Building the Perfect College Basketball Coaching Staff
The perfect college basketball coaching staff is something that every program is constantly searching for but will never reach.
After all, in the eyes of many being the top assistant at the bluest of blueblood programs still isn’t quite the same as being the head coach somewhere. Those types of opportunities make it difficult for schools to hang onto their best assets when success comes.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t try to build the perfect coaching staff. Since we are living in a fantasy world in this purely hypothetical exercise, some legendary head coaches will be happily filling lesser positions for the good of the cause.
Read on to see the perfect (and active) college basketball coaching staff.
Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
As if there was any doubt who the head man would be on this mythical coaching staff, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski takes the spot after an arduous interview process.
Coach K, as he is so affectionately called inside the cozy comforts of Durham, has built Duke into a national powerhouse. He has more Final Fours, national titles, All Americans and overall wins than the majority of programs across the country and continues to coach at a premier level even as he gets older.
Krzyzewski has even expanded his arsenal to the Olympics recently and has had nothing but success there. It is clear he is comfortable managing everyone from the typical college role player to some of the biggest stars (and egos) in the entire basketball universe.
Coach K will bring instant credibility to this coaching staff and serve as an incredible recruiter and in-game manager.
Associate Head Coach: Jim Boeheim
Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim is as accomplished as they come at the collegiate level, so why not pair that star power up with Mike Krzyzewski and make Boeheim the associate head coach?
There will be no single in-game situation that the combination of Boeheim and Coach K hasn’t seen before or that will catch them unprepared. Furthermore, Boeheim is an excellent recruiter in terms of finding players to fit his system and is formidable in the player development category.
There is nothing missing from Boeheim’s resume that is littered with a national title, Final Four appearances, All Americans and conference crowns. Those types of accomplishments will fit in nicely as the No. 2 man on Krzyzewski’s coaching staff.
Assistant Coach: Joe Dooley
Joe Dooley is the new mayor of “dunk city” at Florida Gulf Coast University, but he earned that role through his work as one of the best assistant coaches in the entire country at Kansas.
He has worked as an assistant for nearly 20 years at the collegiate level, so he will have an intricate familiarity with his position that many of the coaches on this hypothetical staff simply will not. He was an integral part of Kansas’ success and a major influence on the bench for a national title-winning team.
Dooley also helped Bill Self during the transition from Roy Williams in Lawrence, so working with premier coaches and prime-time names is not an issue for this successful assistant. He is a formidable recruiter and will serve as a calming presence on a bench loaded with stars.
He was once named the top assistant coach in the country by foxsports.com, so why wouldn’t we want him filling that role on this mythical best staff?
Assistant Coach: Shaka Smart
There comes a point in every long college basketball season that a team or program needs a boost of energy inserted into it.
Having Shaka Smart on the sidelines as a part of this mythical coaching staff will do just that for this hypothetical team. Smart often expends more energy coaching games than some players do actually playing in them, and that type of enthusiasm will be much needed on this staff of legends with calmer demeanors.
Additionally, Smart is younger than the majority of coaches in college basketball today, which helps when attempting to make personal connections on the recruiting trail.
Smart’s official role here will be that of a defensive coordinator in football. He can focus all of his attention and energy on cultivating his system of havoc, which will drive opposing teams insane and allow his squad plenty of opportunities at easy baskets in transition.
Director of Basketball Operations: Roy Williams
Coach K and Roy Williams are going to have to find a way to move past their North Carolina-Duke rivalry because they are now on the same coaching staff.
It is evident even in interviews with the media that Williams has the ability to turn on the charm that is necessary (for better or worse) to hold an administration position. As the director of basketball operations Williams will have to straddle the line between the administrative red tape of college sports and the actual basketball.
That being said, a basketball mind like Williams’ will certainly be involved in game planning and recruiting. Combined with some of the other names on this list Williams will add even more success to the recruiting trail and the sideline.
Recruiting Coordinator: John Calipari
The appointment of Kentucky’s John Calipari to recruiting coordinator is fairly self explanatory. Regardless of your feelings towards Calipari, it is impossible to deny that he is one of the best recruiters in the game (if not the best).
He consistently brings top-notch classes to Lexington and has found a way to win with such young and talented players (last year aside, of course).
Calipari will have one job on this coaching staff and that is to do what he does best. He will constantly be on the recruiting trail touting the opportunity to play for a litany of the best teachers and leaders in all of college basketball.
If you think Kentucky’s 2013 recruiting class is impressive, just wait until Calipari can devote all of his time to recruiting and he has the power of names like Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski behind his living room pitches to prospects.
Video Coordinator: Greg Paulus
No college basketball coaching staff would be complete without a young up-and-comer who is looking to break into the spotlight by contributing to the success of an elite program from behind the scenes.
That is exactly what Greg Paulus will be doing as the video coordinator for this hypothetical collection of coaches. He already has experience in this position with a premier program (Ohio State) and understands what will be asked of him.
He is also familiar with Coach K and what the legendary coach is looking for in all aspects of the game thanks to his playing days as Duke’s point guard. There is nobody better to get Krzyzewski exactly what he is looking for from video and a game planning point of view than someone who used to serve as an extension of the Blue Devil coach on the court.
Look for Paulus to move up the coaching ranks as this hypothetical coaching staff brings incredible success to whichever program lands it, but for now he is the video coordinator.
Follow and interact with college basketball writer Scott Polacek on Twitter @ScottPolacek.