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Bill Self joined a very exclusive group when his Kansas Jayhawks erased a 16 point deficit to knock off North Carolina for its first title in 14 years. Self added a second title to his resume joining Jay Wright and Rick Pitino as the only other active coaches that have more than one championship. Winning a single title is rare. Winning multiple titles makes you blue rare. So, with that we explore what basketball coaches and sports figures could really use that second piece of hardware on the mantle. For this we looked at those that are still active as players and as coaches. What we discovered while putting this together is how much more it means for coaches to win multiple titles as opposed to players when it comes to the “greatness” narrative. This is especially true with the active slate of players having already won multiple titles or still in search of their first.
Tom Izzo – It’s hard to believe that Izzo is going to be entering his 28th season as the head coach of the Sparties. He is as solid and reliable as they come. After his sixth season in East Lansing, Izzo had a title and three straight trips to the Final Four in his bio. But since winning that title five additional trips to basketball’s premiere showcase has netted only one title game appearance that ended with a shellacking at the hands of Roy Williams and North Carolina back in 2009. He is a Hall of Famer and one of the
John Calipari – His salary and track record make him the heir apparent for the ‘Haterade’ crowd now that Coach K has called it a career. He has led three different programs to the Final Four. But Calipari hasn’t won a title now in over a decade and after taking the Wildcats to the Final Four, four times in his first six years at the helm in Lexington he hasn’t been back in seven seasons. His .763 winning percentage is strong but a second title, especially in Big Bleu country would mean a ton.
Jim Boeheim – At 77 years old he has accomplished everything he needs to in his 45 years of coaching. The next milestone to conquer will be 1,000 wins which he is only two away from. Boeheim’s lone title came back in 2003 with Carmelo Anthony leading the way. He as two runner-up finishes back in 1987 and 1996. Syracuse’s last trip to the Final Four was back in 2016. A second title would just be icing on the career cake.
Jimbo Fisher – It’s now been eight seasons since Fisher won his only title at Florida State. Add to that a $75 Million deal to coach Texas A&M and the pressure starts to mount. In the last two seasons Fisher has been able to go to and win a New Years Six Bowl Game (2020 season) and knock off Top Ranked Alabama (2021 season). In year four in College Station a trip to the SEC title is the next logical step. But when does that massive investment in Fisher become more of backpack of bricks than a blessing in Aggie Land.
Pete Carroll – What will life be like without Russell Wilson? Carroll is about to find out. The Seahawks quick rise to the upper echelon of the NFL elite has been met with a six year gradual decline. Now the 70 year old Carroll needs to re-engage in a full rebuild while looking for a new QB. It’s possible to win another title but that window is closing quickly. With previous stops as head coaches in New England and New York decades ago will beg the question was it Pete or was it Russ?
Andy Reid – Off all the NFL Coaches that has the best odds to win a second Lombardi trophy, Reid is the prohibitive favorite. With four straight trips to the AFC Title game and only one Super Bowl title shades of Philly start to creep in. But as long as Patrick Mahomes is in the gun a second title for Reid seems more likely than any other coach in any other sport. With Tryeek Hill traded to the Dolphins and a potential final year with Eric Bieniemy as OC, 2022 will be a crucial year for Reid to right the ship.
Mike Tomlin – It’s not nearly as important to Tomlin’s legacy that he win a second title as compared to Carroll and Reid. The fact that he has never had a losing season carries so much weight when it comes to his legacy that another trophy would be a nice touch but not a necessity. The next QB he drafts, signs or trades for will be a pretty big chapter in his Steelers coaching book. Another title with another QB puts Tomlin into Joe Gibbs/George Seifert/Bill Parcells category. It’s another pretty exclusive club
Doc Rivers – There is only one here. The NBA is so much different than other sports. Titles are hoarded at this level which makes River single title with the Celtics all that more strange. The Clippers never provided the fruit of the that labor but in Philly a Larry O’Brien Trophy would immortalize Rivers on the spot. And with rumors starting to fly that Rivers may head back to LA to coach the Lakers at season end a second a title at season’s end may have Rivers completing his mission after just three years in the city of brotherly love.
Aaron Rodgers – Back to Back MVPs and the ability to dominate the NFC North for 15 years is great. Now here comes the but… he is just 11-10 on the post season with four of those wins coming back in 2010 when Rodgers won his only title. Is it all his fault? No. And John Elway showed us that back to back Super Bowl wins in his late 30’s made everyone forget his post-season record. He was 7-7 until those Super Bowls. He went 7-0 his last two Januarys to finish 14-7.
Clayton Kershaw – An MVP, Cy Youngs and even a World Series title has Kershaw a near lock for Cooperstown. He should pick up his 200th career win, in August, following the All-Star Break this season. A second title isn’t needed for his career resume but another strong reference never hurts. A second World Series title in which Kershaw pitches well would pretty much wipe out the memories of the post-season struggles he had while in his 20s.
Max Scherzer–Here is another guy who is pretty much a lock for Cooperstown but now as a member of the Mets he can enter that immortality category. If he can bring a World Series back to Flushing for the first time in over three decades then we can start to talk about Scherzer passing both Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw as the best pitchers of his generation. He’ll turn 38 years old this summer and if he continues to churn out 15+ win seasons then 250 career wins is possible. Another title would just hammer home his greatness.