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The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time

Updated May 21, 2020 40.9k votes 5.8k voters 60.5k views124 items

List RulesOnly 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!

  • 1

    John Wooden

    John Robert Wooden (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010) was an American basketball player and...  more
  • 2

    Mike Krzyzewski

    Duke Blue Devils men's basketball
    Michael William Krzyzewski (born February 13, 1947) is an American college basketball coach...  more
  • 3
    Dean Edwards Smith (February 28, 1931 – February 7, 2015) was an American men's college...  more
  • 4
    Robert Montgomery Knight (born October 25, 1940) is a former American basketball coach....  more
  • 5

    Roy Williams

    North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball
    Roy Allen Williams (born August 1, 1950) is an American college basketball coach for the North...  more
  • 6
    Forrest Clare "Phog" Allen (November 18, 1885 – September 16, 1974) was an American basketball...  more
  • 7

    Tom Izzo

    Michigan State Spartans men's basketball
    Tom Izzo (, Italian pronunciation: [ˈittso]); born January 30, 1955), is an American college...  more
  • 8

    Mark Few

    Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball
    Mark Norman Few (born December 27, 1962) is an American college basketball coach who has been...  more
  • 9
    Alfred Emanuel McGuire (September 7, 1928 – January 26, 2001) was an American college...  more
  • 10

    Bob Huggins

    West Virginia Mountaineers men's basketball
    Robert Edward Huggins (born September 21, 1953), nicknamed "Huggy Bear," is an American...  more
  • 11
    Adolph Frederick Rupp (September 2, 1901 – December 10, 1977) was an American college...  more
  • 12
    Denzel Edwin "Denny" Crum (born March 2, 1937) is a former American men's college basketball...  more
  • 13

    Brad Stevens

    Boston Celtics
    Bradley Kent Stevens (born October 22, 1976) is an American professional basketball coach and...  more
  • 14

    Billy Donovan

    Chicago Bulls
    William John Donovan Jr. (born May 30, 1965) is an American professional basketball coach and...  more
  • 15
    Henry "Hank" Payne Iba (; August 6, 1904 – January 15, 1993) was an American basketball coach...  more
  • 16
    James A. Calhoun (born May 10, 1942) is the men's basketball coach for the University of Saint...  more
  • 17

    Bill Self

    Kansas Jayhawks Men's Basketball
    Billy Eugene Self Jr. (born December 27, 1962) is the NCAA Division-1 men's college basketball...  more
  • 18

    John Calipari

    Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball
    John Vincent Calipari (born February 10, 1959) is an American basketball coach. Since 2009, he...  more
  • 19

    Larry Brown

    SMU Mustangs men's basketball
    Lawrence Harvey Brown (born September 14, 1940) is a former American basketball coach and...  more
  • 20
    James Thomas Anthony Valvano (March 10, 1946 – April 28, 1993), nicknamed Jimmy V, was an...  more
  • 21

    Lou Carnasecca

  • 22
    Richard Raymond Majerus (February 17, 1948 – December 1, 2012) was an American college...  more
  • 23
    Lloyd Eugene Keady (born May 21, 1936) is an American basketball coach. Most recently an...  more
  • 24

    Jay Wright

    Villanova Wildcats men's basketball
    Jerold Taylor "Jay" Wright Jr. (born December 24, 1961) is an American college basketball...  more
  • 25
    Jerry Tarkanian (August 8, 1930 – February 11, 2015) was an American basketball coach. He...  more