Ranking the Top 15 Active College Coaches in Basketball or Football

Nick ConditCorrespondent IMarch 28, 2012

Ranking the Top 15 Active College Coaches in Basketball or Football

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    The sports of college football and basketball have some very influential people leading the top teams in the nation, each with their own unique personality. The top-15 college coaches in America are celebrities of sorts, and are well-respected, well-educated, and well-paid.

    A few of these coaches made a splash at the Final Four, so let's take a look at the best active college coaches in the main revenue sports.

    Rankings are based on a combination of successes, past and present.

15. Gene Chizik/Mack Brown

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    Okay so it's actually the top 16, but Mack Brown of Texas and Auburn's Gene Chizik (pictured) tie for 15th best college coach. 

    Each have won a national championship, Brown's coming six years ago while Chizik's was earned two seasons back.

    Both are staples of college football and regularly recruit the best players in their regions. Texas and Auburn struggled last season, but they will be back.

14. Bill Self, Kansas Basketball

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    Self has led Kansas to the Final Four twice in the past five years and won the national championship the first time around in 2008. He's been named the AP Coach of the Year once, has five Big 12 tournament titles and had a shot at another national title this year.

    Self's success at Kansas helped the fanbase virtually forget about the loss of longtime coach Roy Williams to North Carolina in 2003. 

13. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma Football

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    Stoops has won one national championship and seven Big 12 titles, and was named AP Coach of the year once. The Sooners are a perennial power in college football, and should have a strong season starting in the fall.

    He has coached players like Adrian Peterson, Tommie Harris, Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, Gerald McCoy, Mark Clayton, Kenny Stills, Jason White and Roy Williams.

12. Billy Donovan, Florida Basketball

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    Donovan's back-to-back national titles should automatically propel him into the top 10, but with John Calipari and Kentucky currently dominating the SEC basketball scene, Donovan slips to 12.

    He's won the championship twice, but only has three Final Four appearances. Donovan led his team to the Elite Eight this season, but many predicted as much in the preseason, and Florida's regular season was a disappointment. He does hold an impressive 421-178 overall record.

11. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Basketball

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    Boeheim and Jim Calhoun are low on this list despite their Hall of Fame status, mainly because they've plateaued, and are both nearing retirement.

    But Boeheim is one of the best college basketball coaches of all time, amassing an overall record of 890-305. He's won one national title out of three Final Four appearances, and was named the AP Coach of the Year once.

10. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina Football

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    The ol' ball coach has won the national championship once, the SEC title six times and has been named the SEC Coach of the Year an astonishing seven times.

    Spurrier is considered an offensive genius in college football, and finally has the South Carolina program where he would like it. Of course, he is known for elevating the Florida program to elite status in the 90's.

9. Tom Izzo, Michigan St. Basketball

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    Izzo is certainly a celebrity in the state of Michigan, and has led the Spartans to a national championship once out of six Final Four appearances, including just last year.

    His team is a perennial power in college basketball and was a top seed in this year's NCAA tournament. It seems as though Izzo will be in East Lansing for life, and you can count on the Spartans' success during that span.

8. Jim Calhoun, Connecticut Basketball

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    Calhoun has built a dynasty that the state of Connecticut can be proud of. Like I said earlier, he's low on this list because of his recent medical issues and likely imminent retirement.

    Calhoun has won a superb three national titles, and has made four trips to the Final Four. He's also won the Big East tournament seven times.

7. John Calipari, Kentucky Basketball

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    Calipari finally won his national championship this year, and has been to four Final Fours but two were vacated. He has won 11 conference tournament titles but two were vacated, and his national runner-up finish was also vacated.

    Calipari's Wildcats have been a force in the SEC recently, and in the nation. He's arguably the best coach in college basketball right now, and has arguably the best dynasty going in college sports.

    He has a 503-152 overall record and coached players like Derrick Rose, Marcus Camby, Brandon Knight, DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and Anthony Davis.

    He's criticized for landing the best recruits in the nation because they all happen to be the most NBA-ready after their mandatory one year in college. Nerlens Noel is the latest one-and-done Calipari recruit.

6. Les Miles, LSU Football

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    Miles has won one national championship, two SEC titles, and has amassed a 103-39 overall record. He has turned the LSU program into a national powerhouse, seemingly in the mix for a championship every year. He gained some notoriety early in his LSU career for the willingness to call unconventional plays at times.

    Miles and Nick Saban, whom he replaced at LSU, have formed a coaching rivalry on the field and on the recruiting trail. He is at the top of the hill right now, and it appears he will stay there unless he tries his hand at the pro game.

5. Rick Pitino, Louisville Basketball

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    Pitino should be a Hall of Famer by the time next season comes around, as he is now the only coach in NCAA history to lead three different teams to the Final Four. Louisville's upcoming date with Kentucky sets up a top-10 matchup with John Calipari, who is still searching for his first national title.

    Pitino has won one national championship, has reached the Final Four six times, and has won nine conference tournament titles. He has been one of the premiere basketball coaches in the country for the better part of the past four decades.

4. Urban Meyer, Ohio St. Football

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    The public has been enamored with Meyer ever since he resurrected the Florida program in relief of Ron Zook, who had the difficult task of replacing Steve Spurrier. He's been successful everywhere he goes, including at Bowling Green and Utah. There's no reason to believe he won't lead the Buckeyes back to the promise land. 

    Meyer's won two national championships and has an amazing 104-23 overall record, including 7-1 in bowl games. He was named Coach of the Decade (2000s) by both Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News.

3. Roy Williams, North Carolina Basketball

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    Williams has won two national championships, reached seven Final Fours, and is a two-time AP Coach of the Year. He revived the UNC program as well as its rivalry with Duke when he returned to North Carolina in 2003, after 15 years at Kansas.

    North Carolina will always be a force to be reckoned with in college basketball, and will continue to contend for national championships as long as Williams is at the helm. The loss of Kendall Marshall doomed UNC this season, but a great year earned them another No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney.

2. Nick Saban, Alabama Football

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    Saban's three national championships speak for themselves. He is the only coach in NCAA history to win the BCS National Championship at two different schools. In 2008, Forbes Magazine named him "The Most Powerful Coach in Sports" because he was also one of the richest.

    He is a two-time AP Coach of the year, with a 146-54 overall record, and a three-time SEC Coach of the Year. His Crimson Tide are coming off their second national championship in three years, as Saban has brought 'Bama back to greatness.

1. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke Basketball

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    Coach K is the current king of college sports, with four national championships to his credit, all with Duke. He's been to 11 Final Fours, reached eight title games, and has won 13 ACC Tournament titles.

    Krzyzewski is simply the best and has been for a long time. The former Bob Knight pupil is now the winningest coach in Division I basketball history with 927 wins, surpassing Knight himself. He is also a gold medal-winning coach of the Men's Senior Olympic team, and was an assistant on the 1992 "Dream Team".