College basketball's coaching ranks are in the midst of a generational transition that is changing the sport's face and does not appear to be slowing. Last season marked the first since 1987-88 in which Roy Williams was not patrolling the sidelines at either Kansas or North Carolina, and this season marks the first since 1979-80 that Mike Krzyzewski will not be coaching Duke.
With Villanova's Jay Wright retiring at 60, Tubby Smith calling it a career and others like Tom Crean and Ben Howland out of work after last season, some of the sport's more recognizable names are no longer in the game. Other legends such as Michigan State's Tom Izzo (67), Houston's Kelvin Sampson (67), Tennessee's Rick Barnes (68), West Virginia's Bob Huggins (69), Iona's Rick Pitino (70), Miami's Jim Larranaga (73), Florida State's Leonard Hamilton (74) and Syracuse's Jim Boeheim (77) are either approaching or enjoying the twilight of their careers.
So, as the 2022-23 season gets underway, who are the sport's best coaches? While historical accomplishments must count for something, there are reasons why Boeheim and Pitino are not among the top 10 college basketball coaches, as ranked by our panelists. They are on the list of the top 26, but a generation has risen behind them -- led by Kansas' Bill Self, Gonzaga's Mark Few and Baylor's Scott Drew -- to comprise a new guard in the sport.
To decide the Top 25 And 1 best college basketball coaches, Gary Parrish, Matt Norlander, Kyle Boone and David Cobb each submitted their own ballots that were then combined to make a composite ranking. While each panelist brought their own criteria to the evaluation, the overarching theme was to rank the coaches off who is the best at running a program.
Some panelists stumped hard for candidates who did not make the list, and there is sure to be disagreement over the order, inclusion and exclusion of some names. We'll return to the topic next week with a Dribble Handoff piece on the biggest snubs and fan the flames even more.
But for now, here is the collective ranking of the Top 25 and 1 college basketball coaches as the 2022-23 season gets underway.
Top 25 And 1 college basketball coaches
-- As selected by voting from CBS Sports' Gary Parrish, Matt Norlander, Kyle Boone and David Cobb
1. Bill Self, Kansas
As Self embarks on Year 20 at Kansas, he is 16 for 19 on winning or sharing the Big 12 regular-season title, has nine Big 12 Tournament titles and two national championships. If not for the premature ending to the 2020 season, he may have a third national title to his credit. With Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski and Jay Wright out of the sport and others of their generation nearing the end, Self is the dean of the sport's coaches. Though he is serving a self-imposed four-game suspension to begin this season as the school awaits its ruling for alleged NCAA violations, it would take an unexpectedly thunderous ruling from the IARP to knock Self off his perch. He is 59 and should have many good seasons ahead of him in the profession.
2. Mark Few, Gonzaga
Few is still seeking his first national title, but even without that crowning achievement, it's still remarkable what he's accomplished at Gonzaga. Now in his 24th season with the Bulldogs, Few is 658-129 and has never missed an NCAA Tournament. Few's teams have been a No. 1 seed in each of the past three Big Dances as their talent has increased along with the program's national profile. No longer is this a program maximizing lesser-heralded prospects as the little engine that could. While there is still plenty of player development going on at Gonzaga, it also is also a destination for big-time prospects and transfers now because of the program Few has built and because of its growing track record for producing NBA talent.
3. Scott Drew, Baylor
Drew took over at Baylor in 2003 with the program in the depths of despair. The Bears had little history to draw upon and plenty of scandal to impede its rise. It didn't happen overnight, but he's built Baylor into a true national power. As Drew enters his 20th season on the job, Baylor has been a No. 1 seed in consecutive NCAA Tournaments, is a regular destination for one-and-done talent and is an annual threat to win the Big 12. At just 52, he is already a three-time Big 12 Coach of the Year and Baylor's winningest coach by nearly 200 games.
4. John Calipari, Kentucky
Seven seasons have passed since Kentucky last made a Final Four, and those years have featured their share of disappointing final outcomes. But there remains no more recognizable coach in the game than Calipari, who is embarking on his 14th season at Kentucky with a team picked to win the SEC. He won the 2012 national title with a historically dominant team and also took UMass and Memphis to Final Fours, though they were later vacated. While Kentucky fans are getting antsy for another deep postseason run, Calipari continues to recruit at a top-notch level and is a three-time Naismith Coach of the Year with enough tread on the tires to continue building on his already immense legacy.
5. Kelvin Sampson, Houston
Whether at Montana Tech, Washington State, Oklahoma, Indiana or now at Houston, all Sampson does is win. His resume is missing a national title but not much else. If not for a farcical NCAA investigation that resulted in a five-year show-cause during his second season at Indiana in 2008, Sampson would be even more accomplished. Even with that blemish, which led to a six-year detour into the NBA assistant ranks, Sampson has proven himself as one of the profession's elite minds. His reconstruction of Houston into a national power shows how, at 67, he remains at the top of his game. His Cougars are again expected to compete for the national title this season.
6. Tony Bennett, Virginia
Virginia missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013 last season, but it looks like just a momentary downturn for a program that was either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the Big Dance five times from 2014 to 2019. That run of unprecedented dominance for the Cavaliers was highlighted by a 2019 national title, the first in program history. Virginia won just one NCAA Tournament game in the 14 seasons before Bennett's arrival for the 2009-10 season. The fact that he's turned them into a national power is clear evidence that he's among the best in the profession. At 53, he is also younger than any of those ahead of him on the list.
7. Tom Izzo, Michigan State
Now in his 28th season, Izzo is among the most-respected in the profession by his peers. The 2000 national title highlights his resume, but Izzo has taken the Spartans to a whopping eight Final Fours and captured 10 Big Ten regular season titles. His knack for getting the most out of his teams in March is uncanny, as evidenced by the fact that he's taken two No. 5 seeds (2005, 2010) to Final Fours as well as a No. 7 seed (2015). At 67, he may be entering the twilight phase of his coaching journey, but he continues to lead the Spartans to the NCAA Tournament on an annual basis. The last time Michigan State missed the Big Dance was 1997 in Izzo's second season.
8. Bruce Pearl, Auburn
Basketball was an afterthought at Auburn with little winning history before Pearl's arrival for the 2014-15 season. After serving a three-year NCAA show-cause penalty stemming from the unceremonious ending to his otherwise excellent tenure at Tennessee, he's turned the Tigers into one of the SEC's top programs. Auburn made its first Final Four in 2019 under Pearl and earned a No. 2 seed last season following its second regular season conference title of his tenure. He can be a polarizing figure, and nobody is accusing him of being the game's cleanest coach. But the energy and success Pearl has brought to a pair of previously floundering SEC programs prove his coaching acumen.
9. Mick Cronin, UCLA
Cronin wasn't even close to being UCLA's first choice, but as he embarks on his fourth season with the Bruins, it's clear he was the right choice. His first squad staged a remarkable late-season rally to finish second in the Pac-12, his second team made an improbable Final Four run and his third team finished 27-8 with a Sweet 16 appearance. He's returned one of the sport's most historic programs to its rightful place in the pecking order and has a 2022-23 roster capable of challenging for the program's first national title since 1995. At 51, he's the youngest coach in our top 10, and it's easy to envision Cronin landing even higher in the years to come as some of the sport's elder statesmen retire.
10. Eric Musselman, Arkansas
In just his eighth season as a college head coach, Musselman is relatively green compared to his peers. But the former head coach of the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors has been an absolute rockstar at Arkansas. Musselman guided the Razorbacks to an Elite Eight in 2021 during just his second season on the job and took them back again last year. Now, in Year 4, he's got the nation's No. 2 freshman class and an excellent group of transfers that appear to comprise his most talented team yet. For other coaches, blending so many new faces might be daunting, but not for Musselman. He pioneered a now-common transfer-heavy approach in four seasons at Nevada and has seamlessly implemented the philosophy in the SEC.
11. Rick Pitino, Iona
Pitino is proving that he's still got it even at age 70. He's 37-14 in two seasons at Iona and has taken the Gaels to an NCAA Tournament and an NIT. This year's squad is the preseason pick to win the MAAC. Though his 16-year run at Louisville ended in flames and the program's 2013 national title was vacated, his winning track record dates back to stints at Boston and Providence in the 1980s. After time in the NBA, he won 81.4% of his games and the 1996 national title during an eight-year run at Kentucky that began with the adversity of a two-year postseason ban because of the program's past transgressions. Say what you want about Pitino, but he is a winner.
12. Matt Painter, Purdue
Painter is often overlooked in the national discussion of the profession's greats. While he lacks the high-end NCAA Tournament success experienced by those above him on the list, he is among the most consistently successful coaches in the sport. A four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, Painter has led the Boilermakers to the past seven NCAA Tournaments. He's been to five Sweet 16s in 17 years on the job but is still in search of that legacy-defining deep March run.
13. Chris Beard, Texas
Beard grinded from student manager to graduate assistant, to low-major assistant, to community college head coach. The list goes on, but you get the picture. He finally got his first Division I head coaching opportunity at Little Rock in the 2015-16 season and has been on a rocket ship ever since. After winning 30 games at Little Rock in his only season, he took Texas Tech to the Elite Eight during Year 2 and to the national title game in Year 3. Beginning his second season now at Texas at age 49, Beard is positioned to be a major player on the national scene for quite a while.
14. Rick Barnes, Tennessee
Barnes has been fielding good basketball teams at orange-wearing football schools for the past three decades. His postseason track record is tepid, but his reputation as a program builder is rock solid. Tennessee was in a bad spot following the ill-advised one-year tenure of Donnie Tyndall when Barnes arrived for the 2015-16 season. He dug the Volunteers out of that hole and has created a steady winner with both a SEC regular season title (2018) and tournament title last season that was the program's first since 1979. Previously, he made 16 NCAA Tournaments in 17 seasons at Texas.
15. Leonard Hamilton, Florida State
Florida State began this season with a surprising loss to Stetson, but Hamilton's legacy is secure. In his 21st year with the Seminoles, he's made FSU one of the ACC's most consistent programs and a destination for high-end talent. Even after missing the Big Dance last season, Florida State has still been to the Sweet 16 in three of the past five NCAA Tournaments. His 2019-20 team that finished 26-5 and won the ACC regular season title could have been a legacy-enhancing NCAA Tournament squad if not for the event's cancellation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
16. Bob Huggins, West Virginia
Huggins was inducted to the Naismith Hall of Fame this year as he now trails only Syracue's Jim Boeheim in wins among active coaches. Now in Year 16 at West Virginia, Huggins could use a good season to get the Mountaineers back on the trajectory they enjoyed earlier in his tenure. But with Final Four appearances at both Cincinnati and WVU on his resume, Huggins' place as a great among his coaching peers -- both active and all-time -- is secure.
17. Chris Holtmann, Ohio State
Ohio State begins Holtman's sixth season unranked, but the Buckeyes found their way into the top 15 at some point during each of his first five years. Counting his three-season stint at Butler, Holtman has reached 20 or more victories all eight years that's been a power conference head coach. He's made it past the NCAA Tournament's first weekend only once but has been a Coach of the Year in all three conferences where he's worked.
18. Tommy Lloyd, Arizona
Though he's been a head coach for just one season, the early returns on Lloyd are so promising that he must be considered among the top coaches in the sport. He inherited a team that finished 17-9 while suffering through a postseason ban and molded a roster with many of the same players into a 33-4 team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Lloyd also gets some credit for the 21 years he spent helping Mark Few build Gonzaga into a national power.
19. Hubert Davis, North Carolina
Davis is another second-year coach keeping elite company because of what he accomplished in Year 1 and because of his noteworthy history as a high-profile assistant. North Carolina struggled at times during the regular season in Davis' first season but turned it on late and made an improbable run to the national championship game. The former UNC star guard was also on staff for the program's 2017 national title.
20. Brad Underwood, Illinois
Underwood is starting his sixth season at Illinois with a squad expected to compete for a conference title. He has posted three straight 20 win seasons and has picked up Big Ten Tournament (2021) and regular season titles (2022) over the past two seasons. The 58-year old former longtime assistant to Frank Martin also took Stephen F. Austin and Oklahoma State dancing during short tenures at those schools.
21. Ed Cooley, Providence
Cooley led Providence to a school-record five straight NCAA Tournament appearances between 2014 and 2018, but his finest work yet came last season. The Frias won a Big East regular season title after being picked to finish seventh in the conference. The breakthrough season, which ended with the program's first Sweet 16 appearance since 1997, resulted in Cooley earning Naismith Coach of the Year.
22. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
In his 47th season, Boeheim is Syracuse basketball. Even before his head coaching stint began in 1976, he was part of the program for a decade as a player and assistant. Now, with his 78th birthday coming this month, Boeheim is No. 2 on the NCAA's all-time wins list and has five Final Four appearances along with the 2003 national championship highlighting his resume. Though the program is no longer at peak strength, the Orange have made three Sweet 16s with Boeheim in his 70s.
23. Dana Altman, Oregon
Altman is among the more unassuming coaches on the list, but his work at Creighton and Oregon over the past three decades speaks for itself. Of the Ducks' eight regular season conference titles in the past 100+ years, four have come under Altman. In 2017, he guided the program to its first Final Four since 1939.
24. Randy Bennett, Saint Mary's
Mark Few gets more attention, but Bennett has been racking up wins in the West Coast Conference for nearly as long. Now in his 22nd season as the Gaels' coach, Bennett is responsible for eight of the program's 11 NCAA Tournament appearances. St. Mary's has won 20 or more games in 14 of the past 15 seasons.
25. Greg McDermott, Creighton
McDermott took Creighton to its first Sweet 16 since 1974 in 2021, lost all five starters from that team and still won an NCAA Tournament game last season. Though it's hard to quantify, McDermott also deserves a lot of credit for reestablishing the program after its transition from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Big East for the 2013-14 season.
And 1: Juwan Howard, Michigan
Howard represents the best of a recent trend that has seen several former star players return to coach their alma maters after playing and/or coaching stints in the NBA. With Elite Eight and Sweet 16 runs in his first two NCAA Tournaments, Howard has proven himself to be a coach who can get a lot out of his team in big moments.