coaches The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time  

Ranker NCAA Basketball
Originally by
21.6k votes 3.2k voters 41k views 66 items

List Rules Only NCAA college basketball coaches. No NBA coaches

Leading the best teams most likely to win March Madness 2018, the best college basketball coaches of all time are the winningest and most decorated men ever to coach NCAA college basketball. From the legends of the game from many decades ago to those coaches currently in their prime, these top college basketball coaches of all time will always be remembered as the best leaders and most brilliant minds to ever steer the best college basketball teams into the history books.

Easily regarded by many as the best college basketball coach ever, John Wooden won a remarkable 98-straight games and 10 NCAA titles over a 12-year span while coaching the UCLA Bruins in the 1960s and 1970s. Neither feat has ever been accomplished and quite simply no other coach has ever come close to this level of success.

But there are some areas where other coaches have topped the great Wizard of Westwood. Many current and former college basketball coaches from various divisions have a higher win count, like McKendree legend Henry Statham or Oregon Tech mainstay Danny Miles, or a higher winning percentage, like longtime Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp. There are also plenty of best current college basketball coaches who could very well meet or top Wooden's record of 12 NCAA titles such as Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who through 2013 sits with 11 championships, or Rick Pitino or Roy Williams, both of which each sitting on seven titles a piece.

However you rank the best college basketball coaches ever, do it below by voting up the ones you think are best, voting down those that aren't, adding any not listed or re-ranking this list of the top NCAA college basketball coaches of all time!

list ordered by

1
831 481
John Wooden is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
John Wooden John Robert Wooden was an American basketball player and coach. Nicknamed the "Wizard of Westwood," as head coach at UCLA he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, ...more

2
1,012 569
Mike Krzyzewski is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Mike Krzyzewski Duke Blue Devils men's basketball Michael William "Mike" Krzyzewski is an American basketball coach and former player. Since 1980, he has served as the head men's basketball coach at Duke University after taking over ...more

3
638 480
Dean Smith is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Dean Smith Dean Edwards Smith was an American head coach of men's college basketball. Originally from Emporia, Kansas, Smith was called a "coaching legend" by the Basketball Hall of Fame. He is ...more

4
553 475
Bob Knight is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Bob Knight Robert Montgomery "Bob" Knight is a retired American basketball coach. Nicknamed "The General", Knight won 902 NCAA Division I men's college basketball games, the most ...more

5
542 456
Roy Williams is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Roy Williams North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball Roy Allen Williams is a college basketball coach, who is currently the head coach of the men's North Carolina Tar Heel Men's Basketball at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North ...more

6
363 393
Adolph Rupp is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Adolph Rupp Adolph Frederick Rupp was one of the most successful coaches in the history of American college basketball. Rupp is ranked 4th in total victories by a men's NCAA Division I college coach, ...more

7
486 478
Tom Izzo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Izzo Michigan State Spartans men's basketball Tom Izzo is an American college basketball coach. Since 1995, he has been the head coach for the Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team, presiding over a prolonged period of success. ...more

8
340 366
Jim Calhoun is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Jim Calhoun James A. Calhoun is the former head coach of the University of Connecticut men's basketball team. His teams won three NCAA national championships, played in four Final Fours, won the 1988 NIT ...more

9
343 392
Jim Boeheim is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Jim Boeheim Syracuse Orange men's basketball James Arthur "Jim" Boeheim is the head coach of the men's basketball team at Syracuse University. Boeheim has guided the Orange to nine Big East regular season championships, five Big ...more

10
314 348
Jim Valvano is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added Jim Valvano James Thomas Anthony "Jim" Valvano, nicknamed Jimmy V, was an American college basketball player, coach, and broadcaster. While the head basketball coach at North Carolina State ...more

11
343 473
Rick Pitino is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Rick Pitino Louisville Cardinals men's basketball Richard Andrew "Rick" Pitino is an American basketball coach. Since 2001, he has been the head coach at the University of Louisville, and coached the Cardinals to the 2013 NCAA Men's ...more

12
205 237
Lute Olson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Lute Olson Robert Luther "Lute" Olson is a retired American men's basketball coach. He was most recently head coach at the University of Arizona for 25 years. He was also head coach at the ...more

The Best College Basketball Arenas

13
307 260
Bill Self is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added Bill Self Kansas Jayhawks Men's Basketball Billy Eugene "Bill" Self, Jr. is an American college men's basketball coach at the University of Kansas, where he has led Kansas to eleven straight Big 12 Conference regular season ...more

14
228 217
Larry Brown is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Larry Brown SMU Mustangs men's basketball Lawrence Harvey "Larry" Brown is an American basketball coach, who is currently the head coach at Southern Methodist University. He is the only coach in basketball history to win both ...more

15
161 100
Brad Stevens is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
looksharp added Brad Stevens Boston Celtics Bradley Kent "Brad" Stevens is an American professional basketball head coach for the Boston Celtics of the NBA. He was previously the head coach at Butler University in Indianapolis. ...more

16
204 226
Jerry Tarkanian is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Jerry Tarkanian Jerry Esther Tarkanian was an American basketball coach. He coached college basketball for 31 seasons over five decades at three schools. He spent the majority of his career coaching with the ...more

17
168 168
Phog Allen is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Phog Allen Forrest Clare "Phog" Allen was an American basketball and baseball player, coach of American football, basketball, and baseball, college athletics administrator, and osteopathic ...more

The Best Biographical Novels Ever Written

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178 134
Mark Few is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Mark Few Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball Mark Norman Few is an American college basketball coach, currently the head coach at Gonzaga University. He has served on Gonzaga's coaching staff since 1989, and has been a constant on the ...more

19
163 98
Bob Huggins is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Bob Huggins West Virginia Mountaineers men's basketball Robert Edward "Bob" Huggins, nicknamed "Huggy Bear", is the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers men's basketball team. Huggins previously held the head coaching ...more

20
309 346
John Calipari is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
John Calipari Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball John Vincent Calipari is an American basketball coach. Since April 2009, he has been the head coach of men's basketball at the University of Kentucky. He was the head coach of the Dominican ...more

21
130 183
Rick Majerus is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added Rick Majerus Richard Raymond "Rick" Majerus was an American college basketball coach. He coached at Marquette University, Ball State University, the University of Utah, and Saint Louis University. ...more

22
147 128
Billy Donovan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
gatorphil83 added Billy Donovan Florida Gators men's basketball William John Donovan, Jr. is an American college basketball coach who has been the head coach of the Florida Gators men's basketball team of the University of Florida since 1996. Donovan is the ...more

The Worst College Basketball Coaches of All Time

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126 142
Al McGuire is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
samgadoodle added Al McGuire Alfred James "Al" McGuire was the head coach of the Marquette University men's basketball team from 1964 to 1977. He won a national championship at Marquette and was later inducted ...more

24
106 127
Henry Iba is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Henry Iba Henry Payne "Hank" Iba was an American hall-of-fame basketball coach, winner of two NCAA Men's Division I basketball championships and two Olympic gold medals.

25
123 119
Denny Crum is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
bigulcards added Denny Crum Denzil E. "Denny" Crum is a former American men's college basketball coach at the University of Louisville in Kentucky from 1971 to 2001, compiling a 675–295 record. He guided the ...more

26
115 207
Lefty Driesell is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Lefty Driesell Charles Grice "Lefty" Driesell is a college basketball coach. He served as the head coach at the University of Maryland, Davidson College, James Madison University, and Georgia State ...more

27
115 108
Bo Ryan is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Bo Ryan Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball William Francis "Bo" Ryan, Jr. is an American college basketball coach and former player. He is the current head coach of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Badgers men's basketball ...more

37 Celebrities Who Played High School Basketball

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John Chaney is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added John Chaney John Chaney is an American retired college basketball coach, best known for his success at Temple University.

29
96 138
John Thompson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
John Thompson John Thompson is a former tight end in the National Football League. Thompson was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the ninth round of the 1979 NFL Draft and played four seasons with the

30
103 159
Eddie Sutton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Eddie Sutton Eddie Sutton is an American former college head coach with 36 years of Division I basketball coaching experience at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, and the University of San ...more

31
88 98
Nolan Richardson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
JacobHuneycutt added Nolan Richardson Nolan Richardson, Jr. is an American basketball head coach, who was elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014. ...more

32
99 166
Tubby Smith is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added Tubby Smith Texas Tech Red Raiders basketball Orlando "Tubby" Smith is an American college basketball coach. He is currently the men's basketball head coach at Texas Tech University; his previous position, from 2007-2013, was as ...more

Basketball Teams with the Most Annoying Fans

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77 101
Don Haskins is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added Don Haskins Donald Lee Haskins, nicknamed "The Bear", was an American collegiate player and basketball coach. He played for three years under coach Henry Iba at Oklahoma A&M. He was the head ...more

34
54 53
Rollie Massimino is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
slaft added Rollie Massimino Roland V. "Rollie" Massimino is an American basketball coach and former player. He is currently the head men's basketball coach at the Florida campus of Northwood University in West ...more

35
60 74
Lou Carnasecca is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
MarcSherman added Lou Carnasecca

36
77 88
Gary Williams is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
KyleTurner added Gary Williams Gary Bruce Williams is an American university administrator and former college basketball coach. He served as the head coach at the University of Maryland, Ohio State University, Boston College, ...more

37
56 73
Gene Keady is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Gene Keady Lloyd Eugene "Gene" Keady is an American basketball coach. Currently an assistant coach at St. John's University, he is most notable for being the head men's college basketball coach ...more

The Worst Things You Can Make Jokes About

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29 39
Jud Heathcote is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Jud Heathcote George Melvin "Jud" Heathcote is a former American basketball player and coach. He was a college basketball head coach for 24 seasons: five at the University of Montana and 19 at ...more

39
46 85
Lou Henson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Lou Henson Lou Henson is a former college basketball coach. He retired as the all-time leader in victories at the University of Illinois with 423 victories and New Mexico State with 289 victories. Overall ...more

40
22 34
Norm Sloan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Norm Sloan Norman Sloan, nicknamed "Stormin' Norman," was an American college basketball player and coach. Sloan played college basketball for North Carolina State University, and thereafter, he ...more

41
21 34
Ralph Miller is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Ralph Miller Ralph H. Miller was an American basketball coach. A native of Chanute, Kansas, Miller coached at the University of Wichita, the University of Iowa and Oregon State University, compiling a ...more

42
20 33
Terry Holland is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Terry Holland Michael Terrence "Terry" Holland is an American college athletics administrator and former basketball player and coach. He is currently the Emeritus Director of Athletics and special ...more

The Best Arkansas Basketball Players Ever

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45 71
Archie Miller is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
JacobHuneycutt added Archie Miller Dayton Flyers men's basketball Ryan Joseph "Archie" Miller is an American basketball coach who is currently head men's basketball coach at the University of Dayton.

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20 37
Guy Lewis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Guy Lewis Guy Vernon Lewis, II is a former American basketball player and coach. He served as the head men's basketball coach at the University of Houston from 1956 to 1986. Lewis led his Houston Cougars ...more

45
31 61
Ray Meyer is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Ray Meyer Raymond Joseph "Ray" Meyer was an American men's collegiate basketball coach from Chicago, Illinois. He was well known for coaching at DePaul University from 1942 to 1984, compiling a ...more

46
18 38
Johnny Orr is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Johnny Orr John Michael "Johnny" Orr was an American basketball player and coach, best known as the head coach of men's basketball at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of ...more

47
53 110
Sean Miller is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Mike Filliben added Sean Miller Arizona Wildcats men's basketball Sean Edward Miller is an American college basketball coach who is currently the head men's basketball coach for the University of Arizona Wildcats.

48
15 32
Branch McCracken is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Branch McCracken Emmett B. "Branch" McCracken was an American basketball player and coach. He served as the head basketball coach at Ball State University from 1930 to 1938 and at Indiana University ...more

49
20 41
Clair Bee is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
JimThomas added Clair Bee Clair Francis Bee was an American basketball coach, who led the team at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York to undefeated seasons in 1936 and 1939, as well as two National Invitation ...more

50
16 38
Norm Stewart is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Norm Stewart Norman Eugene "Norm" Stewart is a retired American college basketball coach. He coached at the University of Northern Iowa from 1961 to 1967, but is best known for his career with the ...more