Ranking the coaches in the Big East

Last week I was curious about what the tiers of Big East coaches looked like, and instead of going off my intuition, wanted to crowdsource the question to fans of all Big East teams.

The results have been overwhelming. With over 1140 responses as of Friday morning, we have a very good idea of what the pecking order looks like.

And heck, I couldn’t contain myself with so much good data, so I built a quick, simple dashboard where you can see all of those results for yourself and even filter out certain fanbases if you’d like: https://lookerstudio.google.com/reporting/c63008ef-eaa3-4eef-af96-5cf32fe78d3f .

Now this is where I’ll note that this is a Marquette blog and most of PT’s followers are MU fans, so the responses were pretty biased toward MU fans and their 45% of total votes. I also left the questions vague intentionally. Best for one person may not meet the criteria for someone else. This isn’t a scientific study. But as a whole, there’s plenty to dig into,

So feel free to click the link and take it for a spin. Here are a couple takeaways I thought were notable.

Coaching Tiers

Tier 1, Elite: Rick Pitino, Dan Hurley, Shaka Smart

Tier 2, Very Good: Sean Miller, Greg McDermott, Ed Cooley

Tier 3, Fine: Thad Matta, Shaheen Holloway, Kyle Neptune

Tier 4, Bad: Tony Stubblefield

Too Soon: Kim English

Assigning 4 pts for an “elite” vote, 3 for “very good” votes, 2 for “fine” and 1 for “bad”, while removing any “too soon” results, we were able to quantify the results of the individual coaching votes and create credible tiers. Pitino received over 180 more elite votes than 2nd place vote getter, Dan Hurley.

One nugget that may only interest me, when I removed Marquette fans from the tally, Shaka’s results were flipped, where Very Good composed 54.5% of the votes and taking him down to Tier 2. Which is to say, MU fans are still enamored with Shaka (and rightly so).

Kim English had the most Too Soon votes by almost 200 compared to Kyle Neptune, so he was left out of the tiers at this point in time.

Best Coach

Despite having been exiled out of Louisville and sent to Greece (and then Iona) for the past 6 years, it seems like Rick Pitino’s luster hasn’t been dimmed one bit, with a clear plurality calling him the best coach in the conference already.

And again, this is with Marquette fans making up almost half the responses (which might explain how Shaka managed to get over a quarter of the votes vs 7.6% of the non-MU fan votes).

Worst Coach

He’s only been at DePaul for 2 seasons, but Tony Stubblefield’s reputation is already quite negative. Not only did he win a majority of the votes on the question, he also had the lowest average score of any coach. This also turned out to be the only Q with a clear majority.

Most Underrated Coach

I had no idea what we’d see from this quite vague question, but it seems there was at least some consensus that Creighton’s Greg McDermott is not properly valued. Which is funny because of the 50 responses we’ve gotten from Creighton fans, a majority think he isn’t elite, but rather very good.

Most Overrated Coach

Ed Cooley was the popular pick in the Twitter comments and proved to be the runaway winner as well.

I was a bit surprised that Cooley only garnered 57.5% of Providence fan’s votes, in all honesty. And with only 73 total PC responses, it’s fairly clear that Cooley’s reputation across the conference isn’t as sterling as it once seemed.


I’m going to leave this open for another week or so in case anyone sees this and wants their voice heard.

For now, what I will say is that the roster of coaches is tremendous in the conference, and there seems to be quite a bit of respect for a good number of coaches even with fandom clouding biases.

If you still haven’t, I highly recommend you take a look at the dashboard yourself.

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Categories: Analysis


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One Comment on “Ranking the coaches in the Big East”

  1. J lang
    April 15, 2023 at 1:58 am #

    We are coming for all you fools. Keep poking the bear and it going to wake up. Mark my words, demons are coming for you all.

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