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PC Basketball: A Coaching Dynasty

Thursday, July 03, 2014

 

Ed Cooley

Present and former Providence College men’s basketball coaches dominate ESPN’s ranking of the top 50 coaches in America.

See the Full Rankings here.

Current Friars’ head coach Ed Cooley came in at #41 on the list.  Cooley led the Friars to the Big East Championship in 2014, his third year at the helm.

“Cooley has done a great job on the recruiting trail, and his bench is better stocked now than any Providence team in recent memory,” ESPN said of Cooley.

"Billy the Kid" is #1

Former Friars player Billy Donovan is the #1 coach in the rankings.  The Florida head coach won back-to-back National Championships in 2006 and 2007 and has presently guided the Gators to 4 consecutive Elite 8’s.  Donovan was dubbed "Billy the Kid" by Friars fans and was one of the best point guards in America in the 1980's.

Part of ESPN’s decision to rank Donovan #1 was his ability to find success at a “football school.”

“Florida is one of the nation's elite college basketball programs. It is a perennial recruiting destination, a near-constant winner. Florida is, and always will be, a football school,” ESPN states. “Attendance hasn't always been great. But Donovan has been so relentlessly good that even the most stubbornly disinterested alum can't help but sit up and take notice.”

Rick Pitino led Louisville to the 2013 National Championship.

Pitino, Barnes, Larranaga All Featured

Former PC Coach Rick Pitino (currently at Louisville) was ranked #5 by ESPN.  Pitino coached the last PC team to reach the final 4, the 1987 Friars.  That team featured Donovan running the show at point guard, and PC was the first of 3 programs Pitino would take to the Final 4 (an NCAA record).

Rick Barnes, the man who succeeded Pitino at Providence and led the Friars to 3 NCAA Tournaments, comes in at #44 in the rankings.  Barnes currently coaches the University of Texas.

Jim Larranaga played at Providence from 1967-1971, and the current coach of the University of Miami (Florida) was ranked 28th in the nation by ESPN. 

Larranaga scored over 1,000 points at PC and was named a PC Hall of Famer in 1991.  He’s best known for leading George Mason to a Cinderella Final 4 run in 2006.

PC’s program takes up 10% of the top coaches pool.  Given that there are 350 other Division 1 schools to compete with, that’s an overwhelmingly impressive coaching tree.

 

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