Best SEC Basketball Coaches: 2012-2013 Edition
Where does Billy Donovan rank among SEC basketball coaches?
By Nathan Staley
Friday, November 16, 2012
As the college basketball season is just getting under way, we are taking a look at the returning coaches in the SEC. Here are the current coaches in the SEC ranked based on career accomplishments and the overall job they have done.
1. John Calipari, Kentucky Wildcats
Overall record: 505-152
SEC record: (40-8)
Calipari may be the most polarizing head coach in the NCAA, but one thing is certain and that is that his teams just win. Over his college coaching career, Calipari has compiled a win percentage of .769 is tops in college basketball. He brought the national championship back to Kentucky this past season, and lost all of his starters to the NBA draft. And instead of starting the rebuilding process, the king of the "one-n-dones" has brought in another fantastic recruiting class and looks to compete for a national championship yet again.
2. Billy Donovan, Florida Gators
Overall record: 421-178
SEC record: 160-96
The Gators head coach is easily the second best coach in the SEC. He led his team to back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007 with Al Horford and Joakim Noah. In recent years his team has quietly and consistently made the national championship tournament and competed for SEC conference titles. Talks of Donovan leaving for the NBA have since quieted down since the 06-07 seasons, but he has continued to recruit well and coach-up his players. “Billy the Kid” might be the only defense to Calipari and his Wildcats to completely own the SEC.
3. Frank Martin, South Carolina Gamecocks
Overall record: 117-54
SEC record: first season in SEC
This is Frank Martin first season as the head coach of the Gamecocks after departing from the same position at Kansas State. Martin led the Wildcats to at least 10 wins in four of the five seasons at the helm of that program. He was the coach of standout player Michael Beasley. Martin has inherited a Gamecock team that is to say the least pitiful. Given what he was able to accomplish at K-State, Martin should be able to rebuild the South Carolina program. It may take some time, but he should have the Gamecocks competing for the SEC title in a couple of years.
4. Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt Commodores
Overall record: 384-222
SEC record: 261-159
Stallings Commodores finished last season with a 25-11(10-6) record, which was good enough for third in the SEC. In his 13 seasons at the wheel, Stallings has steered the program to six national championship tournaments. These accomplishments had never been reached prior to Stallings efforts at Vandy. Stallings has brought in another decent recruiting class and will look to continue to have his team compete for a SEC title. Stallings success and future success make him one of the top coaches in not just the SEC, but also the NCAA.
5. Frank Haith, Missouri Tigers
Overall record: 159-106
SEC record: first season in
In his first year as head coach of the Tigers, Haith led his team to a 30-5 record and made the national championship tournament. He was also awarded the National Coach of the Year honors. While Haith’s overall record leaves more to be desired, before coming to Missouri he was in charge of a Miami Hurricane program that was lacking the strong support the Tigers enjoy. Haith has his work cut out for him, but he should be able to show fans why he was awarded Coach of the Year.
6. Mike Anderson, Arkansas Razorbacks
Overall record: 218-111
SEC record: 18-14
Anderson took over a Razorback basketball program last season that has struggled over the years. He was a successful coach at both UAB and Missouri before coming back to Arkansas, where he was once a long time assistant. Anderson has become known as a rebuilder and will have his work cut out for him with the Razorbacks. Last season, he led his team to an 18-14 record and will need to push his team to improve. His .685 (UAB) and .665 (Miz) winning percentages show that he can get the job done and rebuild a program.
7. Anthony Grant, Alabama Crimson Tide
Overall record: 139-64
SEC record: 63-39
Grant was a former assistant at Florida under mentor Billy Donovan. He is in his fourth season at Bama and in the shadow of an elite football program has found some success. He was the head coach of the VCU Rams for three seasons (2006-09) and led them to three consecutive CAA titles. In two of those seasons his teams made it to the national championship tournament. At Alabama, Grant has amassed a .618 win percentage and led his team to the second round of the tournament last season. Grant’s teams are known for playing strong defense and will need to continue to do so in this conference if he wants to have any kind of continued success.
8. Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee Volunteers
Overall record: 80-56
SEC record: 10-6
In his first season as head coach of the Vols, Martin inherited a team that was picked to finish 11th in SEC. However, Martin’s team was able overachieve and finish tied for second in the conference. His success in his first season as coach has fans excited for the future of the program. He is bringing in a decent recruiting class this season, and player progression is a skill that he has acquired. Before arriving at Rocky Top, Martin was able to lead Missouri State to a 26-9 record and the programs first ever MVC championship. He was also named the MVC Coach of the Year at the end of that season. Martin should carry over his success from the MVC and return Tennessee as an SEC power.
9. Mark Fox, Georgia Bulldogs
Overall record: 173-89
SEC record: 50-46
Fox took over the Bulldogs in the 2009-10 season and has led a underwhelming program to brighter days. He has a career .660 win percentage, .521 at Georgia. While he hasn’t obtained the success he did as the head coach of the Nevada Wolfpack. He has led the Bulldogs to a national championship tournament in his three season with the ‘Dogs. Last season the Bulldogs posted a losing record of 15-17 and Fox will need his team to turn it around quickly. Despite the lack of success, Fox is a very solid head coach and should lead his team to some success in the up-coming seasons.
10. Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss
Overall record: 146-91
SEC record: 40-43
Kennedy was named the Ole Miss basketball coach in the 2006-07 season. He led the Rebels to a 21-13 season and a berth in the NIT. In five of his six seasons as the head coach his teams have had 20 win seasons. He has made the NIT in all five of the 20-win seasons and reaching the semi-finals of the tournament once. While Kennedy’s teams have never been bad, they haven’t really been that great. His teams may have posted winning records; his Rebs have yet to make an appearance in the national championship tournament. Until he reaches the big tournament, Kennedy will only be seen as a mediocre coach.
11. Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M Aggies
Overall record: 225-197
SEC record: first season in SEC