Critical Coaches: Who is the most underrated coach in America?

Fran Dunphy has coached Temple to five straight NCAA tournaments. (US Presswire)'s college basketball quartet spent the July open recruiting period hobnobbing with nearly 100 coaches, brain-picking them on some of college basketball's current issues. From the best players to their comrades in coaching; from the AAU programs to the agents' involvement; from the rule changes to the NCAA as a whole. We had to promise them anonymity, and in exchange, they gave us honest answers. Over the next three weeks here on the blog, we'll be putting out one question per weekday and giving you the array of results, straight from the coaches' mouths.

Yesterday we started the series with the question, "Who is the most coveted player in college basketball?" Today we hit on coaches that don't get nearly the amount of credit they deserve. There was a wide array of answers, but one name kept popping up more than anyone else. 

The question is: Who is the most underrated coach in the country?

  1. Fran Dunphy (Temple): 14 percent
  2. Randy Bennett (Saint Mary's): 9 percent
  3. Rick Byrd (Belmont: 7 percent
  4. Bill Self (Kansas): 7 percent
  5. Buzz Williams (Marquette): 7 percent
  6. John Calipari (Kentucky): 7 percent
  7. Bob McKillop (Davidson): 5 percent
  8. Bob Huggins (West Virginia): 5 percent

Also received votes: Too many to list.

Quotes that stuck:

On Fran Dunphy: "His teams always win. They are just like him. Quiet, unassuming. He's a good guy and just wins."

On Randy Bennett: "Have you ever been to that gym?  It's a sandbox. Bennett has done it differently, he's established an overseas pipeline and been able to sustain success in a league with Gonzaga. That's not easy." 

On Buzz Williams: "He's been there, what, four years?  He's never had a bad team even though all his teams have been different because of graduation and injuries. He rubs some people the wrong way, but he knows what he's doing. He's really good." 

On Huggins: "To me, he's a f------ genius with his teams. Think about it. He's in the tournament every single year."

On Calipari: "Sure, he always has talent. But he deserves some credit for being able to manage that talent. He may not be one of the elite game-coaches in the country, but when it comes to pushing the right buttons and recruiting, there aren't many better." 

On Blaine Taylor (who received one vote): "It's all about his look. That's what holds him back. If he didn't have the bad hair-dye or look like Ron Jeremy, I think he could get a better job."

Takeaway (by Jeff Goodman):

Dunphy is about as well-liked as anyone in the country, so that probably played into it a bit. However, his track record is also pretty impressive. He won more than 300 games and went to nine NCAA tournaments in his Ivy League stint at Penn -- and has done a phenomenal job since following John Chaney at Temple. The Owls have finished first or second in the A-10 for each of the past five seasons. 

But there are no shortage of underrated coaches around the country from the true mid-major types like Rick Byrd (Belmont) and Bob McKillop (Davidson). Even guys like John Calipari and Bill Self, who have won national titles, don't get the credit they deserve. 

However, Dunphy was the clear-cut winner in this category. 

"I appreciate my peers thinking I have a clue about what I'm doing," Dunphy said after learning he was voted the Most Underrated Coach in America. "We're lucky to have the jobs we have." 

The 63-year-old has racked up 444 career victories, has gone to the NCAA tournament 14 times and has a 260-75 mark in league play. 

And few give him the credit he deserves. 

Coming Wednesday: The votes are tallied for the most overrated head coach in college basketball.

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