Skip to content
Menu

Five world-beating coaches who never played competitively

Who says you have to be a top sportsperson to become a brilliant coach?

David Mycock, Senior Sports Coaching Lecturer at the University of Worcester, a former professional footballer who went on to coach England and Great Britain’s blind football team, highlights five world-class coaches who never played at their respective elite levels:

1. Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho, arguably one of the best football managers of all time, has won the Champions League with two different clubs, league titles in four countries and has a silverware count of 16. However, he only had a short playing career, from 1980 to 1987, in the Portuguese second division.

2. Richard Williams

Richard Williams, father of tennis sisters Venus and Serena, never played the game professionally himself but went on to manage his two daughters to winning more than 25 grand-slam titles.

3. Angelo Dundee

Angelo Dundee was an American boxing trainer best known for his work with Muhammad Ali, and also worked with 15 other world boxing champions, but he never got in the ring competitively himself.

4. Ron Roddan

Ron Roddan was the coach responsible for the incredible success of sprinter Linford Christie, but his own sprinting career peaked with an appearance in a Middlesex County final in the 1960s.

5. Jenny Archer

Jenny Archer is the long-term coach behind one of Britain’s most successful Paralympians, David Weir. A former 400m and 800m runner she never hit the heights of athletic stardom herself but quickly rose through the coaching ranks.

“Just because you are good at sport doesn't necessarily mean you will be good at managing, coaching, consulting or teaching it. Good coaching is about helping athletes to understand themselves, where they want to be, and helping them to get there. This means having a detailed knowledge of the sport and having good communication skills, but this is only the tip of the iceberg in the modern complex world of coaching.”

David Mycock
Senior Sports Coaching Lecturer