HomeFootball DirtThe Success Rate of Coaches Replacing Legends

The Success Rate of Coaches Replacing Legends

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During one of the craziest weeks of football in recent memory, we saw the end of an era for legends like Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Belichick, 71, and Saban, 72, are easily two of the greatest coaches that the sport has ever seen. Next season, college football will look very different without Saban coaching Alabama. Meanwhile, the NFL will also look very different without Belichick coaching the Patriots. Both teams will have huge decisions about how to fill these massive shoes. While there are some interesting candidates for the gig in New England and the job in Tuscaloosa, can either live up to the reputation that Belichick and Saban built? We looked back at some of the most legendary coaches in football history, both in the NFL and in college football, to learn how these replacements have typically fared. The results are a fairly mixed bag but if there is one thing we learned, it is that it is not easy to replace someone as accomplished as either of these two Hall of Fame-caliber coaches. YEARS: 1918 – 1930 (13 seasons, 3 championships) RECORD: 105-12-5 (.881) REPLACEMENT: Hunk Anderson YEARS: 1931 – 1933 (3 seasons) RECORD: 16-9-2 (.630) Rockne was only 43 years old and one of the most famous sports figures in the country when he tragically died in a plane crash. Notre Dame was coming off a 10-0 season in which it claimed back-to-back national titles amid a 19-game win streak. That would’ve been impossible to follow under the best of circumstances. Hunk Anderson lasted just three years in South Bend before Elmer Layden replaced him in 1934. — Blake Schuster David Boss-USA TODAY Sports YEARS: 1959 – 1967 (9 seasons, 5 championships) RECORD: 89-29-4 (.754) REPLACEMENT: Phil Bengtson YEARS: 1968 – 1970 (3 seasons) RECORD: 20-21-1 (.488) Many consider Vince Lombardi the best football coach in history and with good reason. He never had a losing season in the NFL and the Super Bowl trophy was named after him. Lombardi resigned as Green Bay head coach but was the general manager of the franchise, where he hired former assistant coach Phil Bengston as his successor. Bengston was the only assistant coach to work as an assistant for the entire time Lombardi was a head coach for the Packers. He was eventually relieved of his duties as a head coach in 1970. — Bryan Kalbrosky David Boss-USA TODAY Sports YEARS: 1920 – 1967 (40 seasons, 6 championships) RECORD: 149-31 (.682) 1ST REPLACEMENT: Ralph Jones (3 seasons, 1 championship) YEARS: 1930-1932 RECORD: 24-10-7 (.585) 2ND REPLACEMENT: Hunk Anderson & Luke Johnsos (4 seasons, 1 championship) YEARS: 1942 – 1945 RECORD: 23-11-2 (.638) 3RD REPLACEMENT: Paddy Driscoll (2 seasons) YEARS: 1956 – 1957 RECORD: 14-9-1 (.583) 4TH REPLACEMENT: Jim Dooley (4 seasons) YEARS: 1968 – 1972 RECORD: 20-36 (.357) Papa Bear tried retiring four times before it finally stuck. First, he was replaced in 1930 by Ralph Jones, then Halas came back in 1933 for another 10 years. In 1943 he gave way to Hunk Anderson and Luke Johnsos as he rejoined the Navy during World War II. Halas returned to the sidelines in 1946 and lasted until 1955 when Paddy Driscoll took over the following year. That lasted for three years until Halas came back for another decade and finally retired for good in 1967. Jim Dooley was named his successor and lasted four years — but at least he wasn’t replaced by Halas. — Blake Schuster Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports YEARS: 1951 – 1978 (28 seasons, 5 championships) RECORD: 205–61–10 (.761) REPLACE…

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