Top College Coaches Under 40
July 13, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
What would recent Final Fours be without Butler and VCU? And how boring would college football be without coaches like Lane Kiffin and Pat Fitzgerald.
There’s an intriguing youth movement afoot in college sports where Butler’s Brad Stevens and VCU’s Shaka Smart, both under the age of 40, have reached the final weekend of the NCAA Tournament and subsequently turn down big-time jobs to continue building their mid-major programs.
In football, Kiffin, at age 37 and on his third head coaching job, has gone from being an annoyance to his rival coaches (and at one time, his owner) to being the coach of Athlon Sports’ preseason No. 1 team. If USC delivers on the preseason ranking, Kiffin will be among the youngest in either sport to win a national title, though the youngest remains Clemson’s Danny Ford, who won the national title weeks after his 34th birthday.
In addition to Stevens, Smart and Kiffin, here are our picks for the top college football and men’s basketball coaches under 40.
Note: For the sake of clarity and consistency, we are listing all ages as of Sept. 1, 2012.
1. Brad Stevens
Team: Butler basketball
Before the 2009-10 season, Stevens could have been mistaken for an assistant or team manager. After back-to-back national championship games with Butler, he’s on the short list of top coaches in the game. In 2010, the 33-year-old Stevens became the second-youngest coach to reach the Final Four since 1972. Indiana’s Bob Knight was 32 when he reached his first Final Four in 1973. A year later, he became the only coach since 1972 to reach the Final Four twice before his 35th birthday. Beyond the NCAA Tournament success, Stevens holds records for most wins in his first five (139), first four (117) and first three (89) seasons.
READ MORE: http://www.athlonsports.com/college-football/top-college-coaches-under-40