By Guest Blogger Rob Yunich:
When Gary Williams retired recently, his departure from College Park was the end to a 22-year tenure. Williams was part of a rare breed of coaches that had spent most of his career at one school (his alma mater, no less). According to the NCAA
, here’s a list of men’s basketball coaches who have been with their current school for 20 or more years (# = only coached at one school, starting year in parentheses):
1. Jim Boeheim, #Syracuse (1977)
2. Dave Bike, #Sacred Heart (1979)
3. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke (1981)
4. Don Maestri, #Troy (1983)
5. Greg Kampe, #Oakland (1985)
T6. Rick Byrd, Belmont (1987)
T6. Jim Calhoun, Connecticut (1987)
T6. Fang Mitchell, #Coppin St. (1987)
T6. L. Vann Pettaway, #Alabama A&M (1987)
T10. Bob Thomason, Pacific (1989)
T10. Homer Drew, Valparaiso (1989-2002, 2004-current)
T12. Bob McKillop, #Davidson (1990)
T12. Gary Williams, Maryland (1990)
14. Dave Loos, Austin Peay (1991)
As you can tell, it’s a pretty select group and, with Williams riding off into the sunset, that number drops further. You’ll also notice that only half of the 14 coaches listed above have only been at one school. Not surprisingly, many of those coaches also have won an inordinate number of games. Krzyzewski has 900 career wins and four national titles, Calhoun has 855 wins and three championships and Boeheim has guided his alma mater to 856 wins and the 2003 crown.
Williams coached American, Boston College, Ohio State and Maryland to 668 wins and won the 2002 title with the Terps. Although he had his ups and downs, the fact that he was able to last 22 years speaks for itself and he can now sit and watch as many institutions are heading towards the inevitable retirement over the next five or so years.
This is one of the things that makes college basketball special. After Jerry Sloan (who coached the Utah Jazz for 23 years) resigned earlier this year, Gregg Popovich now has the longest tenure in the NBA (he was hired in 1996, when Boeheim was celebrating nearly 20 years and Krzyzewski was hitting 15). Otherwise, Jeff Fisher coached the Houston Oilers/Tennesse Titans from 1994-2010 and Bobby Cox led the Atlanta Braves from 1990-2010. Lindy Ruff, who was hired by the Buffalo Sabres in 1997, just signed an extension and will begin his 14th season behind the bench in the fall.
Longevity is missing in sports, but thanks to this small, unique group of coaches, many can still relish greatness for a little while longer.