Urban Meyer has led his team to another national championship. His school, Ohio State, employs a men’s basketball coach who has been to the Final Four. Does this give Ohio State the best coaching combination in college sports?
There are 29 active basketball coaches who have reached the Final Four, 23 of whom coach at schools with a Football Bowl Subdivision program. Of those 23, seven schools employ a head football coach who has won a BCS game:
Notes: Not all coaches appeared in BCS game or Final Four with current school. Number in parentheses after BCS wins represents BCS appearances. Urban Meyer’s playoff win this season counts towards these totals; Mark Dantonio’s Cotton Bowl win this season does not.
Now that I’ve used an objective measure to narrow down the list, allow me to get subjective on you fools: The Big Ten has the three best coaching combos in the country. I’m giving the edge to Ohio State: to say that anyone other than maybe Nick Saban is a better college football coach right now than Meyer would be silly, and Thad Matta’s résumé is drenched in first-place finishes and deep Tournament runs. Michigan State has a claim for the best basketball coach on that chart, and Mark Dantonio has done wonders at the school. Michigan comes in third on my list. John Beilein is a mastermind, and while Jim Harbaugh has not won a game at the school, his coaching prowess is undeniable.
I also want to highlight two coaching combos that don’t appear on the chart above. Bill Snyder has taken Kansas State to two BCS games, albeit without a win. He and Bruce Weber make a strong combination. Duke’s duo is impressive as well. With his four national championships and nearly 1,000 wins, I don’t think I need to sell Mike Krzyzewski. The fact that David Cutcliffe has made Duke football relevant proves his value.
Several other schools are just one good hiring away from joining this elite group, which going forward would have to include playoff berths as opposed to BCS appearances. SEC basketball powers Kentucky and Florida hope they already have their future star football coach in the form of Mark Stoops and Jim McElwain, respectively. But the Big Ten bests all other conferences, and those coaches don’t look like they’re leaving anytime soon.