A Closer Look At The Rick Pitino Coaching Tree

Posted on Apr 16 2012 - 10:13am by Brent Lepping


When you really break it all down, it’s an incredibly fascinating subject. The fact that one man has produced SO MANY other head coaches is truly amazing. I found an article written by Dana O’Neil of ESPN in 2010 in which she breaks down the coaching trees of some of the biggest names in college basketball: guys like Calhoun, Izzo, Krzyzewski, Gary Williams and Rick Pitino. The lists are all impressive, but they pale in comparison to Pitino’s. The extensive nature of his tree is quite mind-blowing, actually. Not only has he essentially been able to churn out an assistant every 2 years on average, but many of those men have gone on to create successful coaching trees of their own (Billy Donovan, Herb Sendek and Ralph Willard, to name a few). Here’s a look the numbers for Pitino and you can read the rest here (though, remember, some of it might be outdated by now).


Rick Pitino, Louisville; former head coach Boston University, Providence, Kentucky

  • Winston Bennett (asst., Boston Celtics, 1997-98, asst., Kentucky 1995-97, played at Kentucky) Head coach Mid-Continent University; former head coach, Kentucky State
  • Delray Brooks (asst., Kentucky 1992-97, played at Providcence) Former head coach, UT-Pan American
  • Bill Burke (asst., Louisville, 2002-06, asst., Boston University, 1978) Former head coach Loyola
  • Gordon Chiesa (asst. Providence 1985-87) Former head coach, Providence
  • Mick Cronin (asst., Louisville 2001-03) Head coach, Cincinnati; former head coach, Murray State
  • Scott Davenport (asst., Louisville 1996-05) Head coach, Bellarmine
  • Billy Donovan (asst., Kentucky, 1989-94; played at Providence) Head coach, Florida; former head coach Marshall
    • Anthony Grant (asst., Florida 1996-06, asst., Marshall 1994-96) Head coach, Alabama; former head coach, VCU
    • Donnie Jones (asst., Florida 1997-07, asst., Marshall 1994-96) Head coach, Marshall
    • John Pelphrey (asst., Florida, 1997-02, asst., Marshall 1005-96, played at Kentucky) Head coach, Arkansas; former head coach South Alabama
    • Shaka Smart (asst., Florida 2007-08) Head coach, VCU
  • Travis Ford (played at Kentucky) Head coach, Oklahoma State; former head coach UMas, Eastern Kentucky, Campbellsville
  • Stu Jackson (asst., New York Knicks 1987-89, asst., Providence, 1985-87) Former head coach Wisconsin, New York Knicks
  • Sean Kearney (asst., Providence 1986-87) Head coach, Holy Cross
  • John Kuester (asst., Boston University 1981-83) Former head coach George Washington, Boston University
  • Bernadette Mattox (asst., Kentucky 1990-94) Former head coach, Kentucky women’s basketball team
  • Marvin Menzies (asst., Louisville 2005-07) Head coach, New Mexico State
  • Jim O’Brien (asst., Boston Celtics 1997-01, asst., Kentucky 1994-97) Head coach, Indiana Pacers; former head coach Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Dayton, played at Kentucky) Head coach, Arkansas; former head coach South Alabama
  • Herb Sendek (asst., Kentucky 1989-93, asst., Providence 1985-89) Head coach, Arizona State; former head coach NC State, Miami (Ohio)
    • Jim Christian (asst, Miami, 1994-96) Head coach, Texas Christian; former head coach, Kent State
    • Geno Ford (asst., Kent State 2002-05) Head coach, Kent State
    • Charlie Coles (asst., Miami 1994-96) Head coach, Miami Ohio, former head coach Central Michigan
    • John Groce (asst., NC State 1996-98) Head coach, Ohio University
    • Larry Hunter (asst., NC State, 2001-05) Head coach, Western Carolina; former head coach Ohio University, Wittenberg University
    • Geno Ford (asst., Ohio University, 1998-01)
    • Ron Hunter (asst., Miami 1993-94) Head coach IUPUI
    • Thad Matta (asst., Miami 1993-94,) Head coach, Ohio State; former head coach Xavier, Butler
    • Todd Lickliter (asst., Butler 2000-01) Head coach, Iowa; former head coach, Butler
    • Brad Stevens (asst., Butler 2001-07) Head coach, Butler
    • John Groce (asst., Ohio State, 2004-08, Butler, 2000-01) Head coach Ohio University
    • Sean Miller (asst., Butler 2001-04) Head coach, Arizona; former head coach Xavier
    • Sean Miller (asst., NC State 1996-00, asst., Miami 1993-95) Head coach, Arizona; former head coach Xavier
    • Chris Mack (asst., Xavier 2004-09) Head coach, Xavier
    • Mark Phelps (asst., Arizona State, 2006-08, asst., NC State 2000-06) Head coach, Drake
  • Tubby Smith (asst., Kentucky, 1989-91) Head coach, Minnesota; former head coach Kentucky, Georgia, Tulsa
    • Ron Jirsa (asst., Georgia 1995-97, asst., Tulsa, 1991-94) Former head coach, Georgia and Marshall
  • Reggie Theus (asst., Louisville 2003-05) Former head coach, Sacramento Kings, New Mexico State.
  • Jeff Van Gundy (asst., Providence 1987) Former head coach, New York Knicks
  • Kevin Willard (asst., Louisville 2001-07) Head coach, Iona
  • Ralph Wilard (asst., Louisville, 2009-present, asst., Kentucky 1989-90, asst., New York Knicks, 1987-90) Former head coach Holy Cross, Pittsburgh, Western Kentucky
    • Tom Crean (asst., Western Kentucky 1990-94) Head coach, Indiana; former head coach, Marquette
    • Tim Buckley (asst., Marquette, 1999-00, 2006-07). Asst. coach at Indiana; former head coach, Ball State (2000-06)
    • Darrin Horn (asst., Marquette, 1999-03) Head coach, South Carolina; former head coach, Western Kentucky
    • Tod Kowalczyk (asst., Marquette, 2001-02) Head coach, Wisconsin-Green Bay
    • Buzz Williams (asst., Marquette, 2007-08). Head coach, Marquette
    • Darrin Horn (asst., Western Kentucky, 1995-97) Head coach, South Carolina; former head coach, Western Kentucky
  • Sean Woods (played at Kentucky) Head coach, Mississippi Valley State


* Note the above chart does NOT include Steve Masiello (Manhattan) or Richard Pitino (FIU)

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (5 votes cast)
A Closer Look At The Rick Pitino Coaching Tree, 10.0 out of 10 based on 5 ratings



2 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. SimeonNaydenov April 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    or David Padgett, Andre Mcgee, Chris Brickley

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave A Response