Busting Brackets

Big Ten Basketball: Ranking all 18 head coaches for 2024-25 season

Apr 8, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Purdue Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter reacts against the
Apr 8, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Purdue Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter reacts against the / Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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12. Fran McCaffery (Iowa)

With 28 years of head coaching experience, McCaffery is certainly one of the veteran coaches in this conference. A former point guard, he had early experience at Lehigh before breakthrough success leading both UNC Greensboro and Siena. McCaffery actually won a pair of NCAA Tournament games at Siena before departing for Iowa in 2010. Suffice to say there’s been plenty of action in his first fourteen seasons in the Big Ten.

While Iowa has never finished higher than 3rd in the Big Ten during his tenure, McCaffery has led the Hawkeyes to many postseason bids, including seven NCAA Tournaments and a Big Ten Tournament title just two years ago. It’s been a consistent run of success for Iowa, who’ve had some great names on this roster in recent years, but McCaffery has yet to lead this team beyond the opening weekend of the Big Dance. The sustained success is impressive but the lack of a breakthrough hurts his resume.

11. Greg Gard (Wisconsin)

A former disciple of Bo Ryan, Gard played for the Hall of Famer at Wisconsin-Platteville and then assisted him at three different schools. Gard was the right-hand man for Ryan for many years, including a brief stint in Milwaukee and more than a decade in Madison. The Badgers made Final Four appearances in Gard’s last two full seasons as associate head coach before he succeeded Ryan in December 2015.

The Badgers haven’t had the same level of success during Gard’s tenure, though he did lead the program to Sweet Sixteen’s in his first two seasons. Since then there have been several more postseason trips but no advancement beyond the Tourney’s first weekend. The Badgers have a pair of regular season titles and have been a yearly contender in the Big Ten, but Gard hasn’t quite gotten them over the hump and perhaps sits a few spots lower than he would’ve a few years ago.