Coaching is a natural career path for some athletes upon retirement.
The long-standing theory is the best athletes do not make great coaches, but that has not always been the case.
Thierry Henry is the latest star athlete to enter the coaching scene with the Montreal Impact hiring the former Arsenal and France great as their bench boss on Thursday.
Here is a look at how some star athletes have done as coaches:
To great fanfare, Gretzky took the head coaching job with the then-Phoenix Coyotes in 2005.
A part-owner of the team, Gretzky missed the playoffs in all four of his seasons behind the bench.
After an ownership shuffle and with the team in financial trouble, Gretzky stepped down before the 2009-10 campaign.
A former star forward with the Canadian women’s hockey team, Ouellette was head coach of the CWHL’s Les Canadiennes de Montreal for most of the 2018-19 season.
Ouellette guided the team to the Clarkson Cup final, where Montreal lost to Calgary.
The league folded in the off-season.
The former Detroit Pistons point guard took over from fellow former star player Larry Bird as coach of the Indiana Pacers in 2000. The Pacers were .500 or better for three seasons under the ex-Indiana University star, but didn’t win a playoff round.
Thomas’ next basketball job was as an executive with the New York Knicks, one of the worst franchises in the NBA since the turn of the century.
Thomas replaced Larry Brown as coach in 2006 and missed the playoffs in each of his two seasons.
MICHAEL (PINBALL) CLEMONS
Considered one of the best CFL players of all time, Clemons became head coach of the struggling Toronto Argonauts midway through the 2000 season after he announced he was transitioning out of a playing role.
Clemons stepped into a front-office role after the 2001 season before returning in 2002 following the firing of Gary Etcheverry.
For each of Clemons’ last five seasons as head coach, the Argos never had a losing record. They won the Grey Cup in 2004 with Clemons becoming the first black head coach to win the CFL title.
After cutting his coaching teeth with the Quebec Remparts in the junior ranks, the former goaltender got the call to take the reins of the Colorado Avalanche in 2013.
Roy won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in his first year, but the Avs were upset in the first round of the playoffs by Minnesota.
Roy missed the playoffs the next two years and then stepped down, making it clear he felt his voice wasn’t being heard at the organization’s top levels.
A three-time FIFA world player of the year and World Cup champion in 1998 with France, Zidane became head coach of Spanish giant Real Madrid in 2016 after beginning his coaching career with the organization’s B team.
Zidane guided Real Madrid to back-to-back Champions League titles his first two years.
Zidane resigned in 2018 before returning to his post the following year.
The Argentina star, whose playing career was highlighted by a World Cup title in 1986, hasn’t stayed in one place very long in his time as a coach.
He has coached the Argentina national team (quarterfinal appearance at the 2010 World Cup), several clubs in his home country as well as teams in Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.
The Los Angeles Lakers great took over as coach late in the 1993-94 season.
After a quick start, the Lakers finished the year 5-11 under Johnson before he stepped down.
Johnson later made a return as a player for one season before going into executive roles with multiple organizations.
Baseball’s career hit leader became a player/manager with the Cincinnati Reds after the Montreal Expos traded him back to his longtime home in 1984.
Rose remained manager of the Reds after retiring as a player in 1986.
But after he was found to have bet on baseball, Rose was removed from the game late in the 1989 season.
Rose never made the playoffs as a manager.
A star player with Italy, Morace resigned as head coach of Canada’s women’s soccer team in 2011 after a controversial two-plus-year run.
Morace was 25-11-5 with Canada. The team had high hopes at the 2011 World Cup, but failed to win a game.
Morace later had a short run with Trinidad and Tobago’s women’s team.