Ranking the Top SEC Basketball Head Coaches

Bruce Pearl and John Calipari may be two obvious adds here, but who else? In this article, I dive into coaching records and NCAA Tournament appearances that make each coach worthy or not worthy of being ranked amongst the top five coaches in the SEC.
Miami v Auburn
Miami v Auburn / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
2 of 3

John Calipari (3)

The Kentucky Wildcats are a college basketball blue blood that has been towards the top of the SEC for decades. During 11 of his first 12 seasons in Lexington, Head Coach John Calipari led the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament, including four final four appearances and a national championship between 2010 and 2015.

Since 2020 however, The Wildcats have seen somewhat of a drop off, including the first losing season under Calipari in 2020 with a record of 9-16, and two first round NCAA Tournament exits the next two seasons.

So while there has been long-term success, it has somewhat tempered over the last few seasons for the Wildcats and Calipari, which is why he is third in the rankings.

Chris Beard (2)

Chris Beard is concluding his first season as the Head Coach of the Ole Miss Rebels, and his first in the SEC. However, in his previous coaching stints at Arkansas Little Rock and the University of Texas, Beard had six NCAA Tournament appearances in eight years.

In his first season with the Rebels, Beard led the club to its first 20 win season since the 2018-2019 campaign in coach Kermit Davis’ first season.

Oddly enough, the previous three head coaches of the Rebels before Beard have all compiled at least 20 wins in their first year. The difference is Beard’s previous tenures, along with the fact that he achieved 20 wins after back-to-back losing seasons for the Rebels in which they went 13-21 and 12-21 respectively.

This combined with his previous success is quite the feat for Beard. Look him to stay near the top of the coaching rankings for years to come as long as he remains in Oxford.