Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Top Coaching Jobs - #3

With Indiana facing certain sanctions from the NCAA for the next several years, the Hooisers were still able to land Tom Crean. Roy Williams left the Kansas Jayhawks for North Carolina in 2003. Kansas was able to replace him with Bill Self, from Illinois, who just recently turned down Oklahoma State to stay at Kansas.

It makes you wonder, what are the Top 10 coaching jobs in college basketball? We here at Drinking the Forty consulted with some of the finest basketball experts in the country to find out. Hey, if ESPN can pull random people off the street and call them experts, then we can too.

Here is our Top 10, based on a program’s national persona, recent success, fan base, facilities, history and tradition, and potential for future success.

#3.) Kansas Jayhawks

For starters, winning a National Championship is always helpful your program’s prestige. The win marked the third National title in the program’s long and storied history. Bill Self pushed the program over the top, doing something that seemed to be out of reach for several talented Jayhawk teams over the past decade.

Kansas has been at the top of the Big XII since the beginning of the program and is continually a player on the National stage. They bring in top players from Chicago to Texas and throughout the Midwest, and are a regular for ESPN’s late game on Big Monday broadcasts. They have also had top tier coaches in the past decade, adequately replacing Roy Williams with Illinois coach Bill Self. The Jayhawks have apparently found their man as Self refused courting by the Cowboys of Oklahoma State and the deep pockets of oil tycoon Boone Pickens. His decision to stay will allow Kansas to continue their success at the highest level.

As for the history of the Jayhawks’ program, you don’t have to look too hard. With Dr. James Naismith as a former head coach, your program is basketball. With 13 final four appearances and 10 NBA alumni currently in the league, such as Paul Pierce, Kirk Hinrich, and Drew Gooden, Kansas has gotten success from their players in college as well as at the next level. This has helped Kansas recruit successfully, and with their most recent championship, it looks like Kansas is in position to continue that success.

Kansas also has a loyal and rabid fan base that makes Allen Fieldhouse one of the toughest places to play in the country. Opposing teams (Texas for one comes to mind) have struggled mightily at the hands of Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk. While their location in the middle of the Midwest might hurt their recruiting somewhat, this program has established itself as one of the tops in the country. Their ability to stabilize their coaching situation with Bill Self will only improve their stock going forward. That is why Kansas comes in at number three on our list.

#4.) Duke Blue Devils
#5.) Kentucky Wildcats
#6.) Indiana Hooisers
#7.) Florida Gators
#8) Michigan State Spartans
#9.) Connecticut Huskies
#10.) Arizona Wildcats

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