Thursday, April 17, 2008

Top Coaching Jobs - #7

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.

#7.) Florida Gators

So how long does it actually take to create a top national program? Apparently it only takes two years, as long as you win the National Title both years and send four of your starting five into the NBA. Billy Donovan has taken his program to the next level thanks to 2006 and 2007, and has now created a top tier program that will be a contender for years to come.

After losing his entire championship team in 2007, Donovan still had a very successful 2008, playing with a young team of top recruits. Another influx of top recruits for the 2009 season and Donovan will have the Gators back at the top of the SEC and in the NCAA tournament. Donovan has built the basketball program into a powerhouse and taken it out of the shadow of the football program. While he will always be #2 to Urban Meyer, basketball has its own strong following in the swamp land.

While Florida’s success has been recent, the .759 winning percentage over the last seven years, and the two national titles cannot be argued with. Also, Florida’s ability to retain Donovan after a brief three day NBA coaching career, will allow them to build on their success. Coach K built Duke, and in ten years we will be talking about how Billy Donovan built Florida.

Florida is serious about their athletics and with the rise of teams like Tennessee, the Gators will be pushed to continue winning. The commitment to winning will always be in the athletic program and that will allow Donovan to maintain top facilities that will allow him to recruit. A tough place to play and a loyal and growing fan base will also aide the Gators into becoming a nationally recognized program.

The groundwork was laid by Billy Donovan over the past 10 years, and in 2006 and 2007 he reaped the success of his hard work. The program has reloaded after those championship seasons and should be a top contender for years to come. They have become the pride of the Deep South and it is why they come in at number seven.

#8) Michigan State Spartans
#9.) Connecticut Huskies
#10.) Arizona Wildcats

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