Jamahl DePriest - Newman University (DII)
Forming one of the stingiest defenses in all of NAIA, DePriest spent most of '14-'15 ranked number one in conference Defensive FG%. He also finished last season seventh in the nation in 3-point defense and 10th in defensive rebounds. Now in year one at Newman we see no reason that next year he wont have them back on track.
Brian Benator - West Florida (DII)
Working primarily with the perimeter players he mentored All-Conference Peach Belt Isaiah Johnson who took home the 2015 Peach Belt Defensive Player of the Year award. His formula is simple: out rebound opponents, force more turnovers than you give up, more steals, more blocks, and you win twenty plus games by February.
Brian Newhall - Occidental (DIII)
Focusing on FG defense its not uncommon for an opponent to shoot less than thirty percent. It’s the kind of effort that produced the only perfect 14-0 record in SCIAC history. It also doesn’t hurt to be working along side Mike Anderson who brings a year or two of studying defense under both Bennetts; Dick and Tony at Washington state.
Jeff Brown - Middlebury (DIII)
Defense is how his team earns success. Everyone buys in as the seniors teach the freshman. His defense travels well and in turn it forces championships and top national rankings the likes of field goal percentage and blocks, and scoring defense.
Dave Niland - Penn St.-Behrend (DIII)
Defensive prowess is the staple of every season; twice leading all of DIII in scoring defense, while limiting the opposition to a low scoring 50ish points per game.
Joe Reilly - Wesleyan CT (DIII)
Reilly rally’s his guys to the defensive banner. One of the most complete defensive teams in all of college basketball they excel as top ten performers in virtually every category including, scoring defense, rebounding, blocked shots, and field goal percentage.
Steve Donahue - Penn (DI)
Winning as a team, and doing things the right way are his underlying philosophies. Such qualities come through most apparently on the defensive side of the ball. It’s there that Donahue creates Defensive Players of the Year primarily through defensive rebounding and setting single-seasons record for blocked shots.
Billy Wright - Western Illinois (DI)
Wright has a long history with defense dating back to the ’96 season as a Missouri Valley Conference All-Defense performer for Bradley. He has imparted his experience flawlessly on his current team who currently ranks top ten nationally in defensive rebounding. Most impressively they do it cleanly also ranking top ten in fewest fouls.
Brian Wardle – Bradley (DI)
Committed to long-term success reinventing the Braves; Wardle rebuilt on two defensive strategies…rebounds and blocks. But his greatest defensive success story to date came prior in the shape of Alec Brown; the 50th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft was named the 2014 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year.
Matt Sligh – Missouri St (DI)
Before jumping to DI level, in his last year at Motlow, they ranked top ten in junior college blocks and defensive rebounds. Now at the DI level his high energy defensive strategy catapults the Bears to top ten in scoring defense and FG percentage defense nationally.
Mike McKee - Regis University (DII)
With McKee on staff all his teams enjoy a sharp spike in defense. Most notably at Purdue University Calumet who, upon his arrival, went from a scoring defense giving up 82 ppg to 67 ppg. Currently hanging his hat on assist/turnover ratio and scoring defense, he was previously most successful in the DI space at Air Force were he led the nation in scoring defense his last three years on staff (’03-’05).
Zane Gibson - Arkansas Fort-Smith (DII)
Receiving top rankings in scoring defenses, rebounding, and field goal defense the Kermit Davis student learned allot about defense from his former teacher. His impact on the defensive side of the ball as a first year assistant has been dramatic improving all rankings: scoring defenses from 67 to 64 , rebounding 24 to 18, and field goal defense from 29 to 10.
Jake Thelen - Bellarmine (DII)
Thelen has succeeded in coaching by drawing on his own playing experience for Bellarmine. As a member of the league’s All-Defensive Team, among other great accomplishments, coaching and playing for Davenport has given him the advantage of knowing team defensive and how to apply length.
Dan Majerle - Grand Canyon (DI)
It’s no surprise an NBA All-Defensive second team guy would mold his team to a top fifteen national ranking in both field goal percentage defense and scoring defense. Game-in game-out their dominating denying defense is playing as big as their schools name sake.
Pete Schoch - Pfeiffer (DIII)
Thanks to Schoch, Pfeiffer led NCAA DI and DII in total steals (391) and forced turnovers (725) last season. The Falcons defense consistently ranks nationally in opponent field-goal percentage, blocked shots per game, total blocked shots and defensive rebounds per game, and in opponents three point field goal percentage.
John Krikorian - Christopher Newport (DIII)
Krikorian transforms his teams through defense. From worst to first he has improved one of the lowest-rated scoring defenses in the nation to the fourth scoring defense in the country (Merchant Marine Academy). Still, the difference is sustainability as his teams consistently show steady improvement from non-con, to conference, to post season play.
Porter Moser - Loyola Chicago (DI)
Unique on this list, Moser specializes in trading zero for three with a top ten scoring defense leading to a top ten ranking in both three and two point FG percentages. This is Moser’s second time elevating a program on the foundation of defense. He took over a UALR program, ranked in the bottom of defense to start but finished at the top. (’00-’03).
Chris Acker - Boise St. (DI)
At Hawaii they finished in the top three in every conference defensive category. At West LA, his teams finished top in the state in scoring defense. At Boise St. along side coach Mike Burns he learns more about three pt. fg defense and continues to lead the Mountian West in most defensive categories to date.
Sundance Wicks - Northern State (DII)
Coach Wicks emphasizes league leading defense throughout his career. Currently with the Wolves, he hunts his marks in field goal percentage defense and rebounding margin.
Pat Cunningham - Trinity (TX) (DIII)
Cunningham consistently coaches kids to guard well without giving up space. Well enough in fact to lead the DIII nation in top fg% and scoring defense while producing multiple SCAC Defensive Players of the Year.
Greg Kamansky - Cal Poly Pomona (DII)
Simply said, his teams defend and rebound; characteristics of well-disciplined teams. Since ‘09 his stellar scoring defense has remained in the top three nationally.
Chris Jans - NMSU (DI)
Known mostly for strategy, game planning, and how to run a program, Jans also knows defense. In fact he spent a few years learning from another on this list in Porter Moser at Illinois State. It may very well have been there where he learned how to lock down a top five scoring defense that both defends and rebounds propelling them to many second half wins both at home and on the road.
Jake Morton - Jacksonville St. (DI)
A DI assistant veteran, Morton has served Coppin State, Western Kentucky, James Madison and Miami. And it’s defense that keeps him in the game. Wherever he goes his teams force turnovers. As a player, the team ‘Hustler’ award winner was also named defensive player of the year three separate times.
Josh Schertz - Lincoln Memorial (DII)
Schertz continually confuses opponents with dominating defense almost to the point that the offense need not show. When placing no lower than twenty-fifth nationally in any defensive effort, most coaches would be content. However, Schertz's dedication to excellence in every area demands more.
Russ Turner - UCI (DI)
Despite constantly appearing in the top twenty-five of most defensive rankings…Turner is still underrated. Preaching a tough, physical, in your face, man defense he coaches this years very young team to national rankings landing top 15 in defense rebounds and top 25 field goal percentage defense. With length around the rim and more quickness on the perimeter its exciting to watch Turners defense in action.
Their careers Go from defensive Stops. These are the top masterminds you may not know behind todays best defenses.
Defensive Rebounds, Fewest Fouls, FG % Defense, Forced Turnovers, Scoring Defense, Total Blocks, Total Steals, and 3pt FG Defense stats were given particular consideration for this category.
This ranking includes both head and assistant coaches from NCAA DI DII and DIII