Donny Daniels - Gonzaga

After winning only 10 games in his first two seasons as head coach at Cal State Fullerton, his 2003 squad doubled their win total, despite a series of serious injuries. The shortage left only 8 players total, for several mid-season games. Still, Fullerton had its best conference record in 10 years and reached double figure wins. The Titans beat every Big West opponent that year, except Utah State.

Greg Graham - Washington State

Graham landed his first head-coaching job at Boise State in 2002. His 8 seasons in Idaho brought a 142–112 record, a berth in the 2004 NIT, 2008 NCAA Tournament and 2009 CBI. The Western Athletic Conference named Graham, Coach of the Year, in 2008.  Graham has now reunited with his close friend and mentor, Ernie Kent, where the two will try to rebuild Washington State.

Reggie Witherspoon - Chattanooga

As a head Coach of University at Buffalo, Witherspoon was a two-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year pick (2004, 2012), while also earning 2004 CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Coach of the Year and NABC District Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2009.  Variations, of his innovative continuity offense, are used by college coaches, across the country.  

Joe Pasternak - Arizona

In 2007 Pasternak started a four-year stint as the head coach at New Orleans. There he amassed a record of 54–60, leading the Privateers to 19 wins in his first season.  His final season at UNO saw Pasternak lead the program to 16 wins, despite a depleted bench, dropping most of his roster to transfer, in the wake of the school’s decision to deemphasize athletics and drop levels.  

Kevin McKenna - Oregon

A highly successful Division II coach, McKenna was hired to rebuild the Indiana State program in 2007.  In his third and final season at the helm in Terre Haute, McKenna guided the Sycamores to a 17-win season and a post-season appearance before resigning for a lucrative assistant coaching position under Dana Altman, at the University of Oregon.  

Darrin Horn - Texas

Horn’s first head coaching job came at WKU where he compiled a record of 111–48 in five seasons at his alma mater. While leading the Hilltoppers to the Sweet 16, he designed a run that included one of the most celebrated buzzer beaters in history. Shortly thereafter, Horn was hired as the new coach at South Carolina, where he compiled a 60-63 record in his four seasons in Columbia. 

Ron Everhart - West Virginia

Known for building programs such as McNeese State and Northeastern, in his first two seasons as king of the Duquesne Dukes he took a three-win team to ten, then from ten to seventeen. In his third season at Duquesne he led the Dukes to the Atlantic 10 championship game and an NIT bid, marking the Dukes' first postseason tournament since 1994.

Stan Heath - Boston College

In 2001 Heath was named head coach at Kent State. His Golden Flashes finished, went 30–6 (third-most by a first-year DI head coach that year) and won both the MAC regular-season and tournament titles; all this in route, to becoming the first MAC team to reach the Elite Eight since 1964. His one season in Kent propelled him to Arkansas where he began to steadily rebuild the Razorback program. He spent 2007-2014 guiding the Bulls of South Florida.  

Tim Buckley - Indiana

Buckley was the head coach at Ball State University from 2000-2006. He is best known for leading the Cardinals to upset wins over #3 Kansas and #4 UCLA during the 2001 Maui Invitational. During his 6 years at Ball St. he compiled a respectable 93-87 overall record. 

17

Jerry Wainwright - Fresno State

Wainwright has 16 years of head coaching under his belt through DePaul, Richmond, and UNC-Wilmington. In his career, he has led his teams to seven postseason tournaments. In eight seasons at UNCW, he compiled 136 wins and captured three regular season and two CAA tournament titles.

Dane Fife - Michigan State

Fife was named head coach of the IPFW in 2005 at the age of 25 and in year one he compiled the most wins the team had earned since jumping to DI. In his fifth season they posted their first ever winning record of the Division I era. His Summit League teams finished no worse than fifth place and in his final year, Fife coached the Mastodons to a program-best 18–12 record.

15

Ralph Willard - Louisville

In 1990 Willard was given his first college head-coaching job at Western Kentucky. Within three years he led Western to a Top 25 national ranking and an appearance in the Sweet 16. In 1994 Willard moved to coach at Pitt. In 1999 he returned to his alma mater Holy Cross where he led them to regular season and tournament titles. He also boasts a wall full of Patriot League coach of the year awards.

Norm Roberts - Kansas

Considered a long shot, Roberts was hired as head coach at St. John's University in 2004. He spent six years working to turn the troubled program around finishing 81-101 overall. But it was his work off the court that gained praise from the basketball community. Roberts is credited for the major cleanup he accomplished before being replaced in the Big Apple.

13

Jeff Meyer - Michigan

Leading Liberty from NAIA (1981) all the way to D1 (1988), Meyer served as head coach, where he remains the Flames winningest coach in school history. He stepped down as head coach, to become Assistant to the President of Liberty in 1997, until that basketball itch needed to be scratched again and he returned to the game as an assistant.

Chris Lowery - Kansas State

In 2007, Lowery was named Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year after leading SIU to a 25–5 record. His Salukis received the highest NCAA Tourney seed for any MVC team since Indiana State’s 1-seed in 1979.  In his 8 seasons as head coach, Lowery won 145 games with 3 20+win seasons.  

11

Tim Jankovich - SMU

Jankovich has won over 100 games as a head coach with stops at North Texas and Illinois State.  He left Illinois State to be next in line at SMU on the heels of a 21-14 campaign and a trip to the NIT.  He has been a vital part in SMU’s resurrection. When legendary Larry Brown hangs up his whistle, Jankovich will be head coach again.

Larry Davis - Cincinnati

Head coach at Furman University from 1997 to 2006, he compiled a 124-139 record. Davis served as interim coach for 25 games of the 2015 season at Cincinnati; the Bearcats went 23-11 overall, finishing tied for third place in the American Athletic Conference. Davis became the first non-head coach to lead a team through multiple games of a regular season and into the NCAA tournament since 1961.

Dennis Felton - Tulsa

After a 6-year apprenticeship under legendary Rick Barnes, Felton ascended to his own program at WKU where his Hilltopper teams won three Sun Belt Conference tournament titles. In 2003, Felton left Kentucky for Georgia. In his first four seasons, they made two NIT appearances while he led Georgia back from severe disadvantages. Felton's Bulldogs completed a deep historic run capturing the 2008 SEC tourney.

Greg Gary - Purdue

At the helm of the Centenary Gents basketball program, Gary's “where there’s a will, there’s a way” method guided them for two seasons of wins over top leauge contenders, Oakland and IUPUI and in-state rivals, ULM and ULL. In year three the school’s administration decided to drop to NCAA Division III, leading to Gary’s resignation, to return to Division I, as an assistant.

7
8
9
10

Brad Soderberg - UVA

Soderberg took over as interim head coach at Wisconsin in 2000-2001 when Dick Bennett retired. With no time to prepare, he lead the Badgers to a 16-10 record but was not given the full-time job. in 2002 he did land the job at St. Louis. He was surprisingly let go after a 20-13 record in 2006-2007. After 6 years taking Division II, Lindenwood University to new heights, he has reunited with the Bennett family, as Tony’s assistant ACC power, Virginia. 

Jeff Capel - Duke

From assistant to head coach of the VCU Rams in 2002, Capel became the youngest head coach in DI basketball at that time (27). He guided the Rams to a record 79 wins. The highest win percentage of any D1 program in the state (.658). Next, Capel took the head job at Oklahoma, and with it, a major rebuilding project. He spent five years there and compiled a 96-69 record, with an Elite 8 run before joining his college coach back at his alma mater. 

Rick Stansbury - Texas A&M

Taking over as the Mississippi State head coach in 1998, Stansbury led his team to post-season tournament play eleven times in fourteen seasons. He brought 5 division championships and 3 conference championships to Starkville. His Bulldog teams were known for their athleticism and fearless play.

Tony Barbee - Kentucky

After leading UTEP to an 82-52 overall record four years, Barbee became Auburn’s first African-American head coach in a major sport. He spent 4 seasons leading the Tigers in the brutal SEC before rejoining his mentor, John Calipari at Kentucky.  

3
4
5
6

Steve Robinson - UNC

As a head coach, Robinson lead his teams to the NCAA tournement three times, once at FSU, twice with Tulsa and was named 1997 WAC Mountain Division Coach of the Year. While at Tulsa he posted an impressive 46-18 record, with back-to-back appearances in the Big Dance.

2
25
24
23
22
21
20
19
18
16
14
12
1

Bobby Lutz - NC State

Lutz was head coach at his alma mater, UNC Charlotte, from 1998 to 2010, where he reached the NCAA Tournament five times with three NIT appearances. In 2005 Lutz was a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year. Lutz was winning big when C-USA was a coaching hotbed with the likes of Huggins, Spoonhour, Pitino and Crean. The current wolf pack associate is still Charlotte’s all-time winningest coach. 

 

Top 25 Assistants Formerly Head Coaches

Voted on by our national panel of media, scouts, and coaches, below are the top 25 Assistants Formerly Head Coashes; DI.