Sports

The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time  

Ranker NCAA Basketball
Originally by
33.2k votes 4.8k voters 52.8k views 121 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
John Wooden is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
Mike Krzyzewski is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
Dean Smith is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
Bob Knight is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
Roy Williams is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
Tom Izzo is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
7
Adolph Rupp is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
8
Jim Boeheim is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
9
Jim Calhoun is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
10
Larry Brown is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added 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
11
Jim Valvano is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added
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
12
Rick Pitino is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
13
Bill Self is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added 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
Jay Wright is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
TRENT13 added Villanova Wildcats men's basketball
Jerold Taylor "Jay" Wright, Jr. is an American college basketball coach. He is currently the men's coach at Villanova University. He was born in Churchville, Pennsylvania and is ...more
15
Phog Allen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Forrest Clare "Phog" Allen was an American basketball and baseball player, coach of American football, basketball, and baseball, college athletics administrator, and osteopathic ...more
16
Brad Stevens is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
looksharp added 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
17
Mark Few is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
18
Denny Crum is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
bigulcards added
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
19
Billy Donovan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
gatorphil83 added Florida Gators men's basketball
William John Donovan Jr. (born May 30, 1965) is an American professional basketball coach and former player. He is the current head coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball ...more
20
Lute Olson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
21
Jerry Tarkanian is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
22
Al McGuire is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
samgadoodle added
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
23
Bob Huggins is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added 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
24
John Calipari is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
25
Rick Majerus is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added
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