I started the Coach4aday blog in 2014 and have done daily posts on one topic for each year. In 2014 my daily posts were on the “Beer of the Day”, 2015 it was “A Friend of a Friend”, 2016 I wrote about “North Carolina”, and in 2017 it was “Colleges and Universities”.
The one consistent piece of feedback I have received with this blog is the 2015 series on “A Friend of a Friend”. Readers and blog followers said please bring it back. The stats also back that up with the number of views each of those posts received.
So in 2018 two things will happen with the Coach4aday blog; One I plan to collaborate with a friend named John Rancke and revisit some of those 2015 “A Friend of a Friend” posts and do some new ones with a slightly different twist. I write the posts on odd numbered days each month and John handles the even numbered days.
In addition John and I will write about things we both are interested which will include basketball, food, people, music, our granddaughters, and great stories.
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My twitter handle is @coach4aday2 if you want to follow the blog that way.
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February 26. 2008 Basketball Coaching Trees
Post by John Rancke
One of the many factors that are used in determining the great basketball coaches of all time is the number of ex players, managers, statisticians, or assistant coaches that have gone on to become successful coaches with their own program or in some related basketball capacity. It’s all open to debate as there is no coaches competition for coaches to go head to head.
The final week of the ACC regular season is upon us and all kinds of information will get tossed around as we await the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday evening. This coach, that coach!
He can beat you with his players or beat you with your players. It doesn’t matter. To borrow an old phrase from Dick Vitale “He’s a prime timer baby”. Best coach in America. But stats can be misleading. The best coach in America may be at Davidson College just outside Charlotte. A few years ago he may been up in the far Northeast corner of this country at the University of Vermont. Bob McKillop and Tom Brennan were giant slayers. Comfortable at smaller schools and free to enjoy a somewhat normal personal life while still enjoying the coaching profession. Tom Brennan has retired from coaching but McKillop is still roaming the sidelines teaching the Pete Carill Princeton offense with a little faster pace and better athletes ( I apologize Bill Bradley).
So if you had to list the Top coaching trees in College basketball, who would you select. There are no right answers or wrong answers. It’s just open discussion.
(l-r) Dean Smith, Vic Bubas, Everett Case, and Bones McKinney
Eddie Biedenbach: Had Bob McKillop and Rick Barnes on staff at Davidson College. Eddie never won 300 games but he had 2 winners siting beside him.
Ted Owens: Before Larry Brown and Roy Williams at Kansas There was Ted Owens. He had Gale Catlett and John Calipari. That’s more than 1200 wins between the 2 assistants.
Lefty Driesell: Terry Holland (400 +), Gale Catelett (565) and Dr. Tom Davis (almost 600 wins), and you can throw in Joe Harrington and Billy Hahn.
Tom Izzo: Tom Crean, Stan Heath, Brian Gregory, Doug Wojcik, Stan Joplin, Jim Boylen, Mike Garland. Tom Crean has more than 340 victories at Marquette and Indiana (before being let go by the Hoosiers). Gregory was at Ga Tech before he was terminated.
Coach K: Mike Brey, Tommy Amaker, Johnny Dawkins, Quin Snyder, Chris Collins, Steve Wojciechowski, Jeff Capel, David Henderson. Brey is by far the most successful of the dook connection. He continues to win at Notre Dame. Tommy Amaker does a great job at Harvard and Collins is trying to build something at Northwestern. Wojo may be let go at Marquette.
Gary Williams: The old Maryland coach that caused Debbie Yow to leave and take her AD duties to NC State. Rick Barnes, Fran Dunphy, Mike Lonergan, Jimmy Patsos, Billy Hahn, Dave Dickerson. Between Patsos, Dunphy, Lonergan, and Barnes there are more than 1400 NCAA wins.
Dean Smith: Eddie Fogler,Bill Guthridge, John Lotz, Ken Rosemond, King Rice, Scott Cherry, Larry Brown, Jeff Lebo and Roy Williams and the list goes on. Three Hall of Famers with Smith, Brown, and Williams.
Eddie Sutton: Bill Self, Gene Keady, Leonard Hamilton, Pat Foster, James Dickey, Jimmy Dykes, John Pelphrey, Tim Jankovich, Brooks Thompson. Prior to his career-ending interim job with San Francisco, Eddie Sutton had 36 years of D-I head coaching experience and only one season with a winning percentage at or below .500. With that type of longevity and success, he was bound to produce a few quality assistants along the way.
For part of Sutton’s 11-year run at Arkansas, he had both Gene Keady (550 career wins) and Pat Foster (366 career wins) by his side. During the final two seasons that whole trio was together, the Razorbacks went 58-6 and advanced to the 1978 Final Four, where they lost to what would eventually be the next stop on Sutton’s journey.
At Kentucky, he spent one 32-4 season with Leonard Hamilton (478 career wins) on his bench.
But the biggest branch came at Oklahoma State, when he inherited Bill Self (592 career wins) from the staff Hamilton left behind to become the head coach at Miami. Sutton spent three years with Self before the latter went on to rebuild Oral Roberts and Tulsa.
Rick Pitino: Billy Donovan, Tubby Smith, Mick Cronin, Herb Sendek, Kevin Willard, Marvin Menzies, Kevin Keatts, Steve Masiello, Reggie Theus, Richard Pitino, Jim O’Brien. Donovan, Tubby Smith lead this group with Kevin Keats at NC State on the rise.
Bobby Knight: Mike Krzyzewski, Don DeVoe, Dave Bliss, Jim Crews, Mike Davis, and don’t forget he added Tates Locke the former Clemson coach late in his career. We all know K’s stats with more than 1000 wins but add in Dave Bliss (500 +), Don Devoe (500+), Jim Crews (400+) and the numbers swell.
Larry Brown: John Calipari, Bill Self, Gregg Popovich, Mark Turgeon, Alvin Gentry, Tim Jankovich. Forget Brown’s 27 years of head coaching experience in the NBA, so this is a tree without many branches. John Calipari and Bill Self are two of the top coaches in the game today. Calipari is already in the Naismith Hall of Fame, and the odds are in Self’s favor to get there soon. Brown was also the head coach for Mark Turgeon’s first season as an assistant, and Turgeon is well on his way to more than 500 career wins.
Now add in Gregg Popovich, who was a volunteer assistant to Brown at Kansas during the 1986-87 season before becoming a five-time NBA champion.
Each coach on this list has had at least one assistant go on to do great things, but that quartet annihilates the top four of any other coach you can nominate.
The craziest part is that it all happened during his five-year stint in Lawrence.
And former coach Quin Snyder was once Larry’s son in law.
Everette Case: The Old Grey Fox brought bigtime basketball to the South . He gave us Les Robinson, Bucky Waters, Press Maravich, Norm Sloan, and Vic Bubas.
Press and Peter Maravich
(l-r) Vic Bubas and Everette Case
Vic Bubas: Bucky Waters, Chuck Daly, (yes Detroit Pistons), and Hubie Brown,NBA analyst and former NBA coach. Perhaps the smartest basketball mind to ever hold a microphone in his hand.
You got your favorites. I’ve got mine. I left off some worthy names. I didn’t take the trees all the way down to their roots. You can comment. You can rank them as you see fit. It’s sports and it’s all open to discussion and it’s not life and death. But if I can’t get this keyboard to work right it may be death for it.
Enjoy the Tournament. Avoid the Les Robinson early rounds and survive to play another day.