Mike Krzyzewski: Where Does Duke Basketball Coach Stand Among the Greatest Ever?

Mike KlineAnalyst IDecember 2, 2010

Mike Krzyzewski: Where Does Duke Basketball Coach Stand Among the Greatest Ever?

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 23:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils and assistant coaches react to a play during the CBE Classic championship game against the Kansas State Wildcats on November 23, 2010 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, M
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Like him or loath him, few can deny Mike Krzyzewski is one of the greatest active college basketball coaches today, if not the greatest.

    But how does he stack up against some of the greats of all time?

    Considering that he will be the winningest men's Division I coach in one year, he holds his own pretty well.

    But for the sake of argument and lively discussion, here are 20 of the greatest coaches current and past and how Coach K compares to those greats.

    Note: This does not include coaches in lower divisions and women's basketball. While those coaches deserve their due, it it hard to compare them to the highest level of men's college basketball. This also isn't a power ranking of the greatest coaches of all time.

Roy Williams

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    CHAMPAIGN, IL - NOVEMBER 30: North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams looks on against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the 2010 ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Assembly Hall on November 30, 2010 in Champaign, Illinois. Illinois defeated the Tar Heels
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Why not start it out with a good old fashioned rivalry?

    College(s): Kansas, North Carolina

    Record: 616-157

    How Coach K rates: Williams made a name for himself at Kansas but never won a National Championship until he came back to his alma mater.

    It didn't take long for him to win either as he took home the championship in 2005 and 2009. After the 2009 season, most had thought Williams had surpassed Krzyzewski in both his ability to recruit and on court results.

    That mindset was quickly dispelled following last year's collapse by the Tar Heels and Duke's title. Still Williams has held his own, but ultimately four titles is more than two.

John Chaney

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    PHILADELPHIA - FEBRUARY 21:  Head coach John Chaney of the Temple University Owls shouts from the sideline during the game against the Saint Joseph's University Hawks on February 21, 2004 at The Palestra in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Hawks won 76-53.
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    School(s): Cheyney State (D-II), Temple

    Record: 741-312

    How Coach K rates: Head to head there is no doubt Krzyzewski is the better coach, but Chaney deserves some respect for what he did at Temple.

    He may have had some issues: John Calipari and the whole goon deal.  And though he did hang National Title banners, he did take a bunch of kids and taught them discipline and respect and that was inspirational.

Lute Olson

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    NEW ORLEANS - MARCH 16:  Head coach Lute Olson of the Arizona Wildcats walks the sidelines during the first half against the Purdue Boilermakers in round one of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the New Orleans Arena on March 16, 2007 in New Orleans
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    School(s): Iowa, Arizona

    Record: 781-280

    How Coach K rates: Olson and Krzyzewski met head to head a few times, and none was more memorable than the 2001 National Title game.

    Duke and Krzyzewski prevailed and "Duke hate" went to a whole different level.

    Still Lute managed to get a few wins along the way, ranks in the Top 10 on the all-time Division I wins list and has a National Title to his name.

Denny Crum

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    15 Mar 1996:  Head coach Denny Crum of the Louisville Cardinals looks on during a game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Louisville won the game, 82-80. Mandatory Credit: Craig Jones  /Allsport
    Craig Jones/Getty Images

    School(s): Louisville

    Record: 675-295

    How Coach K rates: The two coaches met face to face in the 1986 National Title game. It was the first for Krzyzewski and Crum's second.

    Crum and the Cardinals got the better of Coach K on that day, but as he got older the Cardinals would begin to fade in national significance and never made it back.

    Krzyzewski eventually won four and at one point coached in five consecutive Final Fours and three straight title games from 1988-1992.

Tom Izzo

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    INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 03:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans reacts from the sideline while taking on the Butler Bulldogs during the National Semifinal game of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship on April 3, 2010 in Indi
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    School(s): Michigan State

    Record: 369-148

    How Coach K rates: Many feel like Izzo is every bit as good a coach as Krzyzewski. He has won a title, and beaten Krzyzewski head to head a few times. He also has been to six Final Fours.

    Still as good as Izzo is, he still has a way to go and despite going to the Final Four six times, he only has one title and is about 500 wins shy of being as good as Krzyzewski.

    Wednesday's loss at Duke was another indicator that for now Izzo is close, but not yet better than Coach K.

Lefty Driesell

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    15 Mar 2001:  A close up of Head Coach Lefty Driesell of the Georgia State Panthers as he watches from the sidelines during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Boise State Pavilion in Boise, Idaho. The Panthers defeated the Badgers 50-49. Mandat
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    School(s): Davidson, Maryland, James Madison, Georgia State.

    Record: 786-394

    How Coach K rates: Driesell, a Duke alum, was as colorful a coach as one would find. He coached great players, is one of the all-time winingest coaches and even beat Krzyzewski on occasion.

    But with no championship to his name, there is no comparison.

Eddie Sutton

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    SEATTLE - DECEMBER 10:  Head Coach Eddie Sutton of the Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrates during the game with the Gonzaga Bulldogs at Key Arena on December 10, 2005 in Seattle, Washington. Gonzaga won 64-62.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    School(s): Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, San Francisco

    Record: 798-326

    How Coach K rates: Sutton more or less was a great coach, but his career was veiled in scandal, something Krzyzewski has not had to worry about.

    He has a lot of wins to his name and is ranked high among win total, but has no national titles to his name.

Phog Allen

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    School(s): Baker, Haskell Institute, Missouri State Normal School #2, Kansas

    Record: 746-264

    How Coach K rates: You have to go to the way back machine for Phog Allen, and how can you leave out one of the greatest coaches who learned the game from the father of basketball James Naismith?

    Still, it is hard to compare how Krzyzewski would have done in Allen's time or Allen in Coach K's. I suspect it would be a good matchup of coaches who have won multiple titles.

Jim Phelan

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    Schools: Mount St. Mary's

    Record: 830-524

    How Coach K rates: In terms of longevity, no one tops Phelan, who coached a mind-blowing 49 years, all at Mount St. Mary's.

    He is among the all-time list of winning coaches for Division I basketball, and that is to be respected, but coaching at a small school has its shortcomings. With no titles the legendary coach can't compare to Krzyzewski in terms of that mark.

Lou Henson

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    27 Jan 1996:  Head coach Lou Henson of the Illinois Fighting Illini yells at forward Chris Gandy #45 on the sideline during the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at the Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Illinois. Illinois defeated Northwestern 74-62. Man
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    School(s): Hardin-Simmons, New Mexico State, Illinois

    Record: 779-422

    How Coach K rates: Both coaches are in the Top 10 all-time in wins, but greatest isn't always measured in wins and losses.

    With more than 700 wins and a Final Four on his resume, it is easy to say he was a great coach, but when compared to Krzyzewski, he was just pretty good.

Henry "Hank" Iba

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    School(s): NW Missouri, Colorado, Oklahoma A&M (Oklahoma State)

    Record: 751-340

    How Coach K rates: Again, with coaches who coached way back, it is hard and even unfair to try to compare them to someone coaching today. Iba was a great one though, and has two national titles to prove it.

    I'm sure K would have held his own, but I'm sure Iba would have gotten his licks in too.

Bob Huggins

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    INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 03:  Head coach Bob Huggins of the West Virginia Mountaineers reacts while taking on the Duke Blue Devils during the National Semifinal game of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 3, 20
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    School(s): Walsh, Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State, West Virginia

    Record: 671-241

    How Coach K rates: The two coaches are good friends and fierce competitors. They have met several times and both have won some and lost some.

    Overall though Huggins only has two Final Fours and no championships. The last Final Four last season resulted in a drubbing by Krzyzewski's Blue Devils.

Gary Williams

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    NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach Gary Williams of the Maryland Terrapins yells instructions against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the 2k Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden on November 19, 2010 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/G
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    School(s): American, Boston College, Ohio State, Maryland

    Record: 654-368

    How Coach K rates: The two contemporaries have been fierce rivals in the ACC and helped build a strong rivalry between Maryland and Duke.

    Williams has two Final Fours and a national title to his name and has had some success coaching against Krzyzewski, but ultimately, four trumps one and Williams is still about 200-plus wins off Krzyzewski's win total.

Rick Pitino

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    16 Mar 1996:  Kentucky Wildcats head coach Rick Pitinio yells during a game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Reunion Arena in Texas.  Kentucky won the game, 84-60. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Stockman/Allsport
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    School(s): Boston University, Providence, Kentucky, Louisville

    Record: 572-209

    How Coach K rates:  Pitino, once upon a time, was an up and coming hot shot coach, much like John Calipari is today. He broke in at a smaller basketball school and ended up striking gold, rebuilding blue blood Kentucky.

    Then he left for the NBA and hasn't really been the same since. His best days might be behind him, and so are his chances of catching Krzyzewski.

Jim Boeheim

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    SALT LAKE CITY - MARCH 25:  Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange coaches against the Butler Bulldogs during the west regional semifinal of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Energy Solutions Arena on March 25, 2010 in Salt Lake City
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    School(s): Syracuse

    Record: 836-233

    How Coach K rates: Another good friend of Krzyzewski, Boeheim has even tried to impart his zone defense on a guy who prides himself in strict man-to-man with no exceptions.

    Got to give the guy credit for trying, but his longevity at one school and the success makes him a challenger to Krzyzewski.

Jim Calhoun

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    HARTFORD, CT - FEBRUARY 13: Coach Jim Calhoun of the Connecticut Huskies reacts to fans as he walks onto the court before a game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at the XL Center on February 13, 2010 in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Ima
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    School(s): Northeastern, Connecticut

    Record: 823-358

    How Coach K rates: As far as matchups go, this is another good one in line with Izzo and Boeheim. Calhoun is a contemporary who has been very successful and has beaten Krzyzewski.

    The records and championship favor Coach K, but there is no denying the powerhouse Calhoun has built at Connecticut.

Adolph Rupp

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    School(s): Kentucky

    Record: 876-190

    How Coach K rates: Two more wins, and Krzyzewski will overtake Rupp on the all-time wins list for Division I coaches.

    Rupp has four national titles, like Krzyzewski, and only John Wooden has more with 10. If it were possible, it would be an interesting and fierce matchup between two strong personalities, programs and heated rivals.

Dean Smith

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    383229 03: Former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith attends the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year 2000 awards ceremony December 12, 2000 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Newsmakers)
    Chris Hondros/Getty Images

    School(s): North Carolina

    Record: 879-254

    How Coach K rates: Speaking of fierce rivals, nobody got Krzyzewski more than Dean Smith.

    Smith was the top dog in the ACC and country when Coach K arrived on the scene at Duke, and perhaps no one pushed Krzyzewski harder.

    The two were never close friends but respected one another for their successes. It is hard to give the edge to either one as the totals are 10 Final Fours for Smith to 11 for Krzyzewski, and two titles for Smith to four for Krzyzewski.

Bobby Knight

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 24: Bob Knight former head coach, looks on as an ESPN commentator during the CBE Classic games on November 24, 2008 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    School(s): West Point (Army), Indiana, Texas Tech

    Record: 901-372

    How Coach K rates: There are few people Krzyzewski admires and respects more than Bob Knight, his coach and mentor.

    Coach K played for Knight at West Point, coached with him at Indiana and got a huge recommendation from him to get the job at Duke.

    Krzyzewski bested his teacher on the court and soon in the record books, but there is no denying how responsible for his success Knight has been.

John Wooden

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    ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 13:  Former UCLA college basketball coach John Wooden looks on during the John R. Wooden Classic match between the UCLA Bruins and the De Paul Blue Demons at Honda Center on December 13, 2008 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Chris
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    School(s): Indiana State, UCLA

    Record: 664-162

    How Coach K rates: No greater gentleman has ever coached, and his record 10 Championships, including one stretch of seven in a row, will never be topped.

    While Krzyzewski may have eclipsed his win total, he will never touch his total championships. There is no harm in a loss, and even the most devout Duke and Coach K fan has to yield to the gentleman from California by way of Indiana.

    Krzyzewski is legendary, but Wooden is The Legend.


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