Top 20 Men’s College Basketball Head Coaches

Duke Men's College Basketball; Coach K

Top 20 Men’s College Basketball Head Coaches

Congratulations to Coach Mike Krzyzewski on his 900th win. That puts an exclamation point on him being the best active coach in college basketball.  Krzyzewski has it all; wins, winning percentage, playoff wins, recruiting classes, media perception, revenue generated, and the ultimate gauge… “What have you done for me lately?” Here are the 19 behind Krzyzewski which are not as easy to call.


1.    Mike Krzyzewski (Duke): An easy call at the top. Krzyzewski has amassed over 900 wins while racking up a winning percentage of over .750. His resume includes 11 Final Four appearances, he has produced dozens of NBA players, ten of his players and assistants have become head college basketball coaches, and for good will he has coached the USA to three gold medals in international and Olympic play. While the resume can stand alone, what really separates Krzyzewski from the pack are his four NCAA Championships, most of any coach since John Wooden.


2.    Roy Williams (North Carolina): Williams is one of only five active coaches to have multiple NCAA championship rings. Williams is second all-time for most wins at Kansas, and at North Carolina behind his mentor Dean Smith. Williams is sixth all-time in the NCAA for winning percentage and has coached his teams to seven final fours (fourth all-time in NCAA history). Williams along with Rick Pitino (see #4) are the only two coaches in NCAA history, to have led two different programs to at least three Final Fours. From 1990 to 2009, Williams coached teams earned 20 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (second all-time) and earned at least one victory in each appearance, achieving the all-time record for most consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances with a win. On March 22, 2013 Williams earned his 700th career win with a victory over Villanova. Williams has been a member of Basketball Hall of Fame since 2007.


3.    Jim Boeheim (Syracuse): Boeheim just won his tenth Big East regular season championships, to go with five Big East Tournament championships, and 29 NCAA Tournament appearances, including three appearances in the national title game. Boeheim received his only NCAA championship in 2003 by defeating Kansas. Boeheim is currently second on the active wins list of Men's NCAA Division I coaches only behind Mike Krzyzewski (see #1).  Boeheim holds the record for most career wins as head coach at a single school.  Boeheim is the only head coach in NCAA history to lead a school to four Final Four appearances in four separate decades. Boeheim was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.


4.    Rick Pitino (Louisville): What have you done for me lately? How about win the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. Pitino has amassed over 600 wins during his coaching career. He holds the distinction of being the only men's coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville) to a Final Four (John Calipari did, but two of his appearances were vacated by the NCAA) and the only coach in the NCAA to lead two different schools to an NCAA National Championship (Kentucky and Louisville). Pitino is also one of only two coaches, along with Roy Williams (see #2), in NCAA history to have led two different programs to at least three Final Fours each, one of only four coaches; Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski (see #1), Jim Boeheim (see #3) ever to take his school to the final four in four separate decades. Pitino was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.


5.    Bill Self (Kansas): Self is riding the media wave for landing freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins, a player being billed as the heir to LeBron James thrown. Self has led Kansas to ten straight Big 12 Conference regular season championships and the 2008 NCAA national championship. Self was named The Sporting News National Coach of the Year in 2000, 2009 and 2011, and the Associated Press National Coach of the Year in 2009.


6.    Bob Huggins (West Virginia): Huggins has amassed 700 wins and is ranked eighth in winning percentage and fourth in victories among active Division I coaches. Huggins has earned births to 16 total NCAA tournaments, including 15 of the last 16 seasons. Huggins' teams have participated in the postseason 26 of the 29 years. Huggins has coached in two Final Fours: 1992 with Cincinnati and 2010 with West Virginia. He has averaged over 25 wins per season over the last 16 years, the most of any coach. Huggins is the highest ranked coach on this list without an NCAA title.


7.    Tubby Smith (Texas Tech): Prior to coming to the Red Raiders, Smith coached at the University of Kentucky to the 1998 NCAA championship. Smith has 18 seasons of twenty victories or more. In 2005, he joined Roy Williams (see #2), Nolan Richardson, Denny Crum and Jim Boeheim (see #3) as the only head coaches to win 365 games in less than 15 seasons.  Smith is one of only five coaches to lead four different teams to the NCAA tournament. Smith has three sons, all of whom are college coaches.


8.    Bo Ryan, Jr. (Wisconsin): Ryan has over 600 collegiate wins (10th among active coaches) and a .763 winning percentage (6th among active coaches). While Ryan has no NCAA Championships he has made an impressive 13 NCAA tournament appearances, and this year made his sixth Sweet 16 and second Elite Eight.


9.    Billy Donovan, Jr. (Florida): Donovan is best known for leading the Florida Gators to back to back NCAA national championships in 2006 and 2007. He is the first coach since Mike Krzyzewski (see #1) to win two NCAA titles in a row. He is one of only four coaches (Dean Smith, Joe B. Hall and Bobby Knight being the other three) to appear in the Final Four as a player and win the NCAA national championship as a coach.


10.    Tom Izzo (Michigan State): Izzo has led the Spartans to the 2000 NCAA National Championship, to go with six Final Fours, and seven Big Ten Championships. Izzo's teams have been earned berths to the past 17 consecutive NCAA tournaments. Izzo is the longest tenured coach in the Big Ten Conference and has won four national coach of the year awards.


11.    John Calipari (Kentucky): Calipari’s run-ins with the NCAA and subsequent vacating of wins and NCAA appearances have downgraded him out of the top ten. Calipari has officially been to two Final Fours.  As a college coach, Calipari has 20 (19 officially) 20-win seasons, 8 (7 officially) 30-win seasons, and has been named National Coach of the Year 3 times. Calipari is widely regarded as the best recruiter in college basketball history.


12.    Mark Few (Gonzaga): Few has spearheaded Gonzaga’s rise from mid-major obscurity to main stay in the NCAA tournament. Going into the 2013 season Few was the winningest active coach by percentage at 80.1 percent (374-93), leading Roy Williams (see #2) who is at 79.5 percent (700-180 in 25 years). Few is tied for 17th fastest to 100 wins in Division I, accomplishing the feat in 126 games. He was third fastest to 200 wins, reaching the milestone in 247 games and he is tied for sixth fastest to 300 wins. Few is in the Top 15 among active Division I coaches for most 20-win seasons with 14 and Few has  never won less than twenty games in a season.


13.    Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh): Dixon’s accolades include USA Basketball National Coach of the Year, Big East Coach of the Year in 2004, Naismith College Coach of the Year in 2009, Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year in 2010, and the Sporting News National Coach of the Year award in 2011. Dixon is a new coach on the rise. He has the third highest winning percentage in college basketball and has already surpassed the 200 win mark.


14.    Dave Rose (BYU):  Rose is another great up and coming coach. He is probably best known for being the co-captain of "Phi Slama Jama”, the University of Houston's college basketball squad featuring Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon that finished as national runner-up in the 1983 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. Rose is chasing his 200th win at a .779 winning clip.


15.    Thad Matta (Ohio State):  Matta, recently gained his 300th win and is one of only two coaches nationally to post 20 or more wins in each of his first 13 seasons as a head coach. Matta has led the Buckeyes to five Big Ten Conference regular season championships and four Big Ten Tournament titles. Matta has two Final Four appearances to his credit.


16.    Steve Fisher (San Diego State): In his first year as a head coach Fisher guided Michigan’s “fab 5” to the NCAA Championship. Since then he has made 13 more NCAA tournament appearances, including two additional title game appearances.


17.    Larry Brown (Southern Methodist): Brown has been on the coaching scene as a college or professional since 1972. Brown has won over 1,000 professional games and is the only coach in NBA history to lead eight different teams to the playoffs. Brown is also the only coach in history to win both an NCAA National Championship (University of Kansas, 1988) and an NBA Championship (Detroit Pistons, 2004). Brown was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach on September 27, 2002. Although widely considered one of the greatest coaches in basketball history, his inability to coach at one place for any length of time led to his downgrade to number 17.


18.    Mike Montgomery (California): Montgomery has amassed over 650 NCAA wins. In addition to coaching at the college level, Montgomery also coached the Golden State Warriors of the NBA.


19.    Dave Holmquist (Biola): Holmquist is the only non-Division I coach to make the list. Holmquist started the season 15th on the all-time college basketball winning list with 853 career wins. He is third in wins for active college coaches only behind Krzyzewski (see #1) and Boeheim (see #3). Holmquist is one of forty coaches in college history to coach 1,000 college games.


20.    Cliff Ellis (Coastal Carolina): Ellis' 600 plus victories ranks him 27th on the list of all-time career coaching victories in the history of Division I basketball, and 10th among active coaches. He was national coach of the year in 1999 while at Auburn. At Coastal Carolina, Ellis has amassed a pair of Big South regular season championships, making him one of only two coaches in NCAA history to win conference titles at four different institutions. Ellis is also one of two coaches to win championships in both the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference.


Others that received consideration in alphabetical order:
Rick Barnes        Texas            500 wins
John Beilein        Michigan        500 wins
Dave Bike        Sacred Heart        500 wins
Ben Braun        Rice            500 wins
Rick Byrd        Belmont        600 wins
Bobby Clemens        Charleston        500 wins
Larry Hunter        Western Carolina    600 wins
Danny Kasper        Stephen F. Austin    400 wins    .704 win pct.
Mike Lonergan        George Washington    300 wins    .707 win pct.
Don Mastri        Troy            400 wins
Sean Miller        Arizona            100 wins    .703 win pct.
Stew Morrill        Utah St            500 wins
Matt Painter        Purdue            100 wins    .703 win pct.
Jerry Slocum        Youngstown St.        600 wins
Bruce Weber        Illinois            300 wins