Top College Basketball Coaches


It’s that time of the year when college basketball fans look forward with anticipation as their favorite teams compete for a chance to play in the big dance. Coined March Madness, the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament is a single elimination competition pitting champions from 32 Division 1 conferences and 36 at- large teams invited to the event based on their performance during the regular season. To celebrate the occasion, here are the top college basketball coaches by national championships.

What you get are five weeks of some of the most exciting basketball during the year as every bucket and defensive possession become a do-or-die scenario for teams to move forward to the crowning event, the national championship game. Since 1939, the Big Dance has been the stage for some of the most dramatic finishes, upsets and competitive feats within the sport of basketball, or for that matter, the entire cavalcade of sports.  

Who can forget the breathtaking run by Jimmy Valvano’s North Carolina State Wolfpack in 1983 to defeat Guy Lewis and his University of Houston Cougars, nicknamed Phi Slamma Jamma, and led by future NBA Hall of Fame stars Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon. It truly was a remarkable feat and illustrates the allure of March Madness. Any team can get hot and make a run like the 1997 Arizona Wildcats coached by Lute Olson. A number 4 seed in the Southeast Region, the Wildcats ran the table to beat tournament favorite Kentucky at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. 

Although there are incredible runs, for the most part though teams favored to win often do. In many instances, they do encounter challenges such as the 4.8 second dash by Tyus Edney against Missouri in 1995 to propel the UCLA Bruins onward where they would eventually beat the Arkansas Razorbacks in the national championship game. These dominant teams are often comprised of incredible athletes and some of the greatest coaches the game has ever seen. 

Yes, there are many good, even great, college basketball coaches, many of whom have never won a national championship. However, there are those coaches who are part of an elite fraternity where they have won multiple national championships. They are on a pinnacle where many coaches aspire to be.  

Here is a list of coaches who have climbed to that pinnacle by winning multiple national championships. The list is presented in order of wins. 

Jay Wright, Villanova University 

Jay Wright, Villanova University

Jay Wright – Villanova University 
National Championships – 2 
Years Won – 2016, 2018 

Wright has led the Villanova Wildcats to five Big East conference championships and 13 NCAA Tournament appearances in his 17 seasons as head coach. Wright took Villanova to the Final Four in 2009. Wright then led Villanova to the 2016 NCAA Championship, defeating North Carolina on a memorable game-winning 3-point shot by Kris Jenkins. In addition to the 2016 championship, Wright and Villanova also won the 2018 NCAA Championship. 

Phil Woolpert, University of San Francisco Dons

Phil Woolpert, University of San Francisco Dons

Phil Woolpert – University of San Francisco Dons 
National Championships – 2 
Years Won – 1955, 1956 

Both the basketball coach and athletic director at the University of San Francisco, Woolpert’s teams were known for their defense. His national championship teams were dominant. Led by Bill Russell and K.C. Jones, the Dons won back-to-back national championships in 1955 and 1956. In fact, Woolpert’s teams were so dominant, at one point in time he held the longest winning streak at 60 games, which was later surpassed by John Wooden with 88. 

Dean Smith, University of North Carolina Tar Heels  Top College Basketball Coaches

Dean Smith, University of North Carolina Tar Heels - Top College Basketball Coaches

Dean Smith – University of North Carolina Tar Heels 
National Championships – 2 
Years Won – 1982, 1993 

The Basketball Hall of Fame called Dean Smith a “coaching legend.” His Tar Heel teams were some of the best to ever hit the hardwood. In fact, the Tar Heels now play their home games at the Smith Center. Smith is credited with breaking the color barrier at North Carolina by recruiting Charlie Scott, the University’s first black scholarship athlete. 

Rick Pitino, University of Kentucky Wildcats (1996) & University of Louisville Cardinals (2013 – vacated) 

Rick Pitino, University of Kentucky Wildcats (1996) & University of Louisville Cardinals (2013 – vacated)

Rick Pitino – University of Kentucky Wildcats (1996) & University of Louisville Cardinals (2013 – vacated) 
National Championships – 2* 
Years Won – 1996, 2013* 

The only coach on this list to win national championships at two different schools. Pitino is the only coach of this list who has the dubious distinction of having the 2013 national championship vacated by the NCAA in 2018. 

Branch McCracken, Indiana University Hoosiers 

Branch McCracken, Indiana University Hoosiers

Branch McCracken – Indiana University Hoosiers 
National Championships – 2 
Years Won – 1940, 1953 

Another coach who played at the school where he won his national championships, McCracken won his first national championship in 1940 during his first stint of coaching Indiana. He took a break from coaching to enter the military during WWII, serving as a lieutenant in the Navy. After the war, McCracken came back to coach Indiana again, winning his second national championship in 1953.  

Ed Jucker, University of Cininnati Bearcats  Top College Basketball Coaches

Ed Jucker, University of Cininnati Bearcats - Top College Basketball Coaches

Ed Jucker – University of Cininnati Bearcats 
National Championships – 2 
Years Won – 1961, 1962 

Like Roy Williams, Jucker played basketball for the school where he won his national championships, the University of Cininnati Bearcats. Jucker holds the record for the highest winning percentage (.917) in NCAA tournament play.

Henry Iba, Oklahoma A&M Aggies (renamed Oklahoma State University) 

Henry Iba, Oklahoma A&M Aggies (renamed Oklahoma State University)

Henry Iba – Oklahoma A&M Aggies (renamed Oklahoma State University) 
National Championships – 2 
Years Won – 1945, 1946 

Aside from national championships, Iba may be best known for his “swinging gate” defense, earning him the nickname “Iron Duke of Defense.” He won his national championships at Oklahoma A&M, which was later renamed Oklahoma State University in 1957.

Billy Donovan, University of Florida Gators 

Billy Donovan, University of Florida Gators

Billy Donovan – University of Florida Gators 
National Championships – 2 
Years Won – 2006, 2007 

Currently the coach of the NBA Oklahoma City Thunder, coach Donovan spent 19 seasons at the University of Florida where he won back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007. At age 52, you never know. Donovan could return to coaching college basketball and garner some more national champsionship. 

Denny Crum, University of Louisville Cardinals  Top College Basketball Coaches

Denny Crum, University of Louisville Cardinals - Top College Basketball Coaches

Denny Crum – University of Louisville Cardinals 
National Championships – 2 
Years Won – 1980, 1986 

Denny Crum played for John Wooden at UCLA in 1956 and was later hired by the Wizard in 1963 as an assistant. Crum took the Louisville job in 1971 and guided the Cardinals to two national championships. 

Roy Williams, University of North Carolina Tar Heels

Roy Williams, University of North Carolina Tar Heels

Roy Williams – University of North Carolina Tar Heels 
National Championships – 3 
Years Won – 2005, 2009, 2017 

Roy Williams is one of three coaches on this list to play at the school where he has won his national championships, North Carolina. In 2017, Williams won his third national championship and , like Mike Krzyzewski, is on the hunt for more. 

Bob Knight, Indiana University Hoosiers  Top College Basketball Coaches by National Championships

Bob Knight, Indiana University Hoosiers - Top College Basketball Coaches by National Championships

Bob Knight –Indiana University Hoosiers 
National Championships – 3 
Years Won – 1976, 1981, 1987 

Nicknamed “The General”, Bobby Knight is known for being the coach of the Indiana Hoosiers. However, he also coached Army (1965 to 1971) and Texas Tech (2001 – 2008). Upon his retirement in 2008, Knight had accumulated 902 wins, second only to Mike Krzyzewski. 

Jim Calhoun, University of Connecticut Huskies 
 Top College Basketball Coaches

Jim Calhoun, University of Connecticut Huskies 
- Top College Basketball Coaches

Jim Calhoun – University of Connecticut Huskies 
National Championships – 3 
Years Won – 1999, 2004, 2011 

Considered one of the greatest coaches of all time, Coach Calhoun not only won three national championships but seven Big East tournament championships as well. He retired in 2012 with 873 victories. 

Adolph Rupp, Kentucky Wildcats 

Adolph Rupp, Kentucky Wildcats

Adolph Rupp – Kentucky Wildcats
National Championships – 4
Years Won – 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958 

Rupp coached the storied Kentucky program for 41 years, racking up 876 victories with an all-time winning percentage of .822, second all time among men’s college basketball coaches.

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke Blue Devils 

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke Blue Devils

Mike Krzyzewski – Duke Blue Devils 
National Championships – 5 
Years Won – 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015 

With Coach K at the helm, the Duke Blue Devils have been a consistent favorite in the tournament to win the national championship. With 5 under his belt, Coach K is looking to add more. 

John Wooden, UCLA Bruins – Top College Basketball Coaches

John Wooden, UCLA Bruins - Top College Basketball Coaches

John Wooden – UCLA Bruins 
National Championships – 10 

Years Won – 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975 
Called the Wizard of Westwood, John Wooden led his UCLA teams to 10 national championships, including a record number 7 in a row.  

National Championships by School

1. UCLA 11
John Wooden (10), Jim Harrick (1) 

2. Kentucky 8
Adolph Rupp (4), Joe B. Hall (1), Rick Pitino (1), Tubby Smith (1), John Calipari (1) 

3. North Carolina 6
Frank McGuire (1), Dean Smith (2), Roy Williams (3) 

4. Duke 5
Mike Krzyzewski (5)

4. Indiana 5
Branch McCracken (2), Bob Knight (3) 

5. Connecticut 4
Jim Calhoun (3), Kevin Ollie (1) 

6. Kansas 3
Phog Allen (1), Larry Brown (1), Bill Self (1) 

6. Louisville 3
Denny Crum (2), Rick Pitino (1) 

6. Villanova 3
Jay Wright (2), Rollie Massimino (1) 

7. Cincinnati 2
Ed Jucker (2)

7. Florida 2
Billy Donovan (2)

7. Michigan State 2
Jud Heathcote (1), Tom Izzo (1) 

7. NC State 2
Norm Sloan (1), Jim Valvano (1) 

7. Oklahoma State 2
Henry Iba (2)

7. San Francisco 2
Phil Woolpert (2)

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This article was originally published on SizzlePixs.com, Top College Basketball Coaches.