Some major college athletic programs are football schools. Others are basketball schools. A select few, however, are built for success in both sports.
When looking at the current men’s coaches from NCAA Division I FBS and hoops, Sporting News thought it a question worth asking: Which universities boast the most impressive and accomplished coaching combinations?
Taking into consideration the overall quality of leadership – including past successes and future upsides – SN counts down the top 20 coaching duos in college sports:
20. Louisville: Scott Satterfield and Chris Mack
Combined career record: 282-127 (.689)
Satterfield and Mack are a rising, respected duo to watch. Satterfield went 47-16 at App State while Mack led Louisville back to the NCAA Tournament in his first season. Look for them to restore some of the good feelings lost after Bobby Petrino and Rick Pitino.
19. Virginia: Bronco Mendenhall and Tony Bennett
Combined career record: 438-187 (.701)
Heads up: Recent national titles carry a ton of weight on this list. Bennett’s 2018-19 national title team gets UVA on the list, but Mendenhall also has the potential to make the Cavaliers a consistent bowl contender.
18. Michigan: Jim Harbaugh and Juwan Howard
Combined career record: 67-35 (.657)
The Wolverines love to talk about how important “Michigan men” are to their programs. Now they have former star player power on both their football and basketball teams. Harbaugh has led Michigan to 10-win campaigns in three of his four seasons in Ann Arbor, and Howard is a fine hire in replacement of John Beilein.
17. Ohio State: Ryan Day and Chris Holtmann
Combined career record: 162-109 (.598)
Urban Meyer and Thad Matta were a strong 1-2 punch for awhile, but now the Buckeyes move on to a pair of smart younger minds. Holtmann has coached the Buckeyes to the second round in each of the last two NCAA Tournaments, while Day went 3-0 as interim coach for Meyer in 2018.
16. TCU: Gary Patterson and Jamie Dixon
Combined career record: 563-227 (.713)
Patterson has been a Fort Worth force for a long time, compiling 167-63 record and transitioning nicely from the Mountain West to the Big 12. Dixon is starting to bring some of his Pitt prowess there, too.
15. Auburn: Gus Malzahn and Bruce Pearl
Combined career record: 393-201 (.662)
Malzahn’s best work was with Cam Newton as the OC for Gene Chizik’s natty, but he coached the Tigers to the 2014 BCS title game and New Year’s Day Six bowls in 2016 and ’17. Pearl has seen his side become spectacular, winning the SEC regular-season and conference tournament titles in 2018 and ’19 – plus coaching Auburn to the Final Four in 2019.
14. UCLA: Chip Kelly and Mick Cronin
Combined career record: 414-187 (.689)
This is an upside play for sure, one that banks on Kelly being more Eugene than San Francisco in LA. Cronin can bring that Cincy sensibility to Westwood, too.
13. Texas A&M: Jimbo Fisher and Buzz Williams
Combined career record: 345-182 (.655)
The Aggies were impressive in their successful pursuit of Fisher, not long after his natty at Florida State. Now there should be some, well, Buzz, for hoops with the addition of Williams out of Virginia Tech.
12. Washington: Chris Petersen and Mike Hopkins
Combined career record: 191-60 (.761)
Petersen has carried his Boise State juice over well in Washington, compiling three straight double-digit-win seasons and New Year’s Day Six bowls. Hopkins has proved he learned well from Jim Boeheim at Syracuse. Same success, different turfs.
11. Syracuse: Dino Babers and Jim Boeheim
Combined career record: 1,083-413 (.724)
Speaking of Boeheim. He boasts a natty and career record of 1,047-385 (vacated wins aside), making him only the second coach at the Division I level to cross the 1,000-win mark. His longevity, coupled with Babers’ bright future – he led the Orange to only their seventh-ever double-digit win season in 2018 – have Syracuse on the cusp of the top 10.
10. Georgia: Kirby Smart and Tom Crean
Combined career record: 399-262 (.604)
Smart already has the Bulldogs back in the natty conversation every year, and there’s some hope that Crean can find his Milwaukee and Bloomington best in Athens.
9. Clemson: Dabo Swinney and Brad Brownell
Combined career record: 452-242 (.651)
Swinney has turned Clemson into a national power on the gridiron, punctuated by two natties in four seasons that came against football powerhouse Alabama. That’s a big boost to Brownell, another solid leader of men for the Tigers.
8. Kentucky: Mark Stoops and John Calipari
Combined career record: 786-250 (.751)
Calipari got that natty with Anthony Davis and carries his equity from UMass and Memphis. Stoops getting football firmly on the map with its first 10-win season in 41 years – at a basketball school – can’t be overlooked.
7. Notre Dame: Brian Kelly and Mike Brey
Combined career record: 742-330 (.692)
They have been steady representatives of the proud Fighting Irish together for a while, with some big spikes. Between them and women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw, there’s a lot of stability in South Bend.
6. Kansas: Les Miles and Bill Self
Combined career record: 822-266 (.755)
We told you natties matter, and the Mad Hatter carries one into KU from LSU (it counts). Self has one too with the powerhouse Jayhawks, making this one of only two national title-winning tandems on this list.
5. Alabama: Nick Saban and Nate Oats
Combined career record: 333-106-1 (.757)
Saban’s GOATness – six national titles between two schools and 11 straight seasons with at least 10 wins – combined with Oats’ upside – 59-13 record the last two seasons at Buffalo – rolls the Crimson Tide just inside the top five.
4. Oklahoma: Lincoln Riley and Lon Kruger
Combined career record: 663-413 (.616)
Riley isn’t going anywhere for a while as the offensive wunderkind responsible for back-to-back Heisman quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Kruger has found his best home since those peak Florida days, coaching the Sooners to the NCAA Tournament in six of eight seasons and the Final Four in 2016.
3. Duke: David Cutcliffe and Mike Krzyzewski
Combined career record: 1,243-445 (.736)
Coach K stamps this duo with 1,132 career wins and five national championships, but the offensive-minded, well-liked Cutlcliffe has done a great job to make Blue Devils football relevant enough to have a first-round quarterback.
2. Michigan State: Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo
Combined career record: 731-300 (.709)
Sparty has enjoyed a party with these two guys, with Dantonio bringing the big bowls and Izzo delivering excellence that includes a natty and eight Final Fours.
1. North Carolina: Mack Brown and Roy Williams
Combined career record: 1,109-351-1 (.759)
Roy is 68. Mack is 67. That’s 135 years combined to give us the other double natty combination on this list. Brown led Texas to ultimate glory in 2005 before returning to the Tar Heels. Williams has three titles and nine Final Fours at his alma mater. They are two venerable Southern gentlemen worthy of unparalleled respect – the kings of Chapel Hill.