Who are the winningest active college basketball coaches?
Only two college basketball head coaches have ever won more than 1,000 games, and one of them is still active today.
Some of the longest-serving basketball coaches in the NCAA have put together rather impressive resumes during their years pacing the hardwood sidelines.
Today’s list recognizes current NCAA basketball coaches who have done the most winning, highlighting the most prestigious coaches in the country and their many accomplishments.
There are multiple Naismith College Coach of the Year award winners, Hall of Famers, and men with several national championships among this list of the very best. Some have won championships at multiple schools, while others have led their current programs to the very national basketball title in each school’s history.
You’ll find rebuilders and blue-chippers as you go through this list, so let’s begin this look at the best active coaches in the NCAA.
Who is the winningest coach in college basketball?
Jim Boeheim, head coach of the Syracuse Orange, stands atop the list of winningest active college basketball coaches. He is one of only two coaches to surpass 1,000 career wins, following in the footsteps of Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.
Coach K retired in 2022 as the winningest head coach of all time, racking up 1,202 career wins with the Blue Devils and Army during a 47-year coaching career. He also has the most NCAA tournament wins of any coach in college basketball history.
The 2022-23 season is Boeheim’s 47th at Syracuse, and he is the active coach with the most NCAA basketball wins.
Top 10 Active College Basketball Coaches with the most career wins
- Rick Pitino
Schools: Boston University, Providence, Kentucky, Louisville, Iona
Winning percentage: .710
Rick Pitino has been a college basketball coach for more than 30 years, while also having two spells in the NBA with the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics. He is one of a select group of active college basketball coaches who have won the national championship.
Currently head coach of the Iona Gaels, Pitino has a wealth of experience in the field -- having won national championships with two different programs. He took the Kentucky Wildcats to the title in 1996 and the Louisville Cardinals in 2013, making him the first in NCAA basketball coaching to win the NCAA tournament at two schools.
He is also the first coach to take three schools to the Final Four. The first of his seven appearances there came during his final season with Providence in 1987.
- Jim Larranaga
Schools: Bowling Green, George Mason, Miami
Winning percentage: .600
Jim Larranaga’s first D1 coaching role came at Bowling Green in 1986, where he would become one of the most successful coaches in Mid-American Conference history. He won the MAC Coach of the Year award in his final season at Bowling Green before moving on to George Mason.
In just his second season with the program, Larranaga led the George Mason Patriots to their first CAA regular season title. He subsequently clinched the conference tournament title, securing George Mason's spot in the NCAA tournament after their impressive season performance.
By 2005-06, Larranaga had built a strong program, and that year became one of the standouts in his career. The Patriots went on a stunning run to the NCAA Final Four, scoring statement wins over powerhouse programs UNC and UConn.
Larranga is now head coach of the Miami Hurricanes, where he has been since 2011. He coached the ‘Canes to their first ACC tournament trophy in 2013, earning the AP College Coach of the Year and Henry Iba awards for his performance that season.
- Kelvin Sampson
Schools: Montana Tech, Washington State, Oklahoma, Indiana, Houston
Winning percentage: .679
Kelvin Sampson has coached at multiple top schools across the country, having earned his first chance to be a head coach at public university Montana Tech in 1981.
Sampson then worked his way through the ranks at Oklahoma State, serving as an assistant for three seasons before being offered the head-coaching job in 1987.
Sampson has been to the Final Four twice -- once with Oklahoma in 2002 and a second time with Houston in 2021. During his years at Oklahoma, he helped the school win three straight Big 12 tournaments from 2001 to 2003 -- one of the most successful runs in Sooners basketball history.
After six seasons in the NBA as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets, Sampson returned to NCAA basketball with the Houston Cougars in 2014. Despite the setback of losing key players to injuries last season, Sampson triumphed in securing back-to-back AAC tournament victories in 2021 and 2022.
- Dana Altman
Schools: Marshall, Kansas State, Creighton, Oregon
Winning percentage: .656
Former Creighton head coach Dana Altman made a name for himself running the Bluejays program from 1994 to 2010. During those years, his teams won six MVC Conference tournaments between 1999 and 2007.
Altman was a back-to-back Missouri Valley Coach of the Year honoree in 2000-01 and 2001-02. The team he had inherited in the mid 1990s had gone 7-22 in the season prior to his arrival, but the Bluejays were a perennial conference powerhouse by 1999.
Altman left Creighton with the most wins in school history. He signed with Oregon in 2010 and has since won four Pac-12 regular season titles and three Pac-12 tournament trophies. He is also a three-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
- Richard Schmidt
Schools: Vanderbilt, Tampa
Winning percentage: .605
Richard Schmidt spent two seasons in charge at Vanderbilt in the SEC before moving on to a job at Tampa University in Division II.
Schmidt is now in his 40th season running the Spartans program, having led them to five SSC tournament wins and 16 appearances in the NCAA tournament. He has coached 30 winning seasons after taking on the challenge of reviving the program back in 1982.
The Spartans’ head coach has been named the Sunshine State Conference’ Coach of the Year six times, as he has demonstrated exceptional skill at revitalizing the university's program. Schmidt ranks as one of the best active college basketball coaches in Division II.
- Rick Barnes
Schools: George Mason, Providence, Clemson, Texas, Tennessee
Winning percentage: .658
Current Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes ranks fifth amongst current college basketball coaches with the most wins, having served as head coach at five different schools since 1987.
Barnes started out at George Mason in 1987 before making three NCAA tournament appearances with Providence between 1988 and 1994. He then took Clemson to new heights, including the Tigers’ highest-ever rank in the AP poll at No. 2. He led Clemson to three NCAA tournament appearances before moving on to the University of Texas in 1998.
At Texas, Barnes made his first NCAA Final Four appearance -- taking the Longhorns to national semifinals in 2003. He followed that run with two Elite Eight appearances in 2006 and 2008. By the time he left Texas, he had amassed the most wins in school history and turned the Longhorns into one of the country’s most impressive basketball programs. During his long run in Austin, Barnes coached the likes of Kevin Durant and T.J. Ford.
Barnes, who accepted his current Tennessee position in 2015, was named the Naismith College Coach of the Year for the 2018-19 season.
- Bill Self
Schools: Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Illinois, Kansas
Bill Self has won two national titles since taking over as the Kansas Jayhawks’ head coach in 2003 -- landing him among the active college basketball coaches with the most wins at the NCAA tournament.
Before joining Kansas, he held head-coaching jobs at Oral Roberts, Tulsa, and Illinois. Since arriving in Lawrence, he has led the Jayhawks program through one of the most remarkable periods in the school's history.
Under the leadership of Bill Self for 19 seasons, the Jayhawks have won 17 Big 12 titles and an additional nine Big 12 tournaments. They won the Big 12 regular-season title every year between 2005 and 2018, and Self was named the AP College Coach of the Year twice during that time frame. He won the Naismith award for 2011-12 and was also named the NABC Coach of the Year for 2015-16.
Bill Self is one of the best active college basketball coaches around, and the Jayhawks coach shows no signs of slowing down.
- John Calipari
Schools: UMass, Memphis, Kentucky
Winning percentage: .761
The Kentucky Wildcats current head coach, John Calipari, has been with the team since taking over in 2009. Prior to accepting the Kentucky job, he coached at UMass and Memphis, where he guided the Tigers to NCAA Final Four appearances in 1996 and 2008.
Since joining Kentucky, Calipari has appeared in the NCA Final Four an additional four times, including winning his first national championship in 2012. Under Calipari’s direction, the Wildcats have won six SEC regular-season titles and six SEC tournament trophies, and Calipari has been named SEC Coach of the Year on four occasions.
One of the best current college basketball coaches, Calipari has been named the Naismith College Basketball Coach of the Year three times (1995-96, 2007-08, and 20014-15). He has also won an AP Coach of the Year award (2014-15) as well as three NABC Coach of the Year awards (1995-96, 2008-09, 2014-15).
- Bob Huggins
Schools: Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State, West Virginia
Winning percentage: .694
Bob Huggins played point guard at West Virginia from 1975 to 1977 and has been the head coach at his alma mater since 2007. Huggins’ head-coaching career began in 1980 at Ohio’s Walsh College, a Division II program, before he took Division I jobs at Akron, Cincinnati, and Kansas State.
Huggins made his first appearance in the NCAA Final Four in 1992., and he rebuilt the Cincinnati Bearcats during his 16 seasons in charge of the program. He returned to the Final Four in 2012 with West Virginia, where he has once again built a strong program.
The Mountaineers head coach, who grew up in West Virginia, now ranks among the winningest NCAA basketball coaches, placing second overall with well over 900 wins.
- Jim Boeheim
Winning percentage: .697
Jim Boeheim has the most NCAA basketball coaching wins among all active coaches and ranks second all-time behind only Coach K. Boeheim became the second coach in NCAA basketball history to surpass 1,000 wins during his 46th season in charge of the Orange in 2022.
During Boeheim’s time running the program, Syracuse has won a national championship, made five Final Four appearances, gone to the championship game three times, and seen a wealth of success in the Big East Conference. They Orange have won 10 Big East regular season-titles and five Big East tournaments to go with their national title from 2003.
Boeheim has the most March Madness wins of any active college coach, winning 61 games in the tournament heading into the 2023 edition. He is one of the oldest active college basketball coaches, having turned 78 during his 47th season in charge. Boeheim will go down as one of the very best in college basketball history, thanks to his longevity and commitment to both Syracuse University and its basketball program.
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