warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Breaking Down the Coaches of the Sweet 16

Jessica Benson |
March 24, 2011 | 1:13 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Coach K is the most experienced of the coaches in the Sweet 16 this year. (Creative Commons)
Coach K is the most experienced of the coaches in the Sweet 16 this year. (Creative Commons)

Sweet 16 action begins Thursday. Here's a look at the coaches of all 16 teams, from first timers to battle-tested vets.


First Timers:

Buzz Williams, Marquette University

Since beginning his head-coaching career in 2006, this is Williams’ first time making it to the Sweet 16.  He previously coached at the University of New Orleans before starting at Marquette in 2008.  This is the first time Marquette has made the Sweet 16 since their Final Four appearance in 2003 (a.k.a. The Year of Dwyane Wade).

Chris Mooney, Richmond University

This is Mooney’s second year in a row leading the Spiders into the NCAA Tournament, however this is first year advancing to the Sweet 16.  Richmond has not been to the Sweet 16 since 1988, but this year Mooney has led the team to some impressive wins, including a recent upset of Vanderbilt.

Dave Rose, Brigham Young University

Since landing the head coaching job at BYU in 2005, Rose has led to the Cougars into the NCAA Tournament five times, but this is his, and the Cougars', first trip to the Sweet 16.  This is the best BYU has done in the tournament in 30 years. (Thanks, Jimmer.)

Shaka Smart, Virginia Commonwelth University

The Rams and Coach Smart are headed to the Sweet 16 for the first time. Smith has turned his No. 11 seeded team into one of the Cinderella teams of this year’s Tournament.

The Veterans:

Bo Ryan, University of Wisconsin

Since becoming the head coach at Wisconsin, Ryan has led his team to four Sweet 16 appearances, but the closest he's come to a title is the Elite Eight in 2005.

Leonard Hamilton, Florida State University

This is Hamilton’s first time leading the Seminoles into the Sweet 16, however, he made his first appearance back in 2000 with the University of Miami (Florida).  Up until this year, the Seminoles had not won a Tournament game since 1998.

Sean Miller, University of Arizona

Miller is no stranger to the Sweet 16.  As the former coach of Xavier University, Miller led his team to the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight in 2008 and followed that up with a second Sweet 16 appearance the following year.


The Champion Contenders (coaches who have appeared in the Final Four):

Bill Self, University of Kansas

Self kicked off his NCAA success with a trip to the Sweet 16 with the University of Tulsa in 2000. After that, he made two appearances with the University of Illinois, one of which resulted in a trip to the Elite Eight.  But, Self has found his most success with Kansas.  In the last seven years, Self has made it to the Sweet 16 four times.  In three of those runs, the Jayhawks advanced to the Elite Eight, and two of those runs led to the Final Four. In 2008, Self coached the Jayhawks to an NCAA Championship, more than securing his place on this list.

Billy Donovan, University of Florida

Since becoming the head coach at Florida in 1996, Donovan has led the Gators to five Sweet 16 appearances. Along the way, he picked up back-to-back NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2007.

Brad Stevens, Butler University

Before last year, Stevens would have been considered a rookie going into the Sweet 16. But the 33-year-old coach has now led the Bulldogs to two Sweet 16 appearances in a row. Last year, the Bulldogs ended their season with a showdown with Duke in the final game. They took the runner-up title.

Jim Calhoun, University of Connecticut

Calhoun has led the UConn Huskies to the Sweet 16 12 times. With that, the Huskies have advanced to the Final Four three times and have taken home the national title twice (1999 and 2004). Calhoun has been with the Huskies since 1986 after leaving Northeastern University.

John Calipari, University of Kentucky

This is Calipari’s eighth appearance in the Sweet 16. Along the way he has made it to two Final Fours with Massachusetts and Memphis. Calipari coached his first season at Kentucky last year and started his run with a trip to the Elite Eight.

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University

With 20 Sweet 16 appearances, 12 trips to the Elite Eight, 11 Final Fours and four NCAA Championships, Krzyzewski has the most success in the Sweet 16.  This season, he is following up last year’s championship win against Butler. Coach K leads this season’s pool of coaches in Tournament and Sweet 16 experience.

Roy Williams, University of North Carolina

As the head coach of Kansas, Williams took his team to 12 Sweet 16 appearances that resulted in four trips to the Final Four and four to the Elite Eight. Since becoming the head coach at UNC, Williams has only extended his legacy.  He has been to the Sweet 16 five times, the Elite 8 four times and the Final Four three times.  Two of those trips resulted in NCAA championships for the Tar Heels.

Steve Fisher, San Diego State University

While this is San Diego State’s first run to the Sweet 16, Fisher is anything but an amateur when it comes to final games of the NCAA Tournament.  In 1989, Fisher led Michigan to a championship and is responsible for signing the “Fab Five” in 1991. Fisher led the Fab Five, led by Chris Webber, Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard, to two NCAA runner-up titles.

Thad Matta, Ohio State University

Matta began his Sweet 16 history with Xavier, when he led them to the Elite Eight in 2004.  Since beginning at Ohio State in the fall of 2004, Matta has been the NCAA runner-up once (2007) and made it to the Sweet 16 in 2009.


To reach Jessica Benson by email, click here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.