NCAA basketball

Who Are the Winningest Men's College Basketball Coaches?

With March Madness just a few weeks away, here is a look at the top 10 winningest head coaches in men’s college basketball history.

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Who Are the Winningest Men’s College Basketball Coaches? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

If there’s one thing every great college basketball team has, it’s tremendous leadership from the top. 

Oftentimes, it starts with coaches, motivating their players to operate as a cohesive unit in order to find success. 

While the success of a team is mostly measured by its results, greater success can be found with coaches that make the effort to reach their athletes on an individual level, creating more effective and positive coaching patterns.

With the 2023 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, otherwise known as March Madness, right around the corner, let’s take a look at the winningest men’s college basketball coaches of all time:

1. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke Blue Devils

Leading the Blue Devils for 41 seasons, Krzyzewski has amassed an impressive 1196-365 record, holding the record for most wins as a college basketball coach.

He has coached five NCAA championship teams (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015) and has earned six gold medals as head coach of the U.S. men's national team. 

Krzyzewski coached Army for five years (1975-1980) and posted a 73-59 record. 

After 46 years of coaching college basketball, Krzyzewski plans to retire after the 2021-22 season. Krzyzewski, 75, has created a dynasty that will be difficult to match in the upcoming years.

2. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Orange 

Boeheim, 78, guided the Orange to a 1116-440 record, coaching the team for 47 years before retiring in March of 2023

A Syracuse alumnus himself (1966), Boeheim has led the team to five Final Four NCAA Tournament appearances, three appearances in the national title game and a national championship in 2003. He has been named the Big East Coach of the Year for four seasons.

3. Roy Williams, North Carolina Tar Heels

Williams coached Kansas for 15 years and North Carolina for 18 years, amassing a tremendous career record of 903-264.

He led the Tar Heels to three national championships (2005, 2009, 2017), five Final Four appearances and three ACC Tournament Championships. 

Williams, who graduated from UNC in 1972, was named ACC Coach of the Year and Big 12 Coach of the Year for two seasons each.

Williams, 71, retired from coaching in 2021.

4. Bob Knight, Texas Tech Red Raiders

Throughout his 45 years of coaching college basketball, Knight's record was 899-374, leading Army (102-50), Indiana (659-242) and Texas Tech (138-82).

He led Indiana to three NCAA Championships (1976, 1981,1987) and coached five Final Four teams. 

Knight, 81, was named Big Ten Coach of the Year four times throughout his career. He retired from coaching in 2008.

5. Dean Smith, North Carolina Tar Heels

Smith coached North Carolina for 36 years, putting together a record of 879-254.

He led the Tar Heels to 11 NCAA Tournament Final Fours and two national championships (1982 and 1993).

Smith was named National Coach of the Year four times and ACC Coach of the Year eight times. 

Smith, 83, retired from coaching in 1997. 

6. Jim Calhoun, Connecticut Huskies

In 40 years of coaching, Calhoun earned a record of 877-382, leading Northeastern (248-137) and Connecticut (629-245).

Calhoun made four NCAA Tournament's Final Four, winning three NCAA Championships (1999, 2004, 2011). He also won seven Big East tournament championships. 

Calhoun, 79, was named Big East Coach of the Year four times and retired in 2012.

While some may think that referees are salaried workers who are given an annual salary, they are actually paid per game.

7. Adolph Rupp, Kentucky Wildcats

In his 41 years of coaching, Rupp led the Wildcats to a record of 876-190.

He coached the team to six Final Four appearances in the NCAA Tournament and four NCAA Championships (1948, 1949, 1951, 1958).

He was the first college basketball coach to win 800 or more games and was named SEC Coach of the Year seven times.

Rupp, who retired in 1972, passed away from cancer of the spine and diabetes. He was 76 years old. 

8. Bob Huggins, West Virginia Mountaineers

Huggins has been coaching for 37 years, holding a record of 842-373. In his career, he has led Akron (97-46), Cincinnati (398-128), Kansas State (23-12) and West Virginia (324-187).

The West Virginia graduate (1977) has made 59 NCAA Tournament appearances, grabbing two Final Fours finishes.

He has led his team to 10 conference championships throughout his career and was named Big 12 Coach of the Year once (2014-15).

Huggins, 68, has a contract with WVU that will reportedly extend until he decides to retire.

9. Cliff Ellis, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Ellis has been coaching for 44 years, holding a record of 816-539. He has led South Alabama (171-84), Clemson (179-129), Auburn (186-125) and Coastal Carolina (280-201).

Ellis has made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and captured two conference championships. He was named ACC Coach of the Year twice. 

Ellis, 76, said he had "no timetable set for retirement" back in 2017. 

10. John Calipari, Kentucky Wildcats

Coaching for 30 years, Calipari has an 808-239 record, with Massachusetts (193-71), Memphis (252-69) and Kentucky (363-99).

He has made six appearances in the NCAA Tournament Final Four and won an NCAA Championship in 2012 coaching Kentucky.

Calipari has been named SEC Coach of the Year four times and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015

Calipari, 63, has a 10-year contract with Kentucky that expires at the end of the 2028-29 season but has an option to step down as the head coach and become special assistant to the athletics director/university representative after six years (2025). 

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