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Best All-Time College Basketball Coach

Who is the best college basketball coach of all time? There is a plethora of deserving individuals to choose from so, in many cases, a person's choice will be the name they are most familiar with. Ultimately though, the list can be narrowed to four coaches who all have a more or less equal case for the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) designation: Bob Knight, Mike Kryzyzewski, Dean Smith, and Adolph Rupp.

So, who to choose? All four were (or are) the face of an illustrious national program. All four are above the sanctified 800 wins mark and have won more than one national title. In the end, I chose Adolph Rupp because he provided the strongest collective resume of the four coaches and dominated the sport far more thoroughly than any of the others.

Let me make the case for Rupp point by point.

Adolph Rupp
Legendary coach of Kentucky Wildcats Adolph Rupp.
Thanks to wikipedia.org for the picture.

First, Rupp coached the Kentucky Wildcats from 1930-1972. As a result of his forty-two year tenure, Rupp constructed an unparalleled resume. His 876 wins are third on the all time list but only 26 total behind Bob Knight; a fairly negligible number. Furthermore, unlike Knight, whose longtime tenure at Indiana was so controversial that he was eventually sacked, Rupp was the embodiment of Kentucky basketball. He constructed the program virtually from scratch and saw it dominate the sport completely in the 1940s and 1950s with four national titles in seven appearances.

Of these four, Dean Smith comes closest to challenging Adolph Rupp for the title of top college basketball coach ever.

Dean Smith.
Dean Smith at a North Carolina game on February 10, 2007.
Thanks to Miranda on wikipedia.org for the picture .

Like Rupp, Smith was the embodiment of college basketball at an illustrious institution; in his case North Carolina. The two coaches' win totals are almost identical. However, what distinguishes Rupp from Smith is the former's absolute dominance of the sport in his era. Whereas Rupp won four titles in seven "final four" appearances and won the SEC tournament almost every year, Dean Smith battled with Duke rival Kryzyzewski and Bob Knight's Hoosiers for much of his career and only won two NCAA national titles compared to Rupp's four.

As a result, the only logical conclusion is that Adolph Rupp is the best all-time college basektball coach.

For a different opinion, check out John Wooden Was The Best All-Time College Basketball Coach.

One thing all the top college basketball coaches have in common is that they stress the fundamentals. To read more about how to be an effective baskeball coach, check out Simply Youth Basketball.


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