Judging or ranking a college basketball head coach is always an exercise in futility. Should a coach be judged purely on wins and losses? Championships? Player development? Xs and Os? Recruiting?
The short answer is yes, but balancing all of that is nearly impossible – especially when you consider the massive differences between programs. Judging an NBA head coach doesn’t require one to factor in things like strength of schedule or recruiting, at least not nearly to the extent it matters at the college level.
However, despite the challenges taking on an exercise like this entails, Dana O’Neil and Brian Hamilton of The Athletic set out to place hundreds of current D1 head coaches into tiers for their annual 2022 coach rankings.
And guess what? Mark Few is sitting in the top tier as he should be, alongside a bevy of outstanding peers in the coaching world.
The full article is well worth a read (and a subscription) but here is a look at The Athletic’s top tier, which included eight coaches: Tony Bennett (Virginia) John Calipari (Kentucky) Scott Drew (Baylor) Tom Izzo (Michigan State) Rick Pitino (Iona) Kelvin Sampson (Houston) and Bill Self (Kansas).
With Coach K, Roy Williams, and Jay Wright all calling it quits in the past few years, it’s clear Mark Few has risen to the upper echelon of active head coaches, alongside Tom Izzo, Bill Self, and John Calipari.
Bennett has had extraordinary success with Virginia and their defense-focused strategy, while Scott Drew turned Baylor from laughingstock into a national champion and perennial contender.
There’s little to squabble with on this list, as the job Kelvin Sampson has done at Houston is simply outstanding, and love him or hate him it’s hard not to include Rick Pitino in this tier based on the success he’s had in his career.
Few is one of two coaches on this list (alongside Sampson) without a national championship trophy in his office, a problem he’ll hope to resolve with a loaded roster featuring returners Drew Timme, Julian Strawther, and Rasir Bolton as well as newcomers Malachi Smith and Efton Reid and rising sophomores Hunter Sallis and Nolan Hickman.
Host – Locked on Zags Podcast
Writer – Ducks Wire