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Shades of gray

A look at some of the oldest coaches in sports.

June 21, 2011

Connie Mack, 87 (age at retirement)

Baseball, Philadelphia Athletics

Jack McKeon is second only to Mack when it comes to Major League Baseball's oldest managers. Mack was a healthy 87 years old when he managed his final season in 1950 for the Athletics — a team he also owned. Mack managed the A's for a full 50 years, and he won five World Series. He owns the record for most wins (3,582) and losses (3,814) by a major league manager.

Joe Paterno, 84

College football, Penn State

"JoePa" is still at work. The Penn State legend hasn't been as active in recent years because of a hip injury in 2008, but he'll enter his 46th season this fall. If his Nittany Lions can scratch out eight wins this season, Paterno (401-135-3) will pass Eddie Robinson for second all-time in career victories. He has two national championships to his name and, as of last year, a trophy with his name etched on it. In December, the Big Ten announced that the winner of its title game will earn the Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy.

Amos Alonzo Stagg, 84

College football, University of Chicago Maroons, U of Pacific Tigers

The "Grand Old Man of American Football" also coached track, baseball and even basketball for one season. But the coach gets his title for the way he changed the game. While Stagg coached at the University of Chicago, he developed everything from tackling dummies to the lateral to uniform numbers. After he retired from Chicago, he coached at Pacific for 14 years, and even coached his son at Susquehanna (Pa.) University as an assistant until 1952. When he died at his home in Stockton, he was 102.

Tevester Anderson, 74

College basketball, Jackson State

Anderson got a late start as a rookie head coach at Murray State in 1998 at the age of 61. This fall he'll start his ninth season at Jackson State. Anderson's Tigers were 17-1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in 2009-10 but were upset in the semifinals of the conference tournament last season and finished 17-15.

George Halas, 72

Pro football, Chicago Bears

"Papa Bear" was the face of the Chicago Bears in their first 40 years. He owned the team, named it, marketed it and even played until the end of the 1929 season. By 1933, he was back at the helm again as head coach, and he would win five NFL championships before he retired in 1967. In that 34-year span, he took a hiatus to serve in the military, and he retired once in 1955. But the feisty coach couldn't stay off the sidelines for long. He retired permanently when a hip replacement demanded that he relax.

Hubie Brown, 71

Pro basketball, Memphis Grizzlies

Contemporary sports fans might know of Brown for his work as a TV analyst, constantly decrying the "low-percentage" shot. But Brown coached in the NBA for 12 seasons, the final three of which came when he was named head coach of the Memphis Grizzles at the age of 69. That stint lasted only three seasons, although Brown was NBA coach of the year in the middle of his tenure. It came 26 seasons after he won it the first time coaching the Atlanta Hawks in 1977-78.

Scotty Bowman, 68

Hockey, Detroit Red Wings

The NHL's all-time leader in both regular-season and postseason wins, Bowman bowed out after winning the Stanley Cup for the ninth time with the Red Wings in 2002. But Bowman has remained active since, and won the Cup three more times working in the front offices of the Red Wings and, now, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Oldest coaches, at time of hiring

Jack McKeon, 80

Baseball, Florida Marlins

In the midst of an 11-game losing streak, Marlins ownership is looking to "Trader Jack" to bring back some of the magic from a 2003 World Series run.

Joe Gibbs, 63

Pro football, Washington Redskins

The Hall of Famer left his race cars behind and returned to the Redskins in 2004. He was a popular choice to lead a team burdened by big contracts but suffering from underachievement. Gibbs would resign after four seasons, citing family reasons.

Hubie Brown, 69

Pro basketball, Memphis Grizzlies

In a surprising move, Jerry West hired Brown to take the reins of a Grizzlies team that started the 2002-03 season 0-8. In an even more surprising move, Brown took the job.

Pat Quinn, 66

Hockey, Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers hired Quinn in 2009, but his team would finish in last place in his only season at the helm.

—Matt Stevens

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