Skip to main content

FootballScoop Top 10: Football/basketball coaching combos

Lansing State Journal

Lansing State Journal

We're in the midst of the NCAA Tournament, at the tail end of those three days between the first and second weekend that feel like three weeks, and since this is a football coaching website, it only felt right to rank the top 10 football and basketball coaching duos.

1. Michigan State (Mark Dantonio/Tom Izzo): You can't argue with results, and the Dantonio/Izzo combination has led the Spartans to become the only program to win a bowl game and reach the Sweet 16 in each of the last four years. Michigan State is 53-14 on the gridiron over the past four years with three division championships, a Big Ten title and back-to-back New Year's Six victories, while Izzo has made his name synonymous with the month of March with one national title, six Final Fours, eight Elite Eights and a dozen Sweet 16s. All at a school with less natural resources than Michigan and Ohio State.

2. Duke (David Cutcliffe/Mike Krzyzewski): Coach K's accomplishments stand above everyone else currently going in college football and basketball - 1,013 wins, four national championships, eight national championship games, 11 Final Fours, 13 Elite Eights, 25 combined ACC regular season/tournament championships. As for Cutcliffe you try going 19-8 with an ACC championship game appearance over a two-year span at Duke.

3. Ohio State (Urban Meyer/Thad Matta): Matta has been down the past two seasons leaving the NCAA Tournament in the first round in 2014 and second round in 2015, but the four years prior were positively Izzo-like. Two straight Sweet 16s, a Final Four and then an Elite Eight, plus a national championship appearance back in 2007. And then you get to Urban. Regarded as the top of his profession at the moment, Meyer is 38-3 (35-1 in the regular season and a school record 24-0 in regular season Big Ten play) with a national title.

4. Michigan (Jim Harbaugh/John Beilein): Beilein took the Wolverines to the national title game in 2013 and pushed Kentucky in the Elite Eight last year, but he hasn't advanced Michigan past the first weekend in any of his six other seasons in Ann Arbor, including missing the tournament entirely this spring. That's okay, though, because Michigan is the only school on this list employing a coach with a Super Bowl appearance, three straight NFC title games and an Orange Bowl victory on his ledger.

5. Louisville (Bobby Petrino/Rick Pitino): Petrino went 41-9 with two conference championships and two top 10 finishes in his first stint at Louisville, then returned in 2014 with a 9-4 debut. (Let's not talk about the stops in between.) And if not for Coach K, Pitino would have a strong argument for college basketball's most impressive resume going - 730 career wins, two national titles, seven Final Fours, 20 combined conference regular season/tournament championships. He's led Louisville to four straight Sweet 16 or better finishes, including the 2012 Final Four and a national championship in 2015.

6. Oklahoma (Bob Stoops/Lon Kruger): The Sooners may not be at the heights they enjoyed during the early portion of the last decade - when Stoops led OU to the 2000 national championship and New Year's Six games from 2000-04 while their hardwood counterparts reached the 2002 Final Four and 2003 Elite Eight - but you'd be hard pressed to find a surer bit for postseason trips than the duo currently in place in Norman. Stoops has more 12-or-more win seasons (six) than eight-or-under win seasons (four), plus a room full of Big 12 and major bowl trophies. The only coach in college basketball history to lead five different programs to the NCAA Tournament, Kruger has pushed Oklahoma to three straight NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet 16 berth this year.

7. Arizona (Rich Rodriguez/Sean Miller): Rich Rod will hit the 150 career victory mark this fall with six New Year's Day bowl appearances, plus the 2014 Pac-12 South championship. The youngest coach to appear on this list thus far, Miller went 120-47 in five seasons at Xavier before landing at Arizona, where he's led the Wildcats to three 30-plus win seasons in their last five campaigns, plus four Sweet 16 or better tournament showings since 2011.

8. Auburn (Gus Malzahn/Bruce Pearl): Malzahn has posted one of the best three-year starts in recent college football history, going 29-10 at Arkansas State and Auburn while winning the 2013 SEC championship and coming within a breath of winning the national championship. Pearl is currently trying to get a cellar-dwelling Auburn program off the ground, but led Tennessee to back-to-back Sweet 16s in 2007-08 and an Elite Eight trip in 2010.

9. Baylor (Art Briles/Scott Drew): Art Briles has accomplished something at Baylor that current or future College Football Hall of Fame coaches Tom Osborne, Bill Snyder, Mack Brown and R.C. Slocum never did - win back-to-back Big 12 championships. Briles has gone 22-4 over the last two years and 40-12 over the past four at a school that finished dead last in the Big 12 South 10 times in the 11 seasons prior to his arrival. Drew has had a similar (though not as hardware-laden) effect on the Baylor basketball program, guiding the Bears to the Elite Eight in 2010 and 2012 and the Sweet 16 in 2014.

10. Harvard (Tim Murphy/Tommy Amaker): No one has run their block in the past four years like Harvard in the Ivy League. Tim Murphy has led Harvard to at least a share of eight Ivy League championships, including three of the last four while compiling a 36-4 record. After an unsuccessful stint at Michigan, Amaker has laid claim to at least a share of five consecutive Ivy League crowns (league record: 59-11) and has pushed the Crimson into four straight NCAA Tournaments, winning first-round games in 2013 and 2014.

Also receiving consideration: Kansas State (Bill Snyder/Bruce Weber), Notre Dame (Brian Kelly/Mike Brey), West Virginia (Dana Holgorsen/Bob Huggins), Kentucky (Mark Stoops/John Calipari), North Carolina (Larry Fedora/Roy Williams), Virginia Tech (Frank Beamer/Buzz Williams), UCLA (Jim Mora/Steve Alford), Oregon (Mark Helfrich/Dana Altman), Georgia (Mark Richt/Mark Fox), Utah (Kyle Whittingham/Larry Krystkowiak), Wisconsin (Bo Ryan/Paul Chryst), Arkansas (Bret Bielema/Mike Anderson), Texas (Charlie Strong/Rick Barnes), Oklahoma State (Mike Gundy/Travis Ford), Cincinnati (Tommy Tuberville/Mick Cronin), N.C. State (Dave Doeren/Mark Gottfried), San Diego State (Rocky Long/Steve Fisher), Dayton (Rick Chamberlin/Archie Miller), North Dakota State (Chris Klieman/David Richman), Northern Iowa (Mark Farley/Ben Jacobson), Villanova (Andy Talley/Jay Wright).