Sports Law Blog
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Managers and Coaches with Law Degrees

The WSJ Law Blog has a post up on Cardinals manager / FSU Law grad Tony La Russa, which notes that a total of seven J.D.'s have managed baseball teams. Are lawyers-turned-managers more common (or more effective) in baseball than in other sports? Or is the fact that Wikipedia can name seven lawyer-managers merely a feature of the national pasttime's longevity?

Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach is a Pepperdine law grad. And of course the great Vince Lombardi attended law school at night (Fordham, but for only one semester, apparently). Former Missouri basketball coach Quin Snyder was a J.D./MBA (Duke), although it didn't help him avoid allegations of NCAA violations or keep his job. Who else am I missing?


Former Georgetown University men's basketball coach Craig Esherick was a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center. Given the play of the Hoyas while he was coach, it was clear that GU Law doesn't teach "basketball plays and the law" or "how to win, rather than lose, a game in the closing moments (and the law)."

Blogger Michael McCann -- 10/11/2006 4:03 PM  

Rick Neuheisel had a law degree from USC. He was the former Washington and Colorado head football coach. He is now the quarterbacks coach with the Baltimore Ravens.

Like Quinn Snyder, the degree did not help him avoid NCAA snactions. As a husky, I know this all too well.

Blogger bingisser -- 10/11/2006 4:50 PM  

Former Cal Bears and Arizona Wildcats tennis coach Bill Wright has a JD and practiced law before coaching. I was the graduate assistant coach for the men's tennis team at University of Washington while in law school there and learned about Coach Wright's background while speaking with him during an Arizona-Washington dual match. Interesting career track...

Blogger Ryan Rodenberg -- 10/11/2006 5:54 PM  

I always found it ironic that the one MLB manager with a law degree (La Russa) is the one with the worst reputation as far as ordering his pitchers to throw beanballs.

Blogger Rick Karcher -- 10/11/2006 6:03 PM  

Not really a coach or manager, but Hall of Famer 49er Steve Young did law school during the offseason

Anonymous Chirs -- 10/11/2006 9:25 PM  

Gary Bettman, Paul Tagliabue, David Stern BUT NOT.......SELIG

Anonymous Anonymous -- 10/11/2006 9:55 PM  

"Gary Bettman, Paul Tagliabue, David Stern BUT NOT.......SELIG"

Finally a point in Bud Lite's favor!

Blogger John Salmon -- 10/12/2006 2:31 AM  

I think that Joe Paterno from Penn State has a JD.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 10/12/2006 8:05 AM  

I always found it ironic that the one MLB manager with a law degree (La Russa) is the one with the worst reputation as far as ordering his pitchers to throw beanballs.

Rick, you find those two things inconsistent? :)

Perhaps LaRussa did poorly in Professional Responsibility, and on the MPRE.

Speaking of which, wouldn't you love to know what his grades were?

Blogger ChapelHeel -- 10/12/2006 10:50 AM  

According to Wiki, Paterno had planned to go to law school after a brief stint as an assistant coach, but never did.

Blogger Geoffrey Rapp -- 10/12/2006 11:26 AM  

Former Auburn University head football coach Terry Bowden has a J.D. from Florida State.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 10/12/2006 11:44 AM  

Former law school classmate and diehard Cubs fan Bryan Stroh tells me that former Cubs GM (now special assistant to the GM) Ed Lynch also has a JD, from the University of Miami School of Law.

Blogger Michael McCann -- 10/12/2006 11:48 AM  

Didn't Ditka go to Yale Law and clerk for Thurgood Marshall before a stint in the U.S. Attorney's Office convinced him to return to football? Or am I thinking of Tom Coughlin?

Anonymous Collin -- 10/12/2006 1:29 PM  

Everybody knows that Al "The Mad Hungarian" Hrabosky has a JD from Northwestern, made Law Review, clerked for Byron White, and tried criminal cases on days when he knew he wouldn't be pitching.

Blogger John Salmon -- 10/13/2006 12:18 AM  

Jay Bilas was an assistant at Duke for a while, and got his law degree from Duke at the same time.

Blogger Milbarge -- 10/14/2006 2:53 AM  

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