NCAA Basketball: Ranking top eight head coaches from past 20 years

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DURHAM, NC – MARCH 03: (L-R) Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils greets head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels before their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 3, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Who have been the best NCAA Basketball head coaches of the past two decades? Here’s a list presented without any opinions and just data.

Looking at the landscape of NCAA Basketball head coaches, it’s has been as impressive as ever the last few decades. Hall of Famers is still going strong, while a few younger guys have emerged as up and coming legends in the game. But where do they stack up against one another?

When writers and people put together sports lists, it most likely is highly subjective or even bias in some cases. Even though this list is not perfect and the point system is not flawless, it gives some analytical and math based analysis to eliminate the subjective factors that many lists are comprised of. First, many factors and criteria were taken out of consideration and they are:

*Ability to recruit highly rated players as part of an incoming class of student-athletes.
*The previous condition of the program good or bad, prior to becoming a head coach.
*The perception and reputation of being or not being a great x’s and o’s coach.
*The amount of time that a head coach has been coaching in Division 1.
*Factoring in a coach being at a pro-typical “blue blood” or power 5 program or even if he is at a mid-major school.
*The ability or inability to handle off the court issues such as having their program being put on NCAA probation.
*Not critiquing how he schedules difficult or easy non-conferences games each season.
*How well the coach is perceived to make in-game decisions and substitutions during games.
*The ability to hire assistant coaches who recruit well and help advance the program overall.

Second, the list of coaches had to meet only two specific requirements:

*Current Division 1 Head Coach
*Won at least one national title in the past twenty seasons
Third, below is the criteria and scoring breakdown to determine the ranking of the top coaches in division 1 basketball the past twenty seasons.

Criteria and Scoring Breakdown

25 points for national championships

15 points Final Four Appearances

10 points for Regular Season Conference Championships

7 points for Conference Tournament Championships

5 points for every season with 20 or more wins

3 points for post-season tournament championships other than the NCAA Tournament

2 points for every NCAA Tournament berth

*The coach had to be a head coach at a division 1 school from the period covering the seasons from 1998-1999 to 2018-2019.

Some would argue that there have been some great and outstanding coaches who are left off of this list. For example, Brad Stevens and John Beilein both took their respective programs to multiple national championship appearances but they both no longer coach at the collegiate level as both of them are currently NBA head coaches and both fell short of winning a national championship.

There are current collegiate coaches who have done very well like Gonzaga’s Mark Few and Texas Tech’s Chris Beard but have not won a national championship. Finally, there are those coaches who have won national championships like former Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie and former Florida head coach Billy Donovan but no longer coach at a Division 1 school.

This list looks at the numbers, championships, and victories with the intention of outside bias and subjectivity. These coaches are listed from eight to one based on their accomplishments as head coaches of their programs. Let’s take a look at the rankings and see why they deserved their spot on this list.

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