The Miami Dolphins are in a rebuild in 2020 with Brian Flores as their head coach, but that hasn’t always been the case. Despite the organization’s struggles in recent seasons, the Dolphins are hoping that Flores shares the same success as some of the other coaches they’ve employed.
Throughout Miami’s 54 years of existence, they’ve been able to record a 457-371-4 record. Dating back to 1966 — when the Dolphins became an NFL franchise — they’ve had 13 head coaches.
Seeing that Don Shula was responsible for Miami’s two Super Bowl victories, it goes without saying that he’s the greatest head coach in Dolphins history. After eliminating the suspense on who No. 1 is, here are the top five head coaches in Dolphins’ history.
5. Adam Gase
Before Flores was hired by the Dolphins in 2019, the team had Adam Gase as their head coach from 2016-2018. When Gase was hired by Miami, they were hoping to see a drastic overhaul on the offensive side of the ball.
While the Dolphins never saw massive improvements on offense, Gase accumulated 23-25 record in his three seasons with the organization. In addition, in his first season in Miami, he led the team to its first playoff appearance since 2008.
By no means was Gase’s tenure in Miami a resounding success, especially with how his time with the team ended. Nevertheless, he’s among the five coaches in Dolphins’ history to lead the franchise to the postseason.
4. Tony Sparano
As mentioned previously, prior to Miami’s playoff bid in 2016, the last time the Dolphins made the playoffs came in 2008. The head coach in 2008 was Tony Sparano, who was in his first season with the team in 2008.
Sparano would spend four seasons with the Dolphins, amassing a 29-32 record during his time in Miami. Similarly to Gase, Sparano would lose the lone playoff game that the Dolphins made during his tenure.
Nevertheless, his 29 wins are the fourth-most in franchise history. While he didn’t get a chance to finish his final season with the Dolphins, he’s still one of the most successful coaches that Miami has had.
3. Dave Wannstedt
In the early 2000s, the Dolphins saw a bit of success with Jay Fiedler as their quarterback. At the same time, Dave Wannstedt was able to aid Miami in having a playoff team for a few seasons as the team’s head coach.
Back in 2001, in Wannstedt’s second season with the Dolphins, the team was able to defeat the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card Round. However, Miami would proceed to lose to the Oakland Raiders by the score of 27-0.
With that being said, despite the two appearances they’ve made since, Miami’s last playoff victory came in 2001. That alone is enough for Wannstedt to be remembered as one of the best coaches that the Dolphins have employed.
2. Jimmy Johnson
Right before Wannstedt showed up to Miami, Jimmy Johnson was the head coach of the Dolphins. Prior to accepting the Dolphins job in 1996, Johnson was out of the NFL for two years.
But before his time with the Dolphins, Johnson was coming off of back-to-back Super Bowls as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Therefore, there were lofty expectations for Johnson as he made his way to South Beach.
Following a successful regime with the Cowboys, Johnson helped the Dolphins instill a winning culture from 1996-1999. Even though he won two playoff games during his time in Miami, Johnson has the second-most postseason wins in franchise history.
1. Don Shula
Wow, what a surprise it is to Shula land at No. 1 on this list. Not only is Shula the longest-tenured coach in Miami’s history, but he is also the winningest coach in NFL history with 328 wins over 33 years in the league.
Of those 33 years in the NFL, Shula spent 26 of them with the Dolphins from 1970-1995. In just his third season with the team, Shula led the Dolphins to their first Super Bowl in their franchise’s existence while being the first team to go undefeated in NFL history.
Furthermore, Shula would lead the Dolphins to back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 1972-1973. Regardless of who is the head coach in Miami, it’ll be tough for them to achieve what Shula did during his long stay with the organization.