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The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time

Updated May 21, 2020 41.4k votes 5.9k voters 61.1k 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!

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    John Wooden

    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," he won ten NCAA...  more
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    1,079

    Mike Krzyzewski

    Duke Blue Devils men's basketball

    Age73

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, United States of America

    Michael William Krzyzewski (born February 13, 1947) is an American college basketball coach and former player. Since 1980, he has served as the head men's basketball coach at Duke University, where...  more
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    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 36 years at...  more
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    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 at the time of...  more
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    907

    Roy Williams

    North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball

    Age70

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceUSA, North Carolina, Marion

    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 for...  more
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    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 athletics...  more
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    850
    861

    Tom Izzo

    Michigan State Spartans men's basketball

    Age65

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceIron 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, 2016,...  more
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    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 Missouri State...  more
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    Mark Few

    Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball

    Age58

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceCreswell, 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 1989,...  more
  • 10
    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 national...  more
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    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 guided the...  more
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    Bob Huggins

    West Virginia Mountaineers men's basketball

    Age67

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceMorgantown, 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 basketball team. Huggins...  more
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    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 total...  more
  • 14
    338
    283

    Billy Donovan

    Chicago Bulls

    Age55

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceRockville Centre, New York, United States of America

    TeamsNew York Knicks

    William John Donovan Jr. (born May 30, 1965) is an American professional basketball coach and former player who is the head coach of the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA), a...  more
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    399
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    Brad Stevens

    Boston Celtics

    Age44

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceIndianapolis, 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
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    Bill Self

    Kansas Jayhawks Men's Basketball

    Age58

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceOkmulgee, 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
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    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 Connecticut...  more
  • 18
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    Larry Brown

    SMU Mustangs men's basketball

    Age80

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    TeamsDenver 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) and...  more
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    594

    John Calipari

    Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball

    Age61

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceMoon, Pennsylvania

    TeamsClarion 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 Championship...  more
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    John Chaney (born January 21, 1932 - January 29, 2021) was an American retired college basketball coach, best known for his success at Temple University. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial...  more
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    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
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    Lou Carnasecca

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    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
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    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 team....  more
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    Jay Wright

    Villanova Wildcats men's basketball

    Age59

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceChurchville, Pennsylvania

    Jerold Taylor "Jay" Wright Jr. (born December 24, 1961) is an American college basketball coach. He is currently the men's head coach at Villanova University, a position he has held since 2001. He...  more