The 10 Most Media-Savvy Coaches in College Basketball
Being a college basketball coach in today's info-crazy world can be complicated.
As a coach, you not only have to be an outstanding recruiter and a skillful X's and O's guy, but you also need to be sharp in your dealings with the media.
Here are the top 10 coaches who understand the power of the internet, TV, social media and more, and are able to leverage different media channels for their own best advantage.
They are not always loved by the media nor are they always pleasant with the media.
But they have proven to be shrewd in how they use the different methods of communication.
10. Brad Stevens (Butler Bulldogs)
Media savvy comes in all shapes, sizes and styles.
Brad Stevens, one of the best in-game coaches in all of college basketball, is the anti-flashy, anti-dramatic, anti-celebrity guy-next-door coach.
He looks like an accountant, but he is also known to break out into a spontaneous chest bump.
@BUCoachStevens) tweeted (on December 20, 2012):
"Visited an elementary school this morning. As I was walking out, a young kid says, "Man, I wish you were Andrew Luck." Children are honest!"
His simple approach to his success is what makes him so magnetic to the media.
He doesn't want the spotlight; the spotlight wants him.
9. Shaka Smart (Virginia Commonwealth)
Shaka Smart has the perfect temperament for coaching at a place like VCU.
Smart's "us-against-the-world" outlook draws in and motivates his Rams. Always the motivator.
His magnetic personality draws in fans and the media and wins them over.
When Smart led Virginia Commonwealth to the Final Four in 2011, the world found out about "Havoc," his intense and chaotic press.
But, Smart, though only 33 at the time, handled all of the interviews and all of the attention like a seasoned veteran, never losing track of what he was really there for...preparing VCU to make history.
8. Sean Miller (Arizona Wildcats)
Sean Miller is one of the most hard-working coaches in D-1 hoops.
He is constantly on the road recruiting and constantly promoting the Arizona basketball program by all possible means.
His willingness to genuinely give credit to his opponents is part of his disarming appeal.
Regardless, the former Pitt PG has the whole package.
7. Billy Donovan (Florida Gators)
Billy Donovan knows the power of the media and takes every possible opportunity to promote his program and his university as extensively as he can.
"If you’re using [the show] as a recruiting tool,” Donovan told USA Today’s Eric Prisbell at Thursday’s SEC Media Day down in Alabama, "I don’t think that is right."
Coachbillydonovan.com is a one-stop shop of everything you'd ever want to know about the Florida Gators' head coach.
Donovan's forthright manner and humble attitude make him a media favorite and a great postgame interview.
6. Roy Williams (North Carolina)
UNC's Roy Williams manner is folksy and genuine, which helps him get his message across when he addresses the media.
When the Tar Heels play well, he doesn't mind stating that. When the Tar Heels stink up the joint, he doesn't mind saying that either.
Roy is such a cool customer that he can "lose it" after losing the 2003 NCAA national title game and still maintain a level of decency.
5. Jim Boeheim (Syracuse Orange)
During one of any number of Syracuse's postgame press conferences, you can experience the smooth stylings of their 900+ victories head coach, Jim Boeheim.
Dan Duggan of the Boston Herald expressed the thoughts of many in his March 24, 2012 piece, Jim Boeheim Keeps Whining, Winning:
Jim Boeheim doesn’t exactly exude likability. In press conferences, the Syracuse coach veers from smug to condescending to whiny to defiant and back again. He has the warmth of that crotchety neighbor always yelling at the kids for cutting across his front lawn.
Boeheim has been doing things the same way for so long that you’d have to assume he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. The 67-year-old claims that isn’t the case.
His prickly manner is what makes him captivating to the media. Boeheim is the perfect example of a coach who doesn't feel the need to give the "nice answer" or the "politically correct" response.
4. Tom Crean (Indiana Hoosiers)
Tom Crean is a great college basketball coach who has worked hard to get Indiana Hoosiers basketball back on its feet.
It wasn't easy and it didn't happen instantly.
One of the reasons that he and his staff made the gradual progress that they did was that Crean understands the importance of communication.
The video on this slide is from a speech he made to students at IU.
You can easily see that Crean has a passion for what he does and that he has little trouble articulating that passion.
Every time he is interviewed or makes an appearance on television, he takes the opportunity to acknowledge the IU fanbase and the players.
He gets it.
Crean is very social media savy. Check out his Twitter activity.
3. Rick Pitino (Louisville Cardinals)
Louisville's Rick Pitino is quick on his feet and can handle most any situation, whether it is on the sidelines or in the postgame presser.
For some people that could be good or it could be bad.
New York Daily News' Mike Lupica said in an article in August of 2009 that Pitino "decided a long time ago that the media was there to serve him."
While Lupica didn't mean that as a compliment, the fact that Pitino is mindful of the impact of the media indicates a shrewdness on his part.
Even when Pitino was embroiled in his very public infidelity fiasco, Pitino did not hesitate to go on the offensive through and with the media.
On a lighter note, this video shows Pitino being able to go with the flow in a humorous moment.
2. Mike Krzyzewski (Duke Blue Devils)
Coach K is not only the all-time wins leader among college coaches but also a sports statesman.
Several years ago, Jared Bonshire of KentuckyScout.com said this about Coach K:
Mike Krzyzewski is a good basketball coach, but he is most astute in the art of communication. There is not a single Coach who has extended himself more to the media at large, than Coach K. He takes every opportunity he can to express all the virtues that the media wants us all to believe.
Thus, the media absolutely loves him.
Krzyzewski definitely goes into "coach mode" when he is in a postgame press conference. He puts things simply but also profoundly.
After Duke's embarrassing 27-point loss to Miami recently, he said:
What you had was a terrific win for them, but not a terrific game. We didn't hold our end of the bargain
Coach K may not be the biggest hipster hoops' coach or a non-stop Twitter freak, but he knows how to keep setting the standard for the college basketball world and how to keep Duke Basketball front and center.
1. John Calipari (Kentucky Wildcats)
Kentucky's John Calipari is the most media-savvy college basketball coach.
Just about any time you see him getting interviewed going into the half or after the game, Coach Cal is engaging and smooth.
But, because he speaks his mind freely, it has actually caused him some trouble: See attached video of Calipari and John Chaney's wheel's off press conference from February 1994.
When given the opportunity before this season, Calipari threw open the doors to his program and let ESPN create All-Access Kentucky, a behind-the-scenes look at the UK hoops program.
Not every coach would go for that type of exposure or the spotlight that goes with it.
Calipari is all over Twitter. Very few coaches use social media more or more effectively than he does.
Is he slick? Yes.
Slimy? Some say.
But savvy? 110 percent! Without a doubt!