10 Winningest College Basketball Coaches
In a sport where the coaches are often bigger celebrities than then players, many of the names on the list of the 10 winningest college basketball coaches of all time are legendary. Here in order of career wins are ten—actually eleven—men who have made indelible marks in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I record books.
- Bobby Knight He has coached at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech, but it’s his Indiana years that gained Bobby Knight both fame (three NCAA titles) and infamy (chair tossing, choking players, etc). Love him or hate him, with 902 career wins, there is no denying his spot at the top of our list of the ten winningest college basketball coaches.
- Dean Smith He spent his entire 36-year coaching career in Chapel Hill turning North Carolina into a college basketball powerhouse. Two NCAA National Championships—including one on a game-winning shot by Michael Jordan—and 879 wins put Dean Smith second on the list of winningest college basketball coaches of all time.
- Adolph Rupp The University of Kentucky has won seven NCAA titles, four of them under the leadership of the man for whom its arena is named. In 41 years at UK, Adolph Rupp’s teams won 876 games, making him one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history.
- Mike Krzyzewski As of 2010, the Duke University coach has piled up 868 wins in his 35-year career (including five years at Army). Throw in eleven Final Four appearances and four NCAA championships and you have one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time.
- Jim Boeheim In 34 years as head coach of his alma mater, Jim Boeheim has led Syracuse to 829 wins through the 2010 season, plus an NCAA title in 2003. Without a single sub-.500 season, Boeheim can truly be called one of the top college basketball coaches of all time.
- Jim Calhoun The head coach of Connecticut has won 823 games through 2010 with two NCAA tournament championships and one NIT title. With 38 seasons under his belt (fourteen with Northeastern; 24 with UConn), Jim Calhoun ranks among the winningest college basketball coaches of all time.
- Eddie Sutton The winningest coach in college basketball history without an NCAA title, Eddie Sutton headed up Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State and San Francisco over a 37-year career. His 804 wins rank seventh among Division I coaches.
- Lefty Driesell Best known for his seventeen years at Maryland, Lefty Driesell coached a total of 41 seasons with additional stops at Davidson, James Madison and Georgia State. With 786 wins, he has only a 1972 NIT title, but still ranks among the winningest college basketball coaches of all time.
- Lute Olson In a 34-year career at Long Beach State, Iowa and Arizona, Lute Olson piled up 781 victories putting him ninth among the all time winningest college basketball coaches. His biggest season: 1997 when he led Arizona to the NCAA championship.
- Lou Henson and E.A. Diddle Tied for the tenth spot on our list of winningest college basketball coaches with 759 wins apiece are Lou Henson and E.A. Diddle. Henson, whose 41-year career included stops at Hardin-Simmons and New Mexico State, had his biggest success at Illinois where he led them to the 1989 Final Four. Diddle coached his entire career (42 years) at Western Kentucky where he had only five losing seasons.