Blog Entry

Dear Gary (on Big East coaches)

Posted on: November 14, 2008 3:16 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2008 3:48 pm

Here's Friday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: We all know the Big East is full of great programs and players. In your opinion, who is the best coach?

-- Lorne

A nice, simple question.

I like it, Lorne.

Anyway, by my count there are three coaches with national titles in the Big East, namely Jim Calhoun (UConn), Rick Pitino (Louisville) and Jim Boeheim (Syracuse). So while I think Bob Huggins (West Virginia) is a Hall of Famer and Jay Wright (Villanova), Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh), John Thompson III (Georgetown) and Mike Brey (Notre Dame) are all established winners, it's probably right to stick to the group of men with rings when trying to establish the best of the Big East.

That means I'm down to Calhoun, Pitino and Boeheim.

All three are Hall of Famers.

But with a gun to my head I'd probably go with Pitino, because he's won at a high-level at three very different schools and there's no telling how many national titles the guy might have if he had never done two stints in the NBA. As it is, he's still got one national title (at Kentucky), and he's been to five Final Fours with three different schools (Providence, Kentucky and Louisville). That's pretty remarkable. And when you consider he's got another team this season that could challenge for a sixth Final Four and second national title, well, I don't think you can go wrong putting Pitino at the top of the list.

Agree or disagree?

Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2008 9:18 pm

Dear Gary (on Big East coaches)

Gee Lefty you might have been getting a biased view as a UK fan.   I have been a die hard UL my entire life and NO one that I know has had an issue with Pitino at all -- other than the UK fans who hate him for leaving them and then later coming here.

As to the comment about doing more by now -- if you take away the extreme injuries UL has had literally every single year since he got here, as well as 3 years that top recruits who were commited decided to jump straight to the NBA instead, the results could have been totally different in several years.  I have no problem at all with a final four and an elite 8 in that time, knowing what he had to deal with and the turn around he's accomplished.

I agree with Parish -- if the man had stayed in college and had not taken over "hurting programs" each time in college, his winning resume would be even more than it is.  He is a master motivator and teacher -- who generally gets much better results from the players than others get from more.  UL has not exactly been loaded with McD AA's like NC and some others -- yet they have been winning a lot since he arrived.

Since: Nov 6, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2008 5:09 pm

Dear Gary (on Big East coaches)

Pitino might be the best coach in America.  However, I would have thought he would have done a little more with Louisville by now.  This year might be a big year for them but the fans were starting to get really anxious before they turned it around last year.  I was a UK fan in Cardinal Country and enjoyed the front row seat.  Pitino is the best and Cardinal Fans are pretty "crazy" too.

Since: May 25, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2008 3:32 pm

Dear Gary (on Big East coaches)

sorry for the bad typing. Meant to say to stretch this even further..

Since: May 25, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2008 3:30 pm

Dear Gary (on Big East coaches)

Completely agree, Rick Pitino is one hell of a coach. Now Gary, to stetch tis even further what in your opinion are the top 5 best coaches in all of college?

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