Toronto FC is on to their 7th different coach and up until now there has been very little success to talk about for any of them. That makes it kind of difficult to rate which coach has been the best for the club as not one has managed to ever stick around for two full seasons.
The recently released Aron Winter was actually the club's longest serving coach to date having managed to last for 64 games in all competitions. One could argue, and I will, that Winter was actually the best coach that this club has had despite what many of the numbers and his league record would suggest.
The case for Winter being the best is a simple one. It is not really that hard to reach the top of a list that does not include any good names on it. He gets to the top of the list because of what he managed to do in cup action. His two Voyageurs Cup wins gives him the most silverware of any coach in club history but more important is the run to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal. The Vs cups are nice but I am sure someone like Chris Cummins or Preki could have won two of them had they been kept around long enough to even have a chance. The only coach who failed to win the Canadian Championship when given the chance was John Carver.
In the CCL Winter went two steps better than any coach had before him. Cummins saw his side knocked out in the preliminary round in 2009 before Preki managed to make it to the group stage the following year. In 2011, it was Winter that finally guided the team beyond the group stage, which will go down as the clear highlight of his time in Toronto.The case against Winter is also a fairly simple one though. In his one full MLS season he led the club to their worst ever league finish as they ended up in 16th place. It is hard to say if Winter's 2011 was actually a better season than the club's inaugural year was in 2007 under Mo Johnston. Mo might have lost 17 out of 30 games that year but at least he had the excuse of being in charge of an expansion side. Winter did not have that excuse but would probably point to the record setting turnover in the side last season to show that it was like starting all over again.
If you like to rank your coaches by winning percentage than Winter would be well down that list. Not even his success in cup tournaments was enough to save him from a winning percentage below 30. With a 18-25-21 record in all competitive matches Winter only managed to get points in 61% of matches. If you compare that to Johnston is might look good as Mo only had a winning percentage of 20 and his 6-17-7 record means that he got points in only 43% of the games he was in charge for.
At this stage I think we can safely say that Mo Jo was the worst coach that this club has ever seen regardless of what anyone else has done. If you are failing to get points in over half of the games there is no chance that the club is going to have any success and the expansion team excuse is just that, an excuse. Lots of teams come into the league and do a whole lot better than TFC did in 2007.
So what about the other TFC coaches? Well John Carver came in and won 31% of the games in which he took charge. With an 11-15-10 record he can boast having gotten points in 58% of games he coached. Carver can also boast being in charge of the second most games for the club having managed to hold onto his job long enough to coach for 36 matches. After Carver it was Chris Cummins, he led Toronto to wins in 39% of the 31 matches he was in charge for. With a 12-11-8 record he also picked up points in 65% of those games. Despite picking up points at a fairly good rate Cummins would be gone and replaced by Preki before even completing a full season in charge. Preki would collect wins in 34% of the 32 matches that he coached with points in 66% of the games (11-11-10). After Preki came Nick Dasovic who was only given interim status and was in charge for just 10 matches. In that time he went 3-4-3 which is good for a 30% winning percentage and points in 60% of the matches.
If you rank the coaches by just winning percentage they go as follows:
Chris Cummins - 38.71
Preki - 34.38
John Carver - 30.56
Nick Dasovic - 30.00
Aron Winter - 28.13
Mo Johnston - 20.00
By % of matches in which they collected point you get a slightly different look:
Preki - 66
Chris Cummins - 65
Aron Winter - 61
Nick Dasovic - 60
John Carver - 58
Mo Johnston - 43
Most important of all though is the points per game in charge:
Chris Cummins - 1.42
Preki - 1.34
Nick Dasovic - 1.20
John Carver - 1.19
Aron Winter - 1.17
Mo Johnston - 0.83
Based on the statics it would seem that the battle for the best coach in the club's history comes down to Cummins and Preki. They are both at the top of every list with very little separating the pair in each category. So if you want to pick you best coach on the stats, debate away between the pair of them but remember that they only managed to lead the team to 11th and 12 place finished during the season that they were in charge the majority of the time. The other side of the coin is the silverware and again it all comes down to such small samples but Winter is the only one to have claimed more than one prize so at the very least I think that puts him in this debate.
At the end of the day who you think is the club's best coach is just a matter of opinion and there really is only one correct answer. That is that none of them have been good enough so really we are just trying to pick out the best from a very poor bunch.
Until the day we do get a good head coach though we might as well debate the bunch of failures we have had!