Skip to main content

Ranking The Top 10 College Football-College Basketball Coaching Duos

Mark Dantonio had a pretty great 2015 season. Michigan State knocked off No. 1 Ohio State, won the Big Ten for the second time in three years and appeared in the College Football Playoff. For the third straight season, the Spartans won more than 10 games. 

One of the 59-year-old coach's co-workers in East Lansing, Mich. is having a pretty nice 2015-16, too. 

Future hall of fame coach Tom Izzo has Michigan State primed for another Final Four run. The Spartans, after rising to No. 1 national ranking, had a bit of a rough patch in January, but they're rolling lately and, unsurprisingly, look like they'll be playing their best basketball come March. 

Where does the Dantonio-Izzo coaching duo rank among the best in the country? 

A couple years ago, we had the Michigan State twosome ranked No. 2, behind Ohio State. 

It's time to re-do those rankings. 

Taking everything into account - what's happening right now, what's happened in the past, what can be expected to happen in the future - here are the top 10 college football-college basketball coaching duos. 

Start With No. 10 >>>

10. North Carolina - Larry Fedora (football) and Roy Williams (basketball)

Highlights: Two national championships (basketball); ACC Championship Game appearance (football)

In a couple of years, this is a duo that could easily be inside the top-five. 

Larry Fedora has North Carolina's football program on the rise. After three straight average-at-best seasons, the Tar Heels took off in 2015, winning 11 games in the regular season and nearly defeating Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. 

UNC is starting to roll on the recruiting trail, too. North Carolina had the No. 35 class in the country for 2016 and the Tar Heels are off to a ridiculous start in 2017, with a class currently ranked No. 6 in the nation. 

">February 8, 2016

Roy Williams' success mostly speaks for itself. He's taken North Carolina to three Final Fours and won two national titles. Another championship could be coming to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, too. UNC is one of the most-talented teams in the country and should be a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in this year's NCAA Tournament. Next: No. 9 ??? >>>9. Arizona - Rich Rodriguez (football) and Sean Miller (basketball)Highlights: Three Elite Eights (basketball); Pac-12 South Division title (football)Out West, this duo doesn't receive a ton of national attention, so they're probably a bit underrated by the public. Sean Miller and Rich Rodriguez are two of the best in their respective sports, though. Miller has already taken the Wildcats to an elite level. Arizona's made three Regional Finals under Miller and could easily make another this season. The Wildcats have yet to reach a Final Four while being led by the 47-year-old coach, but they're going to get to one (and probably win it) at some point very soon. Few - if any - coaches can recruit like Miller, too. Arizona has had a top-five recruiting class five years in a row. 

Rodriguez is slowly building Arizona into one of the best programs on the West Coast. The Wildcats had a disappointing 2015, going 7-6, but they've won 33 games over the last four seasons. Next: No. 8 ??? >>>8. Duke - David Cutcliffe (football) and Mike Krzyzewski (basketball)Highlights: five national championships (basketball); 2012 and 2013 ACC Coach of the Year (football)We had this tandem ranked No. 3 last time around, so they've dropped a couple places, but they remain one of the country's best. Coach K, of course, is the best college basketball coach in the country. After leading the Blue Devils to the national championship last March, he has Duke playing well of late. Wins against Louisville and Virginia have the Durham, North Carolina program rising on the seed line. A national championship probably isn't happening this year, but Duke has another top recruiting class on the way, and should continue to contend for championships in the years to come. 

">February 13, 2016

Cutcliffe, meanwhile, has built Duke into one of the most-respected football programs in the ACC, leading the Blue Devils to four straight bowl games. 

Next: No. 7 ??? >>>

7. Baylor - Art Briles (football) and Scott Drew (basketball)

Highlights: Two Big 12 championships (football); two Elite Eights (basketball)

Art Briles has built Baylor into one of the best college football programs in the country. The Bears have posted three straight double-digit win seasons. Baylor has been a serious contender for the College Football Playoff in back-to-back seasons and should be one again in 2016.

The Bears have yet to break all the way through and contend for a national title, but that's coming. 

">February 3, 2016

Drew has been pretty freaking good, too. Baylor's 17-4 this season and in line for another NCAA Tournament appearance. Since Drew took over the program in 2003, the Bears have made five NCAA Tournament, all five of which have come since 2008. Of those five appearances, three led to a Sweet 16 run or better. Next: No. 6 ??? >>>6. Oregon - Mark Helfrich (football) and Dana Altman (basketball)Highlights: National title game appearance (football); 2013, '15 Pac-12 Coach of the Year (basketball)Nike University has all the money in the world and they've got a pretty nice coaching duo to show for it. The Ducks have been known nationally for their football prowess in recent seasons. Oregon's made two national title games over the last five years, one of which came under Helfrich. The Ducks have won 33 games in the three years since Helfrich took over, a number matched by only a couple other programs in the country. 

Oregon's basketball program has become elite too, though. The Ducks are a contender for the Final Four this season. They've made three straight NCAA Tournaments, winning at least one game in each of them. At the end of the 2015-16 season, Oregon will likely have won 24-plus games for the fifth season in a row under Altman. Next: No. 5 ??? >>>5. Notre Dame - Brian Kelly (football) and Mike Brey (basketball)Highlights: National title game appearance (football), Elite Eight appearance (basketball)Notre Dame is and always will be a football school. The Fighting Irish have been pretty great on the gridiron since Kelly took over, too. After back-to-back disappointing seasons after the 2012 national title appearance season, Notre Dame got back in the national spotlight in 2015. The Fighting Irish won 10 games and contended for a College Football Playoff berth. Notre Dame should be a preseason top 10 team and national championship contender in 2016, too. 

">February 3, 2016

Mike Brey, meanwhile, might be the most-underrated college basketball coach in America. 

Notre Dame has made the NCAA Tournament in five of the last six seasons, with 2014-15 producing an extremely special campaign. The Fighting Irish won the ACC and made it to the Elite Eight, nearly knocking off undefeated Kentucky. 

Brey's squad is starting to come together this season, knocking off No. 2 North Carolina and putting themselves in position to land a top 4-5 seed. 

Next: No. 4 ??? >>>

4. Michigan - Jim Harbaugh (football) and John Beilein (basketball)

Highlights: Super Bowl appearance (football), Final Four appearance (basketball)

Too high for the Wolverines? 

Maybe, but John Beilein has long been one of the nation's best college basketball coaches. He led Michigan to the national championship game in 2013. The Wolverines have made five NCAA Tournaments in seven years, including two Elite Eight apperances. 

Michigan is in-line for another NCAA Tournament berth this season. 

And then there's Jim Harbaugh. 

Sure, he's only been the Wolverines' coach for one year, but oh, what a year it's been. The on-field results were favorable (10-3) and the off-the-field stuff was incredible. Harbaugh's been dominating the recruiting landscape, pulling in a top-five class to Ann Arbor, Mich. that boasts the No. 1 player in the country. 

Most college football analysts feel it's "not if, but when" concerning Michigan's national title chances under the eccentric 52-year-old coach. 

Next: No. 3 ??? >>>

3. Oklahoma - Bob Stoops (football) and Lon Kruger (basketball)

Highlights: National championship (football), 2014 Big 12 Coach of the Year (basketball)

Special things are brewing in Norman, Okla. 

Recent seasons had been disappointing ones for Oklahoma's football program, but 2015 was one to remember. The Sooners won the Big 12 and made the College Football Playoff, playing better than pretty much anyone in the country down the stretch. The end result was rough (losing fairly easily to Clemson) but Oklahoma should be back in 2016. 

Stoops returns many of his top players and Oklahoma will likely start the '16 season ranked in the top-five as a legitimate national championship contender. 

">February 9, 2016

Oklahoma's basketball program could have an even better season. The Sooners, led by national player of the year frontrunner Buddy Hield, are a top-five team and Final Four favorite. Kruger's taken OU to three straight NCAA Tournaments and the streak will reach four this season. Only a couple places are doing college football-college basketball better than the Sooners right now. Next: No. 2 ??? >>>2. Ohio State - Urban Meyer (football) and Thad Matta (basketball)Highlights: Three national championships (football), two Final Fours (basketball)Ohio State's football team couldn't live up to the ridiculous expectations in 2015 and the Buckeyes' basketball program will probably miss the NCAA Tournament this season. Still, Meyer-Matta is about as good a coaching duo as there is in college sports. Meyer, of course, has won three national championships (one at Ohio State) and has the Buckeyes as the favorite to win it all in 2016

">February 3, 2016

OSU's basketball program has been struggling a bit in recent seasons (the last NCAA Tournament victory came in 2013) but few coaches are as accomplished and respected as the 48-year-old Matta. 

Combined, Matta and Meyer have won eight conference championships since 2006. 

Next: No. 1 ??? >>>

1. Michigan State - Mark Dantonio (football) and Tom Izzo (basketball)

Highlights: National championship (basketball), College Football Playoff appearance (football)

We kind of covered how great Dantonio and Izzo are in the intro. 

Basically: there is no better college football-college basketball coaching duo than the one in East Lansing, Mich. 

">February 6, 2016

Some of their accomplishments: 

  • 2000 NCAA Tournament championship - Izzo
  • Seven Final Four appearances - Izzo
  • Three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year - Izzo
  • College Football Playoff appearance - Dantonio
  • Three Big Ten titles - Dantonio 
  • Two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year - Dantonio

No one's doing it better than Dantonio and Izzo. 

Who will be topping this list in 2020? 

5 Teams To Bet On To Win The National Title >>>