College Basketball 2010-11: Ranking The Top 50 Coaches in Division I

Mike KlineAnalyst INovember 9, 2010

College Basketball 2010-11: Ranking The Top 50 Coaches in Division I

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    With the start of the 2010-11 college basketball season, the debate over the best teams begins.

    But behind every good team is a good coach. Some coaches are elevated in status by sheer number of wins, number of championships, or simply the potential that is seen by those that know college hoops.

    This is just one attempt to rank the top 50 coaches in Division I college basketball.

Tribute: John Wooden

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    No coach has symbolized college basketball more than John Wooden. For the first time in what seems like forever, the coach will not be present for the beginning of the season.

    A man whose achievements will never be matched, Wooden was more than a coach. His contributions and inspiration cannot be measured in wins and loses.

    While the excitement for the start of the season is high, the absence of Wooden leaves a void that will be impossible to fill.

No. 50: Dana Altman

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    Current School: Oregon

    Record: 409-243

    Altman was a last-minute hire at Oregon. While he may not have been the Ducks' first choice based on his stints at both Kansas State and Creighton, he definitely can coach.

    It may take him some time to build the exact program he wants, but he certainly has the support of the fans and, of course, Oregon's wealthy backers.

    One thing is for sure—he will never need to worry about new uniforms.

No. 49: Steve Alford

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    Current School: New Mexico

    Record: 384-209

    Alford left the Big Ten, and the shadow of Indiana University that seemed to follow him, to go out west to New Mexico.

    So far in his tenure, Alford has improved the hopes of the Lobos, posting a record of 76-26 as well as breaking through last season by cracking into the Top 25 and NCAA tournament.

No. 48: Rick Majerus

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    Current School: St. Louis

    Record: 478-187

    While the big man made a name as the coach at Utah, leading the Utes to the Final Four, health issues forced an early retirement.

    Majerus is back and has taken on quite a challenge trying to make St. Louis a relevant program. It isn't clear if he will actually succeed, but his record speaks for itself and makes him worthy of this list.

No. 47: Steve Donahue

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    Current School: Boston College

    Record: 146-138

    It isn't easy making a name for yourself in the Ivy League, but what Donahue did the last few seasons at Cornell made him a hot commodity.

    Boston College jumped at Donahue when they parted ways with Al Skinner. Donahue once again has his work cut out for him, but if he can recruit solid players to Cornell, Boston College should be a cakewalk.

No. 46: Johnny Dawkins

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    Current School: Stanford

    Record: 34-32

    The longtime Duke assistant coach stepped out of the very large shadow of his alma mater and took the Stanford job two seasons ago.

    He has had to work to build up the team with solid recruiting. He has survived the first two seasons, but he needs to step it up in his third to avoid the questions about his readiness to coach. He has the talent and now it is time to show his coaching acumen.

No. 45: Fran McCaffery

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    Current School: Iowa

    Record: 251-178

    McCaffery takes over for the Hawkeyes after successful stints at smaller programs. Coaching in the Big Ten will be a good test as he tries to restore Iowa to significance.

    Iowa has great tradition and a very solid fan base, so if he can recruit and win, he should find it a very welcoming place.

No. 44: Mark Fox

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    Current School: Georgia

    Record: 137-60

    Fox had success in the West at Nevada but hit some growing pains in his first year coaching at a traditional football school.

    Georgia certainly has the resources, but is the interest there? It will take more than a 14-17 record to keep your job, especially in a trigger-happy SEC where it is win or get fired.

No. 43: Tommy Amaker

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    Current School: Harvard

    Record: 219-182

    Amaker, another Duke product, was seen just a few seasons ago as an up-and-coming coach. However, failed attempts at restoring both Seton Hall and Michigan ended that talk.

    He has, however, found a new life in the Ivy League, making Harvard a contender in the conference known more for IQs than NCAA appearances. A few more successful seasons and an NCAA tournament berth or two, and he may find himself back on the market for a big-time job.

No. 42: Lorenzo Romar

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    Current School: Washington

    Record: 264-179

    Romar has made Washington relevant again in basketball. He has led the Huskies to five NCAA tournaments and three Sweet 16 appearances, including last season.

    He still needs to break through and get to an Elite Eight, but for now, the Huskies' fans should be much happier with him than their football coach.

No. 41: Jeff Capel

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    Current School: Oklahoma

    Record: 161-92

    Another Dukie—but not a direct descendant of the Mike Krzyzewski coaching tree—Capel is an up-and-comer.

    A tough year last season had some questioning if he could win without players like Blake Griffin. If he can continue to recruit and win while avoiding some of the controversies that have plagued the Sooners, he will be in Norman for a while.

No. 40: Brian Gregory

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    Current School: Dayton

    Record: 150-80

    While an NIT championship may not be what every coach dreams of winning, beating North Carolina in any championship game is definitely a motivator.

    Seeing how well Dayton played in last year's NIT makes one wonder how well they could have done in the Big Dance. That being said, Gregory has won 25-or-more games in the last two seasons. If he keeps this up he could get a big-time offer.

No. 39: Fran Dunphy

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    Current School: Temple

    Record: 394-212

    Another former Ivy League coach, Dunphy has been tasked with replacing the legend of John Chaney at Temple.

    Not an easy task, but Dunphy is a smart guy and he has done a nice job so far leading the Owls to the NCAA tournament each of his three years—though they've lost in the first round each time.

No. 38: Dave Rose

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    Current School: BYU

    Record: 127-40

    There hasn't been this much excitement in Provo surrounding BYU basketball since Sean Bradley towered over opponents in the 1990s.

    Rose has restored some interest and talent to the Cougar program and led BYU to four straight NCAA tournament berths.

No. 37: Randy Bennett

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    Current School: St. Mary's

    Record: 183-103

    Bennett has given Gonzaga some competition for supremacy in the West Coast Conference. He has led the Gaels to three NCAA tournaments

    That includes last year's Sweet 16 berth. His teams have won 25-or-more games in the last three seasons.

No. 36: Lon Kruger

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    Current School: UNLV

    Record: 455-295

    Kruger burst onto the scene when he led Florida to the Final Four in 1994. Since then Kruger has faded away a bit from the spotlight.

    Yet he is still within striking distance of 500 wins and he has even posted a 30-win season at UNLV as he attempts to restore that program.

No. 35: Rick Barnes

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    Current School: Texas

    Record: 496-239

    Barnes draws a lot of criticism, but there is no denying he is a solid coach. And any coach who has the cojones to stand up to Dean Smith and win nearly 500 games deserves to be on this list.

    Barnes' teams tend to underachieve, but he still has shown the ability to recruit and win, even if he hasn't won the big one yet.

No. 34: Chris Mack

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    Current School: Xavier

    Record: 26-9

    Mack enjoyed a good first season as a head coach, taking over at Xavier for Sean Miller, who left to coach Arizona.

    Mack led Xavier to the Sweet 16 and tied for first in the Atlantic 10 Conference. If he keeps this up, he will be a hot target for bigger programs.

No. 33: John Beilein

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    Current School: Michigan

    Record: 518-322

    What to make of Beilein? He was successful at West Virginia and left to take over at Michigan, where he has seemingly underachieved each year.

    Much like his predecessor, Tommy Amaker, Beilein wins a few big games, but loses too many he shouldn't. Still, his record speaks for itself. Maybe the Wolverines will start making a run at the Big Ten championship this season.

No. 32: Bobby Cremins

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    Current School: College of Charleston

    Record: 541-356

    Cremins made a name for himself and got a court named after him at Georgia Tech. After leaving and heading to the broadcasting booth, Cremins was forgotten a bit.

    Although a major upset over North Carolina last season made it seem like old times, it is hard to imagine—as good as Cremins is—that he can duplicate the success he had with the Yellow Jackets at the College of Charleston.

No. 31: Herb Sendek

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    Current School: Arizona State

    Record: 330-213

    Never fully appreciated at NC State despite taking the Wolfpack to five-straight NCAA tournaments, Sendek left for a warmer climate.

    He found less pressure to beat the likes of Duke and North Carolina and he has done something that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago—make the Sun Devils look like a better program than rival Arizona.

    He finds himself just outside the top 30 in this ranking.

No. 30: Mike Montgomery

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    Current School: California

    Record: 593-266

    Montgomery followed the standard story of "successful college coach goes to the NBA and fails." Following a winning stint at Stanford, Montgomery left for the NBA, but it didn't take him too long to come back to the college game.

    He has brought some hope to a Cal program which had been mired in scandal and mediocrity since the days of Jason Kidd.

No. 29: Tom Crean

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    Current School: Indiana

    Record: 206-142

    You would think it would not be hard to be successful at a blue-blood program like Indiana. But thanks to sanctions, Crean has almost had to build the program back from scratch.

    It is only a matter of time. Crean has proved he can build lesser programs and be successful. Shouldn't be much longer before he has the Hoosiers contending again.

No. 28: Mike Brey

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    Current School: Notre Dame

    Record: 287-153

    Brey, who coached with Mike Krzyzewski, has had success at Notre Dame. Yet he is still criticised for not winning enough.

    Brey is a solid recruiter and Notre Dame would be wise to hold on to him for a bit longer. They are already paying too many football coaches anyway.

No. 27: Frank Martin

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    Current School: Kansas State

    Record: 72-32

    Martin is quickly climbing this list as he builds a winning program at Kansas State. He is also the modern-day Bobby Knight with his hot temper and emotional persona.

    So far no chairs have flown, but he came awful close to bursting a blood vessel on his way to leading the Wildcats to an Elite Eight berth last season.

No. 26: Mike Jarvis

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    Current School: Florida Atlantic

    Record: 364-201

    Jarvis is another coach who left the sidelines and was forgotten for a while. He built successful programs at George Washington and St. John's.

    While he may not have the same success at Florida Atlantic, he is only a couple of moderately successful seasons away from landing a more high-profile job.

No. 25: Scott Drew

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    Current School: Baylor

    Record: 129-114

    Drew may be one of the hottest coaches in college basketball, but he also may be becoming one of the most controversial.

    The drama of the offseason aside, Drew has led Baylor to unprecedented heights and has them as a possible national contender. When you do that at a school not known for basketball, you get attention—both good and bad.

No. 24: Bruce Pearl

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    Current School: Tennessee

    Record: 211-84

    Speaking of rough offseasons, Bruce Pearl would probably sooner forget his. But if you look at what he has done on the court and not in his own backyard, you have to admit he is good.

    He made people talk and sing about Tennessee men's basketball for a change. That is saying something when football rules and Pat Summit reigns.

No. 23: Sean Miller

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    Current School: Arizona

    Record: 136-62

    Miller burst onto the scene at Xavier and decided to take a position with a blue-blood program, taking over for a legend at Arizona.

    While Lute Olson left under the shadow of controversy, Miller entered with a lot of work to do. He managed to finish over .500, but he still has his work cut out for him restoring the Wildcats.

No. 22: Matt Painter

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    Current School: Purdue

    Record: 137-61

    You have to feel for Painter and the rest of the Boilermakers. After losing one of its best players last year prior to the NCAA tournament, they again lost star Robbie Hummel for this season with a torn ACL.

    Still, he has some weapons to work with and, as he showed last year, even without Hummel, Purdue wasn't that far away from beating the eventual national champs.

No. 21: Brad Stevens

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    Current School: Butler

    Record: 89-15

    No young coach in all of college basketball is hotter than Brad Stevens. In three years at Butler he has  taken the Horizon League program to three NCAA tournaments and a championship game.

    Despite being a missed half-court shot away from one of the greatest stories of all-time, Stevens has shown that even the little guy can still make some noise.

    Why not higher? Well he is off to a good start, but lets see where Butler and Stevens are in about five years before we move him up this list.

No. 20: John Calipari

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    Current School: Kentucky

    Record: 476-143

    Speaking of a coach who could arguably be ranked higher, Calipari has only himself to blame. A decent enough coach, he has ridden his ability to recruit the best players and take them to new heights.

    Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to keep his players out of trouble or in the classroom. He can get them in but can't keep them. He is also the only coach to have two different schools' single-best seasons vacated due to NCAA sanctions.

No. 19: Rick Pitino

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    Current School: Louisville

    Record: 572-209

    In his heyday at Kentucky, Pitino was arguably one of the best coaches in college basketball, restoring the Wildcats' tarnished program.

    After leaving for a failed NBA career, Pitino found himself back in the Bluegrass State, this time at rival Louisville. He hasn't been nearly as successful and he has had a few teams greatly underachieve.

    He also has the 15 minutes of shame from an off-court scandal, which may tarnish his own legacy—at least from a moral perspective.

No. 18: John Thompson III

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    Current School: Georgetown

    Record: 206-101

    Thompson has resurrected the program his father once established as one of the most feared in the nation.

    While Georgetown is still not where they were under John Thompson Jr., Thompson III has made them respectable and, at times, a real national contender.

No. 17: Tubby Smith

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    Current School: Minnesota

    Record: 446-181

    Another coach on the downside of his career who came to prominence at Kentucky, Smith was never fully embraced at Kentucky despite winning a title.

    After leaving, he landed with the Gophers, where they have been average at best. Still a solid coach, it is much harder to recruit at Minnesota than Kentucky.

No. 16: Bruce Weber

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    Current School: Illinois

    Record: 276-126

    It still remains to be seen whether Illinois won out in moving from Bill Self to Weber. Weber started out strong, taking the Illini to the title game of the 2005 NCAA tournament.

    But since then, Illinois has not been able to get back to that same level. Illinois hasn't been bad, but they haven't been that good either. Self, on the other hand, has a title in Lawrence.

No. 15: Bob Huggins

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    Current School: West Virginia

    Record: 670-240

    Despite his success at Cincinnati, Huggins never went as far with them as he did last season with the Mountaineers.

    Huggins—known for his fiery demeanor and variety of track suits—can be controversial. But he showed his true heart when his star Da'Sean Butler went down with an injury in the Final Four and Huggins embraced him while he lay on the floor.

No. 14: Bo Ryan

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    Current School: Wisconsin

    Record: 600-185

    Ryan has been a quiet success in the upper Midwest. At Wisconsin, he has enjoyed a lot of success despite his slower, deliberate offense.

    His Badgers also helped the Big Ten win its first-ever ACC/Big Ten Challenge last season with a win over Duke.

No. 13: Jay Wright

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    Current Team: Villanova

    Record: 326-183

    Wright's stock soared when his Villanova squad destroyed Duke in the Sweet 16 in 2009. He, like the coach of the team he beat, builds a guard-oriented team that likes to run the floor.

    'Nova is definitely a presence in college basketball as long as Wright is there.

No. 12: Mark Few

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    Current team: Gonzaga

    Record: 291-73

    Few brought the mid-major-level team to prominence. A team that many felt was a one-hit wonder has been a decade-long member of the establishment of college basketball.

    Few has made Gonzaga a regular participant in the NCAA tournament and his refusal to leave for a bigger program has given hope to all the mid-major schools.

No. 11: Thad Matta

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    Current school: Ohio State

    Record: 258-85

    Matta may be one of the greatest recruiters in the game today. He, like John Calipari, seems to attract many one-and-done players. Yet, unlike Calipari, he manages to win year after year without those pesky NCAA violations causing seasons to be vacated.

    It doesn't matter how many players Ohio State loses each year. It always seems Matta has someone in the wings to take their place.

No. 10: Jamie Dixon

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    Current School: Pittsburgh

    Record: 188-54

    Many were expecting Pitt to have a drop-off when Ben Howland left for UCLA, but it didn't happen thanks to Dixon.

    Dixon, an assistant under Howland, knew the program and had no trouble stepping in and making them contenders from Day 1.

No. 9: Jim Calhoun

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    Current school: Connecticut

    Record: 575-221

    Calhoun has been the face of UConn men's basketball for more than 20 years. He has won two national titles in Storrs.

    Recent health issues and scandal have tarnished some of Calhoun's legacy, but the wins and titles speak for themselves.

No. 8: Gary Williams

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    Current school: Maryland

    Record: 649-366

    Williams is another coach known for his fire-and-brimstone approach, but he should be considered one of the great strategists and motivators in the game.

    Despite a lack of big-time recruits, Maryland almost always challenges in the ACC and that is due in large part to Williams. He always gets the most out of his players and it more times than not ends up being a win.

No. 7: Bill Self

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    Current school: Kansas

    Record: 409-148

    Self clearly has helped the Kansas faithful forget about being spurned by Roy Williams, who at one point said he could give a "s#@t about North Carolina," before he left Lawrence, Kan. for Tobacco Road.

    Under Self, Kansas has done something Williams never could in his time: win a championship.

No. 6: Billy Donovan

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    Current school: Florida

    Record: 366-158

    Donovan is in an elite group, being one of only a few coaches to lead a team to back-to-back titles.

    Florida has fallen on some lean times since the core of his title teams left Gainesville. Still, Donovan, an aggressive recruiter, is rebuilding the roster one recruit at a time—those that he can keep on campus.

No. 5: Ben Howland

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    Current school: UCLA

    Record: 334-171

    Under Howland, the Bruins posted their first undefeated home record in 22 years. He took the team to three Final Four appearances.

No. 4: Jim Boeheim

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    Current school: Syracuse

    Record: 829-293

    If you were to cut Boeheim, he would likely bleed orange. The man just keeps winning and coaching. Known for his zone defense, he has even inspired Mike Krzyzewski to play some zone.

    As long as he has coached and as successful as he has been, it is almost difficult to believe he has won only one title.

    He did have the Orange play man-to-man defense once. Once.

No. 3: Roy Williams

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    Current school: North Carolina

    Record: 614-155

    Ol' Roy—with his Southern charm and infamous slips of the tongue at press conferences—is royalty in North Carolina.

    A direct disciple of the great Dean Smith, Williams helped bring the Tar Heels back to the top after the Matt Doherty administration failed. Two titles in less than a decade surely solidifies him as one of the best in the business.

No. 2: Tom Izzo

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    Current school: Michigan State

    Record: 364-146

    Izzo's hard-working, blue-collar style exemplifies what Michigan State is all about. His teams' hard-nosed rebounding and defense has made the Spartans a staple in the NCAA tournament and Final Four.

    Though he has only won one title, it feels like more. He need not apologize for his offseason flirtation with the NBA. At least he didn't have an hour-long show to crush the hopes and aspirations of an entire city.

No. 1: Mike Krzyzewski

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    Current school: Duke

    Record: 826-279

    He may not be the most popular coach, but he is arguably the greatest in the game today. His four titles and 77 NCAA tournament wins are more than any other active coach.

    Despite all the detractors, Coach K continues to win the right way. Never rocked by scandal and graduating a majority of his players, you can't spell Duke without K.