Polling Place: Chicago’s best coach? Voters give the nod to White Sox’ Rick Renteria

Matt Nagy, who led the Bears to a 12-4 record in 2018, might’ve seemed a likely favorite among coaches and managers in the Big Four pro leagues. Instead, his candidacy knuckled off course and, in the end, double doinked.

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Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Angels

Renteria doesn’t have much of a record to stand on, but he seems to have the right kind of connection with his young players.

Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

If Chicago has a star among its head coaches in the four major professional leagues, it’s Cubs manager David Ross.

We’re using that term — “star” — loosely. The man is quite famous, that’s all. He caught. Then he danced. Then he grabbed a microphone, and now here we are.

But who’s the best among the guys who actually have experience (if not a whole lot of it) running teams? Ross has yet to manage a single game, so he must be set aside for now. Is the best we’ve got the Bears’ Matt Nagy, the Blackhawks’ Jeremy Colliton, the White Sox’ Rick Renteria or — no laughing, please — the Bulls’ Jim Boylen, who may soon be relieved of his post?

Indeed, we’re using that term — “best” — loosely, too.

For this week’s “Polling Place” — your home for Sun-Times sports polls on Twitter — we asked voters to weigh in on that question even though Chicago just might be, compared with a lot of other places, a coaching wasteland.

As the votes show, there are, at this point, only two real candidates for “best” status. One is Nagy, who has had one great season and one pretty awful one. The other is Renteria, who, to his credit, has yet to embarrass himself in any egregious or unforgettable manner.

“Nagy took his team to the playoffs,” commented @JhayBaby61. “What have the other coaches done?”

“Ricky wins because he has never had a good team underachieve,” wrote @BobGhighi. “Until that happens, he is a good coach.”

On the other hand, some voters — make that non-voters — surely felt a lot like @UncleOtis23.

“No,” our man Otis wrote. “No, I don’t have to pick one. You can’t make me. No.”

Fair enough. And on to the polls:

Poll No. 1: Big Four leagues only (and, yes, you have to pick one): Who is Chicago’s best veteran head coach?

Upshot: Nagy, who led the Bears to a 12-4 record in 2018, might’ve seemed a likely favorite heading into the voting. Instead, his candidacy knuckled off course and, in the end, double doinked. Renteria — owner of a .414 Sox winning percentage that truly can’t be blamed on him — gets the “best” nod. For now.

Poll No. 2: Are you buying or bagging first-timer David Ross as Cubs manager?

Upshot: Ross developed into a tremendous leader as a player and has the support and confidence of key ex-teammates in the Cubs clubhouse. Will the good vibes last? “I highly doubt the culture will be great for long,” commented @Colbyjo38119634. “If I [were] a star, it would be hard to truly buy into such a recently retired backup catcher.” The majority disagrees.

Poll No. 3: Generally speaking, which is more important for a head coach?

Upshot: Culture is the big winner here. “Strategy is important, but if you don’t have a locker room that respects you, the strategy is never going to matter because they won’t listen to you,” wrote @mike_lox. You know what’s even better than a coach who instills a positive culture? One who does that and kicks butt in the X’s-and-O’s department, too. Just saying.

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