Coaches The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time  

Ranker NCAA Basketball
Originally by
23.9k votes 3.5k voters 43.1k views 68 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
907 524
John Wooden is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 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
1,090 653
Mike Krzyzewski is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 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
781 512
Dean Smith is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 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
602 525
Bob Knight is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 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
636 494
Roy Williams is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 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
400 429
Adolph Rupp is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 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

7
520 524
Tom Izzo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 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

8
382 433
Jim Boeheim is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 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
371 404
Jim Calhoun is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 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
349 376
Jim Valvano is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 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

11
345 288
Bill Self is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 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

12
222 262
Lute Olson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 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

13
372 517
Rick Pitino is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 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

14
188 121
Bob Huggins is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 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

15
191 184
Phog Allen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 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
255 241
Larry Brown is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 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

17
196 123
Brad Stevens is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best 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

18
223 244
Jerry Tarkanian is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best 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

19
195 153
Mark Few is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best 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

20
145 198
Rick Majerus is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best 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

21
351 372
John Calipari is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 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

22
142 155
Al McGuire is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best 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
118 134
Henry Iba is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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.

24
129 216
Lefty Driesell is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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

25
168 140
Billy Donovan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best 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

26
111 151
John Chaney is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added John Chaney is an American retired college basketball coach, best known for his success at Temple University.

27
140 125
Denny Crum is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best 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

28
132 118
Bo Ryan is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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

29
113 151
John Thompson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
115 168
Eddie Sutton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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
113 177
Tubby Smith is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added 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

32
87 112
Don Haskins is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added 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

33
66 59
Rollie Massimino is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
slaft added 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

34
100 107
Nolan Richardson is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
JacobHuneycutt added 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

35
91 94
Gary Williams is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
KyleTurner added 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

36
70 81
Lou Carnasecca is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
MarcSherman added Lou Carnasecca

37
62 79
Gene Keady is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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

38
27 32
Buzz Williams is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Rusty Shackelford added Virginia Tech Hokies men's basketball Brent "Buzz" Williams is an American basketball coach. He is currently the head coach of the Virginia Tech Hokies. He served as head men's basketball coach at Marquette from 2008 to ...more

39
15 18
Digger Phelps is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Richard F. "Digger" Phelps is a former American college basketball coach, most notably of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's basketball team from 1971 to 1991. For 20 years, from 1993 ...more

40
33 45
Jud Heathcote is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added 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

41
24 39
Terry Holland is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added 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

42
27 41
Norm Sloan is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added 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

43
36 69
Ray Meyer is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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

44
24 44
Guy Lewis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added 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
23 42
Ralph Miller is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added 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

46
8 14
Gene Bartow is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added B. Gene Bartow was an American men's college basketball coach. The Browning, Missouri, native coached 36 years at six universities after coaching two high schools in Missouri for six years. In ...more

47
16 39
Branch McCracken is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added 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

48
22 48
Clair Bee is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
JimThomas added 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

49
46 93
Lou Henson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
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

50
13 26
Ed Jucker is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Edwin Louis "Ed" Jucker was an American college basketball player and coach in both the NBA and college basketball, leading the University of Cincinnati to back-to-back national titles ...more