 and 1987-88) and the Miami Heat to one (2005-06).
  • Tied for the third-most NBA championships (along with John Kundla and Gregg Popovich).
  • Named NBA Coach of the Year for 1989-90, 1992-93 and 1996-97.
  • Shares the NBA record for most Coach of the Year awards (along with Don Nelson and Gregg Popovich).
  • Only head coach to be selected as NBA Coach of the Year with three different franchises (Lakers, Heat and New York Knicks).
  • Has the seventh-highest winning percentage in the regular season (min. 400 games).
  • Served as a head coach in the NBA All-Star Game nine times.
  • Received the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Basketball Coaches Association in 2012.

Doc Rivers

NBA Seasons Coached: 22

Regular-Season Record: 1,024-725 (.585)

NBA Championships: 1

NBA Coach of the Year Awards: 1

  • Ranks 10th on the all-time wins list in the regular season and tied for sixth in the playoffs (98).
  • Led the Boston Celtics to the 2007-08 NBA championship.
  • Guided Boston to the NBA Finals in 2009-10.
  • Ranks 11th in regular-season games coached (1,749).
  • Has coached four different franchises to the playoffs: Celtics, Orlando Magic, LA Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers.
  • Named NBA Coach of the Year for 1999-2000 with Orlando – his first season as an NBA head coach.
  • Winningest head coach in Clippers history (356 regular-season victories).
  • Qualified for the playoffs in 17 of his previous 22 seasons as an NBA head coach.
  • Served as a head coach in the NBA All-Star Game three times.

Jerry Sloan

NBA Seasons Coached: 26

Regular-Season Record: 1,221-803 (.603)

Basketball Hall of Fame Class: 2009

  • Ranks fourth on the all-time regular-season wins list.
  • Has the sixth-most victories in the playoffs (98).
  • Served as head coach of the Utah Jazz for 23 seasons, the second-longest tenure with a team in NBA history.
  • Coached in the fourth-most games in both the regular season (2,024) and playoffs (202).
  • Guided the Jazz to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
  • Led Utah to 15 straight playoff appearances from 1988-89 – 2002-03.
  • First head coach to win 1,000 regular-season games with one team.
  • Recorded three seasons with 60 or more wins and 13 seasons with 50 or more wins.
  • Named co-recipient (with K.C. Jones) of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Basketball Coaches Association in 2016.

Erik Spoelstra


NBA Seasons Coached: 14
Regular-Season Record: 642-444 (.591)
NBA Championships: 2

  • Guided the Miami Heat to back-to-back NBA championships in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
  • Ranks 24th on the all-time wins list in the regular season and eighth in the playoffs (85).
  • Led Miami to five NBA Finals appearances and 10 playoff berths in the previous 13 seasons.
  • Coached the Heat to four straight NBA Finals appearances (2010-11 – 2013-14), one of five head coaches to reach four Finals in a row.
  • Has served as Miami’s head coach for 14 seasons, tied for the fourth-longest tenure with a franchise in NBA history.
    One of nine head coaches to win an NBA championship in consecutive seasons.
  • Winningest head coach in Heat history (642 regular-season victories).
  • Set to serve as a head coach in the NBA All- Star Game for the second time.

Lenny Wilkens

NBA Seasons Coached: 32

Regular-Season Record: 1,332-1,155 (.536)

NBA Championships: 1

NBA Coach of the Year Awards: 1

Basketball Hall of Fame Class: 1998 ( Coach)

  • Ranks second on the all-time regular-season wins list.
    Holds NBA records for seasons coached and regular-season games coached (2,487).
  • Surpassed Red Auerbach on Jan. 6, 1995, as the winningest head coach in NBA history – a record that Wilkens held until 2010.
  • First NBA head coach to win 1,000 regular-season games.
    Guided the Seattle SuperSonics to the NBA championship in 1978-79.
  • Named the 1993-94 NBA Coach of the Year with the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Served as a head coach in the NBA All-Star Game four times.
  • Received the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Basketball Coaches Association in 2011.
  • Elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach and a player (1989).
  • Recently selected to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team as a player.