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10 College Basketball Coach Golfers

In honor of Selection Sunday yesterday, and the start of March Madness, we take a look at 10 great NCAA basketball coaches from past and present who enjoy the game of golf. 

Jim Boeheim 

Jim Boeheim bleeds Syracuse Orange. After 50 years of being affiliated with the school, it will do that to you. He first stepped foot on the western New York campus as a freshman in 1962 where he walked onto the basketball team and became captain his senior year. 

After a brief stint of pro basketball, he came back to Syracuse to be a graduate assistant. From there he became the head coach in 1976 and since then has claimed five Big East tournaments, five Final Four appearances, and one national championship. He also is notorious for running a 2-3 zone, a recipe that has seemed to work for them. What you probably didn’t know was that he played two years of college golf and was actually the head coach of the golf team prior to his transition to basketball only.

Jim Calhoun

Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun single handily turned the University of Connecticut from a school that barley knew it had a basketball team into a perennial NCAA championship powerhouse. Calhoun’s tenure spanned 26 years and included three national titles, four Final Fours, and seven Big East crowns. He also loves to hit the links. He hosts an annual charity outing that raises money for UCONN’s cardiac research center, which typically draws a bunch of high profile NBA names like Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton.

Roy Williams

When head coach Roy Williams isn’t leading the University of North Carolina Tar Heels to victory on the hardwood, he prefers to spend his time on the golf course. He always relishes the opportunity to play in charity outings and pro-ams. Here he is pictured with multiple PGA Tour winner Jay Haas discussing a persimmon driver. Williams has won three national championships with the Tar Heels and has been to nine Final Fours.

Bobby Knight

via golfchannel.com

College Basketball legend Bob Knight won 902 games in his career, good enough for second all time. A majority of those wins came while at Indiana where he was head coach from 1971-2000, and also developed a reputation of being one of the most fiery people to ever coach on the hardwood. Knight won one NCAA championship as a player with Ohio State, and then three more as a coach. He also went to five Final Fours and claimed 11 Big Ten regular season titles. Golf was always an outlet for Knight and he enjoyed his time on the course. In fact, he even had his own instructional golf show at one point and was a guest on Feherty as pictured here. Yes, he’s teaching David the proper way to throw a chair, which was his trademark.

Lon Kruger

via soonersports.com

Lon Kruger has been the head basketball coach of the Oklahoma Sooners since 2011, but loves to spend whatever free time he has on the golf course. When he was the head coach at UNLV, he founded the Coaches Vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic benefitting the American Cancer society. It raised nearly $550,000 last year alone. Judging by this picture of his form, it’s no surprise Kruger can play.

Geno Auriemma

via golfchannel.com

Geno Auriemma has led the UCONN women’s basketball team to 11 (!!!) national championships since taking over as head coach in 1985.  He’s also been named Naismith Coach of the Year seven times! When he’s not making history on the court, he likes to play a little golf. He once told a story about how he made an eagle with legendary UNC coach Dean Smith at Cypress Point golf course. The guy doesn’t lose. 

Bill Self

via ljworld.com

Bill Self has been the head basketball coach at Kansas University since 2003. During this time, the Rock Chalk Jayhawks won the 2008 national championship and have been to two Final Fours. They’ve also claimed seven Big 12 titles. Self is a good golfer in his own right and hosts a charity golf tournament along with the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department to raise money for their scholarship programs.

Jay Wright

via vuhoops.com

Head coach of the 2016 and 2018 national champion Villanova Wildcats, Jay Wright can swing it with the best of them. Wright first took over the reins in 2001 and has made the Cats a force to be reckoned with going to three Final Fours and winning six Big East titles. Here he is at the ‘Nova Summer Jam showing the fans how it’s done. 

Dean Smith

We cannot have a college basketball head coach list without mentioning the late great Dean Smith. He coached the UNC Tar Heels for 36 years beginning in 1961 and retired with 879 victories (a record at the time), had the 9th highest winning percentage of all time(77.6%) , went to 11 Final Fours, and claimed two national championships. He also was an avid golfer taking any opportunity he could to get on the course. 

Kevin Ollie

via tollandfund.org

Former NBA guard Kevin Ollie is the former head coach of the UCONN men’s basketball team and like his predecessor, Jim Calhoun, has an affinity for golf. Back in 2014 Ollie won a national championship in his first full season as head coach, a feat basically unheard of. He also hosts the annual Kevin Ollie Charity Golf Classic supporting sports for people with disabilities. Here he is with Jim Calhoun and Ray Allen at the golf course.

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