Author Topic: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches  (Read 14754 times)

Offline SpringSt7

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #135 on: May 07, 2020, 04:22:20 pm »
SpringSt7, regarding active coaches, Bob Semling (Wis.-Stevens Point) and Pat Miller (Wis.-Whitewater) are currently 2nd and 4th in all-time winning percentage respectively and have both won two national championships. I think that firmly puts them in the conversation for future consideration.

Thank for that---I had tried to find some sort of winning percentage list but I was out of luck.

Ryan, I understand your point, and I agree with most of it, but I would have to side with Titan and Sager--it's hard to separate one from the other. Additionally, sticking with the Calipari example, I would argue that his success at UMass, and then to a lesser extent at Memphis (because his model at Memphis was also heavily recruiting oriented), he was then able to earn the HC job at Kentucky and become the recruiting dynamo that he is.

On the flip side, I've always found it strange that people give guys like Tom Izzo credit for winning with "lesser talent", as if he is being rewarded for being unable to recruit the caliber of player that routinely heads to Duke or Kentucky.

This thread has proved over the last couple of weeks just how hard it is to evaluate coaching, or break down each element of a winning team, organization, or player---something I have also been thinking a lot about in the context of The Last Dance and the role that guys like Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman played in Michael Jordan's story.

Offline Gregory Sager

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #136 on: May 07, 2020, 05:01:30 pm »
Recruiting is part of college coaching, not something utterly distinct.
I think every great coach will tell you recruiting is the most important part of college coaching.

By far.
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Offline Greek Tragedy

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #137 on: May 07, 2020, 05:26:27 pm »
SpringSt7, regarding active coaches, Bob Semling (Wis.-Stevens Point) and Pat Miller (Wis.-Whitewater) are currently 2nd and 4th in all-time winning percentage respectively and have both won two national championships. I think that firmly puts them in the conversation for future consideration.

https://athletics.uwsp.edu/sports/mens-basketball/roster/coaches/bob-semling/2600

https://uwwsports.com/sports/mens-basketball/roster/coaches/pat-miller/3225

Some pretty lean years for both coaches recently.
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Offline Ryan Scott (Hoops Fan)

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #138 on: May 07, 2020, 07:15:32 pm »
See, I'd tend to say the best coach is the one who can get the most out of five random human beings who may or may not have ever seen a basketball. I give recruiting zero influence inn my decisions. Obviously wins reflect recruiting to some extent, but recruiting is definitely my least favorite part of d3hoops.
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Offline Titan Q

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #139 on: May 07, 2020, 08:11:25 pm »
See, I'd tend to say the best coach is the one who can get the most out of five random human beings who may or may not have ever seen a basketball. I give recruiting zero influence inn my decisions. Obviously wins reflect recruiting to some extent, but recruiting is definitely my least favorite part of d3hoops.

But, like, all those teams we end up voting for in the Top 25, or the ones we talk about as Pool C candidates, or those we enjoy watching in Fort Wayne...they all got there because of recruiting more than anything.  You can't be a good team without good players.

Offline cubs

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #140 on: May 08, 2020, 12:38:27 am »
to get us back on task.  I submit the following:

Winning Coach   Titles   Seconds
Ryan, Bo               4                0
McCarrell, Dan       3                0
Welsh, Jerry       2                3
Bessoir, Bob       2                1
Bennett, Jack       2                0
Edwards, Mark       2                0
Hixson, David       2                0
Miller, Pat               2                0
Semling, Bob       2                0
VanderMeulen, Dave   2        0
Djurikovic, Bosco   2                0
Neer, Mike              1                2
Johnson, Jerry      1                1
Lewis, Matt      1                1
Macedo, Dave      1                1
Paulsen, Dave      1                1
Geez!  I guess I didn't realize that the WSUC/WIAC was a perfect 12-0 in the National Championship game before Matt Lewis and UWO fell short in 2018.   ;)

I guess they made up for it in 2019 though!  ;D

Very true about the WIAC in title games.

I’m somewhat surprised no one brought this forward before, Lewis is actually just 1-0. Juckem was the head coach in 2018. Otherwise from what I see it looks good and great work thebear.
Looks like I was wrong....  I forgot about UWEC losing to Calvin in Salem back in 2000....

I guess 13-2 isn't too shabby though?
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Offline Ryan Scott (Hoops Fan)

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #141 on: May 08, 2020, 08:36:23 am »
See, I'd tend to say the best coach is the one who can get the most out of five random human beings who may or may not have ever seen a basketball. I give recruiting zero influence inn my decisions. Obviously wins reflect recruiting to some extent, but recruiting is definitely my least favorite part of d3hoops.

But, like, all those teams we end up voting for in the Top 25, or the ones we talk about as Pool C candidates, or those we enjoy watching in Fort Wayne...they all got there because of recruiting more than anything.  You can't be a good team without good players.

But you can be a good coach without good players.  That's my point.
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Offline Titan Q

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #142 on: May 08, 2020, 09:18:06 am »
See, I'd tend to say the best coach is the one who can get the most out of five random human beings who may or may not have ever seen a basketball. I give recruiting zero influence inn my decisions. Obviously wins reflect recruiting to some extent, but recruiting is definitely my least favorite part of d3hoops.

But, like, all those teams we end up voting for in the Top 25, or the ones we talk about as Pool C candidates, or those we enjoy watching in Fort Wayne...they all got there because of recruiting more than anything.  You can't be a good team without good players.

But you can be a good coach without good players.  That's my point.
I hear you.  You're saying regardless of talent level of personnel, a coach can still be a great teacher, motivator, etc. - can even win some games against more talented teams via great coaching.  That is absolutely true. 

But, coaches who don't recruit well don't win.  If a coach doesn't win over a long period of time do we consider him/her a good coach? The coaches part of this Mount Rushmore conversation certainly all mastered the art of recruiting and recruited well over and over again.  If we started to list common traits across this group of Mount Rushmore candidates, I'm pretty sure the most common would be the ability to recruit.

I guess I'm where Greg was - "I've never understood how some fans make a distinction between 'recruiting' and 'coaching' as though they're two different things."  Heck, recruiting is such a core part of coaching that a lot great coaches retire when they no longer want to recruit.   The coaches who are #1 and #2 in all-time CCIW wins are good examples.  Dennie Bridges (17 CCIW titles) stepped away in 2001 because, despite loving practice and the games, just didn't have the energy to keep recruiting at the level necessary to contend in the CCIW.  And as I am learning more about the Grey Giovanine (10 CCIW titles) situation it sounds like the exact same thing - has just kind of lost the energy/desire to recruit.

I guess I'm just saying I don't know how you're splitting recruiting out from coaching.  And since I am in quarantine due to a pandemic I have time on my hands to waste on this discussion.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2020, 09:20:13 am by Titan Q »

Offline Ryan Scott (Hoops Fan)

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #143 on: May 08, 2020, 10:15:42 am »
And I've always felt recruiting was the one thing that's not very d3 about d3hoops. I'd love to see schools recruit students and coaches do their best with who shows up. I recognize that's not possible, but the notion that athletics plays a part in a kid's college choice at this level has never sat well with me. I would want to minimize that in this discussion. Winning a title with the best players should reflect more on the players than the coach.
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Offline Gregory Sager

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #144 on: May 08, 2020, 10:25:25 am »
See, I'd tend to say the best coach is the one who can get the most out of five random human beings who may or may not have ever seen a basketball. I give recruiting zero influence inn my decisions. Obviously wins reflect recruiting to some extent, but recruiting is definitely my least favorite part of d3hoops.

But, like, all those teams we end up voting for in the Top 25, or the ones we talk about as Pool C candidates, or those we enjoy watching in Fort Wayne...they all got there because of recruiting more than anything.  You can't be a good team without good players.

But you can be a good coach without good players.  That's my point.

I completely disagree. Being a good college basketball coach means acquiring good players. As Bob said, you're reducing the job of coaching to its constituent parts and only selecting some of them (teacher, motivator, etc.) as "coaching," while dismissing another constituent part (recruiting) as something outside of coaching.

Let me ask you this, Ryan: When you've seen job notices for D3 coaches, as I'm sure you have, do they say that the school is seeking a "Head Coach of Men's Basketball" and a "Head Recruiter of Men's Basketball"? No. The job posting is always for a "Head Coach of Men's Basketball," plain and simple. Recruiting men's basketball student-athletes is one of the requirements for that position; even if specific aspects of recruiting are then assigned by the head coach to an assistant or assistants, as head coach he is still responsible for recruitment.

It's not "teacher, motivator, etc." = coach, with recruiting outside of the equation. It's "teacher, motivator, etc." + recruiter = coach.

See, I'd tend to say the best coach is the one who can get the most out of five random human beings who may or may not have ever seen a basketball.

In terms of college basketball, you've just described the best bench coach, or the best practice coach, or the best skills instructor, or the best combination of the three. But they don't add up to the word "coach" on this level; you need to add recruiting to the mix as well in order to fill out the job description.

You like the ice cream, the sprinkles, and the napkin. You don't like the cone as well? OK. But without the cone it's not an ice cream cone. Instead, you've just got a sticky mess on your hands. ;)

I give recruiting zero influence inn my decisions. Obviously wins reflect recruiting to some extent, but recruiting is definitely my least favorite part of d3hoops.

I'm sure that it's the least favorite part of D3 hoops for a lot of fans, perhaps even most of them. Recruiting is obscure, subjective, has relatively low visibility, is dependent upon such non-basketball arcana as financial aid packages, campus location, majors, etc., and it's oftentimes a bit unsavory with regard to tactics. It doesn't involve the actual game of basketball itself at all. But I would say that the first clause in your sentence, "Obviously, wins reflect recruiting to some extent," should be amended to read, "Obviously, wins reflect recruiting to a vast extent."

It doesn't always happen, but, usually, it's the team that takes the floor with the best players that wins the game. And if the team with the lesser talent isn't at least within shouting distance of the more talented opponent in terms of collective ability, you're much more likely to see a massacre than an upset. And you can only improve an 18-to-22-year-old basketball player just so much in terms of skills instruction, practice reps, tactics, mandatory weight-room work, psychological influence, etc. The most important components, by far, of what that 18-to-22-year-old brings to your team when he's on the floor are the components that he already had when you walked into his living room and shook hands with his parents for the first time. If he's good enough to make your program better, getting him from his living room into your locker room is, therefore, the most important part of your job.
"Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful..” -- John Wooden

Offline NEhoops

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #145 on: May 08, 2020, 10:44:57 am »
Ryan, I can see where you are coming from, but for this subject - the Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches -  we’re suggesting coaches that are worthy based on quantitative data – wins/W%/national championships/etc. And frankly that’s all we really have to go off of when looking at the group as a whole.

I understand that wins & losses don’t entirely define how good a coach is, but for all-time discussions coaches need to achieve some of those things mentioned above to the be in the conversation. At the same time, Roy Williams, a member of Dick Vitale’s DI coaching Mount Rushmore, just went 14-19. The first losing season of his career. Anyone that was around the team or attended practice probably isn’t going to state that Roy forgot how to coach. 

Offline Gregory Sager

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #146 on: May 08, 2020, 10:49:16 am »
And I've always felt recruiting was the one thing that's not very d3 about d3hoops. I'd love to see schools recruit students and coaches do their best with who shows up. I recognize that's not possible, but the notion that athletics plays a part in a kid's college choice at this level has never sat well with me. I would want to minimize that in this discussion. Winning a title with the best players should reflect more on the players than the coach.

On a certain level, I agree with you that there would be something pure and noble about D3 playing what are actually club sports instead of varsity sports, only with institutional support in place for program infrastructure in a way that club sports lack. Or perhaps another way to describe it would be "intramurals-plus," in which athletics plays no part in a kid's decision of where to attend college.

But, of course, this is not in tune with reality. In the real world, student-athletes care very deeply about what's behind the hyphen (sometimes too much more than what's in front of the hyphen than is good for them, but I digress). A student-athlete has experienced all of the attendant joys and satisfactions of wearing his or her school's uniform in high school, even (perhaps even especially, in retrospect) the hard stuff such as excruciating workouts, getting yelled at by the coach, suffering the empty feeling that comes with a loss and learning how to endure it and use it to your future advantage, etc. That student-athlete may not be ready to give that up upon high-school graduation, even if he or she isn't the sort of raw material that a school with athletic scholarships seeks. And so that young person looks for a D3 school that has the right fit for him or her -- and, in turn, the coaches of D3 schools come looking for them as well.

I don't see anything wrong with that. It's a useful and completely acceptable concession to the real world and to the way that real student-athletes think and feel. And, for a very large percentage of D3 schools, it's a necessity for other reasons; athletics is an extraordinary admissions driver, perhaps the best that there is. At a lot of D3 schools, anywhere from a quarter to over half of a student body consists of student-athletes. If you're a tuition-dependent school, athletics is a key component to paying your bills and keeping the doors open every school year. Running your varsity sports as glorified club teams whose rosters consist of whomever decided to show up from the student body at large would not be conducive to maintaining that admissions driver.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2020, 10:58:06 am by Gregory Sager »
"Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful..” -- John Wooden

Offline y_jack_lok

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #147 on: May 08, 2020, 10:57:52 am »
A couple of questions to help me understand the recruiting discussion. I've heard that some schools have a natural advantage in getting good players because of the nature of the institution, i.e. high caliber academics, and that rather than beating the bushes for good players they only have to actively court players who themselves express an interest in their institution (and maybe compete with their peer institutions, who these same student athletes have applied to). Does this sound right? Also, how much credit for successful recruiting goes to assistant coaches who have that as one of their primary responsibilities?

Offline Gregory Sager

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #148 on: May 08, 2020, 11:29:37 am »
Those are very good questions, y_jack.

There are some schools that are privileged enough not to be proactive about recruiting, at least for some sports, or who only have to be proactive in terms of outpacing their peer institutions for student-athletes that have already sought them out and made first contact on their own. I can cite as an example MIT men's volleyball, for instance. MIT is one of the most prestigious universities in the nation, particularly in the STEM fields, and the school's acceptance rate is relatively low. A lot more kids apply to go there than the school has room, or the desire, to admit. Two years ago, the MIT men's volleyball team came to North Park to play the Vikings in a match. The NPU head coach, in a warmups conversation with his visiting counterpart, casually asked the MIT coach a question about recruiting. The MIT coach, flat out, said something along the lines of, "Oh, I don't recruit. These guys all contacted me. All I did was encourage them to apply, while checking their academics and their highlight clips to make sure that they could get in and to see if they could help the team." And the Engineers were really good; they've had 15 straight winning seasons in men's volleyball, and in 13 of those 15 they won twenty matches or more.

I'm not so sure that great men's basketball players just fall into the laps of the coaches at elite D3 schools with regularity, though, even if the student-athletes are the ones who make first contact. I suspect that the specific sport of men's basketball is just too competitive for that. My guess is that NESCAC schools, for instance, likely jockey amongst themselves for certain New England prep schoolers, and I know for certain that here in the Midwest such ultra-elite institutions of the UAA as Chicago, Wash U, and Case Western Reserve have to duke it out on the recruiting trail with other Midwestern D3 schools that, however well-regarded they are academically, are not in that UAA stratosphere when it comes to academic cachet.

As to your second question, that really depends upon the particular school. Some schools have full-time assistant coaches whose job description specifically calls for them to be the head recruiter. Others don't. Some schools have multiple assistants (including GAs and/or part-timers) who participate in the recruiting process, especially in terms of sitting in the stands at high-school games and tournaments or AAU contests and bird-dogging prospects. Others just have the one or two coaches who do all of the lifting in terms of recruitment. Some schools lean upon their alumni base to help them locate high-school prospects who'd be a good fit for the school and the program; Wheaton (IL) operates by that system to an extent, more so in some sports than others.

But the one thing that they all have in common when it comes to the head coach and recruiting is the old Harry Truman dictum: The buck stops here. Whether he's the one who is making some or all of the initial contacts, or he's the guy who comes into the picture somewhere down the road and seals the deal with an interested prospect who's been brought into the picture by an assistant, the head coach is the one who is ultimately responsible for the personnel on his roster.
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Offline Ryan Scott (Hoops Fan)

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Re: Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches
« Reply #149 on: May 08, 2020, 11:48:00 am »
Ryan, I can see where you are coming from, but for this subject - the Mount Rushmore of D3 Coaches -  we’re suggesting coaches that are worthy based on quantitative data – wins/W%/national championships/etc. And frankly that’s all we really have to go off of when looking at the group as a whole.

I understand that wins & losses don’t entirely define how good a coach is, but for all-time discussions coaches need to achieve some of those things mentioned above to the be in the conversation. At the same time, Roy Williams, a member of Dick Vitale’s DI coaching Mount Rushmore, just went 14-19. The first losing season of his career. Anyone that was around the team or attended practice probably isn’t going to state that Roy forgot how to coach.

That was my original question - do we have set criteria or are we just all using our own?
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