Four Corners: Who's the second-best basketball coach behind John Wooden?

March 29, 2010

Coach K is a lock
Mike Anthony

Hartford Courant

If Mike Krzyzewski stepped aside tomorrow it might be difficult, though not impossible, to argue that he is the second-greatest, or even greatest, coach of all time. But at 63, and with no indications of tiring, he's not going away.

We know what the future holds for Coach K and Duke: 25 victories a season. When Krzyzewski is done, he'll sit atop the NCAA Division I all-time wins list with well over 900.

As the U.S. national team coach, he led the "Redeem Team" to gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. He and his program have become synonymous with excellence, remaining a cut above the rest and avoiding controversy. Bob Knight, Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith and others deserve consideration. But considering what he's done, and what we know he'll do, Coach K sits right behind Wooden.

manthony@tribune.com

Consistently great
Andrew Carter

Orlando Sentinel

After John Wooden, you could argue that a lot of coaches deserve to be considered second-best. Dean Smith would certainly be in the discussion. Bob Knight, too.

But at this point, it'd be difficult for anyone to make a better case than the one that exists for Mike Krzyzewski. His players graduate, his program has never run afoul of the NCAA and Krzyzewski has maintained a high level at Duke during an era of unprecedented player attrition.

If you need a reminder about how difficult it is to maintain that kind of consistency in today's college basketball, look at North Carolina, which failed to make the NCAA tournament just one season after winning the national championship.

acarterb@tribune.com

He was the Dean
Shannon Ryan

Chicago Tribune

It's hard to pick just one statistic that stands out about Dean Smith.

The 65 NCAA tournament victories? His 11 Final Four appearances? That 13-year stretch of reaching at least the Sweet 16?

The sheer amount of winning he did after resurrecting North Carolina is indisputably impressive.

Maybe the best way to judge coaches is by the players they develop. Smith coached nine consensus first-team All-Americans and 13 Olympians.

He also graduated 96 percent of his lettermen and integrated his teams in 1966.

With an 879-254 record and two national championships, Smith is one of the best to ever coach college basketball. Only John Wooden can be called a better coach.

sryan@tribune.com

There's only 1 choice
Nick Mathews

Newport News

Daily Press

John Wooden is the greatest coach in college basketball history. With 10 NCAA championships in 12 years and 885 victories, there's no doubt. The second-best men's coach would be a heck of a debate: Adolph Rupp, Bob Knight, Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith all are worthy of discussion.

But the second-best coach in college basketball - as our question is presented - offers no debate. Pat Summitt. Period. The Queen of Rocky Top is the Wizard of Westwood of the women's game. She has the most victories of any Division I coach, men's or women's, and eight NCAA titles. And she built Tennessee into a powerhouse that is surpassed in basketball circles only by Wooden's UCLA dynasty.

nmathews@tribune.com

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