Recognizing and congratulating the coaches who continue working hard to make significant change in our industry, these leaders and innovators strive for excellence on a sustained daily basis. The trailblazers listed set the process and metrics that we studied for this category including knowledge of the game, authority, community, business acumen, graduation rates, ability to connect with the youth culture, wins, and all the broad array issues HC deal with day in day out.
Jim Boone - Arkansas Fort Smith
Wherever he goes, he wins on the back a commitment to excellence on both sides of the ball; teaching advanced techniques for pack-line D and a constant attacking motion offense. Boone with 558 career wins, ranks14th among active NCAA DII coaches in wins and among NCAA DII’s Top 40 All-Time Winningest Coaches.
Danny Kasper - Texas State
Quietly but steadily, Kasper built a championship team in San Marcos on his strong defensive foundation. Just like he did at Stephen F Austin and Incarnate Word. With only six loosing season out of his almost thirty years as a head coach leading to over 550 wins, Kasper may not only be the most underrated coach on this list but in all of college basketball.
Jim Larranaga - Miami
Also underrated nationally; we all know the job he did as an assistant with Ralph Sampson in Virginia which led to the solid work at Bowling Green and subsequent success at George Mason. There he became the winningest coach in the history of both the school and the CAA. Additionally, he is one of a very few to walk the talk being appointed as an associate professor in the GMU School of Management.
Gene Bess - Three Rivers CC
Bess enters his 50th season as AD and HC for TRCC with a record of 1,281-404. At 76% his winning percentage carries an average of 26 wins a year. He led the Raiders to 17 NJCAA tournaments, going 41-19, they reached the final four 9 times while winning two national championships.
Keith Dambrot - Duquesne
The winningest coach in Akron history, Dambrot left Akron after thirteen seasons leaving behind 300+ wins. Moving to his fathers alma mater, where the widely regarded community oriented coach is showing signs of life sooner than imagined. Steadily improving the Dukes to 19 overall wins in his first two years, the sixty year old is proving that he still has what it takes to go the distance.
Steve Schmidt - Mott CC
Winning three national championships, appearing in six Final Fours and finishing second in the country twice, his teams at Mott haven’t lost more than nine games in a season during the last decade. In fact, over the past 10 years they enjoyed more success than any other Juco program in the country. And maybe the same for all levels. He sent more than 70 players to the DI or II levels and 700 plus total wins later, it's clear that Schmidt found his calling.
Fran McCaffery - Iowa
The youngest HC in DI in 1985, White Magic has taken four DI programs to postseasons. His tenure at Siena is the greatest in his (and their program) history. There he revived a program that had a record of 6–24 prior to his arrival to an overall record of 68-22 during his five years with three ncaa’s and a 100% graduation rate.
Bruce Weber - Kansas State
Proving you can do things the right way and be successful, Weber has never been tied to any NCAA violations while leading the Wildcats. His high standards apply to himself and his staff first. He’s never had a winning percentage lower than .650 and continues to climb closer and closer to the 500 win club.
Dr. Dave Holmquist - Biola
Right there among the top ten in all time wins for any college basketball coach of any gender or level, Holmquist, a 2002 inductee into the NAIA Hall of Fame, is one of fewer than 50 coaches to have ever coached 1,000 games. Through 42 years of coaching he's led his teams in over 1,300 games while inching closer to the 1,000 win club.
Ben Howland - Mississippi State
Leading four teams to the NCAA tournament, Howland found a ton of success between Northern Arizona, Pittsburgh, UCLA & Mississippi State. Time and time again he has proved his value by doing it differently. Regardless of level or location he finds ways to overcome challenges unique challenges.
Rocky Lamar - Mid America Nazarene
Coach Lamar has been at the helm of the Pioneers since 1986; simply incredible. Excelling in skill development with an emphases on teaching, the HOF coach has seen it all; winning every milestone multiple times over. Still his top achievement is s about coaching and developing young men of significance.
Joe Michalich - Hofstra
Mihalich has won a total of 380 games during his highly successful coaching career with almost a quarter of them (115) coming at Hofstra since 2013. Never averaging fewer than 17 wins a year, his success is based on his fathers teachings as the Mihalich name has become synonymous with sports philosophy.
Kelvin Sampson - Houston
Sampson can proudly boast that as a young child he learned allot about leadership and teamwork from his father (also a coach) who was part of a team that drove the KKK from NC at the battle of Hayes Pond. Not without controversy in his own basketball career off the court, Sampson served his time only to return, and for a second time, prove his ability as a coach. Raising funds building from the ground up, he led Houston to the NIT, top 25 rankings and the sweet 16.
Lon Kruger - Oklahoma
Great for the college game. He did an amazing job at Florida, Kansas State, UNLV and Oklahoma, but time has proven his worth most dramatically in two ways. First, Kruger makes up fifty percent of all coaches in the history of DI hoops to take five or more teams to the NCAA’s. And second, he is the only Big Ten coach to successfully sign three consecutive Illinois Mr. Basketball winners period. Let alone doing it while at Illinois.
Kermit Davis - Ole Miss
New to the 60 club as of December, Kermit has not lost the youthful energy (or intensity) of the 28 year old HC he once was. The job he did at Middle Tennessee State best demonstrates his overall talent. Shuffling pieces almost daily leading to winning records in his first four seasons. He continued to grind it out and make the necessary adjustment until finally finding post season success in year eight.
John Calaipari - Kentucky
Riding the wave of his dribble drive motion offense, he also rides the irony of embracing the one and done philosophy is that has added to his legacy. Coach Cal is the only one not done. Argue if you will that his platoon system is one of luxury not talent, the fact remains that you still have to coach the egos and manage kids and situations. And Calaipari does just that exceptionally well.
Bob Huggins - West Virginia
859 over 66 is a career wins mark most only dream of. Add 24 total NCAA tournaments, including 23 in the last 26 seasons, nine Sweet 16’s, four Elite Eight’s, and two Final Four’s appearances Huggins legacy is secure. But more importantly is the deep bonds Huggy Bear cultivated with so many players and coaches over the years that will continue well through retirement, if and when that ever comes.
Mike Brey - Notre Dame
Son of an Olympic swimmer, Brey made long sweeping strides of his own in the game of hoops. Cutting his teeth working for coach K, he would land his own HC job at Delaware. Allowing players to play, he racked up a 99–51 record over five years with two America East Champs. He took the job at ND and just kept winning 412 times and counting.
Leonard Hamilton - Florida State
Average record. Above average results. His career mark of .565 win percentage wont jump out at you. But his fifteen post season tournament play since 2000 does. Standing even larger is the job he has done leading FSU from a 10 time post season team in 60 some years, to the national power they are today. Impacting, community culture and academics with basketball Hamilton has the vitality (and looks) of a much younger man who wont be stopping anytime soon.
Rick Barnes - Tennessee
A players coach and a coaches coach, Barnes did the right thing by keeping his staff together even though it cost him his job. His ability to unify the masses as seen both on the court elevating the Vols and off the court during recent job rumors is unparalleled. One of basketballs most brilliant minds, he is good enough to take Tennessee all the way to his first national championship and theirs.
Jim Boeheim - Syracuse
Simply stability. Perhaps the only coach on this list who has withstood the test of time his way. Boheim has suck with his patented 2-3 zone through the ages and forced others to adapt to his way.
Roy Williams - North Carolina
One could argue that Williams has only gotten better with time; leading the NCAA in tourney wins since 2000. He holds the second highest overall winning percentage. Williams has also been able to manage the one and done era better than any of his colleagues who grew up coaching in a radically different time. And he has done so without the top 10 prospects.
Mike Krzyzewski - Duke
The times have changed dramatically since Coach K was announced as the new HC in Durham. And we all know, he changed them. Thirty four percent of all conversations regarding the best coach of our era begin with Coach K. More of a belief system than anything else, he has mastered the social psycology of the game through his collective responsibility.
Bob McKilop - Davidson
His 230 Southern win total continues to climb having already surpassed any coach in league history. He won 13 division titles, 7 championships, and 7 NCAA tourneys with 4 NITs and a 97% grad.
rate. In 2008 he proved that he still has a golden eye by spotting a talented lowly ranked shooting guard by the name of Steph Curry who never got a second look from the power conference teams.
Tom Izzo - Michigan State
We can only wonder what might have been in Tulsa and Izzo had he not been called back to MSU after only two short months. Nonetheless, as history would have it, his promotion to Spartan commander would be solidified when he began an age of expansion in 1997. He would earn eight Final Four appearances between 1999 and today. He was on the march and there would be no going back. His spartans value knowledge and education while emphasizing brutal, mindless discipline and merciless physical fitness.