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Young and old, coaches can be great at any age

by | CBSSports.com Senior Writer
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A coach recently posed the question to me: Who are the top young coaches in the country? Guys 40 years of age or younger. It wasn't an easy answer beyond the one no-brainer name of Butler's Brad Stevens.

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It got me thinking of who are the most accomplished coaches in the country in each age group. Some age groups (the 50 to 60 range) were easier than others -- and Gary Williams certainly would have made the list if he hadn't called it a career this past offseason.

The most difficult decisions came with the 40 to 50 age group, but here goes -- broken down into five different age segments:

Senior citizens (over 60)

1. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke: My 7-year-old daughter could have come up with this one. Coach K will become the winningest coach in Division 1 men's basketball history early this season when he breaks Bob Knight's mark (he is just two wins shy). Krzyzewski also earned an Olympic gold medal in 2008, has won more NCAA tournament games than anyone else in history and is tied for second all-time with 11 Final Four appearances.
Age: 64
Career record: 900-284 (36 seasons)
National championships: 4
Final Four appearances: 11

Calhoun (Getty Images)  
Calhoun (Getty Images)  
2. Jim Calhoun, Connecticut: Following the Huskies' national title this past April, Calhoun became one of just five coaches to win at least three NCAA championships. He built the program in Storrs basically from scratch after taking over 25 years ago, has won 600 games at UConn and also seven Big East tournament crowns.
Age: 69
Career record: 855-367 (39 seasons)
National championships: 3
Final Four appearances: 4

3. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse: Has spent the past 35 years at his alma mater and gone to the NCAA tournament 28 times. Has made three Final Four appearances -- including winning it all in 2003 with Carmelo Anthony. Boeheim has won 10 Big East regular-season titles and a handful of league tournament titles.
Age: 66
Career record: 856-301 (35 seasons)
National championships: 1
Final Four appearances: 3

4. Steve Fisher, San Diego State: As the interim coach at Michigan, led the Wolverines to the national title back in 1989. Was then given the permanent gig, signed the Fab Five -- and lost to Duke and North Carolina in back-to-back national championship games. After being fired in 1997 due to off-court issues, Fisher took over at San Diego State and has taken a downtrodden program and led them to two straight NCAA tournament appearances -- including a Sweet 16 this past year.
Age: 66
Career record: 416-234* (21 seasons); 75 wins vacated by NCAA
National championships: 1
Final Four appearances: 3

T5. Mike Montgomery, California: Began his career at Montana before spending 18 seasons at Stanford, where he went to the Final Four in 1998 and an Elite Eight in 2001. Montgomery gave it a shot in the NBA for a few years before returning to the college ranks at Cal for the past three seasons.
Age: 64
Career record: 611-281 (29 seasons)
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 1

T5. Rick Majerus, Saint Louis: Hadn't had a losing season in 24 years as a college coach until 2010-11. Majerus built a national power in his time at Utah, going to 10 NCAA tournaments, four Sweet 16s and losing to Kentucky in the national title game in 1998. Has battled health issues -- which forced him to resign from Southern California after just a few days on the job. Has been at Saint Louis for the past four seasons and the Billikens have been mediocre in his tenure.
Age: 63
Career record: 491-208 (24 seasons)
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 1

Getting up there (51 to 60)

1. Roy Williams, North Carolina: After 15 years at Kansas and four appearances in the Final Four, Williams returned to his alma mater in 2003 and cut down the nets in his second season. In his first five seasons back in Chapel Hill, Williams won two national titles, went to a trio of Final Fours and won four ACC regular-season crowns.
Age: 59
Career record: 643-163 (23 seasons)
National championships: 2
Final Four appearances: 7

Pitino (Getty Images)  
Pitino (Getty Images)  
2. Rick Pitino, Louisville: Has taken three different programs to the Final Four: Providence, Kentucky and Louisville. Won a national title in 1996 with the Wildcats after taking over a program in disarray. Pitino has also spent a handful of seasons in the NBA as the head coach of the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
Age: 58
Career record: 597-220 (25 seasons)
National championships: 1
Final Four appearances: 5

3. Tom Izzo, Michigan State: His win total isn't up there with some of the other guys on this list, but he has won a national title and has gone to six Final Fours in the past 13 seasons -- at a place that's not considered one of the elite 10 or so jobs in America.
Age: 56
Career record: 383-161 (16 seasons)
National championships: 1
Final Four appearances: 6

4. John Calipari, Kentucky: Has gone to a trio of Final Fours -- although two have been vacated. Built a powerhouse at UMass, then revived the program at Memphis before taking over at Kentucky a couple years ago and taking the Wildcats back to the Final Four.
Age: 52
Career record: 509-152* (19 seasons); 42 wins vacated by NCAA
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 3

5. Bob Huggins, West Virginia: Spent a handful of seasons at Akron before building a national power at Cincinnati -- where he took the Bearcats to the Final Four in 1992 and also led the program to 14 consecutive NCAA tournaments. After being fired, spent one season at Kansas State before returning to his alma mater, West Virginia, where he has gone to the tourney in all four seasons -- including the Final Four in 2010.
Age: 57
Career record: 620-227 (26 seasons)
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 2

Prime-timers (41 to 50)

1. Billy Donovan, Florida: He began his career at Marshall and left for Florida after two seasons, building a power in Gainesville. Donovan has led the Gators to three Final Four appearances -- including back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007.
Age: 46
Career record: 395-167 (17 seasons)
National championships: 2
Final Four appearances: 3

Self (Getty Images)  
Self (Getty Images)  
2. Bill Self, Kansas: Bounced around from Oral Roberts to Tulsa to Illinois before landing at Kansas for the past eight seasons -- where he won a national title in 2008 and has gone to three more Elite Eights. He also led Tulsa and Illinois to the Elite Eight.
Age: 48
Career record: 444-151 (18 seasons)
National championships: 1
Final Four appearances: 1

3. Thad Matta, Ohio State: Went to the tournament in his lone season at Butler, then went three times -- including an Elite Eight appearance -- in three years at Xavier. Has gone to the Big Dance six of seven campaigns since taking over at Ohio State -- including a title-game appearance in 2007.
Age: 43
Career record: 292-88 (11 seasons)
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 1

4. Mark Few, Gonzaga: This one may cause some debate, but I'm not sure too many of the guys on this list could have accomplished what Few has in Spokane, going to the NCAA tournament in all 12 of his seasons at the helm and going to the Sweet 16 on four occasions.
Age: 48
Career record: 316-83 (12 seasons)
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 0

T5. Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh: While Dixon hasn't yet gone to the Final Four, he has taken the Panthers to the Big Dance in all eight of his seasons at the helm, has a winning percentage of nearly 80 percent and is also an impressive 98-38 in Big East play. Pittsburgh has gone to a pair of Sweet 16s and an Elite Eight in his tenure.
Age: 45
Career record: 216-80 (8 seasons)
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 0

T5. Sean Miller, Arizona: Has gone to a pair of Elite Eights in his seven seasons -- one with Xavier and this past season at Arizona, where he has had to rebuild the program in Tucson.
Age: 42
Career record: 166-70 (7 seasons)
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 0

T5. Jay Wright, Villanova: Began his head coaching career at Hofstra, but has spent the past decade at Villanova -- where Wright is 224-110 overall and took the Wildcats to the Final Four in 2009.
Age: 49
Career record: 346-196 (17 seasons)
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 1

Young pups (40 and under)

1. Brad Stevens, Butler: Other than Coach K, this is the easiest decision on the entire list. Stevens, just four years into his career, has gone to a pair of national-title games -- at Butler, of all places. He has won more than 82 percent of his games and has been to the NCAA tournament in all four of his seasons at the helm.
Age: 34
Career record: 117-25 (4 seasons)
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 2

Painter (Getty Images)  
Painter (Getty Images)  
2. Matt Painter, Purdue: Took Southern Illinois to the NCAA tournament in his one season leading the Salukis and then has completely revitalized the Purdue program and taken the Boilermakers to five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances -- including a pair of Sweet 16s.
Age: 40
Career record: 163-69 (7 seasons)
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 0

3. Buzz Williams, Marquette: Had a cup of coffee as the head coach at New Orleans before joining Tom Crean as an assistant at Marquette. When Crean left for Indiana, Williams got the job -- and has led the Golden Eagles to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 this past season.
Age: 38
Career record: 83-54 (4 seasons)
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 0

4. Shaka Smart, Virginia Commonwealth: When you've gone to the Final Four before your 35th birthday, that's more than enough to play your way onto this list. Smart just concluded his second season with the Rams.
Age: 34
Career record: 55-21
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 1

5. Scott Drew, Baylor: At first glance, going to just a pair of NCAA tournaments in eight seasons doesn't look all that impressive. However, Drew took over one of the most unenviable situations in the history of college basketball and has made Baylor a legitimate player nationally. The Bears went to the Elite Eight two seasons ago and also went to the tourney in 2008.
Age: 40
Career record: 147-127 (9 seasons)
National championships: 0
Final Four appearances: 0

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