These coaches have a chance to match Coach K ... if they stick around long enough
Even Mike Krzyzewski’s records are made to be broken. The Duke coach will be the first men’s college basketball coach to reach the 1,000-win mark, but he won’t be the last.
One Division I coach is right on his heels. Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, the only other major college basketball coach well over the 900-win mark, could join him next season.
Assessing the next crop of potential 1,000-win coaches is no easy task and in many ways puts Krzyzewski’s (and eventually Boeheim’s) feat into further perspective.
Simply put, any coach looking to hit 1,000 should probably get his first head coaching job around age 30 and plan to coach until he’s around 70, probably both, and most important, be at the top of his game for most of four decades.
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
Wins entering 2014-15: 948 in 38 seasons (24.9 per season)
Seasons to 1,000 wins at current pace: 2
Notes: Boeheim, who already has the record for wins at a single program, would be the odds-on favorite to match Krzyzewski’s 1,000 wins. He sits at 14-5 right now, meaning he could hit 1,000 wins in 2016-17.
Bob Huggins, West Virginia
Wins entering 2014-15: 740 in 32 seasons (23.1 per season)
Seasons to 1,000 wins at current pace: 11.2
Notes: Huggins’ pace has had a few hiccups. First, he missed one season in between his departure at Cincinnati and his arrival at Kansas State in 2006. More recent, Huggins also slipped below 20 wins for three consecutive seasons before this year. That said, he could still get to 1,000 by his early 70s.
Roy Williams, North Carolina
Wins entering 2014-15: 724 in 26 seasons (27.8 per season)
Seasons to 1,000 wins at current pace: 9.9
Notes: In terms of games, Williams is among the fastest coaches to landmark wins — 700, 600, 500, 400 and 300. That’s part of the benefit of coaching at Kansas and North Carolina. Williams, though, didn’t become a head coach until he was 38, meaning he may have to coach into his mid-70s to hit the 1,000 mark.
Rick Pitino, Louisville
Wins entering 2014-15: 629 in 29 seasons (21.7 per season)
Seasons to 1,000 wins at current pace: 17.1
Notes: Pitino may need to coach until he’s 80 to reach the 1,000-win plateau. Of course, he could have reached it sooner if not for six non-consecutive seasons in the NBA. Michigan’s John Beilein (626 wins at age 61) never left the college game, but he is on a similar pace.
John Calipari, Kentucky
Wins entering 2014-15: 555 wins in 22 seasons (25.2 per season)
Seasons to 1,000 wins at current pace: 17.7
Notes: As long as he’s at Kentucky, Calipari will have a chance at 1,000 wins. Take that projection of 17.7 years from the start of this season with a grain of salt. Calipari has averaged 32 wins per year since 2005-06 at Memphis. Keep up that pace and he could be to 1,000 wins around age 70.
Billy Donovan, Florida
Wins entering 2014-15: 486 in 20 seasons (24.3 per season)
Seasons to 1,000 wins at current pace: 21.1
Notes: Donovan started his career with the nickname of “Billy the Kid,” taking the Marshall job at age 28, the same age Krzyzewski was when he started at Army. Donovan will hit 500 wins before he turns 50, something even Krzyzewski can’t say.
Bill Self, Kansas
Wins entering 2014-15: 532 in 21 seasons (25.3 per season)
Seasons to 1,000 wins at current pace: 18.5
Notes: Another coach with a ton of wins at a relatively young age at a place where he’s going to build his win total. Kansas has won fewer than 30 games just once since 2009, so Self is ahead of that 18-season pace to 1,000.
Thad Matta, Ohio State
Wins entering 2014-15: 377 in 14 seasons (26.9 per season)
Seasons to 1,000 wins at current pace: 23.1
Notes: The low-key Matta may be a dark horse in this race, but that 27-wins-per-season average can’t be ignored. He’s also remarkably consistent. He’s never won fewer than 20 games in a season and has won more than 30 games three times.
Mark Few, Gonzaga
Wins entering 2014-15: 403 in 15 seasons (26.9 per season)
Seasons to 1,000 wins at current pace: 22.1
Notes: At first, Few seemed like the perfect coach who could challenge for 1,000 wins — young(ish), wildly successful already and at a place where he could reel off seasons with 27 wins or more until the end of his career. But Few also was in his late 30s when he took over at Gonzaga, meaning age will catch up to him before 1,000 wins.
Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics
Wins entering 2014-15: 166 in six seasons (27.7 per season)
Seasons to 1,000 wins at current pace: N/A
Notes: We include Stevens as a hypothetical. Taking over at Butler at age 30 and racing to two 30-win seasons and two Final Fours in his first four seasons put him on a torrid pace. Should he ever return to the college game, he’ll probably take over a plum job, helping him pick up where he left off. But the if and when of such a scenario is uncertain.
Shaka Smart, VCU
Wins entering 2014-15: 137 in five seasons (27.4 per season)
Seasons to 1,000-wins at current pace: 31.5
Notes: A lot can happen in 30 years, but Smart is one of the only realistic coaches who could approach 1,000 wins on Kzyzewski’s timetable of 67 years old. See you in 2046?
Sean Miller, Arizona
Wins entering 2014-15: 249 in 10 seasons (24.9 per season)
Seasons to 1,000 wins at current pace: 30.1
Notes: This one is a little surprising. Miller is young and successful. He’s at a power program and even better days seem to be in his future with the foundation he’s built at Arizona. He’ll probably better his career average over the next few seasons — he won 17 games in his first year at Xavier and 16 in his first year at Arizona — but he also started his first coaching gig at 36.
Rick Byrd, Belmont
Wins entering 2014-15: 689 in 33 seasons (20.8 per season)
Seasons to 1,000 wins at current pace: 15
Notes: Here’s a reminder that non-Division I wins will count in at least a section of the NCAA record book. Byrd reached the 700-win club this season at Belmont, a program that was in the NAIA when he started. The transition means Byrd went seven consecutive seasons without posting 20 wins. Belmont has averaged 24 wins since 2005-06, meaning Byrd could get to 1,000 wins two seasons earlier.