College basketball season is in full effect and the last 24 hours have been quite eventful with tons of good games showcasing who some of the standout teams will be this season. To be successful in baseball you need good starting pitching, to be good in football you need a consistent and good defense, in college basketball you need a good coach because he is the center of the universe.
Coaches are in charge of the major schematic logistics on the court and the most important arena of the court, recruiting. It is the coach’s and his staff’s number one priority to acquire the best recruits available! If the coach can find the right talented players that fit in their system, they are destined for success. And it is the even better coaches that can take players whose talents are square pegs to make them fit into their circle holes.
The following coaches have all had their time to shine and are better than others at something, so it is a little hard to distinguish exactly who is better than who. But my list will take into a number of categories including: wins, championships, academics, production of NBA players, and overall team philosophy.
10. Geno Auriemma: I bet you didn’t expect find a woman’s basketball coach on here. Neither did I but he deserves it. He has been coaching the Lady Huskies for 25 years and has turned the program into the best program in the country, he has won 7 NCAA Championships, produced multiple WNBA players, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006, he has a record of 735-122, and a current win streak of 79 games.
9. Rick Pitino: Rick Pitino has been somewhat of a rolling stone in the basketball world. He’s coached unsuccessfully in the NBA and successfully in college with 5 Final Four appearances and a National Championship in 1996 with Kentucky. He’s still in the same state with in-state rival Louisville where alleged off-court issues have tainted his reputation but needless to say he is still a great coaching and amazing recruiter, even though he buys kids houses and shit. I love this song!
8. Jimmy Valvano: Jimmy V won a National championship at NC State in 1983 where he is remembered for running up and down the floor with glee. He was a great coach and a great man and most notably known for his fight against cancer. In 1993, he gave one of the most inspirational speeches of all time at the ESPYs. He started the V Foundation for Cancer Research and every time I watch this speech I ball like a a little girl who can’t find her dolly as I try to fight back the chills with laughs. He passed away 6 weeks later.
7. John Thompson: Not only is he the sweatiest coach of all time but he is most known for the NBA players he produced. He coached Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, and his son and namesake who is the current coach at Georgetown. He went to 3 Final Fours and won it all in 1984. He is a great analyst and still helps consult and coach at Georgetown due to his love for the game.
6. Jerry Tarkanian: “Tark the Shark” can still be vivdly remembered as he takes a big shark bite into that white Gatorade towel as he crouches on the sidelines at halfcourt. He was a great coach, amazing recruiter, might have paid a few players here and there but hey, they should be getting stipends anyway. He won 4 Final Fours and 1 big banner in 1990 with my alma mater. Tark may have put together the best team of all time in 1990 with Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon, Anderson Hunt, and George Ackles.
5. Dean Smith: He is the namesake for the illustrious “Dean Dome” at UNC Chapel Hill. The coolest part about Dean Smith is the amount of successful coaches he coached like Larry Brown, Matt Doherty, and Roy Williams not to mention the greatest player ever to wear “Tar Heel Blue” Converses, Michael Jordan. In his almost 40 years at UNC in the best conference of all time he won 11 Final Fours and 3 Championships!
4. Jim Boeheim: Coach Boeheim might be a little overrated and I might be a little biased having him at #4 but I think it is his contributions to the game that have him this high with only one championship in 2003 with Melo. He’s got a shitload of wins, played and coached at Syracuse since 1962, coaches the game how it should be coached. He’s only strayed away from the Orangemen in the Summers to help out with Team USA and is a true ambassador to the game.
3. Bobby Knight: Coach Knight may be most known for his tantrums and in your face style but beneath that sweater vest is one of the best coaches of all time who really cares about his players and teaches them what they need to be taught. He expected a lot from his players and got 5 Final Fours and 3 National Championships out of them at Indiana even though he played for rival, The Ohio State University. Countless star players and coaches keep his dream livin’with Steve Alford and…
2. Mike Krzyzewski: His 870 wins, 11 Final Fours, and 4 National Championships have earned him the only open-ended contract in history where he can coach at Duke as long as HE wants. If that isn’t enough how about coaching: Shane Battier, Jay Bilas, Carlos Boozer, Elton Brand, Johnny Dawkins, Luol Deng, Chris Duhon, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Danny Ferry, Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, Trajan Langdon, Corey Maggette, J.J. Reddick, Kyle Singler, Jay(son) Williams, Shelden Williams, and Brian Zoubek just to name a few. And if that isn’t enough he won a Gold Medal in 2008 just but shits and giggles. He will be the best coach of all time when it is all said and done but for now he still has one more to pass.
1. John Wooden: Devout Christian. Lived just a few days short of 100 years. Married 53 of them. One small house in Brentwood. “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” 12 Final Fours. 10 National Championships. 2 schools. Seven Point Creed. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Kareem. Bill Walton. One Pyramid of Success.
Honorable Mentions: Adolph Rupp, Jim Calhoun, Lute Olsen, Roy Williams, and Pat Summitt.