Power Ranking: Current Big Ten Coaches

The Big Ten has been a powerhouse so far this season, with many thanks to some excellent coaching. Bo Ryan retired earlier this season, but the conference still has some of the best head coaches in any conference in college basketball. Without further ado, my ranking of all 14 current Big Ten head coaches.

  1. Greg GardWisconsin (2-4 career record)

The longtime Badger assistant was named interim head coach after Bo Ryan’s retirement. Gard is a proven basketball coach, but it would unfair to rank any other Big Ten coach behind him, considering he’s only coached six career games. The potential is there though, and expect his name to rise on this list if he is named the permanent coach after this season.

  1. Eddie Jordan—Rutgers (28-54 career record)

After moderate success as an NBA head coach, Jordan decided to press his luck in the college ranks. Unfortunately, his tenure at Rutgers has not been pretty. The situation at Rutgers was already a disaster after the whole Mike Rice fiasco, and things certainly don’t look much better right now. Unless Jordan is able to turn things around soon, he may very well be out a job, considering the ugly 28-54 record he has accumulated at the school.

  1. Richard Pitino—Minnesota (67-53 career record)

I get that his dad is one of the best in the business, but the younger Pitino has not shown me anything that makes me believe he warrants a higher spot on this list. Now in his fourth season as a head coach (third at Minnesota), the only thing Pitino has to show for himself is an NIT title. Unfortunately, NIT titles don’t exactly get fan bases, especially at a solid program like Minnesota, too fired up. Pitino needs to do a lot more winning if he expects to climb this list.

  1. Pat Chambers—Penn State (107-109 career record)

Growing up in the shadows of JoePa Country, I can tell you with certainty that the Penn State athletic program lives and dies by their football team. Fans simply do not care that much about basketball. That makes winning here almost impossible, and they often play in front of an empty arena. So as expected, Chambers hasn’t done much winning so far in Happy Valley. However, he has done a decent job recruiting in recent years, and his tournament appearance at the helm of Boston University is worth noting. If he can manage a couple of tournament appearances in the upcoming years, expect his name to shoot into the top 10 of this list.

  1. Chris Collins—Northwestern (44-39 career record)

After being a longtime Coach K assistant, Collins decided to take the Northwestern job prior to the 2013-2014 season. He has not won a lot of games so far, but he has done an outstanding job building a Northwestern program that has, somehow, yet to make an NCAA tournament appearance. This year’s team could end that streak though, as they have looked solid in both out of conference and Big Ten play.

  1. Tim Miles—Nebraska (227-224 career record)

This veteran coach took over at Nebraska prior to the 2012-2013 season. Impressively, he led this team to an NCAA tournament birth a year later, Nebraska’s first tournament appearance since 1998. Miles has also done an outstanding job building hype around a team playing for a football-first school. He may have been higher on this list if his team hasn’t been struggling so much in the past year and a half.

  1. Tom CreanIndiana (325-210 career record)

Make no mistake about it; the Indiana basketball gig is one of the top six or seven jobs in the sport. I know the program was a mess when he got there, but Crean simply has not lived up to the hype that comes with being the head basketball coach at Indiana. Crean has never made it past the Sweet Sixteen, even though he had some of the most talented teams in college basketball. His nine-year stint at Marquette was impressive, but he is probably one more underachieving season away from losing his current job.

  1. John Groce—Illinois (156-106 career record)

Groce led Illinois to an NCAA tournament appearance in his first year at the job three years ago. Unfortunately for him, he has not been able to have the same type of success in recent years. Groce warrants this ranking mainly because of the unbelievable job he did at Ohio University, considering he led them to a Sweet Sixteen appearance in his last season there.

  1. Fran McCafferyIowa (359-255 career record)

After a successful tenure at Siena, McCaffery has rebuilt an Iowa program that simply was not very good when he arrived. He is a model of consistency, and the Iowa program is certainly in outstanding hands with him at the helm.

  1. Mark Turgeon—Maryland (353-210 career record)

First at Wichita State, then at Texas A&M, and now at Maryland, Turgeon has done a terrific job winning at each of his last three head coaching stops. This year’s Maryland team is by far the most talented team Turgeon has ever coached, and I fully expect him to lead his squad on a very deep run come March.

  1. Matt Painter—Purdue (251-132 career record)

Painter may very well be the most underrated coach in the entire country. Not too many people realize that he has received the Big Ten Coach of the Year honor three times. The one thing that may be holding him back, however, is his lack of success in March. He has never led Purdue past a Sweet Sixteen appearance.

  1. John Beilein—Michigan (472-289 career record)

Beilein has done a magnificent job rebuilding a Michigan program that was starving to return to its glory days. He is only one of three current Big Ten coaches with a Final Four appearance, and he is similar to Bo Ryan in that he worked his way up from the high school rankings, through the lower levels college basketball, to where he is today.

  1. Thad Matta—Ohio State (412-131 career record)

The veteran coach has been Mr. Consistency since he took over at Ohio State in 2004. Ohio State is almost always towards the top of the Big Ten, and he has accumulated five Big Ten regular season championships to go along with two Final Four appearances in a relatively short time period. He would definitely call for a number one ranking on this list if it wasn’t for the next guy….

  1. Tom IzzoMichigan State (511-200 career record)

This ranking certainly will not surprise anyone. I would go as far as to say he is one of the top seven or eight guys to ever coach in college basketball, and I would mention him in the same breath as guys like Coach K, Dean Smith, and Jim Boeheim. The guy has won a National Championship, and has appeared in an astounding seven Final Fours. A couple more Final Four appearances, and Izzo may very well find himself on the Mount Rushmore of college basketball coaches. Simply put, one of the best to ever do it.

Photo: Andy Lyons (Getty Images)

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