Top-10 Tuesday’s continue with my Top-10 Head Coaches at the moment, at the moment is the key term used. This list takes into account a ranking of the Top-10 Head Coaches in my opinion of just the last four or five years, not a coach’s overall career as a head coach, so don’t be surprised when Mike Krzyzewski is not at number one on the list.
1.Jay Wright – Villanova Wildcats
What Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats have done since the formation of the new Big East has been nothing short of amazing. They have won four Big East titles, three Big East Conference Tournament titles, have been a one seed three times and they also won National Championships in 2016 and in 2018. Villanova is by far the best running program in the sport and it starts at the top with Jay Wright. Wright has built a culture in which players develop each year and are able to play bigger roles as they go throughout their college careers. Villanova will lose four players early to the NBA Draft this year but knowing Villanova they should win the Big East and be a contender to win a National Championship.
2.Bill Self – Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks now have won 14 straight Big 12 titles, despite many questioning the ability for this streak to live on. This past year showed no shortage of brilliance for Self, as he took a team without a lot of talent and he led them to the Big 12 title once again and then topped that off by getting to his third Final Four. Since 2007, Kansas has been a one seed eight times, including each of the past three seasons, which is remarkable. Those two stats show the consistency and greatness of the Kansas program. While all those things are great stats in favor of Kansas, the one thing that holds him back on lists like this is his tournament record, where he only has three Final Fours and one National Championship. While last years Kansas team did struggle at times, they shouldn’t have any issues this year as Kansas should enter into next season with a loaded roster, even for Kansas standards.
3.Mike Krzyzewski – Duke Blue Devils
Yes, you are reading this right, two College Head coaches are ahead of Mike Krzyzewski in a list ranking active head coaches. I acknowledge Coach K has the best coaching legacy in College Basketball but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the best coach at the moment. Mike Krzyzewski has recently changed his philosophy to bring in more one and done type prospects, which has presented some challenges. Overall he has kept Duke more than relevant but only has the lone Final Four since 2010, that being in 2015 when they won it all. Mike Krzyzewski has another stacked team of recruits but at some point, he will need to probably adjust his style of recruiting to get back to the Final Four and win a title.
4.John Calipari – Kentucky Wildcats
The Wildcats continue to recruit at the highest level but have had a couple of down years of late, that should change this year though. John Calipari always brings in the best talent but a lot of times he is forced to make tough decisions as a coach by sometimes benching talented players for the betterment of the team. The Wildcats have faced mid-year panic’s in the past few years, which can happen with blending so many Freshmen together in such a short period of time. That being said the Wildcats have been great come March. Since Calipari took over at Kentucky, the Wildcats have been to four Final Fours and they won a National Championship in 2012. This years team should be loaded, as they have a good mixture of talent and experience, so National Championship #2 for Calipari could be on the way.
5.Roy Williams – North Carolina Tar Heels
Roy Williams has done an excellent job at North Carolina since taking over, winning three National Championships. While Duke gets a lot of the publicity in the ACC, North Carolina has still continued to be dominant in the conference. Williams’ did a great job of coaching up players in 2016 but impressively led the Tar Heels to a title in 2017 to redeem themselves after a heartbreaker in 2016. An NCAA Investigation did likely affect the Tar Heels recruiting wise, which did hurt them a little bit but with that past, the Tar Heels should be a dominant team recruiting wise.
6.Tony Bennett – Virginia Cavaliers
Take out the NCAA Tournament and Tony Bennett would be considered a top coach in the sport but his struggles are holding him back of that title. In the last five years, Bennett has led the Cavaliers to three ACC regular season titles, two ACC tournament titles, and three number one seeds. This year’s Virginia team could be down but it would surprise no one if they win the ACC this year. That being said his tournament struggles haunt him right now and will continue to hold back his legacy until he makes a Final Four.
7.Mark Few – Gonzaga Bulldogs
There is not anything Mark Few could do more at Gonzaga, other than winning a National Championship. Gonzaga has dominated the West Coast Conference for years, which is to be expected but what gets the attention of many is in non-conference play, where Gonzaga has shown to be more than capable when playing other teams. Gonzaga has also been deep in the NCAA Tournament on multiple occasions, headlined by their run in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga has another great team coming this year, maybe Few can check that final mark off on his list.
8.Tom Izzo – Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State is the best program in the Big Ten at the moment but is somewhat failing to live up to some expectations. The Spartans have been great in the Big Ten as of late but they have had a couple of early exits in the NCAA Tournament of late, people are wondering if Izzo still has it. Izzo has been known for his greatness in the NCAA Tournament in the past but I think he has had a couple of blunders lately. Michigan State should be a top team in the Big Ten next year and if things break right, Spartan fans can go back to calling Izzo the king of march.
9.Dana Altman – Oregon Ducks
This name generally doesn’t come up among top active head coaches, however, looking at what Dana Altman has done as of late it was a no-brainer to put him on this list. Altman took over Oregon and took them from an average D1 program to a few years of greatness, where they won a couple of Pac-12 titles, as well as going to a Final Four. While last years team didn’t blend in well together, Alman has done another good job of filling out their roster for this years team, by getting an incredible recruiting class. Oregon should be a top team once again in the Pac-12.
10.Bob Huggins – West Virginia Mountainers
West Virginia has been a solid program throughout its history but they have been especially good since moving to their pressing defense a few years back. Since then West Virginia has consistently been a top two or three team in the loaded Big 12 conference, been to three Sweet 16’s and have proven to be a tough game for any team playing them. It is hard to adjust to get players to buy into a system, especially one built on a pressing defense but it has worked out beautifully for West Virginia and Bob Huggins, since creating Press Virginia.
Honorable Mentions- John Beilien, Chris Mack, Jim Boeheim, Sean Miller