When the Buffalo Sabres dismissed Lindy Ruff Tuesday afternoon, it ended the run of one of the longest-tenured coaches in North American sports.
Ruff led the Sabres to multiple Eastern Conference Finals and one Stanley Cup appearance but his message had become stale in Buffalo.
In this day and age, with owners and general managers becoming less and less patient, Ruff’s 16 seasons is an impressive accomplishment.
With Ruff’s impressive stretch in mind, here are some of the other longest-tenured coaches around the sports world
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs (Hired: Dec. 10, 1996)
Other than Phil Jackson, Popovich has been the most dominant coach in the NBA over the last 15 years.
Under Popovich, the San Antonio Spurs have been one of the league’s most consistent teams and have done it without adding any superstar players in free agency or trades.
Popovich has been able to keep the Spurs atop the Western Conference since the franchise acquired Tim Duncan in the 1997 Draft.
The longtime Spurs coach has built a dynasty, an incredible feat in a small market like San Antonio.
Even with an aging group of core players, the Spurs remain in contention and one of the savviest teams on the defensive end.
We don’t see the Spurs getting rid of Popovich any time soon and his exit would most likely come on his own terms.
Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators (Aug. 6, 1997)
Just like Popovich, Trotz has been able to get the most out of a small-market franchise.
The longtime Nashville Predators coach has been with the franchise since its inception and is widely considered one of the top coaches in the NHL.
It took Trotz a while to build up an expansion franchise but the Predators have made the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons. Unlike a certain team in Toronto.
Even with his resume, Trotz has never won the Jack Adams Trophy for the NHL’s coach of the year.
Outside of Trotz, the longest-serving NHL coach is Mike Babcock with the Detroit Red Wings (hired in 2005,).
Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Nov. 18, 1999)
There were rumblings that Mike Scioscia was on the hot seat after disappointing season with the Los Angeles Angels in 2012 but he has been one of the most effective managers over the past decade.
The former catcher helped the Angels end a 15-year playoff drought in 2002 when they defeated Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants to win their first World Series championship.
The 54-year-old Scioscia has amassed the most wins in Angels’ history and is a two-time MLB Manager of the Year Award winner.
The Angels made the postseason in six of Scioscia’s first 10 seasons as manager.
The next longest-tenured manager in the MLB is Minnesota Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire, who was officially hired in January of 2002.
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots (Jan. 27, 2000)
He may not be the most likeable character but Bill Belichick has been the face of NFL coaches since he was hired by the New England Patriots at the turn of the century.
After going 5-11 in his first season, Belichick has helped turn the Patriots into a consistent championship contender.
Belichick won three Super Bowls in his first five seasons with the club and led the team to a perfect 16-0 season in 2007.
Even though he is known for his defensive prowess, he has been able to adjust to his personnel and helped turn Tom Brady and the Patriots into the offensive force they are today.
While Belichick has not won a championship since 2004, he is no danger of losing his job and will likely end his tenure with his own retirement.