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Coaching records in close games

Posted by Doug on March 16, 2007

Several months ago a reader emailed and asked me if I could post coach's records in games decided by 3 points or less. Well, I lost that email and I'm sure the emailer has lost hope of my ever getting around to it. But here I am, against all odds, finally getting around to it.

The following is a list consisting of all coaches who (a) coached at any point after 1950, and (b) coached in at least 64 total games. N represents the number of non-close games he coached in his career, C is the number of close games, and CWin% is his winning percentage in the close ones.

Winning percentage in games decided by 3 points or less


N C CWin%
=====================================
Vince Tobin 58 22 0.727
John Madden 112 30 0.717
Charley Winner 83 15 0.700
Nick Skorich 80 18 0.694
Joe Gibbs 138 46 0.674
Bobby Ross 117 27 0.667
John Rauch 61 9 0.667
Jim Lee Howell 69 15 0.667
Tony Dungy 135 41 0.659
Mike Holovak 92 16 0.656
Ray Rhodes 56 24 0.646
Jim Hanifan 75 18 0.639
Art Shell 78 30 0.633
Lawrence Shaw 81 15 0.633
Pete Carroll 45 19 0.632
Steve Mariucci 120 24 0.625
Mike Holmgren 185 55 0.618
George Halas 376 99 0.616
Marv Levy 191 64 0.609
Mike Sherman 73 23 0.609
Bill Parcells 226 77 0.604
Jack Patera 81 20 0.600
Ray Malavasi 65 20 0.600
George Allen 133 35 0.586
Bum Phillips 122 41 0.585
Joe Walton 93 18 0.583
Forrest Gregg 125 37 0.581
Sam Rutigliano 74 31 0.581
Jim Fassel 87 25 0.580
Steve Owen 211 50 0.580
Ron Meyer 104 19 0.579
Jerry Glanville 103 26 0.577
Don Shula 392 98 0.571
Mike Ditka 167 49 0.571
Bill Cowher 190 50 0.570
Jimmy Johnson 114 30 0.567
Jim Haslett 73 23 0.565
Allie Sherman 89 23 0.565
Dick Jauron 69 32 0.562
Wally Lemm 118 17 0.559
Dick Nolan 132 28 0.554
Mike McCormack 62 19 0.553
Don Coryell 164 39 0.551
Sam Wyche 152 39 0.538
Marvin Lewis 51 13 0.538
Bud Grant 193 66 0.538
John Robinson 115 28 0.536
Jack Christiansen 53 14 0.536
Tom Flores 141 43 0.535
Dave Wannstedt 131 45 0.533
Mike Tice 51 15 0.533
Neill Armstrong 49 15 0.533
Marty Schottenheimer 251 76 0.533
Jack Del Rio 47 17 0.529
Lou Saban 178 46 0.522
Ted Marchibroda 135 51 0.520
Tom Landry 344 74 0.514
Dan Reeves 266 94 0.511
Mike Shanahan 173 51 0.510
Jack Pardee 126 44 0.500
Vince Lombardi 108 28 0.500
Wayne Fontes 107 26 0.500
Alex Webster 55 15 0.500
Herman Edwards 72 24 0.500
Raymond Parker 149 39 0.500
John Fox 54 26 0.500
Mike Martz 78 18 0.500
Raymond Berry 67 20 0.500
Jeff Fisher 144 55 0.491
Jon Gruden 97 47 0.489
Dennis Green 163 45 0.489
Brian Billick 97 31 0.484
Joe Kuharich 114 28 0.482
Weeb Ewbank 217 49 0.480
Jim Mora 174 65 0.477
Bill Belichick 150 42 0.476
Curly Lambeau 299 75 0.473
Norm VanBrocklin 142 37 0.473
Ray Perkins 88 32 0.469
Paul Brown 227 45 0.467
Chuck Knox 264 70 0.464
Barry Switzer 51 13 0.462
Walt Michaels 62 25 0.460
Bill McPeak 58 12 0.458
Buddy Ryan 75 36 0.458
Greasy Neale 99 12 0.458
Rich Kotite 74 22 0.455
Andy Reid 95 33 0.455
Bruce Coslet 107 31 0.452
Sid Gillman 200 37 0.446
Pop Ivy 69 9 0.444
Blanton Collier 103 9 0.444
Bart Starr 105 26 0.442
George Wilson 126 34 0.441
Harland Svare 63 17 0.441
John Ralston 53 17 0.441
Wade Phillips 59 25 0.440
Tommy Prothro 84 16 0.438
Jerry Burns 72 23 0.435
Lindy Infante 68 28 0.429
Bill Walsh 115 37 0.419
John McKay 96 37 0.419
Hank Stram 195 43 0.419
Dick Vermeil 178 51 0.412
Leeman Bennett 87 32 0.406
Tom Coughlin 133 43 0.395
Chuck Noll 285 57 0.395
Howard Hickey 57 9 0.389
Joe Schmidt 67 17 0.382
Dan Henning 84 28 0.375
Butch Davis 48 16 0.375
George Seifert 133 43 0.372
Dom Capers 101 27 0.370
Dennis Erickson 74 22 0.364
David Shula 58 22 0.364
Walt Kiesling 78 21 0.357
Norv Turner 106 38 0.355
John Mackovic 46 18 0.333
Marion Campbell 100 29 0.328
Chuck Fairbanks 70 16 0.312
Monte Clark 88 31 0.306
Joe Bugel 61 19 0.263

I'm not sure what to make of these numbers, but they're kind of fun I guess.

Given the sample sizes, only a few of these close winning percentages appear to be clearly different from chance. And in a group this big, you expect for a few people to appear different from chance even if there is no real effect. Furthermore, the correlation between close-game winning percentage and non-close-game winning percentage is only .14 (and not significantly different from zero). So my five-minute assessment of the situation is that close-game winning percentage probably says more about the good or bad luck the coach experienced rather than about the coach himself.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 16th, 2007 at 5:03 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.