College Basketball's Top 10 Current Coaches
Fans of college basketball might be in one of the best eras ever for coaches. The coaches in today's game are better than any other time in its history. They are better recruiters, better X's and O's guys—just better all around.
But when you start to break it down, who are the best of the best in the game? Where do the likes of Roy Williams, Tom Izzo and Jim Boeheim rank?
Well, well, well, it's a good thing you clicked on this story.
10. Thad Matta, Ohio State
Career record: 300-88, one Final Four, 13 regular season/conference tournament championships
He's considered an up-and-coming coach, but he's certainly made a name for himself quickly.
He immediately had success at Ohio State, leading them to a national title game with Greg Oden and Mike Conley. He's struggled a bit since then, but this year's team looks to be one that could turn that trend around.
Matta made a name for himself at Butler and Xavier. Then he became a household name at Ohio State. At the young age of 44, he's on pace to make a run for Coach K's all-time record, although he's a long, long way from that mark.
9. John Calipari, Kentucky
Career record: 475-152, three Final Fours, 23 regular season/tournament conference championships, two Naismith Coach of the Year awards
While you may not like him or the way he recruits, you can't deny his body of work. His 475 wins is very impressive considering that he has spent the most of his career at UMass and Memphis. In his two full years at UK and this year, he has a combined 61-12.
But obviously, he can't be too high on the list.
While there have never been direct recruiting violations by him, it's not a coincidence he keeps getting seasons vacated. Of the 23 conference championships listed above, four have been vacated. Two of his three Final Fours have also been vacated. His violations hurt him too much to place him high on this list.
But even with all the trouble, Calipari is one of the top 10 in the game right now.
8. Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
Career record: 631-194, five regular season/conference tournament championships
From a strict win/loss perspective, Bo Ryan's win percentage of 76 would put him much higher on this list. However, you don't go by just that. Taking into account his whole body of work, Ryan doesn't have the tournament success of the coaches ahead of him.
However, that's not to say that Ryan hasn't been a fabulous coach. Few coaches in the nation have a better win percentage in home games as he does with his Wisconsin Badgers. And Ryan does have a couple of national titles under his belt, but they came in Division III at University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
All that taken into consideration, Ryan can't be high on the list now but he's not at the elite level just yet.
7. Bill Self, Kansas
Career record: 445-151, one national championship, one Final Four, 17 regular season/conference tournament championships
He is quite possibly the most underrated of all the coaches in America. Despite coaching at Kansas, one of the most storied programs in college basketball history, Self's name is not often mentioned among the best ever.
However, when you look at the stats, it's impossible to leave him off the list. He's won the last seven Big 12 regular season titles. While the Big 12 isn't a big basketball conference, it's impressive to win seven straight titles in any conference.
At just 48, Self might be the best candidate out of anyone currently coaching to make a run at Coach K's record.
6. Tom Izzo, Michigan State
Career record: 387-163, one national championship, six Final Fours, eight regular season/tournament conference titles
While his win/loss record doesn't speak of a great coach, Tom Izzo is just that. Despite having just 387 wins, Izzo has been to the NCAA tournament every year but his first two, a streak of 14 straight seasons.
In just 16 seasons, Izzo has amassed his 387 wins, an average of 24 wins a year. For comparison's sake, Coach K averages 25 wins a year. That tells you what kind of company Izzo is in.
However, it's the limited body of work that keeps Izzo out of the top five. And unfortunately, already at the age of 56, Izzo won't be able to challenge for an all-time record. But that doesn't keep him from being one of the best of all time.
5. Rick Pitino, Louisville
Career record: 603-220, one national championship, five Final Fours, 15 regular season/conference titles
Rick Pitino has put together a very good resume given his short time in college basketball. Despite three separate stints in the NBA, Pitino has over 600 wins and 15 conference titles, both very impressive numbers. The only coach at 600 wins in fewer seasons is Roy Williams.
Pitino has moved all over the place, coaching at Boston, Providence, Kentucky and Louisville. However, at each stop, he's won at least one regular season and conference tournament.
If Pitino hadn't been lured to the NBA, we might be talking about a man with at least 200-plus wins. However, even with eight years lost, Pitino is a top five coach in today's game.
4. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
Career record: 863-301, one national title, three Final Fours, 13 regular season/tournament conference titles, one Naismith Coach of the Year award
Off the court is another story, but on the court there are few better. Boeheim is a great coach and regularly has his teams in the tourneys. Prior to the recent allegations, some might have thought Boeheim could keep pace with Coach K's win record. Now, it seems like his days are numbered.
However, his legacy will not soon be forgotten. He coached the Carmelo Anthony-led Orange to his lone title and has put on some fabulous coaching displays. One that sticks out was his Gerry McNamara team that made a fabulous run through the conference tourney and into the NCAA tournament.
3. Jim Calhoun, UConn
Career record: 852-366, three national championships, four Final Fours, 20 regular season/tournament conference titles
Prior to last year, Calhoun certainly wouldn't have been this high on the list. However, given the great coaching job he did, it's impossible not to put him this high. His team rattled off 12 straight wins to finish the year to win the NCAA Tournament.
However, it wasn't just last year that propelled him toward the top. I vividly remember two of his titles, as both featured wins over Duke. His 1999 team was a team that was outmatched, but he coached brilliantly. His 2004 team was a great team that won a gritty game down the stretch.
The one knock on Calhoun is some recruiting violations, but it's not enough to take away his past accomplishments.
2. Roy Williams, UNC
Career record: 643-163, two national titles, seven Final Fours, 20 regular season/conference titles, one Naismith Coach of the Year award
As a Duke fan, it pains me to write this. However, his win percentage of nearly 80 is staggering. It's fourth all-time among coaches with at least 600 wins, behind only John Wooden, Ken Anderson and Adolph Rupp. That's some pretty elite company. And his 163 losses rank third among the same criteria.
He's done all this in just 23 years on the sideline.
In a rather short coaching career, Williams has made a big name for himself. He's also coached some of the best national championship teams of all time, the first including Sean May, Rashad McCants and Ray Felton and the latter with Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington.
1. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
Career record: 907-285, four national titles, 11 Final Fours, 25 regular season/tournament conference titles, three Naismith Coach of the Year awards
Those stats only tell part of the story. Coach K has coached numerous Players of the Year, including Christian Laettner, Johnny Dawkins and J.J. Redick. He's had a couple Defensive Players of the Year in Shane Battier and Shelden Williams.
But the tourney is where Coach K makes his name. He is 79-23 in the NCAA tournament for a ridiculous win percentage of 77.
Coach K is a legend at Duke, and rightfully so. Not only is he the best in the game today, but he might be the best ever.
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