I am always interested in the coaching side of basketball, especially college basketball, where the head coach might be more important than any other sport around.
And without question the two best leagues on the west coast in college basketball are the West Coast Conference and the Pac-12.
So with my interest in coaching and with the help of a nameless famous retired NBA executive, together we created our list of top five coaches in both the WCC and Pac-12 heading into the 2011-12 season. We based our selections off of three different categories, 1)Bench/In Game Coaching 2) Recruiting 3) Could this person win anywhere they are coaching.
With that into account, here is our ranking, but instead of ranking by league separation, we thought it might be better to have top 10 list, combining the two leagues and for sure a lot more fun for you readers which is much more important.
10. Tad Boyle, Colorado--- Most people could not even tell you who coaches Colorado, but basketball people know what a good coach Boyle is. He did wonders turning a dismal Northern Colorado team around before going to the Buffalos this past season. Excellent recruiter, who is always going to be on lists to be hired at other schools. Pac-12 coaches should be nervous about him in the league.
9. Kerry Keating, Santa Clara---A coach to watch for many years to come. It took him awhile to get things going at Santa Clara, but now he appears to have the Broncos in a great position for years to come. There are people that are made to be Doctors and there are people made to be basketball coaches. The Broncos will have trouble keeping Keating, he is on the short list of many schools. Enough said.
8. Randy Bennett, St. Mary's--- For sure at present he belongs in the top 10, but also could easily drop out. While having lots of wins at St. Mary's, he has not been able to break through the Gonzaga dominance and create a real WCC rivalry, but none the less, for coaching at a small school, in a small arena, Bennett has done a nice job. He has been on short lists of teams seeking coaches, but he might just be a lifer at St. Mary's.
7. Dana Altman. Oregon--- A lot of people wondered what the heck the Ducks were doing hiring Altman. Now they know, the Ducks did know what they were doing. 21 wins in his first year with inferior talent, says much, this year as documented in my previous columns, the Ducks should go dancing. If they do, Altman will be one of the hottest coaching commodities in the country, but who would leave Oregon..... money, facilities and an athletic program that is totally committed to winning.
6. Dave Rose, BYU---For now, he has beat pancreatic cancer, probably that is all you need to know about Rose. Sure he is at BYU, but he still has to coach talent and he has done a great job of doing so over the years. There is not a shortage of programs in the country who would love to have Rose as their head coach. He oozes winning.
5. Lorenzo Romar, Washington--- In one of the richest recruiting areas in all the country, Seattle, Romar continues to win, year in and year out. With his talent pool to choose from each year, it appears that Romar will finish out his career at Washington, but if he said he would like to leave, there would be no shortage of jobs offered to him. Romar someday will win a national championship at Washington.
4. Mike Montgomery, California--- Actually it would be easy to throw darts at this choice with his failure in the pros at Golden State, but Montgomery has withstood the test of time at Stanford and at California. Some people have picked him to win the Pac-12 this season, I do not agree, but his consistent winning, makes his an obvious top 10 choice.
3. Eric Reveno, Portland--- As I have told you many times, the best coach in the country that most people have never heard of. What he has done with the Pilots is nothing short of miracle. There is no way the Pilots can keep him much longer. One other key point, high school coaches love the guy, so important in the ongoing recruiting battles. He could turn the Washington Generals into a winner.
2. Mark Few, Gonzaga--- Quite possibly the might be the mistake on the list, but how can you argue with 11 straight WCC championships and 13 straight NCAA appearances. Horrible success in the NCAA tournament, but maybe the greatest regular season accomplishment in sports with the domination. The big question here is would he win at another school, we might find out next year as I think Few will leave Gonzaga after this season.
1. Sean Miller, Arizona--- Of course I have picked the Wildcats to win the NCAA championship this year. Miller is the best head coach recruiter in the country. He makes great in-game adjustments and he will soon be on the east coast coaching somewhere. When a job opens, he is the number one choice of everyone. He is the definition of winning.
Ok, where did I go wrong, please tell me as I know you will and the first batch of emails I am sure will come from my friends at UCLA, just a hint.
emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or please follow myself on twitter @wchoops
As always, thank you for reading this column.