Predicting when Mike McDaniel climbs Miami Dolphins all-time coaches list

Don Shula (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Don Shula (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images) /

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel has decades to go before he catches Don Shula and chances are, he never will.

The Dolphins, sadly, have had too many head coaches since Don Shula left the sidelines and since those days, history hasn’t been very good for the Dolphins. Miami fans have been through the Jimmy Johnson era but also suffered through the Cam Cameron era.

For McDaniel, he could pass Cameron’s win history in week two of this season. 2022 is his fresh start with a blank slate but when can we see him begin to ascend the ranks of the Dolphins’ winningest coaches? Well, this year.

There have been 13 head coaches, including interim HCs, in Miami Dolphins history. McDaniel is HC number 14. Here are the coaches ranked by win totals from last to first.

  • Cam Cameron – 1 win
  • Todd Bowles – 2 wins
  • Jim Bates – 3 wins
  • Dan Campbell – 5 wins
  • George Wilson – 15 wins
  • Nick Saban – 15 wins
  • Adam Gase – 23 wins
  • Joe Philbin – 24 wins
  • Brian Flores – 24 wins
  • Tony Sparano – 29 wins
  • Jimmy Johnson – 36 wins
  • Dave Wannstedt – 42 wins
  • Don Shula – 257 wins

In his first season, Mike McDaniel could move all the way up to number nine in Dolphins history. He only needs to win five games. If he does that, he will have surpassed one full-time head coach and all three interim HCs.

In 2023, McDaniel could conceivably move ahead of both Wilson and Saban. It will be hard to move ahead of Gase, Philbin, and Flores. It wouldn’t be impossible but Miami would have to finish both seasons with more than 10 wins and that is going to be hard out of the gate.

In reality, if McDaniel can find success, he should be able to pass Flores and maybe even Sparano to take over the 4th spot all time. Both Johnson and Wannstedt could be passed in years four and five.

The question is can McDaniel win enough games to make this happen? He hasn’t coached before, and still has questions about his roster and quarterback especially. Given the Dolphins’ history of going through coaches, it is hard to believe that McDaniel can be the one to climb through the ranks. Consider that Flores who had two winning seasons, including a 10-win season, only got to number 5 on the list.

There is a lot that has to go right for McDaniel but at least this year, he should be able to get to past Cameron and the interims.