Team up: Ranking football & hoops coaching combos

Fun item from esteemed ex-colleague David Fox of Athlon Sports on the top football/basketball coaching tandems in the nation. Topping the list: Ohio State’s duo of Thad Matta and Urban Meyer. Michigan’s duo of Brady Hoke and John Beilein is No. 2 in the nation, according to Athlon.

Here is how Athlon ranks the Big Ten tandems.

Hard to argue with Fox putting Matta and Meyer on top. Matta has taken Ohio State to two Final Fours, three Big Ten tourney titles and a share of five regular-season crowns. Meyer won two national titles at Florida and debuted with a 12-0 mark in Columbus last season.
I would have put Michigan State No. 2 on this list instead of Michigan. I think Mark Dantonio has done more over the course of this career than Hoke; and Tom Izzo’s resume dwarfs John Beilein’s. In fact, they aren’t even in the same zip code.

And you could make a case for Minnesota’s duo of Tubby Smith/Jerry Kill being ahead of Indiana’s Kevin Wilson/Tom Crean. Kill has had great success in a long tenure as a head coach at places like Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois. Smith won a national championship at Kentucky.

Iowa also is too low at No. 10. Yes, Kirk Ferentz’s program is trending down, but he has made the Hawkeyes one of the Big Ten’s premier programs since arriving in 1999. Fran McCaffrey has had nice success at places like Siena, UNC Greensboro and Lehigh, taking them all to the NCAA tourney.

Here is how I would have ranked the Big Ten coaching tandems.

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan State
3. Michigan
4. Wisconsin
5. Minnesota
6. Indiana
7. Iowa
8. Northwestern
9. Nebraska
10. Purdue
11. Penn State
12. Illinois

How would you rank them?


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (4 Comments)
Tim Pertler on 2/22/2013 @ 2:07pm EDT Said:

Michigan tandem is #2…you credit McCaffrey at smaller schools so why not Beilein?

Doug on 2/22/2013 @ 2:36pm EDT Said:

Hoke and Beilien ahead of Dantonio and Izzo, what a joke. It’s no wonder every year Athlon loses credibility.

GREGORY HUMPHREY on 2/22/2013 @ 11:23pm EDT Said:

I can’t believe that you have Penn State at # 10… We are good enough to be at # 5.. Coach O Brien has done great things this pass year with keeping a program together. Now yes the basketball program is not up to par yet but its only Coach Chambers second year. He will do Great Things for Penn State.. Just know that we love being the underdog and we will be stronger than ever when we bounce back.. Go State

Josh T on 2/23/2013 @ 11:07am EDT Said:

John Beilein never got past the Elite 8, and he only even got to the Elite 8 once. Dantonio also has a share of the B10 Championship to his credit and a coming into the year had the most wins in the B10 over a few year period. (if I remember correctly) Hoke has a BCS win. At the most favorable outcome for Hoke they are even, other than that Dantonio has done more so far in his career. Izzo has 1 NCAA Championship, 6 Final Fours, and 7 B10 regular season championships as well as a 10% career winning edge over Beilein. I would hope you see the difference there…

@ Greg
I believe this is based off of the now versus future potential. O’Brien has done a good job so far but it’s only 1 season to work off of and coupled with PSU’s Bball team being a work in progress that would be the reason for a low ranking.