Kansas basketball: Ranking the top coaches in program history

Kansas basketball (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Kansas basketball (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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Kansas basketball
Larry Brown poses with Kansas basketball head coach Bill Self at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Kansas basketball has had some legendary coaches in its 120+ year history. We’ll attempt to rank all eight from least to most successful.

In the long and storied history of Kansas basketball, the Jayhawks have had only eight coaches. That’s right, since the 1890s, only eight people have held the title of “head coach” when it comes to Kansas basketball.

That’s an incredible statistic that speaks to the quality of coaches the program has seen over the years. It’s something that even other blue blood programs like Duke, Kentucky, or North Carolina can’t boast, putting the Jayhawks in a category of their own.

With most coaches having success at Kansas, it’s hard to rank them at times. We’re going to focus strictly on the coaches’ time at Kansas, not any other coaching gigs. We also won’t be considering contributions to the game as part of their “coaching.”

Now, just a couple more caveats before we get to the rankings.

In 1919, head track and field coach Karl Schlademan spent one game as Kansas basketball’s head coach. In 1947, assistant coach and former player Howard Engleman coached 14 games after head coach Phog Allen was ordered to rest by doctors.

The University of Kansas doesn’t consider Schlademan or Engleman official head coaches, so we won’t either.