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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

There Are So Many Good NCAA Men's Hoops Coaches. . .

And I ask this question with reverence and not razzing -- who are among the best coaches who haven't won an NCAA title but who you'd like to see get one/are worthy of one/are the next best coaches not to have won? I'm going to name 10 -- I'm out of the country and don't have time to link to their bios, but I'd like your input as to who you think some of these guys are. Here are 10 (in no particular order):

1. UCLA's Ben Howland. He's been there three times in a row, and he's no bridesmaid (or Guy Lewis, for that matter, although Lewis had to be a pretty darned good coach to get his Houston Cougars to several Final Fours).

2. Memphis's John Calipari. He's been to the Final Four twice, and in any other year his Memphis team would have won it all.

3. Gonzaga's Mark Few. How many people can perenially field a Top 25 team in the midst of a mountain range? Not many. Might be hard to win it all at Gonzaga, but Few is an outstanding coach who could well win in the right venue.

4. Vanderbilt's Kevin Stallings. He competes in a league where his school's recruiting standards are substantially higher than those of his competition and yet his team excels (as the guy who coached at my high school said, "there's an advantage to coaching smart kids"). He's a very good coach, but he might not get the chance at a Final Four at Vandy.

5. Georgetown's John Thompson III. It's only a matter of time before JTIII gets a national title. He can recruit, he can coach, and he is at a great school.

6. Temple's Fran Dunphy. He was a wizard at Pennsylvania, and he's turned Temple around in two years. He's an excellent coach and a better guy. Though some (including Coach K) think he could win a title at Temple (and it's within reason), it might not be as easy as it sounds. Still, there aren't many more worthy than Fran Dunphy.

7. Texas's Rick Barnes. His teams are up there every year, so he must be doing something right.

8. Stanford's Trent Johnson. He's won at Nevada and down at The Farm, and he's another solid combination of a recruiter and a coach. Look for an outstanding rivalry to re-form between his Cardinal and his one-time boss Mike Montgomery's Cal Bears.

9. Michigan's John Bellein. Great job at Richmond, great job at West Virginia. Would be fun to see him in a Final Four.

10. Sean Miller, Xavier. Former uber-dribbling PG has things going well at a relatively small private school in Cincinnati. Makes it look easy. It isn't.

Others worthy of mention, consideration: Davidson's Bob McKillop, St. Joe's Phil Martelli, Oregon's Ernie Kent, Arizona State's Herb Sendek, Indiana's Tom Crean, Miami's Frank Haith, Drake's Keno Davis and, I am sure, many others.

Who did I miss? Please let me know.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thad Matta - THE Ohio State University - Formally at Butler and Xavier

9:32 AM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

That's a good one. I also forgot Matt Painter at Purdue, I believe, and Jamie Dixon at Pitt.

11:58 AM  

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