40 Great Coaches
MSNsportsNET.com is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the WVU Coliseum – the history behind its construction, as well as the top players, coaches and teams to play in the facility over the last 40 years. Be sure to stop back tomorrow to see our list of the 40 greatest scoring performances in Coliseum history.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Georgetown’s John Thompson lumbered into the Jerry West Room to talk to reporters after his team’s harder-than-expected 86-83 overtime victory over West Virginia before more than 15,000 rabid fans at the WVU Coliseum on Dec. 1, 1995.
He was relieved his sixth-ranked Hoyas pulled out the game but perturbed with the way they played, getting down by as many as 12 points in the first half before choosing to go to his bench.
It was the first game for the Mountaineers as members of the Big East Conference, the school issuing special programs, pins and tickets to commemorate the momentous occasion. Students spent a little extra time getting their vocal chords ready to taunt Thompson, Iverson, Page, White, Aw and the Gang. Everybody else whipped themselves into a frenzy as well.
Some of the Hoya players commented on the crazy atmosphere at the Coliseum after the game.
“We had heard about the cannon,” said forward Boubacar Aw when asked about the Mountaineer mascot and his musket. “But the first time the guy shot it behind us everybody just looked around. I didn’t know what to expect from the canon and when they shot it I just jumped.”
Center Jahidi White was equally uncomfortable.
“I’d never been in a game where people threw anything on the floor,” he said. “The crowd here is hectic. It’s almost like playing the team and the crowd. You have to try and block the crowd out and just play your game.”
Thompson, who had coached in Final Fours and NCAA title games, had seen this scene many times before.
“What can you say but welcome to the Big East,” is how he began his post-game press conference.
Some West Virginia reporters wanted more. They wanted him to comment on what a wild and wooly place the Coliseum was and how those crazy students made things so difficult for him. Thompson wouldn’t have any of it.
A student sitting in the crowd, who turned out to be a worker for the school’s sports communications department, asked Thompson what he thought of the atmosphere inside the arena.
Was it loud? Was he bothered by it? Did it affect his players?
She was obviously being told by one of her superiors to ask these questions in an effort to fish for a stock quote from one of the game’s premier coaches to be used at a later time. The transparency of the questions wasn’t lost on Thompson.
His 6-foot-10 inch body slumped down toward the podium, Thompson peered over his reading glasses and a wry smile appeared on his face as he formulated what he thought was the right response to all of her questions.
“Young lady,” he began in a voice much softer than the one he used on his players just minutes beforehand, “have you ever been to the Carrier Dome?”
That was the only question Thompson was asked about the raucous atmosphere at the WVU Coliseum.
The master had just worked over the press room the same way he had worked over the Mountaineers down on the Coliseum floor.
40 Great Opposing Coaches for 40 Years of the WVU Coliseum
40. Jim O’Brien (2-5 at the Coliseum)
Led Ohio State to the Final Four in 1999 and Boston College to an Elite Eight appearance in 1994 while owning 286 career wins at St. Bonaventure, Boston College and Ohio State.
39. Pat Kennedy (1-0 at the Coliseum)
Has led three different programs (Iona, Florida State and DePaul) to a total of eight NCAA tournament appearances and is approaching 500 career wins … Now coaching Towson.
38. Mike Jarvis (1-5 at the Coliseum)
Made nine NCAA tournament appearances with three different teams, including leading George Washington to the Sweet 16 and St. John’s to the Elite Eight … Recently eclipsed 600 wins for his career … Now coaching Florida Atlantic.
37. Tom Crean (0-2 at the Coliseum)
Has made five NCAA tournament trips and a Final Four appearance with Marquette in 2003 … Now coaching at Indiana … As of Jan. 12, he owns a 215-150 career record … Claire Bee coach of the year 2003.
36. Steve Lavin (1-0 at the Coliseum)
Led UCLA to NCAA tournament appearances in six of his seven years there, including five Sweet 16 appearances and one trip to the Elite Eight … Now coaching St. John’s … As of Jan. 12, he owns a 155-81 career record.
35. Jim Phelan (0-2 at the Coliseum)
Finished his outstanding coaching career with 830 wins, which ranks sixth all-time … He made two NCAA tournament appearances with Mount St. Mary’s after the Mountaineers moved up from the Division II ranks.
34. Tom Young (2-7 at the Coliseum)
Led Rutgers to the Final Four in 1976 and had a total of five NCAA tournament appearances during a 22-year coaching career with American, Rutgers and Old Dominion … His career record was 391-239.
33. Mike Brey (4-2 at the Coliseum)
As of Jan. 12, owns a 324-168 record in his 16th year of coaching at Notre Dame and Delaware … He has made eight trips to the NCAA tournament, including a pair of Sweet 16s with the Irish.
32. John Thompson III (1-2 at the Coliseum)
The son of legendary coach John Thompson, JT3 has made six NCAA tournament appearances with Princeton and Georgetown and took the Hoyas to the Final Four in 2007 … As of Jan. 12, his 11-year record is 219-108.
31. Jim Larranaga (0-1 at the Coliseum)
Has made four NCAA trips including leading George Mason to the Final Four in 2006 … As of Jan. 12 owns a 426-306 career record in 25 seasons coaching mid-majors Bowling Green and George Mason … Claire Bee coach of the year 2006.
30. Don DeVoe (4-1 at the Coliseum)
Produced a career 512-389 in 31 seasons with stops at Virginia Tech, Wyoming, Tennessee, Florida and Navy … Made 10 trips to the NCAA tournament, including one Sweet 16 appearance with Tennessee in 1981.
29. Fred Schaus (1-0 at the Coliseum)
First coach to ever lead teams to the NCAA, NIT and NBA finals … Won 251 games in 12 college seasons coaching at West Virginia and Purdue with seven NCAA tournament appearances … Also led the Los Angeles Lakers to seven consecutive playoff appearances in the NBA.
28. Bill Foster (0-1 at the Coliseum)
First coach in NCAA history to lead four different programs to 20-win seasons at Rutgers, Utah, Duke and South Carolina … Led the Blue Devils to the NCAA finals in 1978 where they lost to Kentucky … Had a 422-398 career record in 33 seasons, losing a total of 141 games at Northwestern during his final seven years on the bench.
27. Dr. Tom Davis (2-0 at the Coliseum)
Made 11 NCAA tournament trips, including a pair of NCAA Elite Eight appearances with Boston College and Iowa … Posted a career 598-355 record in 32 seasons with Lafayette, Boston College, Stanford, Iowa and Drake … AP coach of the year in 1987.
26. Tom Penders (3-1 at the Coliseum)
Made 11 NCAA tournament trips during a 33-year coaching career with stops at Tufts, Columbia, Fordham, Rhode Island, Texas, George Washington and Houston … Had a career 650-446 record.
25. Ralph Miller (0-1 at the Coliseum)
Ten NCAA tournament appearances including a pair of Elite Eight trips during a 38-year coaching career, mostly with Oregon State … Twice named national coach of the year in 1981 and 1982 and finished with a career 657-382 record.
24. Jay Wright (1-3 at the Coliseum)
Led Villanova to the 2009 Final Four and a trip to the Elite Eight in 2006 … Has made eight trips to the NCAA tournament and as of Jan. 12 owns a 339-185 record in 17 seasons at Hofstra and Villanova … Naismith coach of the year in 2006.
23. Digger Phelps (2-1 at the Coliseum)
Made 15 NCAA tournament appearances, including a trip to the Final Four with Notre Dame in 1978 … Also had one Elite Eight and six Sweet 16 appearances during a 21-year coaching career that ended with a career 419-200 record.
22. Thad Matta (0-1 at the Coliseum)
Led Ohio State to the NCAA finals in 2007 and has made eight trips to the NCAA tournament with Butler, Xavier and Ohio State … Has the No. 1-ranked team in the country this year … As of Jan. 12, owns a career record of 274-89 in 11 seasons.
21. Hugh Durham (0-1 at the Coliseum)
The first and only coach in NCAA history to lead two different programs to the Final Four for the first and only time in each school’s history: Florida State in 1972 and Georgia in 1983 … Made a total of eight NCAA appearances and finished with a career 633-429 record in 37 seasons with Florida State, Georgia and Jacksonville.
20. Terry Holland (1-4 at the Coliseum)
Took Virginia to the Final Four in 1981 and 1984 and finished with a career 418-216 record in 21 seasons at Davidson and Virginia … Made 10 NCAA tournament appearances (one at Davidson and nine at Virginia).
19. Rick Barnes (0-1 at the Coliseum)
Has made 18 NCAA tournament appearances, including one trip to the Final Four with Texas … Has 12 straight NCAA appearances with the Longhorns and as of Jan. 12, owns a career 508-252 record in 24 seasons with George Mason, Providence, Clemson and Texas.
18. Jamie Dixon (3-4 at the Coliseum)
One of only six coaches in NCAA history to win 30 games in his first season and has led Pitt to NCAA tournament appearances all seven seasons coaching the Panthers … Has an Elite Eight and two Sweet 16 appearances … As of Jan. 12, owns a career 203-55 record … Naismith and USA national coach of the year in 2009 and Jim Phelan coach of the year in 2010.
17. Norm Sloan (0-1 at the Coliseum)
Led NC State to the 1974 NCAA title and had 12 20-win seasons during a 33-year coaching career at The Citadel, Florida and NC State … Made six NCAA tournament appearances and had a career 555-357 record.
16. Ben Howland (2-2 at the Coliseum)
Led UCLA to three consecutive Final Fours including a trip to the NCAA finals in 2006 … Has made eight total trips to the NCAA tournament with Northern Arizona, Pitt and UCLA with a pair of Sweet 16 appearances with the Panthers … As of Jan. 12, owns a career 343-177 record … Naismith coach of the year in 2002.
15. Lefty Driesell (1-1 at the Coliseum)
Ranks 13th in NCAA history in all-time wins with 786 over a 41-year coaching career that included stops at Davidson, Maryland, James Madison and Georgia State … Made 13 NCAA tournament appearances with four different programs with four Elite Eight trips and four Sweet 16 appearances … Had 22 20-win seasons.
14. John Chaney (5-9 at the Coliseum)
Ranks 20th in NCAA history in all-time wins with 741 during a 34-year coaching career with Cheyney State and Temple … Led Cheyney State to the Division II title in 1978 and made 16 NCAA tournament appearances with Temple, including 12 straight from 1990-2001 … Made five Elite Eight trips and had 23 20-win seasons.
13. Gene Bartow (0-1 at the Coliseum)
Led three different schools to NCAA tournament appearances during a 30-year coaching career that included stops at Valparaiso, Memphis, Illinois, UCLA and Alabama-Birmingham … Took Memphis to the Final Four in 1973 and UCLA to the Final Four in 1976 … Made 12 NCAA trips and finished with a career 574-332 record.
12. John Calipari (4-3 at the Coliseum)
Led UMass and Memphis to Final Four appearances and has made 12 total NCAA trips with three different programs, including an Elite Eight appearance last year with Kentucky … As of Jan. 12, owns a career 451-145 record in 19 collegiate seasons … Also coached in the NBA … Two-time Naismith coach of the year in 1996 and 2008.
11. Fred Taylor (1-0 at the Coliseum)
Led Ohio State to the 1960 NCAA title and steered the Buckeyes to runner-up finishes in 1961 and 1962 … Made four trips to the Final Four and five NCAA appearances in 18 seasons in Columbus … Owned a career 297-158 record … Two-time UPI coach of the year in 1961-62.
10. Rollie Massimino (1-3 at the Coliseum)
Led Villanova to an NCAA title in 1985 and took the Wildcats to four NCAA tournament Elite Eights in 19 seasons … Made 11 NCAA tournament appearances and owned a career 515-391 record at Stony Brook, Villanova, UNLV and Cleveland State.
9. Gary Williams (0-3 at the Coliseum)
Led Maryland to an NCAA title in 2002 and has taken the Terrapins to a pair of Final Fours and five Sweet 16s … Has made 17 trips to the NCAA tournament with three different programs and as of Jan. 12, owns a career 659-371 record with stops at American, Boston College, Ohio State and Maryland.
8. Jerry Tarkanian (0-1 at the Coliseum)
Coached UNLV to an NCAA title in 1990 and led three other teams to Final Four appearances in 1977, 1987 and 1991 … Had 990 career coaching victories across all levels for an 81.3% winning percentage, including a 706-194 record in Division I … led three different programs to 18 NCAA tournament appearances.
7. John Thompson (3-1 at the Coliseum)
Coached Georgetown to an NCAA championship in 1984 and led the Hoyas to Final Four trips in 1982 and 1985 where they lost both times in the finals to North Carolina and Villanova … made 18 NCAA tournament trips, including four Elite Eights in 27 years at Georgetown, compiling a career 596-239 record.
6. Rick Pitino (1-2 at the Coliseum)
The only coach in men’s college basketball to take three different teams to the Final Four: Providence, Kentucky and Louisville … Led the Wildcats to an NCAA title in 1996 and has made five trips to the Final Four during his career … As of Jan. 12, owns a 585-212 career record in 25 college seasons … Also coached in the NBA … NABC and John Wooden coach of the year in 1987.
5. Denny Crum (1-0 at the Coliseum)
Led Louisville to NCAA titles in 1980 and 1986 and six total Final Four appearances … Made 23 NCAA appearances during a 30-year coaching career, all at Louisville … Owned a career 675-295 record and was a three-time national coach of the year in 1980, 1983 and 1986 … Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994.
4. Jim Calhoun (5-3 at the Coliseum)
Steered Connecticut to NCAA titles in 1999 and 2004 and a trip to the Final Four in 2009 …Has 23 20-win seasons at Connecticut and Northeastern and 21 NCAA tournament appearances … As of Jan. 12, owns a career 836-360 record in 39 seasons … Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.
3. Jim Boeheim (7-4 at the Coliseum)
Has an NCAA title (2003) and three Final Four appearances (1987, 1996 and 2003) during his 35-year coaching career, all with Syracuse … has led the Orange to 27 NCAA tournament appearances, including 11 Sweet 16s and one Elite Eight … As of Jan. 12, owns a career 845-293 record … Naismith, AP and NABC coach of the year in 2010 … Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.
2. Bob Knight (0-1 at the Coliseum)
Won three national titles at Indiana in 1976, 1981 and 1987 and took the Hoosiers to five Final Fours, the last in 1992 … his 1976 Indiana team owns the distinction of being the last college team to go undefeated … Became the first coach in Division I history to win more than 900 career games and finished his career with a 902-371 record in 42 seasons at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech … Made 28 NCAA tournament appearances … Coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in 1984 … Four-time national coach of the year … inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991.
1. Adolph Rupp (1-0 at the Coliseum)
Coached Kentucky to four NCAA titles, one NIT title and his 1933 team was also anointed mythical national championship status by the Helms Foundation … Posted a career 876-190 record for an 82.2 winning percentage that ranks second all-time in NCAA history … Made six Final Fours, nine Elite Eights and five Sweet 16s in 41 seasons on the bench, all at Kentucky … Four-time national coach of the year … Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1969.
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