All-Time Top 100 Coaches: Where Do Mentors Rank Among the Win Crowd?
There are just over 20 coaches in history with tenures at least 30 years at one school. Insofar as players have had at most four seasons of eligibility, one could build a case that coaches enjoy a significant edge over players in long-term impact on the sport. But how in the world does one attempt to pare down a "greatest" list?
There are two requirements to be included among the Top 20 of the best 100 mentors: National postseason tournament success (reaching the NCAA Final Four or capturing an NIT title) and longstanding success (winning more than two-thirds of their games while coaching at least 20 years in college). The longevity criteria eliminates former college luminaries such as Vic Bubas, Everett Case and Fred Schaus from consideration for the Top 20.
A minimum of 10 years of head coaching experience is necessary for a coach to be included among the Top 100, eliminating the likes of former coaching standouts Bucky O'Conner (Iowa) and Ozzie Orsborn (Bradley). All eight of the coaches with at least five Final Four appearances are included among the Top 25 of the following 100 best coaches who spent most of their careers at the major-college level (records for active coaches are through 2010-11):
John Wooden (664-162 record from 1947-75 with Indiana State and UCLA, .804)
Classic example of why schools and fans should exercise a little more patience. Legendary coach lost his first five playoff games with UCLA by an average of 11.4 points and compiled an anemic 3-9 record from 1950 through 1963 before the Bruins won an unprecedented 10 national titles in 12 years from 1964 through 1975, including seven straight from 1967 through 1973. His 1962 team finished fourth in the NCAA Tournament and his 1974 squad finished third. Wooden, who inherited a program that posted only two winning seasons in 17 years before his arrival, had just two players (Alan Sawyer and Willie Naulls) compete in the NBA in his first 16 seasons in Westwood. Six-time national coach of the year won 13 conference titles in his last 14 years. Posted the nation's best record in back-to-back decades (1960s and 1970s). Excelled in close contests with a 100-62 mark (.617) in major-college games decided by fewer than six points.
Dean Smith (879-254 from 1962-97 with North Carolina, .776)
Only coach to direct teams to Final Fours in four different decades. He made 11 Final Four appearances (1967-68-69-72-77-81-82-91-93-95-97). All-time winningest major-college coach overall through 2006 and runner-up in NCAA Tournament competition (65 victories). Three-time national coach of the year reached NCAA Final Four 11 times--1967 (fourth), 1968 (runner-up), 1969 (fourth), 1972 (third), 1977 (runner-up), 1981 (runner-up), 1982 (champion), 1991 (tied for third), 1993 (champion), 1995 (tied for third) and 1997 (tied for third). Coach of 1971 NIT champion and 1973 third-place team. Captured 13 ACC Tournament championships and league-best 17 regular-season titles. Posted the nation's best record in the 1980s. Guided the Tar Heels to an NCAA-record 19 consecutive appearances in final Top 20 wire-service polls from 1971 through 1989. Compiled the best mark of any major-college coach with more than 250 games decided by fewer than six points (171-102, .626).
Adolph Rupp (876-190 from 1931-72 with Kentucky, .822)
Coached teams to four NCAA titles (1948, 1949, 1951 and 1958). His 1942 squad finished tied for third in the 1942 NCAA Tournament and his 1966 team was runner-up to Texas Western. Directed Kentucky to 1946 NIT title and to NIT championship game again in 1947. His 1944 UK team finished fourth at NIT. Coach of 1933 Kentucky squad that was selected as national champion by the Helms Foundation. Held NCAA career record for most victories until it was broken by Dean Smith. Coached UK to a SEC-record 24 conference and 13 league tournament titles. "If winning isn't important, why do they keep score?" said Rupp, who posted the nation's best record in back-to-back decades (1940s and 1950s). He reached the 400-, 500-, 600-, 700- and 800-win plateaus faster than any coach in major-college history. The Wildcats finished in the Top 10 of final AP polls each of the nine seasons they competed in the 1950s. Perhaps the only blemish on his resume is a 24-25 mark in one-point verdicts.
Clair Bee (412-87 from 1929-51 with Rider and LIU, .826)
Unbeaten LIU team won 1939 NIT. Lost fewer than four games seven times in nine years from 1934-42 en route to becoming the Blackbirds' all-time winningest coach. LIU went an eye-popping 218-20 (.916) during that nine-year stretch. "Play as a team and eliminate all thoughts of personal glory," Bee said. He reached the 200- and 300-win plateaus faster than any coach in major-college history. From 1934-35 until 1957-58, the Blackbirds had a homecourt winning streak of 139 games at the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy gymnasium. Bee boasted a brilliant 64-29 mark (.688) with LIU in games decided by fewer than six points. "In the first half of the century, Bee was basketball," said Bob Knight, who was befriended by Bee when Knight was at Army and Bee at a local military school. "There wasn't a thing he did that didn't affect the game, and there wasn't a thing that affected the game that he didn't do. He was one of the most singularly brilliant minds ever involved with athletics, and one of the greatest analytical basketball minds we've ever had. He had such a clear, brilliant grasp of what had to be done. He was a coach in the truest sense of the word."
Bob Knight (866-353 from 1966-2006 with Army, Indiana and Texas Tech; .710)
Passed Dean Smith to become the nation's all-time winningest coach before one of his pupils, Mike Krzyzewski, passed him early in the 2011-12 campaign. Four-time national coach of the year reached NCAA Final Four five times--1973 (third), 1976 (champion), 1981 (champion), 1987 (champion) and 1992 (tied for third). Coach of six NIT semifinalists captured 1974 Collegiate Commissioners Association Tournament championship. Winningest coach in Big Ten Conference history. Of the three coaches to win basketball championships at every major level (the NCAA, NIT and Summer Olympics), he is the only one to capture the "Triple Crown" in a span of less than 10 years. Coach of last undefeated Division I team (Indiana in 1975-76) guided 21 squads to Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls. Compiled the best mark of any major-college coach with more than 300 games decided by fewer than six points (183-137, .572).
Mike Krzyzewski (900-284 from 1976-2011 with Army and Duke, .760)
Five-time national coach of the year guided Duke to back-to-back NCAA Tournament titles in 1991 and 1992. Reached NCAA Final Four 11 times by winning 11 of 12 regional finals. Passed Dean Smith for most NCAA playoff victories in history. Duke's all-time winningest coach has won 11 ACC Tournament championships through 2011. Ten consecutive Top 10 appearances in final AP polls from 1997 through 2006. Lost with the nation's No. 1 team seven straight seasons from 1997-98 through 2003-04 amid 24 such defeats from 1988-89 through 2010-11. Wooden, Smith, Rupp and Bee each had significantly better marks than Coach K in close contests. Lost to SUNY-Buffalo, Scranton (Pa.) and King's College (Pa.) in 1975-76 while coaching Army after his predecessor, Bob Knight, guided the Cadets to the NIT semifinals three times in a five-year span from 1966 through 1970.
Hank Iba (767-338 from 1930-70 with Northwest Missouri State, Colorado and Oklahoma State; .694)
Only coach with six or more NCAA playoff appearances to reach the regional finals every time. Oklahoma State won two national titles, was national runner-up once, finished fourth once, and was regional runners-up on four occasions in eight playoff appearances under Iba from 1945-65. Reached Final Four on four occasions--1945 (1st), 1946 (1st), 1949 (2nd) and 1951 (4th)--after directing Oklahoma A&M to three NIT semifinals--1938 (3rd), 1940 (3rd) and 1944 (4th). Oklahoma State's all-time winningest coach led the nation in scoring defense 16 times in his first 23 seasons with the school. Captured MVC-high 12 regular-season titles. The engaging Iba, hailed as the patriarch of basketball's first family of coaches, had seven of his former Oklahoma State players eventually coach teams into the NCAA playoffs. At last count, it is believed a total of more than 60 coaches who can trace their coaching lineage to Iba have made participated in the NCAA Tournament. "Mr. Iba's system was so sound and he inspired such confidence that there was never any question in my mind that his philosophy offered the best opportunity to be successful," said former coach Eddie Sutton. "The things he gave us are as valid today as they were 40 years ago." But Iba compiled a losing mark (103-114) in games decided by fewer than four points.
Phog Allen (746-264 from 1906-09 and 1913-56 with Baker, Haskell, Central Missouri State and Kansas; .739)
Total of 21 league champions. Had 17 consecutive undisputed first-division finishes with Kansas in the Big Six Conference from 1930 through 1946. Won more than 60 percent of his games decided by fewer than six points (156-100, .609). "The team with a great defense coupled with a good offense will almost always defeat the team with a good defense and a great offense," Allen said.
Jerry Tarkanian (784-205 from 1969-92 and 1995-2002 with Long Beach State, UNLV and Fresno State; .793)
Coach of 1990 NCAA champion reached NCAA Final Four four times in 15 years from 1977-91. Coach of seven Big West Tournament champions--1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991. All-time winningest coach for Long Beach State and UNLV had penchant for recruiting suspect students. Guided UNLV to 10 straight Top 20 appearances in final wire-serivce polls from 1983 through 1992. Collected 14 PCAA/Big West Conference regular-season titles. Compiled the best mark of any major-college coach with more than 225 games decided by fewer than six points (151-80, .654).
Al McGuire (404-144 from 1958-77 with Belmont Abbey and Marquette, .737)
Marquette's all-time winningest coach guided school to the NIT title in 1970 and NCAA championship in his swan song in 1977. McGuire's 1974 Marquette squad finished runner-up to North Carolina State in the NCAA Tournament and his 1967 team lost to Walt Frazier-led Southern Illinois in the NIT final. Two-time national coach of the year directed Marquette to Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls his last 10 seasons. Excelled in close contests, winning 67.7% of his games decided by fewer than six points (63-30 mark). Posted a sterling 25-3 record in games decided by fewer than five points in a four-year span from 1971-72 through 1974-75. McGuire, equal parts P.T. Barnum and Bill Veeck, was one of the first white coaches to actively recruit inner-city players. LSU coach Press Maravich, whose son (Pete) became the NCAA's all-time leading scorer, had said before the 1970 NIT semifinals that "watching a team like Marquette play defense is like watching grass grow." McGuire's terse response before restricting Pistol Pete to nine field-goal attempts: "Well, if watching defense is like watching grass grow, your ass is grass and I'm the lawn mower."
Denny Crum (675-295 from 1972-2001 with Louisville, .696)
Reached NCAA Final Four six times--1972 (fourth), 1975 (third), 1980 (champion), 1982 (tied for third), 1983 (tied for third) and 1986 (champion). Coach of 1985 NIT fourth-place team. Louisville's all-time winningest coach directed the Cardinals to 11 Metro Conference Tournament champions--1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994 and 1995. Holds NCAA record by winning at least 20 games each of his first 13 seasons as a head coach. Guided Louisville to 19 Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls. Gaudy 161-109 mark (.596) in games decided by fewer than six points. Lost at Chaminade (Hawaii) in 1983-84 and 1984-85.
Lute Olson (779-287 from 1974-2007 with Long Beach State, Iowa and Arizona; .731)
Named national coach of the year by NABC in 1980. Reached NCAA Final Four five times--1980 (fourth with Iowa), 1988 (tied for third with Arizona), 1994 (tied for third with Arizona), 1997 (first with Arizona) and 2001 (runner-up with Arizona). Guided UA to NCAA playoffs his last 23 years since the field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985. Dean Smith is the only coach to take teams to more final Top 20 appearances. Paltry 57-71 worksheet in games decided by fewer than three points. Also compiled a sterling record in four seasons at the J.C. level (103-22, .824).
Ward "Piggy" Lambert (371-152 from 1917 and 1919-45 with Purdue, .709)
Directed Purdue to six Big Ten titles and five co-championships in a 20-year span from 1921 through 1940 and holds the conference record for longevity. He was succeeded by assistant Mel Tabue with seven games remaining in his final season, which marked the school's first losing league mark (4-8) since 1919. Posted a losing ledger in contests decided by fewer than three points (36-38).
Joe Lapchick (335-130 from 1937-47 and 1957-65 with St. John's, .720)
Led the Redmen to four NIT titles (1943, 1944, 1959 and 1965). Didn't reach double figures in defeats in a single college season until his 18th campaign. Compiled a lofty 51-31 mark (.622) in games decided by fewer than five points.
Roy Williams (614-155 from 1989-2011 with Kansas and North Carolina, .798)
Three-time national coach of the year reached NCAA Final Four on four occasions with KU--1991 (runner-up), 1993 (tied for third), 2002 (tied for third) and 2003 (runner-up)--before capturing national championships with UNC in 2005 and 2009. Coach of five conference tournament champions--one in Big Eight (1992), two in Big 12 (1997 and 1999) and two in ACC (2007 and 2008)--posted the nation's best record in the 1990s. Never lost an NCAA playoff opening-round game. Highest winning percentage for any major-college coach in history through 22 seasons.
Frank Keaney (387-117 from 1921-48 with Rhode Island, .768)
Never sustained more than eight defeats in a single season in his 27 years at Rhode Island on his way to becoming the school's all-time winningest coach. His "worse" record in his last 22 campaigns was a 16-7 mark in his swan song in 1947-48. Ranks eighth all-time in winning percentage. Notched a 66-41 worksheet (.617) in games decided by fewer than six points.
Lou Carnesecca (526-200 from 1966-70 and 1974-92 with St. John's, .725)
Two-time national coach of the year guided St. John's to the 1985 NCAA Final Four. The school's all-time winningest coach directed the Redmen to three NIT semifinals--1970 (runner-up), 1975 (fourth place) and 1989 (champion). Compiled a glittering 102-54 mark (.654) in games decided by fewer than four points. He is the only coach to win multiple NCAA playoff games in two different stints with the same school. Won 73.4% of his games (36-13) against eventual Big East Conference members in his first five seasons with St. John's before posting a losing mark in that category the last six years before the formation of the league.
Ray Meyer (724-354 from 1943-84 with DePaul, .672)
Four-time national coach of the year guided three teams to the NIT championship game (1944-45-83), winning the title in 1945. His 1948 squad finished fourth at the NIT. DePaul's all-time winningest coach twice took teams to NCAA Final Four--1943 (T3rd) and 1979 (3rd). Shares the longest coaching tenure (42 years) at one school with Western Kentucky's Ed Diddle. Impressive 156-109 mark (.589) in games decided by fewer than six points.
John Thompson Jr. (596-239 from 1973-99 with Georgetown, .714)
Three-time national coach of year reached NCAA Final Four three times in a four-year span--1982 (runner-up), 1984 (champion) and 1985 (runner-up). Georgetown's all-time winningest coach had two NIT semifinalists--1978 (fourth) and 1993 (runner-up)--and six Big East Conference Tournament champions--1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1989. Guided the Hoyas to 15 Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls. Jim Calhoun (UConn) and Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) each had at least two more Big East regular-season titles. Losing mark (57-62) in games decided by fewer than three points.
Tom Izzo (383-161 from 1996-2011 with Michigan State; .704)
Coach of six Final Four teams in a 12-year span (1999 through 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2010), including the national champion in 2000 and runner-up in 2009. Named national coach of the year by AP and USBWA in 1998 and NABC in 2001. Michigan State's all-time winningest coach won two Big Ten Conference Tournament championships (1999 and 2000). Principal flaw is that he is barely over .500 in games decided by fewer than five points through 2010-11. Also is only coach to have three preseason Top 4 ranked teams finish out of the AP's final Top 25 (2004, 2006 and 2011).
Guy Lewis (592-279 from 1957-86 with Houston, .680)
Two-time national coach of the year reached the NCAA Tournament Final Four five times by never losing a regional final. Houston's all-time winningest coach had four SWC Tournament champions. Modest 61-58 mark in games decided by fewer than three points.
Frank McGuire (549-236 from 1948-61 and 1965-80 with St. John's, North Carolina and South Carolina; .699)
First coach to win more than 100 games for three colleges--St. John's (103), North Carolina (164) and South Carolina (283). Directed North Carolina to an undefeated record (32-0) en route to the 1957 NCAA Tournament title. Guided St. John's to back-to-back NIT third-place finishes in 1950 and 1951. Only coach to take three different schools to a final national poll Top 20 ranking at least three times each. Finished in first or second place in nine of 16 seasons in the ACC. His winning percentage in games decided by fewer than six points (113-84, .574) is higher than luminaries such as John Chaney, Lefty Driesell, Don Haskins, Hank Iba, Bob Knight, Rollie Massimino, Ralph Miller, Lute Olson, Eddie Sutton and John Thompson Jr.
Everett Case (377-134 from 1947-65 with North Carolina State, .738)
Coach of 10 league tournament champions in a 13-year span from 1947 through 1959 (six in the Southern Conference and four in the ACC). N.C. State's all-time winningest coach captured both the Southern Conference regular-season and postseason tourney titles five consecutive years. One of the few mentors to win more than 60 percent of his games decided by fewer than six points (82-51 mark, .617).
Vic Bubas (213-67 from 1960-69 with Duke, .761)
The Blue Devils logged a 15-13 mark in his final campaign with them for their only season under him without finishing in a final wire-service Top 20 poll. They finished in the Top 10 six consecutive campaigns from 1961 through 1966. Compiled a 41-29 mark (.586) in games decided by fewer than six points.
Rick Pitino (599-224 in 1976 and from 1979-83, 1986 and 1987, 1990-97 and 2002-11 with Hawaii, Boston University, Providence, Kentucky and Louisville; .728)
Only coach to guide three different schools to the NCAA national semifinals reached Final Four on five occasions--once with Providence (1987), three times with Kentucky (1993, 1996 and 1997) and once with Louisville (2005). The '96 team won the national title and the '97 squad finished runner-up. Coach of nine conference tournament winners--one in North Atlantic Conference (1983), five in SEC (1992 through 1995 and 1997), two in C-USA (2003 and 2005) and one in Big East (2009). Probably would have ranked higher except for an anemic mark winning barely over one-third of his games decided by fewer than three points through 2010-11 (28-48).
Jim Calhoun (825-349 from 1973-2011 with Northeastern and Connecticut, .703)
UConn's all-time winningest coach captured three NCAA Tournament championships (1999, 2004 and 2011). He is the oldest coach ever to capture a national title (68). Coach of 1988 NIT champion and 1997 third-place team and 12 conference tournament champions--five in the North Atlantic (1981, 1982, 1984, 1985 and 1986) and seven in Big East (1990, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2011). Took the Huskies to 13 Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls in a 17-year span from 1990 through 2006. Collected Big East Conference-high 10 regular-season titles. Won almost 60 percent of his games decided by fewer than six points through 2010-11. Lost a significant number of games against small colleges while coaching Northeastern--to Assumption (Mass.) in 1972-73; Tufts (Mass.), American International (Mass.), Bridgeport (Conn.) and at Assumption (Mass.) in 1973-74; Assumption (Mass.) and Brandeis (Mass.) in 1974-75; Merrimack (Mass.) in 1975-76; Bridgeport (Conn.), Merrimack (Mass.), St. Anselm (Vt.) and Stonehill (Mass.) in 1976-77; American International (Mass.) and Assumption (Mass.) in 1978-79, and Florida Southern in 1980-81.
Nolan Richardson (508-206 from 1981-2002 with Tulsa and Arkansas, .711)
Only coach to win national championships in junior college (1980 with Western Texas), the NIT (1981 with Tulsa) and the NCAA (1994 with Arkansas). Arkansas' all-time winningest coach had three Final Four teams--1990 (tied for third place), 1994 (champion) and 1995 (runner-up). Coach of six conference tournament champions--Missouri Valley (1982 and 1984), Southwest Conference (1989, 1990 and 1991) and SEC (2000). He directed Tulsa and Arkansas to 13 Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls. Splendid 67-41 mark (.620) in games decided by fewer than four points.
Jack Gardner (486-235 from 1940-42 and 1947-71 with Kansas State and Utah, .674)
Only coach until Roy Williams to direct two different schools to the Final Four at least twice apiece--Kansas State (4th in 1948 and 2nd in 1951) and Utah (4th in 1961 and 4th in 1966). Guided K-State and the Utes to 12 Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls. Broke even in games decided by fewer than six points (88-88 mark).
Ed Diddle (759-302 from 1923-64 with Western Kentucky, .715)
First coach to reach the 600-win plateau. WKU's all-time winningest coach had four Ohio Valley Conference Tournament champions (1949, 1952, 1953 and 1954), second-place finisher in 1942 NIT, third-place finisher in 1948 and fourth-place finisher in 1954. Collected OVC-high 10 regular-season titles. Tied with DePaul's Ray Meyer for the NCAA career record for most years coached at one school with 42 seasons. Lost to Kentucky Wesleyan in 1955-56, David Lipscomb (Tenn.) in 1962-63 and LeMoyne (N.Y.) in 1963-64.
Don Haskins (719-353 from 1962-99 with Texas-El Paso, .671)
Coach of 1966 NCAA Tournament champion. UTEP's all-time winningest coach captured four Western Athletic Conference Tournament titles (1984, 1986, 1989 and 1990). Directed the Miners to nine Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls. Lost to NAIA affiliate Louisiana College in 1977-78.
Eddie Sutton (802-323 from 1970-89, 1991-2006 and 2008 with Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State and San Francisco; .713)
Three-time national coach of the year has had three NCAA Tournament Final Four teams--1978 with Arkansas and 1995 and 2004 with Oklahoma State. First coach to guide four different colleges to the NCAA playoffs. Only mentor to win 30 games with three different schools. Won seven conference tournament championships--SWC (1977, 1979 and 1982 with Arkansas), SEC (1986 and 1988 with Kentucky), Big Eight (1995 with Oklahoma State) and Big 12 (2004 with OSU). Steered teams to a total of 18 Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls. Losing mark in games decided by fewer than four points (106-110).
Jim Boeheim (829-293 from 1977-2011 with Syracuse, .739)
Consensus national coach of the year in 2010. Coach of NCAA Tournament runner-up in 1987 and 1996 and national champion in 2003 plus 1981 NIT runner-up and five Big East Tournament champions (1981, 1988, 1992, 2005 and 2006). Syracuse's all-time winningest coach didn't have a losing record in Big East competition from 1982 through 2005. Guided the Orangemen to 23 Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls through 2011. Boasts best record among active coaches in games decided by fewer than six points through 2011 (189-117, .618).
Nat Holman (423-190 from 1920-52, 1955, 1956, 1959 and 1960 with CCNY, .690)
Coach of NCAA and NIT titlists in 1950, the only time a team won both crowns in the same year. Also finished fourth in 1947 NCAA Tournament and third in 1941 NIT. Said Holman of his coaching philosophy: "I have no patience with mediocrity. I'll string along with a sophomore but after a boy has had a full year of my teaching, I want a passing grade, just like the teacher of mathematics or history. As the French say, `By dint of great hammering one becomes a blacksmith.' You correct mistakes by pounding at them. Easygoing guys who don't demand the best from their players don't win many games."
John Chaney (741-312 from 1973-2006 with Cheyney State and Temple, .704)
Two-time national coach of the year won six Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament titles (1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 2000 and 2001). Temple's all-time winningest coach guided the Owls to eight Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls. Collected A10-high eight regular-season championships. Modest 82-75 mark (.522) in major-college games decided by fewer than five points.
Dudey Moore (270-107 from 1949-63 with Duquesne and La Salle, .716)
Led Duquesne to the semifinal round of the NIT on five occasions--1950 (4th), 1952 (4th), 1953 (3rd), 1954 (2nd) and 1955 (1st). Won 60 percent of his games decided by fewer than six points (42-28).
Ray Mears (399-135 from 1957-77 with Wittenberg and Tennessee, .747)
Coached Wittenberg (Ohio) to the 1961 NCAA College Division championship and Tennessee to third place in the 1969 NIT. He is Tennessee's all-time winningest coach. Would have ranked higher but he never won an NCAA Tournament game at the major-college level.
George Keogan (385-117 from 1916, 1919-21 and 1924-43 with St. Louis, Allegheny, Valparaiso and Notre Dame; .767)
Coach of Notre Dame teams in 1927 and 1936 that were selected as national champions by the Helms Foundation. Best mark of any coach with more than 100 decisions involving major-college games decided by fewer than six points (91-47-1, .658).
Tom Blackburn (352-141 from 1948-64 with Dayton, .714)
Guided the Flyers to 1962 NIT title after posting more national postseason tournament victories than any coach in the 1950s with 15 (14 in NIT and one in NCAA). Reached NIT semifinals in 1951 (2nd), 1952 (2nd) 1955 (2nd), 1956 (2nd), 1958 (2nd) and 1961 (4th).
Took UD to nine Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls in an 11-year span from 1951 through 1961. Boasted a 70-43 mark (.619) in games decided by fewer than six points. Lost to Anderson (Ind.) in 1947-48, Ohio Wesleyan in 1948-49, Muskingum (Ohio) in 1949-50 and Wittenberg (Ohio) in 1962-63.
Peck Hickman (443-183 from 1945-67 with Louisville, .708)
Coach of 1956 NIT titlist and 1948 NAIA Tournament champion. Led the Cardinals to five NCAA Tournament appearances, including a fourth-place finish in 1959. Posted a losing mark (54-58) in games decided by fewer than five points. Lost to Georgetown (Ky.) in 1958-59.
Doc Meanwell (280-101 from 1912-34 with Wisconsin and Missouri, .735)
Reached the 100-win plateau faster than any coach in major-college history (100-9). He helped direct the development of the valve-free, haidden-lace ball. Disdaining the dribble, he believed fiercely in using the short pass in a pattern offense and taught tight, tight defense. Led teams to nine conference titles in the first 12 seasons of his 22-year career. Coach of Wisconsin teams in 1912, 1914 and 1916 that were selected as national champions by the Helms Foundation. Eye-popping 78-42-1 mark (.649) in games decided by fewer than six points.
Hec Edmundson (508-204 from 1917-47 with Idaho and Washington, .713)
In an 18-year span from 1927-28 through 1944-45, he notched 20-win seasons 11 times. Washington was the only school in the 1930s to post more than 200 victories. Edmundson, the Huskies' all-time winningest coach, captured 12 regular-season league titles with them. He had a splendid record in close contests, notching a 130-83 mark (.610) in games decided by fewer than six points.
John Calipari (509-152 from 1989-96 and 2001-11 with Massachusetts, Memphis and Kentucky; .770)
Coach of NCAA Tournament Final Four team with Massachusetts in 1996 and national runner-up with Memphis in 2008 before reaching Final Four with Kentucky in 2011. Coach of 11 conference tournament champions (five consecutive from 1992 through 1996 in Atlantic 10 with Massachusetts, four consecutive from 2006 through 2009 in C-USA with Memphis and 2010 and 2011 in SEC with Kentucky). Memphis' all-time winningest coach directed the Tigers to an NIT championship in 2002 and third-place finish in 2001 after guiding Massachusetts to a fourth-place finish in 1991. First NCAA coach ever to reach the 30-win plateau in five consecutive years. UMass and Memphis had NCAA playoff participation vacated because of infractions. Losing record in games decided by fewer than four points through 2010-11. Lost at Florida Tech in 1988-89 and to Lowell (Mass.) in 1989-90 while coaching UMass.
Jack Ramsay (234-72 from 1956-66 with St. Joseph's, .765)
Reached Final Four in 1961 NCAA Tournament (3rd) and NIT semifinals in 1956 (3rd). Finished each of his 11 seasons with the Hawks at least eight games above .500. Regal mark of 42-24 (.636) in games decided by fewer than six points.
Fred Schaus (251-96 from 1955-60 and 1973-78 with West Virginia and Purdue, .723)
Guided West Virginia to second-place finish in 1959 NCAA Tournament and Purdue to 1974 NIT title. Won Southern Conference Tournament championships each of his six seasons with the Mountaineers while directing them to Top 20 appearances in final national polls from 1955 through 1960. Registered a losing mark (22-26) in games decided by fewer than three points.
Rick Majerus (419-161 from 1984-86, 1988-2003 and 2008-11 with Marquette, Ball State, Utah and Saint Louis; .722)
Received Wooden Award as national coach of the year in 1998. Coach of NCAA Tournament runner-up in 1998 and NIT third-place team in 1992. Won four conference tournament titles--one in Mid-American with Ball State (1989) and three in Western Athletic with Utah (1995, 1997 and 1999). His 1998 Utah squad is the only Final Four team ever to feature three Academic All-Americans among its regulars (Michael Doleac, Drew Hansen and Hanno Mottola). Losing mark in games decided by fewer than three points through 2010-11 (32-41).
Chick Davies (314-106 from 1925-43 and 1947-48 with Duquesne, .748)
Duquesne's all-time winningest coach compiled only one losing record in 21 years with the Dukes. Reached NCAA Final Four in 1940 (tied for third place). Coach of second-place finisher in 1940 NIT. Compiled an 89-51 mark (.636) in games decided by fewer than six points.
Norm Stewart (731-375 from 1962-99 with Northern Iowa and Missouri, .661)
UPI national coach of the year in 1982 and 1994 (also named by AP in 1994). Winningest coach in Big Eight Conference history captured six league tournament championships--1978, 1982, 1987, 1989, 1991 and 1993. Guided Mizzou to 12 Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls. Compiled the best mark of any retired major-college coach with more than 275 games decided by fewer than six points (168-119, .585). Worst record in NCAA playoff history for any of the 60 or so coaches with at least 20 decisions. Notched just one tourney victory over a team with a better seed (87-84 in overtime against #4 Notre Dame in the 1980 Midwest Regional when the Tigers were #5). Lost three times in four years against teams seeded 11th or worse (#13 Xavier in 1987, #11 Rhode Island in 1988 and #14 Northern Iowa in 1990). He won more major-college games than any coach without ever reaching the Final Four.
Bob Huggins (670-241 from 1981-83, 1985-2005 and 2007-11 with Walsh, Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State and West Virginia; .735)
Reached two Final Fours (1992 with Cincinnati and 2010 with West Virginia). Cincinnati's all-time winningest coach guided the Bearcats to nine Top 20 spots in final polls before reaching same plateau twice with West Virginia. Captured a total of 10 conference tournaments--one with Akron (OVC in 1986), eight with Cincinnati (all four Great Midwest from 1992 through 1995 and four in Conference USA in 1996, 1998, 2002 and 2004) and one with West Virginia (2010). Collected divisional titles each of the C-USA's first seven campaigns from 1996 through 2002. Barely over .500 (79-77) in games decided by fewer than five points through 2010-11. Recruited so many suspect students with UC that the troublemakers were recognized as Hugs' Thugs.
Pete Newell (234-123 from 1947-60 with San Francisco, Michigan State and California; .655)
Guided California to back-to-back NCAA Tournament championship games in 1959 (1st) and 1960 (2nd). Named national coach of the year by UPI and the USBWA in 1960. "Pete has no equal when it comes to total understanding of the game," fellow Hall of Famer Bob Knight said. "And nobody's worked to help people like he has, whether it's a player or an opposing coach. He has a rare gift of being able to teach, not just players, but coaches." Sterling 43-22 mark (.662) in games decided by fewer than four points. He defeated UCLA's John Wooden eight straight times.
Tubby Smith (467-198 from 1992-2011 with Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky and Minnesota, .702)
Coach of 1998 NCAA Tournament champion with Kentucky won five SEC Tournament championships with Kentucky (1998, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2004). Only coach to take three consecutive teams seeded sixth or worse to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA playoffs (1994 through 1996 with Tulsa and Georgia). One of only three coaches in NCAA history to twice appear in back-to-back Division I tourneys with different schools. Finished in final Top 20 polls 12 straight years from 1994 through 2005. Won 57.7% of his games decided by fewer than four points through 2010-11 (56-41 mark).
Billy Donovan (395-167 from 1995-2011 with Marshall and Florida; .703)
Coach of Final Four team in 2000 before winning back-to-back NCAA Tournament championships in 2006 and 2007. Florida's all-time winningest coach guided the Gators to 2008 NIT semifinals. Won three consecutive SEC Tournament titles with Florida (2005 through 2007).
Gene Bartow (646-354 from 1962-96 with Central Missouri State, Valparaiso, Memphis State, Illinois, UCLA and UAB; .646)
Only coach to take three different schools to a regional final in a 10-year span (Memphis '73, UCLA '76 and UAB '82). NABC national coach of the year in 1973. Reached NCAA Final Four two times--1973 (runner-up with Memphis State) and 1976 (third with UCLA). Coach of NIT third-place teams in 1989 and 1993 and four Sun Belt Conference Tournament champions (1982, 1983, 1984 and 1987). Guided three different schools to a Top 20 finish in a 10-year stretch. Modest 53-52 mark in major-college contests decided by fewer than three points.
Jack Hartman (439-233 from 1963-86 with Southern Illinois and Kansas State, .653)
Named NABC national co-coach of the year in 1981. Directed Southern Illinois to 1967 NIT title. Kansas State's all-time winningest coach led the Wildcats to two Big Eight Conference Tournament titles (1977 and 1980). Finished with breakeven mark (67-67) in major-college games decided by fewer than five points after going 24-9 in contests decided by fewer than six points in a four-year span from 1971-72 through 1974-75.
Gene Keady (550-289 from 1979-2005 with Western Kentucky and Purdue, .656)
Four-time national coach of the year won Ohio Valley Conference Tournament in 1980. Purdue's all-time winningest coach guided three Boilermaker teams to the NIT semifinal round--1981 (3rd), 1982 (2nd) and 1993 (4th). He had nine Top 20 teams with them. One of the few major-college coaches with more than 225 close contests to win more than 60 percent of them, registering a 138-91 mark (.603) in games decided by fewer than six points. Victory over bitter rival IU in inaugural Big Ten Tournament in 1998 helped him post a 21-20 record in head-to-head conference matches against Bob Knight from 1981 through 2000.
Fred Taylor (297-158 from 1959-76 with Ohio State, .653)
Two-time national coach of the year directed the Buckeyes to NCAA title in 1960. Ohio State's all-time winningest coach finished runner-up to Cincinnati in 1961 and 1962 and third in fourth Final Four appearance in 1968. Modest 60-56 mark (.517) in games decided by fewer than six points.
Lefty Driesell (786-394 from 1961-89 and 1989-2003 with Davidson, Maryland, James Madison and Georgia State; .666)
Coach of 1972 NIT champion won six conference tournament championships--three in Southern Conference (1966, 1968 and 1969), one in ACC (1984), one in Colonial Athletic Association (1994) and one in Trans America Athletic (2001). He was the all-time winningest coach for Davidson and Maryland until surpassed by Bob McKillop and Gary Williams, respectively. Lefty participated in more games decided by fewer than six points than any major-college mentor (334). He is the only coach to win at least 45 games by both one point and two points.
Branch McCracken (450-231 from 1931-43 and 1947-65 with Ball State and Indiana, .661)
Only coach to participate in at least two Final Fours and win all of his games there (NCAA titles with Indiana in 1940 and 1953). Barely finished above .500 in major-college games decided by fewer than five points (59-58).
Bo Ryan (600-185 from 1985-2011 with Wis.-Platteville, Wis.-Milwaukee and Wisconsin; .764)
Won two Big Ten Conference Tournament championships (2004 and 2008). Captured four NCAA Division III Tournament championships--1991, 1995, 1998 and 1999. Developed six different Badgers into future All-Big Ten Conference selections after they averaged fewer than four points per game as a freshman from 2003-04 through 2008-09. Won 62.5% of his Wisconsin games decided by fewer than four points through 2010-11. Won an incredible 50 consecutive contests at DI level when leading or tied with five minutes remaining in regulation.
Lee Rose (388-162 in 1965 and from 1969-86 with Transylvania, UNC Charlotte, Purdue and South Florida; .705)
Only individual to coach teams in the NAIA Tournament, NCAA Division III Tournament, NCAA Division II Tournament, National Invitation Tournament and NCAA Division I Tournament. Won 60% of his major-college games decided by fewer than six points.
Jack Kraft (361-191 from 1962-81 with Villanova and Rhode Island, .654)
Named NABC national coach of the year in 1971. Reached Final Four with Villanova in 1971 (2nd) and NIT semifinals in 1963 (4th), 1965 (2nd) and 1966 (3rd). Won almost 80 percent of his games (44-12) with Villanova against eventual Big East Conference members in a nine-year span from 1963-64 through 1971-72. Exceptional 86-60 mark (.589) in games decided by fewer than six points. Lost to Assumption (Mass.) in 1974-75 while coaching URI.
Ralph Miller (674-370 from 1952-89 with Wichita, Iowa and Oregon State, .646)
Two-time national coach of the year recorded 33 winning records in 38 seasons with three schools. Compiled eight 20-win seasons during the 1980s. He is Wichita State's all-time winningest coach. One of only a handful of mentors to have multiple Top 20 finishes with three different schools. Would have ranked significantly higher except for a 28-42 mark in one-point verdicts and abysmal 8-17 record in national postseason competition (5-11 in NCAA playoffs and 3-6 in NIT).
Lou Henson (797-438 from 1963-96 and 1998-2005 with Hardin-Simmons, New Mexico State and Illinois, .645)
Coach of two NCAA Final Four teams--1970 (third with New Mexico State) and 1989 (tied for third with Illinois). Also coached 1980 NIT third-place team and 1999 Big West Conference Tournament champion. Illinois' all-time winningest coach guided 12 teams to Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls. Might have ranked higher except for a losing mark in games decided by fewer than five points (132-145) and losing so many contests to small colleges--falling to Howard Payne (Tex.) twice, Midwestern State (Tex.), Eastern New Mexico and Abilene Christian (Tex.) in 1962-63; Abilene Christian and Midwestern State in 1964-65, and Pittsburg State (Kan.) in 1965-66 while coaching Hardin-Simmons. Lost at Eastern New Mexico in 1966-67, to Angelo State (Tex.) in 1971-72, at Alaska-Fairbanks in 1998-99 and at BYU-Hawaii in 2001-02 while coaching New Mexico State.
Pete Carril (525-273 from 1967-96 with Lehigh and Princeton, .658)
Princeton's all-time winningest coach captured the Ivy League's only NIT championship in 1975. Notched Ivy League-record 13 titles. Incurred only one losing record in 30 college seasons before moving on to the NBA as an assistant. Led the nation in scoring defense 14 times with Princeton. Might have ranked higher if not for a 48-64 record in games decided by fewer than three points. Lost to East Stroudsburg (Pa.) in 1966-67 while coaching Lehigh.
Hugh Greer (286-112 from 1947-63 with Connecticut, .719)
Finished lower than second place in Yankee Conference just once in 17 seasons. Losing mark (44-46) in games decided by fewer than six points.
Eddie Hickey (435-231 from 1936-43 and 1947-64 with Creighton, St. Louis and Marquette; .653)
Named USBWA national coach of the year in 1959. St. Louis' all-time winningest coach guided the Billikens to the 1948 NIT title. Reached NIT semifinals with Creighton in 1942 (3rd) and Marquette in 1963 (3rd). Posted a 101-73 record (.580) in games decided by fewer than six points.
Norman Sloan (627-395 from 1952-89 with Presbyterian, The Citadel, Florida and North Carolina State; .614)
Led alma mater N.C. State to the national championship in 1974 when he was named national coach of the year. Guided N.C. State to third place (1976) and second place (1978) showings at the NIT. His 1986 Florida team advanced to NIT semifinals (4th). Coached the Wolfpack to 1970, 1973 and 1974 ACC Tournament titles. Might have ranked higher except for 50-64 major-college mark in games decided by fewer than three points.
Joe Mullaney (364-218 from 1955-69 and 1979-85 with Norwich, Providence and Brown; .625)
Providence's all-time winningest coach helped the Friars capture NIT titles in 1961 and 1963. Reached NIT semifinals in 1959 (4th) and 1960 (2nd). Earned reputation as one of the nation's premier coaches in close contests, managing a 73-42 mark (.635) in major-college games decided by fewer than six points. Won more than 70 percent of his games against eventual Big East Conference members in his first 11 years with PC from 1955-56 through 1965-66. Lost to Assumption (Mass.) in 1963-64 and 1984-85 while coaching Providence and Stonehill (Mass.) in 1979-80 while coaching Brown.
Terry Holland (418-216 from 1970-90 with Davidson and Virginia, .659)
Virginia's all-time winningest coach reached the NCAA Final Four in 1981 (3rd) and 1984 (tied for 3rd). Coach of 1980 NIT champion. Coach of 1970 Southern Conference Tournament champion with Davidson and 1976 ACC Tournament titlist with Virginia.
Joe B. Hall (373-156 from 1960-65 and 1973-85 with Regis, Central Missouri State and Kentucky; .705)
Reached NCAA Final Four three times--1975 (2nd), 1978 (1st) and 1984 (tied for 3rd). Led Kentucky to 1976 NIT title. Coach of 1984 SEC Tournament champion. Registered a regal 71-42 mark (.628) in major-college games decided by fewer than six points.
Mike Montgomery (610-282 from 1979-2004 and 2009-11 with Montana, Stanford and California, .684)
Coach of 1998 Final Four team in NCAA Tournament and 1991 NIT champion. Stanford's all-time winningest coach capped off the decade of the 1990s with six straight 20-win seasons. Received Naismith Award as national coach of the year in 2000. Won 2004 Pacific-10 Conference Tournament. . . . Finished in Top 25 of final national rankings each of his last 10 years with the Cardinal. Lost to Puget Sound (Wash.) in 1978-79 and 1980-81 while coaching Montana and at Chaminade (Hawaii) in 1992-93 while coaching Stanford.
Gary Williams (668-380 from 1979-2011 with American, Boston College, Ohio State and Maryland; .637)
Coach of 2002 NCAA Tournament champion with Maryland after advancing to Final Four the previous year. Captured 1988 NIT runner-up spot with Ohio State. Won 2004 ACC Tournament title. Maryland's all-time winningest coach finished in final Top 20 poll seven straight seasons from 1998 through 2004. Only coach ever to defeat a nationally top-ranked team in four straight seasons (Stanford, Duke twice and Florida from 2000-01 through 2003-04).
Harry Litwack (373-193 from 1953-73 with Temple, .659)
Led team to 1969 NIT title and third-place finish in 1957 NIT. Reached NCAA Final Four two times--1956 (3rd) and 1958 (3rd). Breakeven mark (28-28) in games decided by fewer than three points.
Billy Tubbs (640-339 in 1972, 1973, 1977-2002 and 2004-06 with Southwestern, Lamar, Oklahoma and Texas Christian; .654)
Oklahoma's all-time winningest coach guided the Sooners to 12 consecutive 20-win seasons (1981-82 through 1992-93), a Big Eight best. Took the Sooners to postseason play his last 13 years with them (9 NCAA/4 NIT), including an '88 squad that advanced to the national championship game against Kansas. OU teams reached NIT semifinals in 1982 (T3rd) and 1991 (2nd). Impressive 100-64 mark (.610) in games decided by fewer than four points. Lost to Ohio Northern in 1980-81 while coaching Oklahoma; at Alaska-Anchorage in 1995-96 while coaching Texas Christian, and Delta State (Miss.) in 2005-06 while coaching Lamar.
Harold Bradley (337-169 from 1948-67 with Hartwick, Duke and Texas; .666)
Never finished lower than fourth place in his last 14 seasons in the ACC and SWC. Won 60 percent of his major-college games decided by fewer than three points (30-20).
Jim Harrick (470-235 from 1980-96 and 1998-2003 with Pepperdine, UCLA, Rhode Island and Georgia; .667)
Earned national coach of the year awards from NABC and Naismith in 1995. Coach of UCLA's NCAA Tournament champion in 1995. Won 1999 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament title with URI. His record in games decided by fewer than six points (120-87, .580) is better than luminaries such as John Chaney, Bob Knight, Rollie Massimino, Frank McGuire, Ralph Miller, Lute Olson, Eddie Sutton and John Thompson Jr.
Digger Phelps (419-200 from 1971-91 with Fordham and Notre Dame, .677)
Posted seven victories over top-ranked opponents.
Named UPI national coach of the year in 1974. Notre Dame's all-time winningest coach reached the Final Four in the 1978 NCAA Tournament (4th place) and was NIT runner-up in 1973 and 1984. Took Fordham and the Irish to 11 Top 20 appearances in final wire-service polls. Might have ranked higher except for a losing record in games decided by fewer than four points (47-55) and winning less than one-third of his contests with the Irish (29-64) against heavyweights Duke (2-9), Indiana (5-13), Kentucky (5-12), Michigan (1-6), North Carolina (2-6) and UCLA (14-18). Won 59 percent of his games with the Irish against eventual Big East Conference members (70-49).
Gale Catlett (565-320 from 1973-2002 with Cincinnati and West Virginia, .638)
Directed West Virginia to NIT semifinals (4th) in 1981. Coached Cincinnati to two Metro Tournament titles (1976 and 1977). The Mountaineers' all-time winningest coach guided them to back-to-back Atlantic 10 Tournament championships in 1983 and 1984. Impressive 72-50 mark (.590) in games decided by fewer than three points.
Hugh Durham (634-430 from 1967-95 and 1998-2005 with Florida State, Georgia and Jacksonville; .596)
One of only three coaches in NCAA history to win at least 225 games for two Division I schools. His Florida State squad was runner-up to UCLA in the 1972 NCAA Tournament finals and his 1983 Georgia team reached the national semifinals. Guided the Bulldogs to 1982 NIT semifinals (T3rd) and 1983 SEC Tournament title en route to becoming their all-time winningest coach. Losing mark (70-76) in games decided by fewer than three points with 46 of those defeats by a single point.
Phil Woolpert (239-164 from 1951-59 and 1963-69 with San Francisco and San Diego; .593)
Two-time national coach of the year guided San Francisco to back-to-back NCAA titles in 1955 and 1956 before finishing third in 1957. Posted paltry 6-20 mark with USF in games decided by fewer than four points.
Bill Self (444-151 from 1994-2011 with Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas; .746)
Named National Coach of the Year by AP and USBWA in 2009. Guided Kansas to 2008 NCAA Tournament championship. Only coach in NCAA history to reach an NCAA Division I Tournament regional final in back-to-back years with different schools. Won six conference tournament titles (Big Ten with Illinois in 2003 and Big 12 with Kansas from 2006 through 2008, 2010 and 2011). Losing record in games decided by fewer than five points through 2010-11.
Johnny Orr (466-346 from 1964-66 and 1969-94 with Massachusetts, Michigan and Iowa State; .574)
All-time winningest coach at Michigan (209) and Iowa State (218). First Big Ten coach to lead his team to four consecutive NCAA berths. Named national coach of the year by the NABC in 1976 when he led Michigan to the NCAA Tournament title game versus Indiana. His 1977 Wolverines team was ranked No. 1 in the final wire service polls. His record in games decided by fewer than six points (131-98, .572) is better than luminaries such as John Chaney, Rollie Massimino, Ralph Miller, Lute Olson, Eddie Sutton and John Thompson Jr.
John Oldham (264-124 from 1956-71 with Tennessee Tech and Western Kentucky, .680)
Guided Western Kentucky to Final Four of 1971 NCAA Tournament (3rd). Directed WKU to Ohio Valley Conference Tournament titles in 1965 and 1966. Finished lower than third place only three times in 16 years in the OVC. Posted a superior 65-41 mark (.613) in games decided by fewer than six points.
Rollie Massimino (652-424 in 1970, 1971 and from 1974-94, 1997-2003 and 2007-11 with Stony Brook, Villanova, UNLV, Cleveland State and Northwood, FL; .606)
Coach of NCAA national champion in 1985 and 1977 NIT third-place team with Villanova. Directed the Wildcats to two Eastern Athletic Association Tournament champions--1978 and 1980. Managed a 142-106 mark (.573) in major-college games decided by fewer than five points.
Wimp Sanderson (352-177 from 1981-92 and 1995-99 with Alabama and UALR, .665)
Only the second coach in SEC history (joined Kentucky's Adolph Rupp) to win three consecutive SEC Tournament titles (1989 through 1991). Crimson Tide's all-time winningest coach led 'Bama to SEC postseason tournament titles in 1982 and 1987. His 95-71 mark (.572) in games decided by fewer than six points is better than luminaries such as John Chaney, Don Haskins, Rollie Massimino, Ralph Miller, Lute Olson, Eddie Sutton and John Thompson Jr.
Abe Lemons (597-344 from 1956-82 and 1984-90 with Oklahoma City, Pan American and Texas; .634)
NABC national coach of the year in 1978 when he guided Texas to the NIT title. Losing mark in major-college games decided by fewer than four points (70-74).
Pete Gillen (392-221 from 1986-2005 with Xavier, Providence and Virginia; .639)
Xavier's all-time winningest coach won five Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament titles with the Musketeers (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1991). Captured league-best six MCC regular-season titles from 1986 through 1994. Impressive 58-38 mark (.604) in games decided by fewer than four points.
Tom Davis (580-341 from 1972-99 and 2004-06 with Lafayette, Boston College, Stanford, Iowa and Drake; .630)
Iowa's all-time winningest coach guided the Hawkeyes to six final Top 20 finishes. Named AP national coach of the year in 1987. Barely finished above the .500 mark (134-131, .506) in games decided by fewer than six points. Lost to Moravian (Pa.) in 1973-74 and at Albright (Pa.) in 1975-76 while coaching Lafayette, Chico State (Calif.) in 1982-83 while coaching Stanford and UC Riverside in 1988-89 while coaching Iowa.
Harry Combes (316-150 from 1948-67 with Illinois, .678)
Only coach to win three NCAA Tournament national consolation contests (1949, 1951 and 1952). No other coach ever had more than 13 All-Americans in his first 20 campaigns at a single school. Modest 38-36 mark in games decided by fewer than four points.
Tex Winter (454-333 from 1952-71 and 1974-83 with Marquette, Kansas State, Washington, Northwestern and Long Beach State; .577)
Owns best winning percentage in K-State history (.691). Guided K-State to two Final Fours--1958 (4th) and 1964 (4th). Named national coach of the year by UPI in 1958. His 1959 K-State squad finished No. 1 in both the final AP and UPI polls.
Roy Skinner (278-135 in 1959 and from 1962-76 with Vanderbilt, .673)
Vanderbilt's all-time winningest mentor was a four-time SEC coach of the year. He coached the first African-American player in the SEC (Perry Wallace). Skinner assembled a 51-29 mark (.638) in games decided by fewer than four points.
Ozzie Cowles (421-198 from 1925-30, 1934-43 and 1945-59 with Carleton, Wisconsin-River Falls, Dartmouth, Michigan and Minnesota; .680)
Captured seven Ivy League championships in his last eight seasons with Dartmouth. First coach to direct two different schools to the NCAA playoffs for the first time (Dartmouth and Michigan). In 1952-53, he directed Minnesota to upsets over two Big Ten members when they were ranked No. 1 in the nation (Illinois and Indiana) after the Gophers upset top-ranked Kentucky early in the previous season. Compiled an 84-60 mark (.583) in major-college games decided by fewer than six points.
Cliff Ellis (616-385 from 1976-2004 and 2008-11 with South Alabama, Clemson, Auburn and Coastal Carolina; .608)
Named national coach of the year in 1999 (AP, USBWA and Wooden). Only coach to hold three school single-season records with at least 25 victories at the same time. He is the all-time winningest coach for South Alabama and Clemson. Posted a 126-111 mark in games decided by fewer than five points through 2010-11.
Mike Jarvis (404-255 from 1986-2004 and 2009-11 with Boston University, George Washington, St. John's and Florida Atlantic; .613)
Captured 2003 NIT title with St. John's. Won two North Atlantic Conference Tournaments (1988 and 1990). Won more than 60 percent of his games decided by fewer than six points with George Washington and St. John's.
Bobby Cremins (567-367 from 1976-2000 and 2007-11 with Appalachian State, Georgia Tech and College of Charleston, .607)
National coach of the year in 1990 when he led Georgia Tech to the Final Four. Georgia Tech's all-time winningest coach captured three ACC Tournament championships (1985, 1990 and 1993). Guided Appalachian State to 1979 Southern Conference Tournament title.
Lon Kruger (479-304 from 1983-2000 and 2005-11 with Pan American, Kansas State, Florida, Illinois and UNLV before joining Oklahoma; .612)
Guided Florida to Final Four in 1994 NCAA Tournament. Directed the Gators to a fourth-place finish in 1992 NIT. Won back-to-back Mountain West Conference Tournament championships with UNLV in 2007 and 2008. First coach to take three different schools to the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll.
George "Jud" Heathcote (417-275 from 1972-95 with Montana and Michigan State, .603)
Named national coach of the year by the NABC in 1990. Michigan State's all-time winningest coach took the Spartans to the 1979 NCAA championship and 1989 NIT fourth-place finish. He is the only coach with more than 200 games decided by fewer than six points to be more than 10 games below .500 in that category (101-112, .474).
Stan Watts (371-254 from 1950-72 with Brigham Young, .594)
BYU's all-time winningest coach directed the Cougars to NIT titles in 1951 and 1966. Losing mark 56-63 (.471) in games decided by fewer than five points.
Mark Few (316-83 from 2000-11 with Gonzaga; .792)
Won nine West Coast Conference Tournament championships (2000 through 2002, 2004 through 2007, 2009 and 2011). Won almost 90% of his league games in first 12 years (regular season and WCC tourney) as the Zags participated in the NCAA playoffs each of those seasons. Won more than two-thirds of his games decided by fewer than six points through 2010-11.
Ben Carnevale (309-171 from 1945-66 with North Carolina and Navy, .644)
Reached Final Four in 1946 (2nd). Guided North Carolina to 1945 Southern Conference Tournament championship. He is Navy's all-time winningest coach. Breakeven mark (55-55) in games decided by fewer than six points.
Charlie Spoonhour (373-202 from 1984-99 and 2002-04 with Southwest Missouri State, Saint Louis and UNLV; .649)
Longtime junior college coach won three conference tournament titles with Southwest Missouri--two in the Mid-Continent (1987 and 1989) and one in the Missouri Valley (1992). Assembled a 58-41 mark (.586) in games decided by fewer than four points.
25 HONORABLE MENTION
Harold Anderson (504-226 from 1935-63 with Toledo and Bowling Green, .690)
Directed teams to NIT semifinals in 1942 (4th), 1945 (2nd) and 1949 (3rd). Probably would have ranked higher except for a losing mark (54-67) in games decided by fewer than four points.
Lew Andreas (355-134 from 1925-50 with Syracuse, .726)
His 1926 team was selected as national champion by the Helms Foundation. Losing mark in games decided by fewer than four points (44-45).
Rick Barnes (496-249 from 1988-2011 with George Mason, Providence, Clemson and Texas, .666)
Directed Texas to 2003 Final Four (tied for third place). Texas' all-time winningest coach won Big East Conference Tournament with Providence in 1994. Losing mark in games decided by fewer than five points through 2008-09. Lost at Chaminade (Hawaii) in 1991-92 while coaching Providence.
Justin "Sam" Barry (360-207 from 1919-41 and 1946-50 with Knox, Iowa and Southern California; .635)
USC's all-time winningest coach reached Final Four with the Trojans in 1940 (3rd).
Dave Bliss (526-328 from 1976-2003 with Oklahoma, SMU, New Mexico and Baylor, .616)
Coach of fourth-place team in 1990 NIT. New Mexico's all-time winningest coach won four conference tournament championships--1979 (Big Eight), 1988 (SWC), 1993 (WAC) and 1996 (WAC).
Howard Cann (409-232 from 1924-58 with NYU, .638)
Coach of Helms Foundation national champion in 1935. NYU's all-time winningest coach reached Final Four in 1945 (2nd). NIT runner-up in 1948 after reaching NIT semifinals in 1938 (4th).
Everett Dean (374-217 from 1922-43 and 1946-51 with Carleton, Indiana and Stanford; .633)
Guided Stanford to the 1942 NCAA Tournament championship.
Don DeVoe (512-389 from 1972-90 and 1993-2004 with Virginia Tech, Wyoming, Tennessee, Florida and Navy; .568)
Directed Virginia Tech to 1973 NIT title and Tennessee to a third-place finish in 1985. Coach of four conference tournament champions--SEC (1979 with Tennessee) and Patriot League (1994, 1997 and 1998 with Navy).
Don Donoher (437-275 from 1965-89 with Dayton, .614)
Dayton's all-time winningest coach guided Dayton to NIT title in 1968. Reached Final Four of NCAA Tournament in 1967 (2nd). One of first 10 coaches to take his first three teams to the NCAA Tournament. Superior mark in games decided by fewer than four points (95-71, .572).
Bill C. Foster (532-325 from 1963-67 and 1971-97 with Shorter, UNC Charlotte, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech; .621)
Captured 1995 NIT championship with Virginia Tech.
Amory "Slats" Gill (599-392 from 1929-64 with Oregon State, .604)
Oregon State's all-time winningest coach reached the NCAA Final Four two times--1949 (4th) and 1963 (4th). Modest 90-89 mark in games decided by fewer than four points.
Marv Harshman (654-449 from 1946-85 with Pacific Lutheran, Washington State and Washington; .593)
Named national coach of the year by the NABC in 1984.
Cam Henderson (630-243 from 1920-55 with Muskingum, Davis & Elkins and Marshall; .722)
The zone was the defense that ruled college basketball. Henderson's teams played it so well that other coaches copied his innovations. Coach of 1947 NAIA Tournament champion.
Paul "Tony" Hinkle (557-393 from 1927-42 and 1946-70 with Butler, .586)
Butler's all-time winningest coach.
Howard Hobson (401-257 from 1933-56 with Southern Oregon, Oregon and Yale; .609)
Coach of Oregon's 1939 NCAA championship team.
Maury John (254-166 from 1959-74 with Drake and Iowa State; .605)
USBWA national coach of the year in 1969 when he guided Drake to a runner-up finish in NCAA Tournament. Drake's all-time winningest coach compiled a 285-58 record (.831) for Moberly (Mo.) Junior College in 12 seasons from 1946-47 through 1957-58.
Thad Matta (292-88 from 2001-11 with Butler, Xavier and Ohio State, .768)
Won six conference tournament championships (Midwestern Collegiate in 2001, Atlantic 10 in 2002 and 2004 plus Big Ten in 2007, 2010 and 2011). Guided Ohio State to 2008 NIT championship.
Neil McCarthy (448-221 from 1976-97 with Weber State and New Mexico State, .670)
Coach of four Big Sky Conference Tournament champions (1978, 1979, 1980 and 1983) and two Big West Conference Tournament champions (1992 and 1994). Weber State's all-time winningest coach.
C.M. Newton (509-375 from 1956-80 and 1982-89 with Transylvania, Alabama and Vanderbilt; .576)
Coach of NIT fourth-place teams in 1973 and 1977 before finishing third with Alabama in 1979. Managed a 98-62 mark (.613) in major-college games decided by fewer than five points.
Tom Penders (566-385 from 1972-2001, 2005 and 2006 with Tufts, Columbia, Fordham, Rhode Island, Texas, George Washington and Houston; .595)
Won four league tournament titles--one in Metro Atlantic Athletic with Fordham (1983), two in Southwest Conference with Texas (1994 and 1995) and one in Conference USA with Houston (2010). Won about 60% of his games decided by fewer than four points.
Vadal Peterson (386-223 from 1928-53 with Utah, .634)
After losing to Kentucky in NIT, led the Utes to NCAA title in 1944. Utah's all-time winningest coach guided the Utes to NIT title in 1947.
Everett Shelton (494-347 from 1924-26 and 1940-68 with Phillips, Wyoming and Sacramento State; .587)
Wyoming's all-time winningest coach guided the Cowboys to 1943 NCAA title.
Jim Valvano (338-214 in 1970 and from 1973-90 with Johns Hopkins, Bucknell, Iona and North Carolina State; .612)
Directed North Carolina State to a stunning 54-52 win over top-ranked Houston to capture the 1983 NCAA championship. Coached N.C. State to 1983 and 1987 ACC Tournament titles. Losing record in conference competition with Bucknell and N.C. State. Breakeven mark (69-69) in major-college games decided by fewer than five points. Both DI schools he directed to the NCAA playoffs had participation vacated because of improprieties. A private attorney retained by N.C. State was convinced that the institution could successfully sue him for failing to ensure the academic progress of his players.
Ned Wulk (494-343 from 1952-82 with Xavier and Arizona State, .590)
Arizona State's all-time winningest coach. Notched a 79-57 mark (.581) in games decided by fewer than four points.
Tom Young (524-328 from 1959-67 and 1970-91 with Catholic, American, Rutgers and Old Dominion; .615)
UPI national coach of the year in 1976. Directed Rutgers to a fourth-place finish in the 1976 NCAA Tournament and third-place in 1978 NIT. Captured 1979 Eastern 8 Tournament title and 1964 Mason-Dixon Conference Tournament. Rutgers' all-time winningest coach guided the Scarlet Knights to nation's best record among almost 80 independent schools in 1976. Won more than 70 percent of his games against eventual Big East Conference members in his first six seasons with Rutgers from 1973-74 through 1978-79 prior to the formation of the league.