Mar 3, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan talks with guard Chris Chiozza (11) during the first half against the Texas A&M Aggies at Stephen C. O
3. Ben Howland, Mississippi State
The Bulldogs traded up big time this off-season, from arguably the worst head coach in the SEC to the 3rd best.
Howland has taken two years off after a highly successful 10-year run at UCLA. In his 19 years of coaching at Northern Arizona, Pitt and UCLA he has nine NCAA Tournament appearances including five Sweet 16s, three Final Fours and a national runner-up.
This hire places another highly elite coach in the SEC, making the road that much more difficult within the conference.
2. John Calipari, Kentucky
I’m splitting hairs at the top, because there’s no doubt Cal is a great coach.
In just six years at Kentucky he has five Elite 8s, four Final Fours, one runner-up and one national championship. That’s pretty incredible.
On top of that, UK is the third program he’s taken to the Final Four. He’s unquestionably the best recruiter in the nation, and one of the best coaches as well.
1. Billy Donovan, Florida
For my money I’m talking Donovan over Calipari. His accomplishments, at a football-centered school, are pretty remarkable.
He’s the dean of SEC coaches with 20 years under his belt in Gainesville at only 49 years old. Donovan has built up and rebuilt Florida several times and with a great deal of sustained success.
14 NCAA Tournaments including eight Sweet 16s, seven Elite 8s, four Final Fours and two national champions (one more than Coach Cal). He has won the SEC regular season championship six times, and tournament four times. Incredible run he’s had.