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Bob Lutz: Dean Smith’s passing a reminder of Kansas’ contribution to coaching

Dean Smith, who won 879 games during a legendary coaching career at North Carolina and is shown here in a 2008 photo, was born in Emporia and graduated from Topeka High in 1949.
Dean Smith, who won 879 games during a legendary coaching career at North Carolina and is shown here in a 2008 photo, was born in Emporia and graduated from Topeka High in 1949. Getty Images

The passing of legendary North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith got me to thinking about Kansas’ place in the world of men’s college basketball.

Smith, born in Emporia and a 1949 graduate of Topeka High, is one of several native Kansans to achieve huge success as a college basketball coach. He’s joined by Adolph Rupp (Halstead), Eddie Sutton (Bucklin), Ralph Miller (Chanute), Lon Kruger (Silver Lake) and Gene Keady (Larned), all of whom rank among the top 50 winningest coaches in Division I history.

Smith’s 879 wins are four all-time, behind only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and former Army, Indiana and Texas Tech coach Bob Knight. Rupp is No. 6 all-time; Sutton seventh.

Only one state, New York, can be credited with more coaches among the all-time top 50 in wins and more total wins than Kansas. New York, as you’re probably aware, is a much more populous state than Kansas.

Seven native New Yorkers are among the all-time top 50 in career wins, led by Boeheim’s 963. New York-bred coaches have 4,385 wins, 47 more than those from Kansas.

I thought you’d be interested in looking at the breakdown. Thanks for reading.

New York (7 coaches, 4,385 wins) – Jim Boeheim, 963; Rick Pitino, 712; Bobby Cremins, 586; Frank McGuire, 549; Dave Bliss, 526; Lou Carnesecca, 526; Jim Larranaga, 523.

Kansas (6 coaches, 4,338 wins) – Dean Smith, 879; Adolph Rupp, 876; Eddie Sutton, 806; Ralph Miller, 674; Lon Kruger, 553; Gene Keady, 550.

Oklahoma (4 coaches, 2,654 wins) – Lou Henson, 775; Don Haskins, 719; Billy Tubbs, 609; Bill Self, 551.

Missouri (3 coaches, 2,105 wins) – Henry Iba, 752; Phog Allen, 719; Norm Stewart, 634.

Indiana (3 coachers, 1,780 wins) – John Wooden, 654; Tony Hinkle, 558; Norm Sloan, 558.

Illinois (2 coaches, 1,727 wins) – Mike Krzyzewski, 1,003; Ray Meyer, 724.

Ohio (2 coaches, 1,660 wins) – Bob Knight, 899; Jerry Tarkanian, 761.

Kentucky (2 coaches, 1,393 wins) – Edgar Diddle, 759; Hugh Durham, 634.

California (2 coaches, 1,351 wins) – Mike Montgomery, 676; Denny Crum, 675.

North Carolina (2 coaches, 1,341 wins) – Roy Williams, 742; Rick Barnes, 599.

West Virginia (2 coaches, 1,251 wins) – Bob Huggins, 686; Gale Catlett, 565.

Pennsylvania (2 coaches, 1,145 wins) – John Calipari, 620; Pete Carril, 525.

Massachusetts (1 coach, 877 wins) – Jim Calhoun, 877.

Virginia (1 coach, 786 wins) – Lefty Dreisell, 786.

North Dakota (1 coach, 776 wins) – Lute Olson, 776.

Florida (1 coach, 687 wins) – Cliff Ellis, 687.

New Jersey (1 coach, 668 wins) – Gary Williams, 668.

Utah (1 coach, 615 wins) – Stew Morrill, 615.

Oregon (1 coach, 599 wins) – Slats Gill, 599.

Wisconsin (1 coach, 597 wins) – Tom Davis, 597.

Washington D.C. (1 coach, 596 wins) – John Thompson, 596.

Connecticut (1 coach, 594 wins) – Tom Penders, 594.

Texas (1 coach, 592 wins) – Guy Lewis, 592.

Maryland (1 coach, 537 wins) – Tubby Smith, 537.

Nebraska (1 coach, 524 wins) – Dana Altman, 524.

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