75 years of March Madness: Top 10 coaches of all time
In honor of 75 years of March Madness, we are counting down the top 10 coaches of all time.
Coach -- it’s a noun, verb and title that means so much. It doesn’t just mean holding down the sidelines for two halves. A coach is a person who can guide people, not just players, through the X's and O's of life’s trap plays. Someone who leaves words of inspiration so that when he’s not around, he’s still around.
While winning is important when it comes to ranking coaches, it isn’t the only thing. As we celebrate 75 years of March Madness, here’s a list of our top 10 coaches of all time.
1. John Wooden (664 wins)
UCLA's Wooden won 10 national championships in 12 years and also had a then-record 88 consecutive wins. He was also just as famous for his inspirational Pyramid of Success as for his unorthodox, laid-back coaching style. NBA products of his program included Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
2. Mike Krzyzewski (947 wins)
With 947 wins, Coach K is the winningest coach in NCAA men’s basketball. He began his coaching career at Army before going down to Duke, where he has won four national championships. His coaching skills have taken him from the college court to the Olympic stage multiple times, leaving pundits wondering when he will go pro but Krzyzewski seems made for the collegiate ranks.
3. Bob Knight (899 wins)
They don’t call him "The General" for nothing. Knight ran a tight ship, coaching the bulk of his career at Indiana (29 seasons), where he won three national championships and went to five Final Fours. His 899 wins make him the third-winningest coach in major NCAA men’s basketball history.
4. Dean Smith (879 wins)
In Smith’s 36 years coaching North Carolina, Michael Jordan, James Worthy, George Karl, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace and other NBA notables received tutelage from Smith. His accolades include two NCAA national championships, four national coach of the year awards, an Olympic gold medal and induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
5. Adolph Rupp (876 wins)
When your former coach is the inventor of the game of basketball, Dr. James Naismith, you’re officially a big deal. Rupp's 876 wins and four national championships at Kentucky don’t hurt, either. His winning percentage (82.2 percent) ranks third among all coaches.
6. Henry Iba (767 wins)
In his 41 years of coaching, Iba won two Olympic gold medals and two national championships at Oklahoma State. He is also remembered for coaching the United States in its controversial loss to the Soviet Union at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
7. Phog Allen (746 wins)
No top-10 list of coaches would be complete without a man known as the Father of Basketball Coaching and who was also coached by Naismith. His coaching legacy, built mostly at Kansas, was passed down to Smith and Rupp, who played for Allen. His nearly half-century coaching career saw him coach baseball and football alongside basketball.
8. Jim Calhoun (877 wins)
Although he has recently retired, Calhoun’s legacy still lives at Connecticut, where he won three national championships. His NBA protégés include Ray Allen, Caron Butler and Kemba Walker.
9. John Thompson (596 wins)
In 1984, Thompson became the first African-American head coach to win a major collegiate national championship. His win still stands as Georgetown’s only basketball title. Thompson differed from other coaches by relating to the struggles of his players. Proving the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, son John Thompson III is the current Georgetown coach. Another son, Ronny Thompson, coached at Ball State University.
10. Jim Boeheim (909 wins)
This season, Boeheim defined unremitting by reaching 909 wins to become the second- winningest coach in NCAA history. After coaching at alma mater Syracuse for 37 years, Boeheim is as much a staple there as the color orange.
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