Field of dreams: Championship coaches tell of small-town starts

Thu Mar 5, 2015 3:51pm EST
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By Chris Taylor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It doesn't matter if you are Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning or any other of the all-time sports greats: Even the most talented people on the planet need a coach.

With that in mind, Reuters talked to four great coaches - Tony La Russa, Nick Saban, Lou Holtz and Scotty Bowman - about their first jobs and the path that led them to their legendary careers in hockey, baseball and football. It's part of our series to accompany the nation's monthly jobs reports

Tony La Russa

Claim to Fame: Three World Series titles and six league championships with the Chicago White Sox, the Oakland A's and the St. Louis Cardinals.

First job: Diaper handler

"My father was a milkman, and I would help him from time to time. However, my first paid position came from the sponsors in my Pony League. Alongside two of my teammates, we would have to wash, dry and fold all the diapers picked by Rock-A-Bye Diapers, a local cloth-diaper delivery service.

"We made a few dollars, but it was more about keeping the sponsor happy. I decided I need to improve my baseball skills to stay in baseball, so I would never have to work for a living."   Continued...

Notre Dame alumni coach Lou Holtz (L) directs to his team before the start of the Notre Dame Japan Bowl football game against Japan in Tokyo July 25, 2009. REUTERS/Issei Kato