The 10 Best Coaches in College Basketball History
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College basketball is arguably the sport in which coaching matters most.
With young men brought in from around the country (and sometimes from abroad), college coaches are burdened with the difficult responsibility of crafting game plans and managing egos while at the same time mentoring young ballplayers and turning high school graduates into NBA-level talent.
As we prepare for the start of the 2011-2012 season, let's take a minute to look at the men on the sideline who make this game great.
Honorable Mention: Ed Jucker
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Ed Jucker was the head coach of the University of Cincinnati during the 1960s. Though he only coached the Bearcats for five years, Jucker won two national titles in that short span and could have easily won a third if a Jerry Harkness-led Loyola Chicago team hadn't hit a few clutch shots in overtime.
Despite the loss, Jucker's NCAA tournament record stands at an astounding 11-1 (.917 winning percentage).
He didn't coach long enough to get on this list, but Jucker's numbers during his brief tenure at Cincinnati are worthy of recognition.
10. Jim Boeheim
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Coming in at No. 10 is longtime Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim.
A master of the 2-3 zone, Boeheim has spent his entire career with the Orangemen, totaling more than 850 wins in 35 seasons.
When you combine his impressive win total with five Big East tournament championships, three Final Fours and a national championship, Boeheim stands out as a top 10 coach of all time.
9. Denny Crum
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Though Rick Pitino may eventually take his place as the University of Louisville's best head coach, Denny Crum currently holds the title.
Crum spent his entire 30-year head coaching career at Louisville, winning a total of 675 games.
During his tenure, he won three National Coach of the Year awards, captured two national championships and led the Cardinals to six Final Fours.
8. Roy Williams
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By season's end, Roy Williams could find himself a bit higher on this prestigious list, but before we get speculative, let's look at what the Tarheels' coach has accomplished so far.
In just 23 seasons at Kansas and North Carolina, Williams has amassed a quick 643 wins, seven Final Fours and two national titles.
He is a two-time AP Coach of the Year, and his .798 winning percentage trails only John Wooden and Adolph Rupp.
7. Jim Calhoun
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Newly minted national champion Jim Calhoun comes in at No. 7.
In 39 years, Calhoun has accumulated 855 wins at Northeastern University and the University of Connecticut.
During his tenure at UConn he has led his Huskies to seven Big East tournament championships, four Final Fours and three national titles, making him one of only five coaches to win more than two NCAA championships.
6. Phog Allen
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If it weren't for two of his former students (Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp), Phog Allen would probably rank a bit higher on this list.
However, their success is only an affirmation of his.
Long-time University of Kansas head coach Phog Allen replaced basketball's inventor, James Naismith, on the Jayhawk bench following the 1907 season.
In a career that spanned nearly five decades, he won 746 games and 24 conference championships while bringing three national titles to Lawrence.
5. Dean Smith
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Kicking off the top five is storied University of North Carolina head coach Dean Smith.
Smith spent his entire 36-year head coaching career in Chapel Hill, leading the Tarheels to 13 ACC tournament championships, 11 Final Fours and two national titles.
A four-time Naismith Coach of the Year, Smith's 879 career wins ranked first at the time of his retirement in 1997.
4. Bob Knight
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Though he is most often remembered for his hard-nosed coaching techniques and controversial behavior, Bob Knight is without a doubt a top five coach in college basketball history.
During a 42-year coaching career, The General won a Division I record 902 games with Army, Indiana and Texas Tech.
Knight made it to five Final Fours, winning the national title three times. In 1975-76 his Indiana Hoosiers became the last team to go undefeated for an entire season.
3. Adolph Rupp
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Coming in at No. 3 is legendary University of Kentucky head coach Adolph Rupp.
Rupp had a career record of 876-190 during 41 seasons at the Wildcats' helm, giving him the second-highest winning percentage (.822) in college basketball history behind Clair Bee.
During his tenure, Rupp led the Wildcats to six Final Fours and four national championships. He also brought home Coach of the Year honors four times.
Adolph Rupp established Kentucky basketball as we know it today. He is undoubtedly the reason that the University of Kentucky has won more basketball games than any other school.
2. Mike Krzyzewski
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What Mike Krzyzewski has done for Duke basketball is nothing short of remarkable.
Since he took charge in 1980, Coach K has won 13 ACC championships, been to 11 Final Fours and won four national titles.
At the start of the 2011-12 season, Coach Krzyzewski sits at 900 career wins, trailing his former coach and mentor Bob Knight by just two on the all-time Division I wins list.
The record-holder for the most NCAA tournament wins with 78, Coach K is without a doubt one of the greatest to ever walk the sidelines.
1. John Wooden
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Who else could it be?
When it comes to college basketball coaching, the Wizard of Westwood is in a league of his own.
In 29 seasons, Wooden won a record 10 national championships (which all came during a 12-year span), including seven in a row between 1967-73.
In current coaching terms, he owns more national championships than Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Calhoun and Roy Williams combined.
A six-time NCAA Coach of the Year, John Wooden is not only college basketball's all-time greatest coach, he is arguably the best coach in all of sports history.