The guys behind the guys… the ones who orchestrate the success of the franchises we love. Though often unsung, it’s time to recognize their brilliance.
10. Mike Rizzo, Washington Nationals. Doing it well, doing it his way.
9. Mitch Kupchak, LA Lakers. OK, he had a bad year now, but he has done brilliantly over the course of the years to keep the Lake Show in contention.
8. Lou Lamoriello, NJ Devils. Three Stanley Cups, routinely contending teams, all in a small market and built from the ground up. Best exec in hockey.
7. Sam Presti, Oklahoma City Thunder. Small market? No problem. Assembled young talent that would make any GM drool.
6. Jeremy Foley, University of Florida. Who? Foley hired Billy Donovan and Urban Meyer, resulting in being the only school to simultaneously hold both the mens’ basketball and football titles.
5. David Stern, NBA. Helped build the league into a global enterprise. Don’t be surprised to see expansion to Venus and Mars, two large but untapped TV markets, in the coming years.
4. Billy Beane, Oakland Athletics. Reigning AL Exec of the Year, won multiple division titles, winning overall record, all with what is routinely the smallest payroll in the bigs. And was the subject of a movie. Indeed.
3. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs. When are his teams ever not in contention?
2. Jim Delany, Big 10. Dominates college athletics. Without question.
1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots. Best team year in year out. Without peer in his sport.
Next Top 10: Top 10 Future Hall of Famers.