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The Best Coaching Records Includes A Surprise

And half the list coached in the ACC

Duke v Michigan State
These legends are on the list, but look who’s closing in on ninth place.
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

When we saw that five former ACC head coaches ranked among the top 10 all-time in career Division I victories, we were both impressed and surprised to see one name among the Hall of Famers. This immediately suggested posting a quiz instead of a chart, or a chart that can also serve as a quiz.

So here we are.

Among the coaches in the top 10 in career wins (Division I and Division II included by NCAA reckoning), one remains quietly active, operating along the periphery of the big-time. He was twice voted the ACC Coach of the Year. Two of his teams finished in the ACC’s upper division during 10 regular seasons.

He is the only coach in NCAA history to win at least 170 games at each of four different schools. He was voted national coach of the year, but not while working in the ACC.

Three of his ACC squads earned NCAA bids and between them won four times.. Three advanced to the Sweet 16.

One of his players was voted ACC Player of the Year.

He attended an ACC school, but not the one at which he coached.

None of his teams ever won the ACC Tournament.

He did not play college basketball.

Unlike the other four copious ACC winners, he was head coach at more than two schools during his career, four in Division I. He’s had a knack for jumping from low-profile job to low-profile job, doing well enough to remain employed without making much of a splash.

And we must mention that he’s a guitarist and beach music maven, and likely the best singer among ACC coaches in at least the last four decades.

Most Career Wins By Division I Men’s Coaches
(NCAA Standing Adjusted To Exclude Division II Records) ;
Coach, Last DI School W-L W% Division I Schools
Mike Krzyzewski, D 1202-368 .766 Army, Duke
Jim Boeheim, SU 1015-441 .697 Syracuse**
Bob Huggins, WVa* 864-388 .690 West Virginia, Akron, Cinn., Kan State
Jim Calhoun, UConn* 873-397 .687 Northeastern, Connecticut
Roy Williams, NC 903-261 .774 Kansas, North Carolina
Bob Knight, Ind. 902-371 .709 Army, Indiana, Texas Tech
Dean Smith, NC 879-254 .776 North Carolina
Adolph Rupp, UK 876-190 .822 Kentucky
Jim Phelan, MSM 830-524 .613 Mount St. Mary's
Cliff Ellis, Coastal Car.% 829-562 .586 So. Ala, Clemson, Auburn, Coastal Car
* Excludes Division II record at Walsh (Huggins, 71-26), St. Joseph’s (Calhoun, 47-17).
** NCAA voided an additional 101 DI wins for cheating.
% Includes 1-3 record in 2023-24 through Nov. 15. ;