New York Rangers Coach History: From 1926 To Present Day

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at New York Rangers
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Including 37 coaches across their 96-year history, this New York Rangers coach history includes everyone, from bonafide legends on the ice to heroes behind the bench.

Lester Patrick, 1926-1939

  • 13 seasons. 604 games, 281-216-107, 669 points (.554 PTS%)

The New York Rangers’ first coach was also their longest-tenured coach. Technically Conn Smythe was the first coach, but he was fired before the team ever played a game. Lester Patrick started coaching the Rangers as they entered the league, and lead the team to their first two Stanley Cups.

He coached the team through 604 regular season games and has an impressive .554 points percentage to his name. Maybe the most impressive stat is that he actually served as the team’s goalie in the Stanley Cup Final in 1928 after starter Lorne Chabot was injured. Patrick stopped 18 of 19 shots and became the oldest player to play in the Stanley Cup Final at 44 years, 99 days.

Related: The Latest New York Rangers Roster

Frank Boucher, 1940-1949 and 1953-1954

  • 11 seasons, 527 games, 181-263-83, 445 points (.422 PTS%)

The next Stanley Cup-winning coach for the Rangers wasn’t too far off, as Frank Boucher lead the team to a Cup in 1940. He coached 10 seasons in a row, only making the playoffs 3 more times, before being fired in 1949. He would come back 4 years later for one season after the team fired Bill Cook, but couldn’t lead the team back to the playoffs.

Lynn Patrick, 1949-1952

  • 2 seasons,107 games, 40-51-16, 96 points. (.449 PTS%)

Neil Colville, 1951-1952

  • 2 seasons, 93 games, 26-41-26, 78 points (.419 PTS%)

Bill Cook, 1952-1953

  • 2 seasons, 117 games, 34-59-24, 92 points (.393 PTS%)

Bill Cook is an early case study of how some of the best players don’t necessarily make good coaches. Statistically, one of the worst coaches for the Rangers didn’t last very long in New York. Cook was a 5-time All-Star for the Rangers as a player, but his success on the ice couldn’t translate to the bench.

Related: The Latest New York Rangers Schedule

Phil Watson, 1956-1960

  • 5 seasons, 295 games, 119-124-52, 290 points (.492 PTS%)

Alf Pike, 1960-1961

  • 2 seasons, 123 games, 36-66-21, 93 points (.378 PTS%)

Alf Pike, the coach with the worst points percentage in the history of the Rangers ironically had quite the players on his team. He coached a team that included starts like Andy Bathgate, Eddie Shack, Harry Howell, Camille Henry, and Red Sullivan, but Pike couldn’t get the best of out this team and had a short-lived 2 season stint with the team.

Doug Harvey, 1962-1962

  • 1 season, 70 games, 26-32-12, 64 points (.457 PTS%)

Hall of Famer, 7-time Norris winner, and 6-time Stanley Cup Champion Doug Harvey was brought in to right the ship after PIke’s tenure, but as a player-coach; however, he lasted only one season.

Muzz Patrick, 1954-1963

  • 4 seasons, 136 games, 43-66-27, 113 points (.415 PTS%)

Red Sullivan, 1963-1966

  • 4 seasons, 196 games, 58-103-35, 151 points (.385 PTS%)

Bernie Geoffrion, 1969-1969

  • 1 season, 43 games,  22-18-3      , 47 points (.547 PTS%)

Hall of Famer Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion retired as an accomplished player and began coaching the Rangers – however his coaching career in New York ended after looking promising, due to stomach ulcers. Geoffrion would return to coaching a few years later in Atlanta.

Emile Francis, 1966-1975

  • 10 seasons, 654 games, 342-209-103, 787 points (.602 PTS%)

A former goalie for the Rangers, Emile Francis took over the coaching job for the Rangers, and held that position for 10 years, along with various front-office positions. He found success with the team, leading the team to nine straight playoff appearances, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 1972.

Related: New York Rangers Playoff History – Every Year, Including Top Stats and More

Larry Popein, 1974-1974

  • 1 season, 41 games, 18-14-9, 45 points (.549 PTS%)

Ron Stewart, 1976-1976

  • 1 season, 39 games, 15-20-4, 34 points (.436 PTS%)

John Ferguson, 1976-1977

  • 2 seasons, 121 games, 43-59-19, 105 points (.434 PTS%)

Jean-Guy Talbot, 1978-1978

  • 1 season, 80 games, 30-37-13, 73 points (.456 PTS%)

Fred Shero, 1979-1981

  • 3 seasons, 180 games, 82-74-24, 188 points (.522 PTS%)

After going through 3 coaches in 4 seasons after Francis, the Rangers landed on Fred Shero, the legendary coach and 2-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Philadelphia Flyers. Shero lead the team to the playoffs in both of his 2 full seasons as coach, including a Cup Final appearance in 1979 before stepping down part-way through the following season.

Craig Patrick, 1981-1985

  • 2 seasons,95 games, 37-45-13, 87 points (.458 PTS%)

Herb Brooks, 1982-1985

  • 4 seasons, 285 games, 131-113-41, 303 points (.532 PTS%)

Herb Brooks is best known for being the head coach for the Miracle on Ice, which was Team USA winning the Olympic Gold over the USSR in 1980. After that win, Brooks’ first NHL coaching gig was with the Rangers, where he became the first American-born coach in Rangers’ team history to win 100 games.

Related: New York Rangers Captain History – From 1926 To Present Day

Ted Sator, 1986-1987

  • 2 seasons, 99 games, 41-48-10, 92 points (.465 PTS%)

Tom Webster, 1987-1987

  • 1 season, 18 games, 5-9-4, 14 points (.389 PTS%)

Phil Esposito, 1987-1989

  • 2 seasons, 45 games 24-21-0, 48 points (.533 PTS%)

Another former player-turned-coach, Phil Esposito‘s coaching career only lasted 45 games, all with the New York Rangers.

Michel Bergeron, 1988-1989

  • 2 seasons, 158 games, 73-67-18, 164 points (.519 PTS%)

Roger Neilson, 1990-1993

  • 4 seasons, 280 games,  141-104-35, 317 points (.566 PTS%)

After stints with the Sabres, Canucks, and Kings, legendary coach Roger Nielsen came to the Big Apple to coach the Rangers. He found great regular season success, leading the team to two 1st place finishes, as well as a 2nd place finish, although it didn’t translate to playoff success, going 13-16 in the playoffs.

Ron Smith, 1993-1993

  • 1 season, 44 games, 15-22-7, 37 points (.420 PTS%)
New York Rangers Coach History
Rangers coach Mike Keenan celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating Vancouver 3-2 in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at Madison Square Garden June 14, 1994. Rangers Win Stanley Cup

Mike Keenan, 1994-1994

  • 1 season, 84 games, 52-24-8, 112 points (.667 PTS%)

Legendary in New York for bringing the Stanley Cup back to the Rangers for the first Stanley Cup in 54 years, Mike Keenan‘s tenure as head coach was actually a short one. Keenan couldn’t co-exist with then-GM Neil Smith, so he resigned shortly after the season ended, bringing an end to a very intriguing, and ultimately successful season.

Related: New York Rangers Goalie History – From 1926 To Present Day

Colin Campbell, 1995-1998

  • 4 seasons, 269 games,  118-108-43, 279 points (.519 PTS%)

John Muckler, 1998-2000

  • 3 seasons, 185 games, 70-88-24-3, 167 points (.451 PTS%)

Ron Low, 2001-2002

  • 2 seasons, 164 games,  69 -81-9-5, 152 points (.463 PTS%)

Bryan Trottier, 2003-2003

  • 1 season, 54 games, 21-26-6-1, 49 points (.454 PTS%)

Bryan Trottier was a long-time rival of the Rangers when he played for the Islanders, so his appointment as coach of the Rangers was met with a lot of pushback by fans. Then GM Glen Sather fired Trottier 54 games into the season, putting himself on the bench for the rest of that season, and the next.

Glen Sather, 2002-2004

  • 2 seasons, 90 games, 33-39-11-7, 84 points (.467 PTS%)

Tom Renney, 2004-2009

  • 5 seasons, 327 games, 164-117-0-46, 374 points (.572 PTS%)

John Tortorella, 2009-2013

  • 6 seasons, 319 games, 171-118-1-29, 372 points (.583 PTS%)

John Tortorella had won a Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, so he was a hot commodity when he ultimately signed with the Rangers in 2009. “Torts” had some pretty healthy regular season success with the Rangers, and even took them to the Conference Finals before ultimately being relieved of his duties in the 2013 off-season.

Related: New York Rangers Jersey Numbers History

Alain Vigneault, 2014-2018

  • 5 seasons, 410 games, 226-147-37, 489 points (.596 PTS%)

When Alain Vignealt came to the Rangers, he left a Canucks team that he had taken to the Stanley Cup Final before losing in Game 7 to the Boston Bruins. In his first season as Rangers head coach, he took them all the way to the Cup Final as well but lost to the Los Angeles Kings, and when he missed the playoffs in 2018, he was fired by the Rangers.

david quinn
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

David Quinn, 2019-2021

  • 3 seasons, 208 games, 96-87-25, 217 points (.522 PTS%)

Gerard Gallant, 2022-2023

  • 2 seasons, 164 games, 99-46-19, 217 points (.481 PTS%)

Peter Laviolette, 2023

  • Named 37th head coach of the Rangers on June 13, 2023

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