Everyone knows John Wooden is the greatest coach who ever lived. But Sporting News made it official.
UCLA's legendary coach was honored during a luncheon Tuesday, where a packed room toasted him – and that mind-boggling run of 10 NCAA tournament titles in 12 seasons (still the most remarkable run in all of sports).
Wooden, of course, kept his remarks humble. What else would he do?
|Wooden celebrates his final NCAA title
"No one can really honestly be the very best, no one ... (but) these youngsters that have spoken — and some of them aren't so young anymore — they're the ones that make the coaches."
The rest of Sporting News' list of the 50 greatest coaches – selected by a panel of 118 Hall of Famers, championship coaches and other experts – was kind to college hoops as well. Nine more coaches (two women's coaches) were honored, most of the people you'd expect:
Dean Smith (No. 8), Pat Summitt (11), Bob Knight (16), Mike Krzyzewski (19), Adolph Rupp (21), Pete Newell (31), Geno Auriemma (42) and Hank Iba (47).
Not bad. Krzyzewski's the only active men's coach on the list, while Summitt and Auriemma are still busy duking it out for annual bragging rights in the women's game.
So who's most likely to eventually break into this list? To my mind, there are three who could eventually make the cut – Roy Williams, Billy Donovan and Jim Calhoun.
All three have two NCAA titles. Williams wins games at a higher rate than nearly any coach in history. Donovan and Coach K are the only coaches who've won back-to-back titles in the last 35 years. Calhoun's racked up wins while building UConn into a national powerhouse.
But any of 'em probably needs another title (or two) to make that 50 list.
UPDATE: Caulton Tudor of the Raleigh News & Observer says Williams was No. 51 on this list. Give it five more years, and Roy's a shoe-in.