We pay so much attention to the regular-season records and the star players that make up the best teams. We often overlook the brains behind the success.
Head coaches are just as big of a factor as an elite player or experienced roster. If a team isn’t well-coached, chances are they will be heading home early. Coaching is definitely a huge factor when I’m making my bracket predictions.
Below is a look at the all the active head coaches with 20 or more games in the NCAA Tournament. After compiling the list of coaches that met this criteria, we looked a lot of different things. All of which you can find in the table below.
We gathered the info on the number of appearances in the big dance and the win/loss records. We also took a look at the win percentage. As well as the number of Final Fours, Runner-ups and Championships.
You can easily search for any coach or school using the search boxes below. I also want to point out that all of the stats can be sorted, so you can look at on specific area if you want.
As you can see, every coach on this list has made at least 8 appearances in March Madness. Only 11 have appeared in 15 or more. The leaders in terms of trips to the Big Dance is Mike Krzyewski with a ridiculous 33 appearances.
One thing that might surprise you is just how hard it is to be successful. Only 5 have a winning percentage greater than 70%. No surprise many of these guys are the highest paid in the sport. What amazes me is how there’s a select few who dominate in Final 4 appearances. Just five guys listed have made 5 or more trips to the Final Four.
I’ll let you look at the rest of the numbers. Just be sure to keep scrolling down for more information.
Active NCAA Tournament Head Coaches: Wins, Final Four, & Championships
|Coach||Current School||Appearances||Wins||Losses||Win %||Final Fours||Runner-Ups||Titles|
|Roy Williams||North Carolina||28||77||25||0.755||9||3||3|
|Tom Izzo||Michigan State||21||48||20||0.706||7||1||1|
|Ben Howland||Mississippi State||10||19||10||0.655||3||1||0|
|Tubby Smith||High Point||18||30||17||0.638||1||0||1|
|Bob Huggins||West Virginia||24||33||24||0.579||2||0||0|
|Bruce Weber||Kansas State||12||15||12||0.556||1||1||0|
|Mike Brey||Notre Dame||14||13||14||0.481||0||0||0|
|Mark Gottfried||NC State||11||10||11||0.476||0||0||0|
|Gregg Marshall||Wichita State||14||11||14||0.440||1||0||0|
Top 10 NCAA Tournament Wins All-Time
1. Mike Kryzewski 94 (Duke)
2. Roy Williams 77 (Kansas, North Carolina)
3. Dean Smith 65 (North Carolina)
4. Jim Boeheim 60 (Syracuse)
5. Rick Pitino 54 (Providence, Kentucky, Louisville)
6. John Calipari 53 (UMass, Memphis, Kentucky)
7. Jim Calhoun 49 (Connecticut)
8. Tom Izzo 48 (Michigan State)
T-9. John Wooden 47 (UCLA)
T-9. Bill Self (Kansas)
Top 10 National Championships All-Time
1. John Wooden 10 (UCLA)
2. Mike Kryzewski 5 (Duke)
3. Adolph Rupp 4 (Kentucky)
T-4. Bob Knight 3 (Indiana)
T-4. Jim Calhoun 3 (Connecticut)
T-4. Roy Williams 3 (North Carolina)
T-7. Henry Iba 2 (Oklahoma State)
T-7. Phil Woolpert 2 (San Francisco)
T-7. Ed Jucker 2 (Cincinnati)
T-7. Denny Crum 2 (Louisville)
T-7. Branch McCracken 2 (Indiana)
T-7. Dean Smith 2 (North Carolina)
T-7. Billy Donovan 2 (Florida)
T-7. Rick Pitino 2 (Kentucky, Louisville)
T-7. Jay Wright (Villanova)
Top 10 Final Fours All-Time
T-1. Mike Kryzewski 12 (Duke)
T-1. John Wooden 12 (UCLA)
3. Dean Smith 11 (North Carolina)
4. Roy Williams 9 (Kansas, North Carolina)
T-5. Tom Izzo 7 (Michigan State)
T-5. Rick Pitino 7 (Providence, Kentucky, Louisville)
T-7. Denny Crum 6 (Louisville)
T-7. Adolph Rupp 6 (Kentucky)
T-9. Jim Boeheim 5 (Syracuse)
T-9. Bob Knight 5 (Indiana)
T-9. Guy Lewis 5 (Houston)
T-9. Lute Olsen 5 (Iowa, Arizona)
My Top 3 Active Head Coaches
#1 – Mike Krzyzewski (Duke)
This is an obvious choice. Coach K’s 91 career tourney wins are the most all-time. An impressive 15 more than next best. It comes as no surprise really with Krzyzewski coming from the Bob Knight school of coaching. Not only did he play for Knight at Army, he coached along side him at Indiana.
Coach K picked up a bunch of NCAA tourney wins from 1988-1992. He led the Blue Devils to five consecutive Final Fours. Winning back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992. Krzyzewski has since added three more championships (2001, 2010, 2015) . His 12 Final Four appearances are tied for the most all-time with the great John Wooden.
#2 – Tom Izzo (Michigan State)
You could argue that Izzo is deserving of consideration for the top spot. I just don’t know how you make a list and have Coach K anything but No. 1. What makes Izzo so special is that he gets the most out of his teams. Not to say he doesn’t recruit some of the best players in the country. He just doesn’t get the same level of talent as schools like Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, etc.
Izzo guided the Spartans to a championship in 2000. Some of you might remember that team. It was headlined by Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson. Overall he’s led Michigan State to 7 Final Four appearances and was the runner-up in 2009. Quite a resume for someone who has been named the National Coach of the Year on four separate occasions.
#3 – Roy Williams (North Carolina)
Roy Williams comes from the Dean Smith school of coaching and has made quite a name for himself. Williams started out at Kansas back in 1988. He left as the school’s second winningest coach in program history. Despite all kinds off success at Kansas, Williams was never able to win it all with the Jayhawks. His fortune quickly changed after he arrived in Chapel Hill.
He replaced Matt Dougherty in 2003 and had the Tar Heels cutting down the nets in 2005. He would add another title to his resume in 2009 and most recently in 2017. Williams is currently 2nd all-time in NCAA Tournament wins with 76. He’s fourth in most Final Four appearances at 8. He had a streak of 20 consecutive seasons where he led his team to the NCAA Tournament. His team won at least one game in all 20 appearances. Williams just missed out on winning it all in 2016. The Tar Heels lost an epic back and forth battle with Villanova. Eventually losing on a last second shot.
NCAA Tourney Coaches – Wins Lost or Gained
Find out which coaches have a history of exceeding expectations and which ones fail to live up to the hype. This can give you a big advantage when choosing sleeper teams or first round upsets.
I looked at coaches likely to make the tournament this year who have appeared in five or more NCAA Tournaments with the same team.
Using their seed at the beginning of each tournament, I calculated their projected wins. (for example, a #2 seed would be expected to win three games and reach the Elite Eight).
Comparing the number to the actual wins each team had. I was able to come up with +/- wins number you see in the far right column.
These are the average wins each coach has earned above or below their seeding to this point in their career.
|Coach||Team||Appearances||Average Seed||+/- Wins|
|Tom Izzo||Michigan State||20||5||0.60|
|Roy Williams||North Carolina||13||3||0.31|
|Bob Huggins||West Virginia||8||5||0.00|
|Thad Matta||Ohio State||9||4||-0.44|
*Data only includes coaching appearances with the team listed.
Coach Calapari comes in at the top of the list. This only includes his tenure at Kentucky, but keep in mind that his numbers are only over six seasons.
The Wildcats making the championship game as an 8 seed in 2014 skews his expectations quite a bit.
My takeaway from this is that Tom Izzo has been the best Big Dance coach in modern history. His teams consistently out-perform their seeding.
Some of the coaches on this list have suffered from having high expectations. Guys like Thad Matta and Bill Self have struggled, while Coach K and Roy Williams have done just fine.
If you are interested in more information about seeding, check out our tournament winners by seed article.
Best ATS Tournament Coaches by Records
If you are entering bracket contests then you want to find winners. But, if you are making up a small portion of the $2.5 billion dollars bet on March Madness you want to know who cashes at the pay window. These are the head coaches with the best records against the spread since the 2005 tournament (minimum of five games required). Profit listed would be if you bet $110 to win $100 on each game for that coach.
|Jeff Capel III||6||4||2||67%||27.27%||$180|
|John Thompson III||17||7||10||41%||-21.39%||-$400|
*Data only includes coaches with five ATS results or more.