CBS Sports ranks KU’s Bill Self and Lance Leipold No. 1 coaching duo in the country

William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

When you think about the golden era of Kansas Athletics, many will point to the late 2000s when KU was at or near the top of the college basketball and college football world.

In January 2008 under former head coach Mark Mangino, the Jayhawks won the FedEx Orange Bowl and finished the season 12-1. It was the first BCS Bowl win in school history and earned Mangino several coach of the year honors.

A few months later, the Kansas basketball team won their fifth national championship – the first under head coach Bill Self.

And while the wins elevated both Mangino’s and Self’s status as coaches, it didn’t elevate them to the point where they were considered the best in the sport.

Coach K was still coaching Duke at the time, Florida head coach Billy Donovan won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007, and in 2008, Florida football coach Urban Meyer won the second of his two national championships in three years.

Now, with coaches like Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, and Nick Saban having left the college ranks, Kansas is being recognized as the school with the best college football and basketball head coaching duo in the nation.

CBS Sports released an article on Monday listing the top-10 college football/men's basketball coaching combinations in the country, and KU’s Lance Leipold and Bill Self came in at No. 1.

Here’s what CBS Sports writer Shehan Jeyarajah had to say about his Kansas selection:

“The best coaching combo in college athletics resides in … Lawrence, Kansas? Self is the consensus best coach in college basketball with 16 Big 12 regular-season titles, two national titles and an 809-247 career record. Leipold, meanwhile, is the fastest-rising veteran on the football side, transforming woeful Buffalo and now Kansas programs into consistent winners. He's coming off a 9-4 season in 2023 with this Jayhawks program and back-to-back bowl berths (for Kansas!).”

It’s hard to argue that Self is the best coach in college basketball. Yes, the Jayhawks have had a down year by their usual high standards, but no other head coach in college basketball has a resume that comes close to Self’s when you combine his winning percentage, Big 12 Conference achievements, and two national championships.

Leipold may not be the best coach in college football – that title likely belongs to Georgia’s Kirby Smart or perhaps a couple of others with more accomplishments on the national stage. However, no other head coach has produced the type of turnaround like Leipold has at Buffalo and now Kansas.

KU was the worst Power 5 program for more than a decade and has now gone to back-to-back bowl games (winning one), finished the 2023-24 season ranked in the AP Top 25, and have a top-50 recruiting class coming into next season.

Even if he hasn’t reached the peak of the college football coaching ranks, Leipold has proven himself to be one of the best coaches in the country. That, combined with Self’s position as the top coach in college basketball, makes KU the easy choice for No. 1 on the coaching duo list.

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