Sports

The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time 

Ranker NCAA Basketball
Originally by
Updated May 21, 2020 38.5k votes 5.3k voters 57.1k views 126 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 Wooden

Age: Dec. at 100 (1910-2010)

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Hall, Gregg Township, Indiana, United States of America

John Robert Wooden (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010) was an American basketball player and head coach at the University of California, Los Angeles. Nicknamed the "Wizard of Westwood," ...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

Age: 72

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Michael William Krzyzewski ( shih-ZHEF-skee; nicknamed "Coach K"; born February 13, 1947) is an American college basketball coach and former player. Since 1980, he has served as the ...more
3
Dean Smith is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time

Age: 88

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Emporia, Kansas, United States of America

Dean Edwards Smith (February 28, 1931 – February 7, 2015) was an American men's college basketball head coach. Called a "coaching legend" by the Basketball Hall of Fame, he coached for ...more
4
Bob Knight is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time

Age: 79

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Massillon, USA, Ohio

Robert Montgomery Knight (born October 25, 1940) is a former American basketball coach. Nicknamed "the General", Knight won 902 NCAA Division I men's college basketball games, a record ...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

Age: 69

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Marion, North Carolina, United States of America

Roy Allen Williams (born August 1, 1950) is an American college basketball coach for the North Carolina Tar Heels. He started his college coaching career at North Carolina as an assistant coach ...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

Age: 64

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Iron Mountain, Michigan

Tom Izzo (, Italian pronunciation: [ˈittso]); born January 30, 1955), is an American college basketball coach who has been the head coach at Michigan State University since 1995. On April 4, ...more
7
Brad Stevens is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
looksharp added Brad Stevens Boston Celtics

Age: 43

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana

Bradley Kent Stevens (born October 22, 1976) is an American professional basketball coach and former collegiate player who is the head coach of the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball ...more
8
Mark Few is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball

Age: 57

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Creswell, Oregon

Mark Norman Few (born December 27, 1962) is an American college basketball coach who has been the head coach at Gonzaga University since 1999. He has served on Gonzaga's coaching staff since ...more
9
Adolph Rupp is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time

Age: Dec. at 76 (1901-1977)

Nationality: United States of America, Germany

Birthplace: Halstead, Kansas

Adolph Frederick Rupp (September 2, 1901 – December 10, 1977) was an American college basketball coach. Rupp is ranked fifth (behind Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, Bob Knight, and Dean Smith) in ...more
10
Phog Allen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time

Age: Dec. at 89 (1885-1974)

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Jamesport, Missouri

Forrest Clare "Phog" Allen (November 18, 1885 – September 16, 1974) was an American basketball and baseball player, coach of American football, basketball, and baseball, college ...more
11
Bob Huggins is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added West Virginia Mountaineers men's basketball

Age: 66

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Morgantown, West Virginia, United States of America

Robert Edward Huggins (born September 21, 1953), nicknamed "Huggy Bear," is an American college basketball coach. He is the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers men's ...more
12
Jim Calhoun is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time

Age: 77

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Braintree, Massachusetts

James A. Calhoun (born May 10, 1942) is the men's basketball coach for the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut. Calhoun is the former head coach of the University of ...more
13
Jim Valvano is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added

Age: Dec. at 47 (1946-1993)

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Corona, New York City, New York, United States of America

James Thomas Anthony Valvano (March 10, 1946 – April 28, 1993), nicknamed Jimmy V, was an American college basketball player, coach, and broadcaster.Valvano had an excellent coaching career with ...more
14
Al McGuire is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
samgadoodle added

Age: Dec. at 73 (1928-2001)

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: New York City, New York

Alfred Emanuel McGuire (September 7, 1928 – January 26, 2001) was an American college basketball coach and broadcaster, the head coach at Marquette University from 1964 to 1977. He won a ...more
15
Bill Self is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added Kansas Jayhawks Men's Basketball

Age: 57

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Okmulgee, Oklahoma, United States of America

Billy Eugene Self Jr. (born December 27, 1962) is the NCAA Division-1 men's college basketball coach at the University of Kansas. During his 16 seasons as head coach, he's led the Jayhawks to at ...more
16
Denny Crum is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
bigulcards added

Age: 82

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: San Fernando, California, United States of America

Denzel Edwin "Denny" Crum (born March 2, 1937) is a former American men's college basketball coach at the University of Louisville from 1971 to 2001, compiling a 675–295 record. He ...more
17
Jim Boeheim is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Syracuse Orange men's basketball

Age: 75

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Lyons, New York, United States of America

James Arthur Boeheim (born November 17, 1944) is an American college basketball coach who is the head coach of the Syracuse Orange men's team of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Boeheim has ...more
18
John Calipari is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball

Age: 60

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Moon, Pennsylvania

Teams: Clarion Golden Eagles men's basketball

John Vincent Calipari (born February 10, 1959) is an American basketball coach. Since 2009, he has been the head coach of the University of Kentucky men's team, with whom he won the NCAA ...more
19
Henry Iba is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time

Age: Dec. at 89 (1904-1993)

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Easton, Missouri

Henry "Hank" Payne Iba (; August 6, 1904 – January 15, 1993) was an American basketball coach and college athletics administrator. He served as the head basketball coach at Northwest ...more
20
Larry Brown is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added SMU Mustangs men's basketball

Age: 79

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Teams: Denver Nuggets

Lawrence Harvey Brown (born September 14, 1940) is a former American basketball coach and player who was most recently the head coach for Auxilium Torino of the Italian Lega Basket Serie A (LBA) ...more
21
Billy Donovan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
gatorphil83 added Florida Gators men's basketball

Age: 54

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Rockville Centre, New York, United States of America

Teams: New York Knicks

William John Donovan Jr. (born May 30, 1965) is an American professional basketball coach and former player who is the head coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball ...more
22
Jerry Tarkanian is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time

Age: 89

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Euclid, Ohio, United States of America

Jerry Tarkanian (August 8, 1930 – February 11, 2015) was an American basketball coach. He coached college basketball for 31 seasons over five decades at three schools. He spent the majority of ...more
23
Bo Ryan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball

Age: 72

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Chester, Pennsylvania

William Francis "Bo" Ryan Jr. (born December 20, 1947) is an American former college basketball coach and player. He was the head coach of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Badgers ...more
24
Lute Olson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time

Age: 85

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Mayville, North Dakota, United States of America

Robert Luther "Lute" Olson (born September 22, 1934) is an American retired Hall of Fame basketball coach, who has been inducted into both the Basketball Hall of Fame (2002), the ...more
25
Rick Majerus is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time
wiabux added

Age: Dec. at 64 (1948-2012)

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin

Richard Raymond Majerus (February 17, 1948 – December 1, 2012) was an American college basketball coach. He coached at Marquette University (1983–1986), Ball State University (1987–1989), the ...more