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Looking at 11 of the major coaching jobs over the last 4 years

This weekend I engaged in a bit of an argument with a Florida basketball fan. The first thing that struck me about this argument was that I had unearthed a Florida basketball fan. It was as if I had found a rare unicorn. I almost wanted to be nice to him, just for fear of extinction. You wouldn’t shoot a bald eagle, would you? Still, he was a Florida fan, and he wanted to argue. So I trudged forward, for reasons I cannot explain. Arguing with a Florida basketball fan is a lot like swimming in a pool with no ladder. You go round and round for hours, and mostly you are just looking for a way out.

The mostly-friendly banter revolved around the question: who is the best coach in the SEC? He, of course, was in Billy Donovan’s corner. I, of course, was in John Calipari’s corner. The conversation eventually moved toward who was currently the best coach? Since the SEC is essentially a two-horse race between Calipari and Donovan, I decided to take a look at the usual suspects in men’s college basketball to see who has had the best 4-year run. Overall wins, conference championships, NCAA tournament success, and recruiting were all factored in to the equation.

 

John Calipari (Kentucky)

– Overall record in the last 4 years: 123-26 (82.5% wins)

– Conference championships: 2 SEC Regular Season Championships, 2 SEC Tournament Championships

– NCAA Tournament appearances: 3

– Sweet Sixteens: 3

– Elite Eights: 3

– Final Fours: 2

-National Championships: 1

– Top 25 Recruiting classes: #1 (2009), #1 (2010), #1 (2011), #1 (2012), #1 (2013)

 

Rick Pitino (Louisville)

– Overall record in the last 4 years: 110-38 (74.3% wins)

– Conference championships: 1 Big East Regular Season Championship, 2 Big East Tournament Championships

– NCAA tournament appearances: 4

– Sweet Sixteens: 2

– Elite Eights: 2

– Final Fours: 2

– National Championships: 1

– Top 25 Recruiting classes: #16 (2009), #9 (2011), #7 (2013)

 

Billy Donovan (Florida)

– Overall record in the last 4 years:  105-40  (72.4% wins)

– Conference championships:  2 SEC Regular Season Championships

– NCAA tournament appearances:  4

– Sweet Sixteens: 3

– Elite Eights:  3

– Final Fours: 0

– National Championships: 0

– Top 25 Recruiting classes: #15 (2009), #19 (2010), #25 (2011), #25 (2012), #8 (2013)

 

Roy Williams (North Carolina)

– Overall record in the last 4 years:  106-42  (71.6% wins)

– Conference championships: 2 ACC Regular Season Championships

– NCAA tournament appearances: 3

– Sweet Sixteens: 2

– Elite Eights: 2

– Final Fours: 0

– National Championships: 0

– Top 25 Recruiting classes: #5 (2009), #4 (2010). #6 (2011), #9 (2012), #13 (2013)

 

Bill Self (Kansas)

– Overall record in the last 4 years:  131-19  (87.3% wins)

– Conference championships: 4 Big 12 Regular Season Championships, 3 Big 12 Tournament Championships

– NCAA tournament appearances: 4

– Sweet Sixteens: 3

– Elite Eights: 2

– Final Fours: 1

– National Championships: 0

– Top 25 Recruiting classes: #6 (2009), #23 (2010), #10 (2012), #2 (2013)

 

Mike Krzyzewski (Duke)

– Overall record in the last 4 years:  124-23  (84.4% wins)

– Conference championships: 2 ACC Tournament Championships, 1 ACC Regular Season Championship

– NCAA tournament appearances: 4

– Sweet Sixteens: 3

– Elite Eights: 2

– Final Fours: 1

– National Championships: 1

– Top 25 Recruiting classes: #8 (2009), #10 (2010), #2 (2011), #5 (2013)

 

Brad Stevens (Butler)

– Overall record in the last 4 years:  110-39  (73.8% wins)

– Conference championships: 2 Horizon League Tournament Championships, 2 Horizon League Regular Season Championships

– NCAA tournament appearances: 3

– Sweet Sixteens: 2

– Elite Eights: 2

– Final Fours: 2

– National Championships: 0

– Top 25 Recruiting classes:

 

Tom Izzo (Michigan State)

– Overall record in the last 4 years:  103-41  (71.5% wins)

– Conference championships: 1 Big 10 Tournament Championship, 2 Big 10 Regular Season Championships

– NCAA tournament appearances: 4

– Sweet Sixteens: 3

– Elite Eights: 1

– Final Fours: 1

– National Championships: 0

– Top 25 Recruiting classes: #11 (2010), #21 (2011), #13 (2012)

 

Thad Matta (Ohio State)

– Overall record in the last 4 years:  123-27  (82% wins)

– Conference championships: 3 Big 10 Tournament Championships, 3 Big 10 Regular Season Championships

– NCAA tournament appearances: 4

– Sweet Sixteens: 4

– Elite Eights: 2

– Final Fours: 1

– National Championships: 0

– Top 25 Recruiting classes: #3 (2010), #10 (2011)

 

Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)

– Overall record in the last 4 years:  121-26  (82.3% wins)

– Conference championships: 2 Big East Regular Season Championships

– NCAA tournament appearances: 4

– Sweet Sixteens: 3

– Elite Eights: 2

– Final Fours: 1

– National Championships: 0

– Top 25 Recruiting classes: #7 (2010), #16 (2011), #18 (2012), #11 (2013)

 

Tom Crean (Indiana)

– Overall record in the last 4 years:  78-57  (57.8% wins)

– Conference championships: 1 Big 10 Regular Season Championship

– NCAA tournament appearances: 2

– Sweet Sixteens: 2

– Elite Eights: 0

– Final Fours: 0

– National Championships: 0

– Top 25 Recruiting classes: #11 (2009), #5 (2012), #6 (2013)

 

The best overall winning percentage: 

1.  Bill Self  2. Mike Krzyzewski  3. John Calipari

Most Conference Tournament Titles/Regular Season Titles:

1. Bill Self (7)   2. Thad Matta (6)  3. John Calipari (4) and Brad Stevens (4)

NCAA Tournament Success (1 pt. for appearances, 2 pts. for Sweet 16s, 3 pts. for Elite 8s, 4 pts. for Final 4s, 5 pts. for National Championships):

1. John Calipari (31 pts)

2. Rick Pitino (27 pts)

3. Mike Krzyzewski (25 pts)

4. Thad Matta (22 pts)

5. Brad Stevens (21 pts)

6. Bill Self and Jim Boeheim (20 pts)

7. Billy Donovan (19 pts)

8. Tom Izzo (17 pts)

9. Roy Williams (13 pts)

10. Tom Crean (6 pts)

Best Average Rated Recruiting Class (if a class was not in the top 25, it gets “26 points):

1. John Calipari (1)

2. Roy Williams (7.4)

3. Mike Krzyzewski (10.2)

4. Bill Self (13.4)

5. Tom Crean (14.8)

6. Jim Boeheim (15.6)

7. Rick Pitino (16.8)

8. Thad Matta (18.2)

9. Billy Donovan (18.4)

10. Tom Izzo (19.4)

11. Brad Stevens (No Top 25 Classes)

 

Depending on which criteria is the most important to you, the best coach in the span of the last 4 years could change from person to person. Bill Self is clearly the best regular season coach, both by wins and conference tournament/regular season success. John Calipari and Rick Pitino are the most successful in the NCAA tournament, while Coach K is probably the best of both worlds. John Calipari crushes the recruiting aspect, but he also has to refuel with great classes each year.

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

48 Comments for Looking at 11 of the major coaching jobs over the last 4 years



  1. feesh
    2:37 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    It amazes me how much time you waste gathering data to prove to yourselves how great Calipari is. Why the ever present need to justify what you already believe?



  2. luvmesumcats
    2:47 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    If IU, Syracuse, and Butler are worthy of this list, why not UL? I can’t stand ’em, but for comparison and logic’s sake, why omit them?



  3. Rockfield, KY
    2:49 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Nice work Ally



  4. DH
    2:50 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    2) Louisville is the second team on the list. Did I miss something?



  5. bill
    2:52 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Use a 4 yr sample is kinda bias…it’s kinda like how uofl fans include the 80s in stats even tho there wasn’t a 3 point line where it wasn’t the modern era



  6. Laker Cat 18
    2:52 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    1. Posts like this clearly upset the haters. Your comment was a waste of time.



  7. NotCoachCal
    2:54 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Nice work. Interesting to see that Tom Izzo actually is near the bottom of this list in Tournament Success when he gets so much love every march for being “one of the best”



  8. Today Junior
    2:55 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    You have to love how close the coaching competition is in today’s game! We have 4 greats going at it in recruiting and on the court every year in Cal, Coach K, Self and Pitino. Add Ole Roy when hes on, and daggumit you got a hell of a handful of coaches. Izzo is great at in game coaching and getting guys to “buy-in”, but he just hasn’t really stuck out to me as much as he used to. And don’t forget about young Bradley at Butler! What he is doing is pretty damn good considering the school and conference hes been at!



  9. UKCatsRedsColts
    2:55 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    #2 UofL is on the list…….DUH!!!!!!
    Most people don’t want to compare schools & coaches over the four year period in which Coach Cal has been at UK.
    Fans will want to argue about all the years before Cal at UK.



  10. Mc
    2:56 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    The Big 10 has 1 championship since 1990. I guess Izzo is the cream of the crop there. Their fans love to hear that.



  11. NineWillBeFine
    2:56 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    The Big 12 has 0 great basketball programs besides Kansas. So while the 9 straight regular season Big 12 titles for Kansas are impressive, that is something to bear in mind. Self has a history of stumbling in the Sweet 16 or earlier with highly seeded teams at Kansas. I’ll take Calipari over Self and trade a few more losses in the regular season for his greater tournament success.



  12. NineWillBeFine
    2:57 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    As much as people like to mock SEC basketball, at least UK has Florida to compete with us on a yearly basis. Kansas has…uh, Kansas State…?



  13. JiffyLubeGuy
    2:57 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Checking your battery connection to make sure you battery is being properly maintained takes about 20 minutes to do and will cost around $5 (the price of a wire brush). Use that extra money for concessions at Commonwealth this fall!



  14. Michael F. Jox
    2:57 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Looks like you did a bunch of research, so good job, but don’t you think you should lose points for not even making the tournament? We all know how embarrassing and horrible that is.



  15. Mc
    3:01 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    You said “usual suspects” and put IU on the list. That’s funny. Butler has been a better team this century, and is the best team in Indiana.



  16. SeaCat
    3:03 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Nice work Ally.
    I was surprised, I thought Cal would be
    more dominate.



  17. Oop
    3:07 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    You goofed. UNC won the NC in 2009.

    Ultimately it doesn’t put Roy at the top, but still.



  18. Bluebloodtoo
    3:07 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    That’s a great look at coaching jobs. I wonder how that would turn out if you weighted good recruiting classes negatively against performance? Does that make Donovan look better? What about schools like Butler?

    Here is another interesting comparison I’d like to see if you guys get bored with the low flow of news.

    In conference success vs NCAA tourney success. The reason this article made me think of this is how does Bill Self have the highest regular season win percentage but have such crappy NCAA tourney performances? Also, the same argument we have every year about which conference is the best…etc.

    This is a great time to spend a little energy to put some data together on this.



  19. PhilUK18
    3:09 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Izzo seems to have kind of lost his touch in March lately, seeing these stats. I think actually the one and done rule has hurt their program, since he lags behind most of the other coaches on this list in terms of getting one and dones. I still think he’s a great coach, but the lack of top notch talent there really hurts them IMO



  20. Gi11y
    3:23 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Also, UK did not have the #1 recruiting class in 2012, UCLA did.



  21. NIT Robert Morris
    3:34 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    You conveniently forgot to mention NIT first round loss to Robert Morris and Cal’s excuse that his Vespa helmet was too tight

    Were you an intern for People’s Daily in North Korea?



  22. NineWillBeFine
    3:44 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    21- No, she didn’t forget to mention the NIT loss to Robert Morris. Bc, you see under Cal’s stats it says “NCAA Appearances: 3”, with the obvious exception being the 2012-13 season. You’re a moron.



  23. Robert Morris
    3:50 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    No points deducted for losing to me in the mighty NIT?



  24. O T I S
    3:50 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Look at Pitino with all these low ranking recruiting classes
    WOW that is Hall of Fame
    Cal needs a # 1 class every year or else he is headed for a first round NIT loss



  25. NineWillBeFine
    3:53 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    24-

    Really? I challenge you to name one player from Cal’s UMass teams besides Marcus Camby without using Google. Those teams seemed to do pretty well



  26. O T I S
    3:58 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Cal’s UMass achievements has been vacated by the NCAA



  27. Mc
    3:59 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Also, to all you idiots that make fun of UK and Cal for having 1 down year, all of these coaches have been the head coach of a team that either didn’t make any tournment, that made the NIT, or that made the CBI in Brad Stevens’ case. Pitino has coached in the NIT twice since joining UL. Crean finally eclipsed .500. Roy made the NIT after a championship season. Izzo, and K have coached in the NIT with their current teams. Same for Boeheim. Self has had a good run at Kansas, but has had several collapses in the tournament. So when you make the Robert Morris comment, end the comment with who you root for.



  28. Kendog
    3:59 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Let me preface this by saying, I’m as big a UK fan as anyone and I’m glad Cal came to rescue UK, BUT, there are a lot of better game coaches than Cal. He’s challenged between the lines in my opinion. Great motivator, recruiter, organizer, etc.; but, we should have possibly at least one more Championship during his tenure already. The WVU game will always be on him. There was no bigger beast in the college game at the time than the CUZ, yet, Cal let’s the team shoot 30+ threes. Cal needs top talent…and he gets it…so, good for him.



  29. NineWillBeFine
    4:00 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Wrong again. Only one postseason got vacated. They still had a successful regular season that year, which the NCAA recognizes if those are your ridiculous standards. They also had several other very good tournaments for UMass’s low standards with Cal.



  30. NineWillBeFine
    4:00 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Post 29 was directed at you Otis, by the way



  31. slimflannery
    4:02 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    17. Let’s see, the last 4 champs were UL, KY, UConn, and Duke…so UNC won it 5 seasons ago. Hence, not included, not a goof…but still. 🙂



  32. Mc
    4:04 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    I agree with you #28 on the WVU game. Huggins pulled the bigs away from the baskets, spread the court, and created lanes to the hoop and Cal never made the adjustment. Also, Calipari doesn’t scheme well against the zone. However, he is a good coach, just not great. I’d still take him as a coach over many of the guys on this list.



  33. NineWillBeFine
    4:06 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    28- I must disagree. I remember that game well, as I’m sure you do. They should have taken fewer 3’s, but for most of the game the three ball was wide open. I think most coaches would encourage them to take the open shots and just assume that some will go in. I agree they could have dumped it in to Cousins and Patterson more often, but it’s hardly Cal’s fault that his guys had a historically bad shooting night.



  34. Alamo_CatFan
    4:23 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Did fans of those other coaches get to root for John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, MKG, or Anthony Davis? I think you are discounting the “fun to watch” stat. UK BB has been just plain fun to watch (with the exception of most of last season).



  35. What
    4:48 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    @#20- UCLA had the top class on ESPN. UK had the top class in Rival, Scout, and CBS.



  36. nookinpanub
    4:49 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    wow ally, that had to take some research. i almost thought it was BTI for a minute, but as everyone knows-he sucks. Nice work, kid.



  37. FineToothComb
    5:05 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    looking at these numbers and Big east and sec competition I think that Rick has the better four years, I’m basing it on Cals recruiting which has been much better than Ricks. But Rick still matches Cal’s results, and has a dozen less wins playing better overall conference teams. Cards also have two regular season titles not one in that span.



  38. Jarvis Redwine
    5:22 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    37) Shouldn’t “heat-to-head” match-ups during that span figure into the equation?



  39. bluemanchew
    6:03 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    if noticed on twitter lots of louieville fans talking about something called a cardnation i have couple problems with this
    1.a nation takes alot of people would be more fitting to be a city or village
    2.do they wanna be us so bad they would start using our sayings



  40. 40
    9:08 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Number 39… You think Kentucky started that? Many fans of many schools and pro teams have done that for years.



  41. Unnoticed
    9:21 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Ok, so was last years class #1 or not? Because I heard all season about it being #1. And then when you lose in the NIT, they said, “Well, it wasn’t even the #1. Kansas was.” And now you’re back to #1 again. It doesn’t help or hurt your argument, and no matter what Cal will always come out on top on a KSR page. There was no need for this post. Whatsoever. But would the best coach in college basketball really suffer a first round NIT loss with/maybe/kinda/possibly the #1 recruiting class? Idiots.



  42. Unnoticed
    9:23 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    And I’m not a UL fan either. Or UK, obviously. Or Florida. Just an unbiased fan who lives in the middle of this stuff lol



  43. NineWillBeFine
    10:09 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    41/42.

    It depends on who you talk to on the number 1 recruiting class for last season. ESPN had UCLA (not Kansas, they weren’t even in the discussion) as #1, while Rivals and other scouting services had UK. So you can accurately say that either UCLA or UK had the #1 class, bc there wasn’t a clear cut choice. As for your comment about the NIT loss, let me point something out to you. Besides the 2012-13 UK team there were 2 other champions within the past 10 years to lose 80% or more of their scoring. Those were UNC in 2009-10 and Florida in 2007-08. Both of them could only manage to get to the NIT. So all this season proved is that Calipari is not a miracle worker and does not poop ice cream (to use a favorite phrase of his). Roy Williams and Billy Donovan are two guys who many consider better than Calipari, and they wound up right where he did in their corresponding seasons.



  44. NineWillBeFine
    10:12 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    41/42.

    One more point. From the data shown here, it really is hard to argue that there are too many coaches out there who have definitively done better than Calipari in the last 4 years. There are several who you could make a good argument for, but it’s not perfectly clear. I’m sorry if UK or Calipari’s success bothers you, but KSR has laid out a pretty good case as to why he’s at least in the discussion for best coach.



  45. Billdozer
    10:51 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Love how this site will take any biased chance it gets to suck off Calapari, when the guy who started this site 4 years ago, bad mouthed him all the time and said he hoped UK didn’t hire him. Amazing… simply amazing.



  46. Billdozer
    10:52 pm May 28, 2013 Permalink

    Yes I know the site wasn’t started just four years ago, that reference in time is to before UK hired Calapari



  47. CATS23
    9:02 am May 29, 2013 Permalink

    Just looking at these statistics I think you have to say that Brad Stevens is the best coach. He is the only coach on the list with no top 25 recruiting classes, and therefore he is having success with the least talent. I know they play the weakest teams during the regular season, but that is another reason he is the best coach. Even though Butler plays sub par teams all season, Stevens has them ready to go up against the best teams in college basketball. He is fifth on the list in tournament success, and they were just inches away from beating Duke in the National Championship game. I know when you include all the aspects of being a coach (like recruiting) Brad Stevens may not be the best, but if you base it purely on coaching its hard to argue against Brad Stevens.



  48. Catalan
    3:47 pm May 29, 2013 Permalink

    To say Calipari’ has not been the best coach over the past few years just because of one bad season is almost as ridiculous as Norte dame’s quarterback getting caught for “bad academic judgement”. You can’t take talent and just throw them on the basketball court and say ” go score and play defense while your at it.” As a coach you have to mold that talent into a team instead of one on one show-offs. It only takes one player with the wrong attitude to bring down an entire team. Calipari’s is a master at checking ego’s at the door and getting his players to play with a family oriented mind-set. As we know that is just as much a part of coaching as actually plays.