Top Relationship Rebuilders

Simply said, results are reinforced by relationships. The more productive the relationship with your whole team including players, staff, assistants, consultants, administration, booster, alumni …the more productive the results and daily operations.


These coaches are the best in the business when it comes to rebuilding relationships though the course of a career with high peaks and low valleys.


The metrics studied included knowing their people, the speed at which they were able to connect and engage working relationships, the value of relationships, open-minded philosophy, how relationship roles evolved in the program changed to move forward.  And of course, how all of these dynamics affected wins/losses, player development, and the coaches network.  

Will Wade.jpg
Greg Gard.jpg
Bill Herrion.jpg
King Rice.jpg
Patrick Ewing.jpg
Brad Underwood.jpg
Scott Drew.jpg
Chris Mooney.jpg
Willie Jones.jpg

Bob Huggins – West Virginia 

When Huggins returned to his hometown and a new conference, he quickly ran the program into the mud. Stuck there for at least three years, it was clear his style was not working. He had to change his philosophy, engaged the coaching community to hire a new assistant, and re-engage winning in the process.  

Chris Collins - Northwestern

Collins has accomplished their first-ever NCAA tourney. One could argue that a return to normalcy (losing) on campus has also been quick. The fact remains that history has a way of repeating before sustainability. Collins continues his work with the administration and fan base towards a return to post season play and that rapport is why his seat is comfortably cool.

Travis Steele - Xavier 

The dynamics continuously change this season for X coping with a first time head coach in year two after ten years as an assistant. Stimulating and reshuffling the roster, Steele picked up the team and kept heads high after a 2-7 run. Today they grow and improve daily as colleagues rediscover their dance partners.

Will Wade – LSU

A new look team… the looming FBI inquiry… none of this matters. Wade has answered questions and rotated the kaleidoscope of basketball thinking by maintaining strong connections. It’s evident by the commitment of Watford, and the continued commitment of Mays and Smart. Losing Waters to the NBA further illustrates a change in dynamics rebuilding his relationship with said backcourt. 

Brad Brownell - Clemson 

Entering the season well aware it could be his last, Brownell answered the buzzer and Clemson is loose with an almost shy confidence. They lost allot of production from a season ago but picked up a key transfer. How they work and prepare; the amount of togetherness they show and how much they care about one another is what’s most important says Brownell.

Matt McCall - UMass

Dark Helmet: What the Hell am I lookin’ at? When does this happen in the movie? Sandurz: Now. Whatever you’re looking at now, is happening now. Dark Helmet: Well, what happened to then? Sandurz: We just passed it. Dark Helmet: When? Sandurz: Just now. Dark Helmet: Well, go back to then. Sandurz: We can’t. Dark Jelmet: Why not? Sandurz: We already passed it.  Rebuilding relationships all around and picking up the pieces, this is the scene today in Amherst.

Steve Wojciechowski - Marquette 

The community was calling for his head after a horrible showing the last 11 games a year ago. Then he lost the Houser brothers. Then a revolution started inside out by analyzing every single game . He absorbed a radically different line up; reengaged passion, discipline, and learning by seeking council among coaches on how to do it better and maintaining dialog with the administration.

Shaka Smart – Texas 

Texas has been hampered by NBA defecations and injuries throughout Smart’s tenure. The most dramatic illustration being the process of bringing back leukemia survivor, and arguably their best player, Jones over the course of two years. Smart watched his players lose themselves as a small group. He had to refocus on human development by introducing a larger family and involving himself more with his players to challenge them to get better.

Frank Heath – Tulsa 

The Golden Hurricanes touched down out of nowhere to sweep through the conference this season. O’ How Heath has changed the direction of the winds in Tulsa. Utilizing transfers, he changed assignments to blend experience-creating togetherness. But he has done the same everywhere he’s been.

Tod Kowalczyk – Toledo

The other coach K has been up and down but always finds a way through. He had to flip a fledgling program rattled by major academic and off the court issues. Harnessing the alum, community, and more Coach K has positioned the Rockets as contenders. Even with a losing record in conference, the link with the organization top to bottom remains strong.

Greg Gard - Wisconsin

Gard maintains, “We are a resilient team. I am confident in our staff and players. We are moving forward fully committed to each other and to achieving our collective goals." In a system specific environment, not everyone is going to be happy all the time. From players, to coaches, alum and donors reenergizing the community is a daily chore; nothing helps that like winning the regular season!

Bill Herrion - New Hampshire   

After nine straight sub seasons, Herrion had a run of three twenty plus win years. His rollercoaster ride continues with a shared vision by their AD. That relationship allowed him to become the Wildcats winningest coach and remain in place even with an average record today.

King Rice – Monmouth 

0-12 hurts; plain and simple. It brings with it doubt and questions of confidence, ability, habits and everything. That was until change. Rice made changes to rededicate the defense and bench his top scorer. It worked. Now they have a team and everybody plays together with a reinvigorated hunger.

Gregg Marshall – Wichita State

A familiar story; either you’re too old, or you’re too young. WSU lost everything to the NBA in recent years. Bringing in a new crop, Marshall law had to take hold and be more vocal than he had to the last four years. Learning through reflection on doing and hands-on experiential teaching while reflecting on their development and effecting change as needed.

Ed Cooley – Providence 

Rewarded with an extension to stay, Cooley has led the Friars to the NCAA five times. Flipping the losing culture, Cooley regularly returns rosters full of talent. Still, finding consistency in the backcourt has traditionally led to changing roles and shifting recruiting focuses. Today comes the challenge of re engaging players by moving kids back to relearn their natural positions. He has done it all with ease.  

Kermit Davis – Ole Miss  

Harnessing the extensive network of a twenty plus year veteran, Davis raised funds, energized publicity, continually engaged the AD, broke down and built up his players repeatedly. He simply kept working until the ball started rolling in Murfreesboro. It’s something he has done all his career from Louisiana, Idaho, Tennessee and now back home in Mississippi.    

Patrick Ewing – Georgetown

The Hoyas are bulldogging their way to post-season play. This team is winning; where most of them have known only defeat. From front to back Ewing is challenging confident play. Add to that the dismissal of key players, be that from off the court issues or injuries. Ewing has had to reengage his guys a few times and they are still relevant and resilient.

Tony Bennett – Virginia  

His successes is due in large part to the relationship with his father and following in his footsteps. By reinvigorating staff and players, and shuffling a few pieces, he garnished twenty wins with a team that was not particularly talented in Washington. After that success, all he did was align himself with the like-minded philosophies at Virginia and the rest is basketball championship history.

Pat Chambers – Penn State 

Chambers has revolutionized relationships with a strong inside out game. Despite a lackluster history he engaged his AD and pointed to the locker room and the character of the players. Off the court, Chambers reengaged the state and convinced prospects that Penn State is relevant in basketball as well as football.

Ben Jacobson - Northern Iowa 

Unlocking another level of success, the Panthers are back on top. Jacobson reinvented his defense along the way, while he and his 

staff continue to search for ways to disrupt. The interchangeability of ball handlers continues to help work around the opposing defenses. Up and down at UNI their working relationship is as healthy as his roster allowing for more dynamics.

Brad Underwood – Illinois   

Underwood gave up ownership and included others in the decision making process. He changed his entire philosophy.  Completely re-engaging the system from top to bottom has transitioned their worst into their best season in decades. It’s a calling card to all coaches to embrace change and that it’s ok to be the dumbest person at the table when you are sitting with your staff.

Scott Drew – Baylor 

Injury, injury, injury. It has been a revolving rotation in Waco the past few years from all the injuries. Nonetheless, Drew shuffled a few responsibilities around, called up his bench, added some recruits and maintained success at a high-level. He’s done a great job keeping his guys engaged including last year when he reinvented his defensive man to man coverage that extends to their success today.

Chris Mooney - Richmond

There was a long stretch were the Spiders were reliable winners. But things have changed in Richmond with back-to-back 20-loss seasons

His revision was to discard the matchup zone and moved man to man. Just as important, Money is motivated by his relationship with his players. The evolving connection as they move from freshman to upperclassmen has made all the difference in the world.

Pat Skerry  - Towson

One of the biggest turn around jobs in the history of the game, Skerry orchestrated 18 wins; from the previous 1 and 31 squad; inheriting 15 straight losing seasons and APR issues. That was 2013. In just a short six years on the job, he has opened a new arena, seen success through defense and rebounding and engineered a brilliant mix of transfers in his recruiting classes.

Willie Jones - NC A&T 

On an absolute roll, Jones quickly implemented his plan moving from assistant to the head coach mid-season. On top of this, they have two starting newcomers. The team was left for dead, underachieving and lowering their heads in bewilderment. Adding insult to injury, they lost their HC mid way through the season. At the end of the regular season Jones has earned their respect and a 12-4 conference record. It's a record that illustrates the perceptive coach who is getting it done by committee and leaning on the leadership of the group to smooth the transition.