For the past few weeks, ESPN has been counting down the top 50 coaches in college hoops and today they revealed that Syracuse's Jim Boeheim is number 12 according to their panel of 45 contributors.
As with any subjective ranking disclaimers apply, but the bottom line is that the panel views Boeheim as the 12th best coach right now with no regard for past performance. With so much of a coach's supposed ability viewed through the prism of his accomplishments, and the reputation that comes with them, I'm not sure how you separate a coach's present day value from his legacy but in theory that's what the list is designed to determine.
The 11 coaches likely to come in ahead of Boeheim (in no particular order) are: Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Florida's Billy Donovan, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Michigan's John Beilein, Wichita State's Gregg Marshall, Kentucky's John Calipari, Louisville's Rick Pitino, Kansas' Bill Self, Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, Arizona's Sean Miller and UConn's Kevin Ollie.
Again, with no real criteria for what makes a coach great independent of his resume, I'm not sure what to make of that list of coaches that are "better" than Jimmy B. But the collection of guys immediately behind him consists of fellow ACC giant Roy Williams and 4 of the hottest young coaches in the country (Few, Hoiberg, Bennett, and Smart) so at least he's keeping some of the young pups at bay for now.
And if anyone thinks Coach Boeheim might actually be overrated, benefiting from an undue emphasis on the totality of his Hall of Fame resume, let me point you to this little nugget from Eammonn Brennan: "In six years, Syracuse has never been lower than a No. 4 seed (in the NCAA Tournament)."
That streak is in serious jeopardy heading into the 2014-2015 season, but if nothing else a challenging year should give Coach plenty of opportunities to teach and develop a limited roster...and especially if we're ignoring history, isn't that what truly defines a great coach?