The 10 Most Desirable Coaching Positions in NCAA Basketball

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2013

The 10 Most Desirable Coaching Positions in NCAA Basketball

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    If coaching college basketball is your ambition, there are a lot of places that you could find employment, but very few that would meet the standards of a "dream job."

    While we could compare factors like coaches salaries and arena seating capacities, the better measure for a most desirable coaching position should come on the court.

    The criteria for the following list takes a look at the actual success of college basketball programs over the last forty years.

    Regular season conference championships, Sweet 16 and Final Four appearances and NCAA national championships were the focus in determining the programs' accomplishments.

    While some outstanding colleges and universities didn't quite make the cut, here are the 10 most desirable coaching positions in NCAA basketball.

10. Arizona Wildcats

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    Regular Season Conference Championships: 13

    Sweet 16 Appearances: 14

    Final Fours: 4

    National Championships: 1

     

    Arizona Wildcats men's basketball continues to be one of the top coaching jobs in the country.

    Lute Olson established the Pac-12 school's place among the elite programs from the time that he arrived in Tucson in 1983.

    Sean Miller has stepped in and re-established the program as one of the best in the West, already taking the Cats to the Elite Eight in his second year on the job.

    McKale Center is one of the most difficult places for opponents to play.

9. Syracuse Orange

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    Regular Season Conference Championships: 10

    Sweet 16 Appearances: 14

    Final Fours: 4

    National Championships: 1

     

    In many ways, Jim Boeheim is Syracuse Basketball.

    He played for the Orange in the mid-1960's. He was an assistant coach there starting in 1969.

    And Boeheim has been the head coach since 1976. He's a lifer who has huge success.

    Already this season, Boeheim has moved into second place for all-time wins behind Duke's Mike Krzyzewski.

    But because all of his head coaching wins have come at Syracuse, Boeheim is the all-time single-school wins leader.

    Syracuse basketball has been, and still is one of the top programs in the Northeast, playing games at the cavernous Carrier Dome.

    Though they play in the torturous Big East, Syracuse fights to the top of their conference and the national polls on virtually an annual basis.

8. Michigan State Spartans

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    Regular Season Conference Championships: 10

    Sweet 16 Appearances: 14

    Final Fours: 7

    National Championships: 2

     

    Though they played basketball in East Lansing before Magic Johnson arrived, the Michigan State program was unofficially launched with his coming and his instant success.

    The Spartans' head coach from the mid-70's to the mid-90's, Judd Heathcote, got things going and Tom Izzo has definitely kept things going.

    MSU competes on a yearly basis in both the Big 10 and the national college hoops scene.

    In the last five years, the Spartans have made four Sweet 16 appearances, two Final Four appearances, and played for the national championship in 2009.

    There's rarely an empty seat at the Breslin Center every time the Spartans take the court.

    When Izzo finally does retire, there's going to be some big shoes to fill at Michigan State.

7. Louisville Cardinals

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    Regular Season Conference Championships: 16

    Sweet 16 Appearances: 19

    Final Fours: 7

    National Championships: 2

     

    Few college basketball programs have matched the success of the University of Louisville over the past 40 years.

    After serving as one of John Wooden's assistants at UCLA, Denny Crum came to take the head coaching job at Louisville in 1971.

    Crum instantly elevated the program, taking the Cardinals to the Final Four in his first season.

    Crum's success over his thirty years leading U of L hoops was amazing. The Cardinals, under his leadership, won at least 20 games 26 times.

    Rick Pitino followed Crum, and hasn't missed a beat. He has taken the Cardinals to the postseason every year since his arrival in 2001. They have made it to the Elite Eight four times and the Final Four twice in the Pitino era.

    The KFC Yum! Center is an awesome place to see a basketball game.

6. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Regular Season Conference Championships: 12

    Sweet 16 Appearances: 16

    Final Fours: 6

    National Championships: 3

     

    The Indiana University basketball program is at the heart of a state that is hysterical about hoops.

    Though Branch McCracken won two NCAA Championships during the 40's and 50's, Hoosier basketball came into its own in the 1970's and beyond under Bob Knight.

    Knight won three national championships (1976, 1981, 1987) and established Indiana as one of the premiere programs in the country.

    While the post-Knight era has not been nearly as successful, Tom Crean has now revived the program and is competing again for the national title.

    IU's Assembly Hall remains one of the classic college hoops arenas in the nation.

5. UCLA Bruins

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    Regular Season Conference Championships: 14

    Sweet 16 Appearances: 18

    Final Fours: 9

    National Championships: 3

     

    Even though it has been nearly four decades since John Wooden last coached at UCLA, his championship legacy still lingers and impacts the perception of Bruins basketball.

    That's not to say that there has been no success since the Wizard of Westwood was winning 10 NCAA Championships in 12 seasons.

    Though UCLA has only won one national title (1995) since the Wooden era, they have continued to be a top-tier team in the West.

    Current coach Ben Howland took the Bruins to three straight Final Fours (2005-2008) and this year brought in the nation's top recruiting class.

    The newly renovated Pauley Pavilion provides a state-of-the-art arena for the team to do their thing.

4. Kansas Jayhawks

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    Regular Season Conference Championships: 21

    Sweet 16 Appearances: 20

    Final Fours: 9

    National Championships: 2

     

    Kansas is one of the most successful college basketball programs of all time.

    And, we aren't just talking ancient history here.

    When it comes to getting it done in both the regular and postseasons, only a small handful of teams do better than the Jayhawks.

    The Roy Williams years (1988-2003) were amazing (418-101; 80.5 winning percentage), and the Bill Self era (2003 to present) is even better (288-54; 84.2 winning percentage, plus a national championship). 

    Allen Field House is one of the very best venue's in college hoops. Talk about a home court advantage.

3. Duke Blue Devils

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    Regular Season Conference Championships: 13

    Sweet 16 Appearances: 22

    Final Fours: 12

    National Championships: 4

     

    Somebody, someday is going to have the unique opportunity of following Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.

    They will come behind the all-time wins leader and a head coach who has won four NCAA Championships (and counting) in Durham.

    The Blue Devils are rarely out of the Top 10, and they have no problem recruiting some of the best talent in the nation.

    Though Cameron Indoor Stadium seats less than 10,000 (9,314 capacity), it remains one of the most exceptional home courts in college hoops.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels

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    Regular Season Conference Championships: 19

    Sweet 16 Appearances: 25

    Final Fours: 12

    National Championships: 4

     

    North Carolina Basketball is an extraordinary college hoops program.

    The Tar Heels have the most Sweet 16 appearances of any D-1 team and the third most all-time wins.

    Dean Smith raised the bar in the 60's through the 90's, and Roy Williams continues to build on Smith's tradition.

    McDonald's All-American players not only fill the starting five, but also come off the bench most years.

    The "Dean Dome" is an awesome place to lace 'em up for the Tar Heels'  home games.

1. Kentucky Wildcats

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    Regular Season Conference Championships: 18

    Sweet 16 Appearances: 23

    Final Fours: 9

    National Championships: 4

     

    Kentucky Basketball is not only the reigning NCAA Champs, but the Wildcats have "both the most all-time wins and the highest all-time winning percentage in the history of college basketball (Wikipedia)."

    Four different head coaches (Joe B. Hall, Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith and John Calipari) have won national titles in the last four decades.

    Calipari's recent run of ridiculous recruiting success shows that UK is clearly the destination of choice in college hoops.

    Gigantic Rupp Arena provides an electric setting for the Cats to make it all happen for the Big Blue Nation.