clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Sun’s Arizin: Get To Know Your Big East Head Coaches

With three new head coaches coming to the conference, how well do you know the leaders of all 11 teams?

Villanova Wildcats vuhoops.com

Happy Thursday Nova Nation! Considering that we’re two weeks past the end of the college basketball season and you’re still reading this, I’m going to guess you’re a pretty big Villanova fan. Or maybe just a Big East fan starved for any kind of content you can get your hands on. Well today you’re in luck! Let’s play a game.

How well do you know the coaches of the Big East? I’m sure most of you could rattle off the names and schools they lead. But could you identify them all by their career stats alone? That’s my challenge to you today. Here you go, we grabbed the career stats and accolades of the eleven Big East Coaches from sports-reference.com and them ordered by career wins. Which one is which?

2022-23 Big East Coaches

Coach Seasons Career Wins W per Season Conference RS Titles Conf Tourney Titles Conf COY NCAA Tournaments NCAA Wins Final Fours Championships Naismith COY
Coach Seasons Career Wins W per Season Conference RS Titles Conf Tourney Titles Conf COY NCAA Tournaments NCAA Wins Final Fours Championships Naismith COY
Coach A 28 642 22.9 10 8 6 18 34 4 2 2
Coach B 17 439 25.8 8 7 3 13 24 2 0 0
Coach C 21 425 20.2 2 3 1 10 6 0 0 0
Coach D 17 422 24.8 8 4 3 11 19 0 0 0
Coach E 20 419 21.0 1 1 1 9 9 0 0 0
Coach F 16 313 19.6 2 1 1 6 3 0 0 1
Coach G 13 291 22.4 0 3 0 9 7 1 0 0
Coach H 12 224 18.7 1 1 0 4 2 0 0 0
Coach I 5 68 13.6 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
Coach J 4 64 16.0 0 1 1 1 3 0 0 0
Coach K 2 17 8.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Quite the list, and certainly a few surprises that I wasn’t expecting when looking at the accomplishments of these coaches. This group is responsible for 32 Regular Season Titles, 30 Conference Tournament Titles, and 16 Conference Coach of the Year Awards. On the National Scale they’ve made 82 NCAA Tournaments, won 107 NCAA Tournament games, made 7 Final Fours, won 2 National Championships (hint: one coach is carrying this number), and 3 Naismith Coach of the Year Awards.

Well between that stat listing and this additional vamp, I hope I’ve created enough space so you had time to guess before hitting any spoilers. Although let’s be honest, if you’re reading this article on this site, the first coach on the list shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

Coach A = Jay Wright, Villanova

What can be said about Wright that hasn’t been said already. He’s already accomplished so much in the Big East, and deserves a spot among the best coaches in the storied history of the Big East. In fact, at his current pace, he’ll have a pretty good argument for best Big East coach ever. But that title is earned, not given. And the coaches in this conference (new and old) aren’t going to make it easy on him.

Coach B = Thad Matta, Butler

I knew Matta had an impressive career before signing on at Butler, but it’s even more impressive when you put it on paper. He comes into the conference Wright is the only coach he trails in Regular Season Titles, Conference Tournament Titles, NCAA Wins, and Final Fours. And considering that 1) Wright is a Hall of Famer and 2) he has a decade more head coach experience than Matta, it’s easy to see why Butler fans are so excited about this hire. But you can throw the numbers out the window, there’s only one thing that matters about Matta’s return to Butler. They just hired the most Gene Hackman look-alike/Hoosiers-esque coach they could find to call Hinkle Fieldhouse his new home. As a Big East fan I’m thrilled. As a Villanova fan... not so much.

Coach C = Greg McDermott, Creighton

Did you expect McDermott to be the second most experienced coach in the Big East? Me neither. But just because he hasn’t stacked up the titles and post season success like some of these other coaches, don’t be too quick to dismiss him. Jay Wright was a guy that couldn’t get it done until he did... and that was just six years ago. McDermott is coming into the season with what could be argued as one of his best teams ever. He returns almost everyone from a team that persevered through big losses to end the season. They lost their star player and point guard but still managed to reach the Big East Tournament Finals. Then they lost the Big East Defensive player of the year, only to take the eventual National Champions in Kansas to a 1 point game in the final 2 minutes. Both of those players are back this season, and there’s a really good chance Greg McDermott’s squad gets voted #1 in next seasons Big East Preseason Poll.

Coach D = Sean Miller, Xavier

Miller has certainly had an “interesting” past few years, but let’s keep this strictly to the coaching side of things. He’s taking over a team that just won the NIT, largely in part to the school removing the old coach that in my opinion was holding back a pretty talented roster. Now you bring in a coach that has a proven winning track record, and is another of those guys on the “can’t get it done in March... until he does” list. Miller’s a great coach, a great recruiter, and should find success pretty quickly at Xavier.

Coach E = Mike Anderson, St. John’s

This is my pick for the coach that some people may have gotten wrong. And that likely would include me. Did this guy really win Big East Coach of the Year just two seasons ago!? My how time flies. Anderson has done far from a bad job at St. John’s, but the question is has he done a good job? His career numbers scream “middle of the road” with just 9 NCAA Tournaments in 20 years, and only two conference titles. He may not have the hottest seat in the Big East next year, but it’s gotta be warming up.

Coach F = Ed Cooley, Providence

I was surprised here too, but more by the fact that Cooley has only been a head coach for sixteen seasons. I think I just assumed he’s been coaching since he was in his early teens. Still one of my favorite coaches in the Big East, easily my favorite that I’ve gotten to meet and hang out with in person after Wright, and so happy for everything he and his team accomplished this year. Especially the National Coach of the Year award. Now the big question becomes, can you repeat that success? It’s not going to be easy.

Coach G = Shaka Smart, Marquette

Shaka Smart is a good coach. But I feel like I have to keep telling myself that. His biggest problem with his better teams has always been consistency. When they’re on, his teams can be great. Villanova got to experience that first hand this year. But the problem is they don’t stay on, and they’re not always on when it matters most. I do think Smart will find success at Marquette, but the consistency issues could ultimately be the reason that fan base decides to move on from a winning coach.

Coach H = Dan Hurley, UConn

The persona and the presence of Dan Hurley is really impressive. The performance of his teams however seems to leave much to be desired. His coaching statistics read more like a Mike Anderson than a Jay Wright, and the recent craziness UConn has faced with recruiting and the transfer portal has certainly sparked online excitement for those who root for and against UConn. At the end of the day, it’s pretty simple. If Hurley can keep bringing in talent, he has to put together a run through the Big East to prove he can do something with it. UConn fans like Hurley... but not as much as they hate losing.

Coach I = Patrick Ewing, Georgetown

This has got to be the final chance for Patrick Ewing. I’m not saying there haven’t been excuses or things out of his control, but when you get paid to be the head coach at Georgetown you’re supposed to overcome all of that. You’re not supposed to go winless in the Big East. Georgetown lost 20 Big East games in 2022 when you include their first round exit in the Big East Tournament. There were some coaching staff changes, some transfers are coming in, but I have to imagine that if it doesn’t all equate to wins then Ewing’s time as Georgetown’s coach is over.

Coach J = Shaheen Holloway, Seton Hall

Holloway was probably at the top of the coaching hires list for Seton Hall in February. Then March happened and it became a no brainer. Holloway found success in that magical run, but now he’ll have to prove it wasn’t just a fluke. The good news is, he should get plenty of time to build the team and get things going given his ties and history to the school.

Coach K = Tony Stubblefield, DePaul

Admittedly I’ve never done much research on Stubblefields career, but I was surprised to find out that last season was his first full year as a head coach. I knew he’d been a long time assistant, but I didn’t know he had only served part of one season as an interim head coach before getting the job at DePaul. With that said, what he was able to do last year seems even more impressive. Given the resources and reputation, it’s going to take a while to climb the ladder in a competitive Big East. I’ll never root for him to beat Villanova, but I do hope Stubblefield can succeed in bring DePaul back to national relevance.

So how’d you do? Leave your score (X/11) in the comments.

In other news...

Future Wildcats

College basketball transfer portal: Ranking 25 best players | Sports Illustrated
Kendric Davis, Nijel Pack and Kenneth Lofton Jr are among those in the NCAA portal who are being hotly pursued.

Kendric Davis transfer: Breaking down best fits for prized SMU guard | 247 Sports
SMU guard Kendric Davis was a popular preseason All-American selection. He went out and lived up to the hype, pouring in 19.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

NBA Wildcats

Max Strus on Kyle Lowry: 'We've got the best point guard in the league' | Heat Nation
Kyle Lowry is a big reason why the Heat did so well in the regular season. Miami Heat sharpshooter Max Strus called Lowry the best point guard in the league on Wednesday.

Josh Hart Talks Future With Trail Blazers, 2022-23 Role in Exit Interview | Blazer's Edge
The do-it-all guard shared his perspective on his brief Year One with the Blazers in today’s exit interview

Defensive Player Ladder: Mikal Bridges earns top spot on final ballot | NBA.com
Phoenix's ironman leads Rudy Gobert and Marcus Smart in the final ranking of the NBA's best defenders.

Donte DiVincenzo describes two months with Kings as ‘growth’ period | Sactown Royalty
The newest member of the Kings reflected on his short time in the purple and white.

Dallas Mavs star Jalen Brunson surprises first-graders with epic game experience | Mavs.com
Over 20 first-graders and their parents walked down the steps of American Airlines Center Sunday night in utter awe. They were the first ones through the doors, treated to a VIP experience that played out like a movie for the kids.

Big East

Butler president James Danko defends Bulldogs' Big East credentials | Indy Star
Matta said he would put the conference up against any in college basketball and Butler has “work cut out for us” to contend for a Big East title.

Villanova Athletics

Villanova Wins Doubles Point and Two Singles Matches in 4-3 Loss to Drexel | Villanova University
PHILADELPHIA, Pa.—Villanova (3-13) won the doubles point for the second straight match and claimed a pair of singles victories in a road match against Drexel (8-7)

Fifth-Inning Fireworks Help Wildcats Topple Bucknell | Villanova University
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – Villanova batted through its entire order Tuesday in a fifth inning that saw it score five runs, four with just one out on the board, to

Wildcats Rally Past Connecticut For 4-3 Win in Home Finale | Villanova University
VILLANOVA, Pa.—Juniors Caitlin Fisher (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Amanda Rivera-Gonzalez (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) each won their singles matches in three sets to help Villanova