Every great basketball player or team has an equally great basketball coach standing on the sidelines; one who is responsible for his or her team’s success. Not to forget these important people and their contributions to basketball, here are some of the greatest NCAA Division 1 basketball coaches of all time.
- Jim Phelan
This is the man who spent 49 years of his career coaching at Mt. St. Mary’s in Maryland. While working there, he achieved 830 career victories throughout the three NCAA divisions and won the national championship at the 1962 Division II level.
- Eddie Sutton
This legendary coach deserves his place on the list with 804 victories in Division I while coaching at Creighton, Kentucky, San Francisco, Oklahoma State, and Arkansas. Sutton is known for coaching in the Final Four in 1978, 1995, and 2004.
- Lute Olson
The high regard with which Arizona’s basketball program is held is primarily due to Lute Olson’s tenure here. Before Arizona, he had success with Long Beach State and Iowa. When he arrived in Arizona, he took over the stagnant Wildcats program and helped them win a Pac 10 title three years later. His efforts culminated with a national title in 1997. He has 780 total victories in Division I.
- Jim Boeheim
Boeheim essentially made the Syracuse men’s program into the most prestigious basketball program in the world of college basketball during his time. Most of his career was spent on the Orange men’s team. In his early days, he played guard at Syracuse while also serving as team captain. He served as assistant coach for seven seasons afterwards, and then became head coach of the Orange. He has 890 career victories and a national championship under his belt.
- Jim Calhoun
Calhoun arrived in Connecticut in 1986 to a team that struggled to find success during these years. With his leadership, the UConn team has won over 600 games with three national championships, four Final Fours, and seven Big East Tournament titles. His latest title from the NCAA was received in 2011 as he became the oldest coach at 68 years of age in Division I history.
- Dean Smith
Dean Smith became the North Carolina head coach in 1961. He was appointed to the position to try and clean up a struggling Tar Heels program. He not only improved it, but transformed the team into one of the most elite basketball programs in NCAA history. He achieved 879 victories, 11 Final Fours, and two national championships in 1982 and 1993. He also happened to coach arguably the greatest Tar Heel of all time: Michael Jordan.