Can a person who’s never played basketball be a good basketball coach?

Doubtful. What is clear is that every good basketball coach played basketball at some level. They did not have to be good basketball players themselves, however.

Red Auerbach – played basketball at the high school level

John Kundla – played basketball at the high school level

Red Holzman – played for the Rochester Royals

Jerry Sloan – played for the Chicago Bulls

Don Nelson – played for the Boston Celtics

Bill Sharman – a HOF player for the Boston Celtics

Lenny Wilkens – a HOF player for the Atlanta Hawks

Phil Jackson – played for the LA Lakers

Pat Riley – played for the New York Knicks

Larry Brown – played for various ABA teams

Gregg Popovich – played for the US Air Force Academy

Steve Kerr – played for the Chicago Bulls

John Calipari – played for Clarion University

Jim Boeheim – played for Eastern Professional Basketball League

Bob Knight – played for Ohio State

Mike Krzyzewski – played under Bob Knight at the US Army

Dean Smith – played for Kansas

Phog Allen – played for Kansas under James Naithsmith (the inventor of basketball)

Adolph Rupp – played under Phog Allen at Kansas

John Wooden – played basketball for the Indianapolis Jets

Jack Ramsay – played basketball for the Eastern Pennsylvania Basketball League

I haven’t been able to find information on whether Chuck Daly or Bill Fitch played basketball but they seem to be the exceptions rather than the norm for great basketball coaches