PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — ESPN.com ranked the top college basketball coaches in the nation. With the tradition rich, Big Five, Philadelphia has a strong relationship to college hoops and a few coaches from the region cracked the list.
The list ranked the top 50 college coaches in the nation and two coaches from the area appeared on the list.
Saint Joseph’s Phil Martelli came in at number 35 on the list. In 19 seasons on Hawk Hill, Martelli has made the Hawks one of college basketballs more consistent programs. Martelli is the school’s all time winningest coach with 362 victories and has reached 20-plus wins eight times in his 19 seasons.
Martelli’s claim to fame came in 2003-2004. We all remember the Hawks’ undefeated regular season that earned them the nation’s top ranking and the school’s first number one seed in the NCAA tournament. That team produced NBA talents, Jameer Nelson and Delonte West. That season earned Nelson National Player of the Year honors and a trip to the Elite Eight for the Hawks.
Also cracking the list was Villanova head coach Jay Wright. The Wildcats’ head man ranked as the 19th best coach in college basketball.
Wright has been at the helm for the Wildcats for 13 seasons and has failed to reach the NCAA tournament just four times in that span. The Wildcats have established themselves as one of the nation’s premiere programs under Wright, apparent through their seven consecutive tournament appearances from 2004-2011.
The Cats deepest run under Wright came in 2008-2009 when Wright coached the team to a 30-8 regular season record and a trip to the Final Four.
Excluded from the list was Fran Dunphy, one of the all-time winningest coaches in Big 5 history and the only man to lead two Big 5 programs (Penn, Temple). Dunphy and the Owls had a rough season last year mustering up just 9 wins.
Dunphy was listed under ESPN’s “Coaches Who Just Missed,” category.
Two other coaches with Philly ties were named. Former Sixers coach Larry Brown (SMU) came in at number 21 and former Sixer point guard, Kevin Ollie (UConn) came in at number 11 after leading his team to the 2014 National Championship.
The top five coaches according to ESPN are:
No. 5: Rick Pitino, Louisville
No. 4: Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
No. 3: Tom Izzo, Michigan State
No. 2: John Calipari, Kentucky
No. 1: Billy Donovan, Florida
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