Top Rebuilders

These architects have successfully planed, designed and reviewed the construction of multiple programs. To practice their unique skill among coaches is to provide all services in connection with the design of a program and the surrounding spaces. Demonstrating translatable toughness, resilience, and affinity for community (as well as many other championship characteristics) these coaches have successfully developed multiple programs often lifting them from nothing.

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Jarod Haase - UAB, Stanford

He led the Blazers to a conference championship and postseason play where they upset a three-seed. He compiled 80 wins overall by improving the win total every year. Then Haase returned home. At Stanford, he jumped to 11 conference wins, the most in eight plus years. After a young team stumbled slightly in year three, Haase is back to winning with a rededicated focus and five upperclassman.

Scott Nagy - South Dakota State, Wright State

Nagy led SDSU to 20-wins during eight of his first nine years while at the DII level. In 2004 he led them to DI play where his steadily improved until it popped in 2011 as conference champs and ncaa tourney contenders year in year out thereafter. In 2016 at Wright State, success found him again in the form of three consecutive 20 plus win seasons and a conference championship; something they had not accomplished since 2006. 

Tod Kowalczyk - Green Bay, Toledo 

It wasn't until Kowalczyk’s second year, in the spring of 2003 that plans and projects sprung in the form of post season play and consecutive twenty win seasons. Rocketing on to Toledo, he completely flipped a troubled program into one of the best in the MAC on and off the court with multiple 20 win seasons, and two back to back division champion titles including the previous two years.

Ron Hunter - IUPUI, Georgia State 

At IUPUI his teams advanced from the NAIA to NCAA DI and its first NCAA tourney. Moving on to Georgia State he won 22 games, the fourth most in school history. That was followed by a conference championship. But most importantly, he played a key role in the ongoing transformation of athletics culture and their continuing ascension from being one of the most unsuccessful programs in DI history to being one of the premier Mid-Major programs in the nation.

Bruce Pearl - Milwaukee, Tennessee, Auburn 

Pearl would likely be higher on this list if not for rebuilding teams based (at least in part) on lies, bribes, and deceptions. Nonetheless, after a DII national championship, he landed in Milwaukee where he set the record for winning %. On to Knoxville, he brought 35 consecutive home wins (last seen in 1968) and their first SEC Final in 20 year. Then came the rebuild at Auburn to a level of excellence that past and future teams could enjoy via team chemistry. 

Bob Marlin - Sam Houston State, Louisiana Lafayette  

Marlin has quietly gone about his business letting the game come to him. At Sam Houston State, he earned 225 wins, four Southland Conference regular season titles, two Southland Conference Tourney. titles and their first ever NCAA postseason play. In nine seasons at ULL, he amassed 174 wins, with two SBC regular season titles, an SBC championship and subsequent NCAA Tournament.  

Rodney Terry - Fresno State, UTEP

Climbing the Mountain West, Terry found solid footing with his first 20 win season and postseason. He led FSU to 25 wins, a MW title, and NCAA Tourney. Jumping over to C-USA, he once again found the secret to getting ahead by getting started. He developed never before seen individual records. Emphasizing the classroom, he also delivered seven Miners to academic accolades in route to a complete turnaround. 

Jeff Jones - American, ODU

Jones helped American move from the CAA to the Patriot. He then proceeded to guide them to regular season championships four times. He led AU to its first victory over Maryland in the last 80 years and to its first NCAA Tournament. Then came ODU. Winning 72% of conference games in the first 5 years, Jones topped CUSA while finishing top 10 academically out of all DI. Its clear his resurgence at ODU was top to bottom including community and attendance.

Mick Cronin - Murray State, Cincinnati

In three seasons at Murray, Cronin led them to the NCAA twice. Returning home to Cincinnati, he was charged with cleaning up a shattered program. Scrounging for players, Cronin's teams struggled early. Still he improved the school's win total in each of his first five seasons. Thus rebranding and keeping UC relevant in conference with a chance to return to basketball normalcy.

Tad Boyle - Northern Colorado, Colorado

Transitioning to DI and the Big Sky, he finished 4-24 year one at No. Colorado; last in the national RPI. The next year saw 14 wins and the one after captured their first DI postseason. After moving down the road to Colorado, he is the first Buffs coach to lead seven consecutive postseason appearances and three straight NCAAs. Proving this is his destination job, at home, he is 113-22 (.837).

Andy Enfield - FGCU, USC 

Essentially starting a brand new program at FGCU, he led his team to the conference finals in year one. In year two, the Eagles earned a 15 seed upsetting 2nd seed Georgetown, in route to becoming the first 15 seed in history to reach the Sweet Sixteen. Taking his high flying, jam-packed offense to USC, Enfield got off to a slower start but rebounded nicely with three consecutive 20 win seasons.

Mark Schmidt - Robert Morris, St. Bonaventure  

Taking a 7 win program at RMU, Schmidt turned things around at a pace quicker than anyone thought possible to build a regular contender. Moving on to the Bonnies, arguably the most challenging job in the country, he delivered the most wins in school history, providing a competitive and educational experience. He guided a freshman team to a Championship game thus capping five straight years of double digit A10 wins; another first for the program. 

Ben Howland - N. Arizona, Pittsburg, Mississippi State  

At Pitt, he delivered 89 wins and four consecutive post-season bids (including their first ever conference title) turning in one of the best rebuild jobs in the last forty years. Doing it again, the Bulldogs were coming off three straight losing seasons and in the midst of a six-year NCAA drought. Stabilizing the program, his 20-win seasons, gifting back-to-back postseasons for the first time in a decade. 

Mike Brey - Delaware, ND

Brey guided the little known Blue Hens to 99 wins and two championships. Fighting on to ND, he transformed their program. Brey delivered a 45-game home winning streak that was the second longest in school history. He coached the first team in Big East history to consecutive undefeated seasons at home. Turning the final corner in 2014, his 32 wins were the most by any ND team since 1908.

Keith Dambrot - Akron, Duquesne

Dambrot led Akron to 20 win seasons and the postseason four-straight and five of the last six years. The Zips have won at least 21 games in each of the 12 seasons. While there is plenty more to disclose about Akron, the same success is unfolding at Duquesne. Dambrot’s 35 wins at Duquesne are the most by a DU coach through his first two seasons.

Gregg Marshall - Winthrop, Wichita State 

The new Marshall came to Rock Hill SC and transformed the program into a mid-major power. He became the first coach in the Big South to go undefeated in conference play. Under Marshall law, WSU breached the Top 25 for only the second time since 1983. He led them to their first Final Four since 1965. The winningest coach in school history, Marshall led the first team in DI history to start 35-0.

Kelvin Sampson – WashingtonState, Oklahoma, Houston 

Sampson led WSU to their first postseason play in ten plus years; many more firsts would come before leaving for Oklahoma. In Norman, his Sooners reached 23–9 and 15–0 at home; the second-best overall record by a first-year coach in Big 8 history. Still, his best rebuild job came in Houston. Sampson was instrumental in Houston's push to raise funds for facilities while developing a top 25 culture and sweet sixteen regular team; their first since 1984.

Bob Huggins - Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State  

Huggins reached postseason three of five years at Akron. He arrived 

in Cincy during troubled times to a team that had not danced since 1977. They had but one winning season in conference the last 12 years. Huggins would deliver 399 wins in his 16 years as the winningest coach in a storied history. He landed in Manhattan Kansas and laid a sturdy foundation via recruits and developing all conference performers.

Craig Smith - South Dakota, Utah State 

Lifting SDSU to17 wins with 8 in league play, he won Summit League COY after winning the league's regular season title. By his final year, the Coyotes ended 26–9 as a regular 20 win team. Taking over at Utah State he led the way to a share of the regular season title, while stealing the MW tourney. He followed that up with a quick top 25 ranking to start  2019 clearly raising performance.

Kermit Davis - MTSU, Ole Miss 

Steering Stones River Battlefield 140 years after the Civil War, he surveyed the bone yard collecting the remains from all sides to piece  high school, juco, and transfer players together that would assist in winning records his first four season’s and achieving post season success in 2010. Moving home, his Ole Miss Rebels wasted no time reconstructing. Coming off a last-place finish Davis rallied his troops to national rankings with key victories and 25% attendance increase.

Jim Engles - NJIT, Columbia 

He ended teh NJIT and DI record 51game losing streak. His success culminated in a new $100 million Rec. Center and an invitation to the Atlantic Sun after spending two years without any affiliation. In Columbia, the Lions boasted one of the top offenses in conference. Through Engles’ system, numerous players developed breakout seasons garnered All-Ivy League and All-Met honors as well as school and freshman records.

Tony Bennett - Washington State, Virginia

Twice he reached 26 wins at WSU to tie their 66-year record set in 1941. He returned to WSU to finish recruiting and deliver an improved offensive. Moving on to Virginia, his teams increased their win total in every successive season. After inheriting the worst record in program history, Bennett built "a program that lasts”. From fan base, defense, tempo and atmosphere, he succeeded. 

Chris Jans - Bowling Green, New Mexico State

The first time HC coordinated one of the nation’s best turnarounds when he achieved the most wins they had seen at BG, a single-season record in total wins, and most wins in MAC play. His Falcons captured 11 road wins for the first time since 1947. Since his arrival at NMSU, they have beaten their first top10 team and downed a pair of Power 5 teams. He guided the Aggies to a program-best 30 wins and allot more.

Buzz Williams - Marquette, Virginia Tech

Williams led the Golden Eagles to the Sweet 16 three consecutive years. Then he led one of the country’s toughest rebuilding projects in VA Tech. A young nucleus was established. From there, expectation

improvement, and community involvement grew. The 2018 team entered the top 10 for the first time since 1996 and their first Sweet 16 since 1967. 

Chris Beard – UALR, Texas Tech 

Stepping into a downward situation equal part wins/losses, and no postseason in five years, Beard led UALR to 30 wins. After completing the largest turnaround in the game, he turned around to Texas Tech. Where before there was none, he quickly developed a strong shift in program, community and all. He coached the Red Riders to their first-ever Elite Eight, Final Four, a birth to the Championship game and to program history.