The apple does not fall far from the tree, the old saying goes. The adage has proven itself true in the case of several current NCAA Division I coaches. Here is a list of a dozen head men who have family ties to others in, or out of, the coaching ranks.
G. G. Smith: Smith is the son of current Texas Tech coach Tubby. The younger Smith is entering his second season with the Loyola Maryland Greyhounds. His coaching career has taken him from assistant jobs at high school (Lexington Catholic) to Kentucky (with the Wildcats under his father) to Division II (Armstrong Atlantic State) to his first head coaching job with Loyola. In his first campaign with the Greyhounds, he finished with an 11-19 record and missed postseason play.
Richard Pitino: The younger Pitino is charged with following in the footsteps of his father, Rick, formerly of Kentucky and the current head coach at Louisville. Richard, who took over at Minnesota in 2013, got his start in coaching as an assistant at the College of Charleston back in 2004. Stints at Louisville and Florida led him to his first head coaching gig at Florida International. After a single season with the Panthers, Pitino made the jump to the Big Ten with the Golden Gophers. His first season there ended with an NIT championship, paving the way for future success in his own right. The younger Pitino is so much the spitting image of his dad, in style and in looks. Both Pitinos possess the same sideline flare and uptempo attack, while each is typically dressed to the nines.
Dan D’Antoni: Although he is the lesser know older brother of former NBA coach Mike (Suns, Lakers, and Knicks), Dan has had a successful coaching career of his own. He has served as an assistant coach under Mike at Phoenix, Los Angeles, and New York - this after spending 30 years as head coach at Socastee High School in South Carolina, where he amassed over 500 wins. Dan made the unheard of coaching jump from high school to the NBA in 2005 when he took a spot on the Phoenix Suns’ bench under Mike. Now that his little brother is persona non grata in the NBA ranks, Dan is returning home, literally. This season, he takes over at Marshall where he both played and worked as an assistant coach in the late 60s and early 70s. The Thundering Herd so much appreciated his accomplishments, he was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 1990.
Jay Spoonhour: Following in his late father Charlie’s footsteps, Spoonhour has also been bitten by the coaching bug dating all the way back to 1994 when he worked as a grad assistant at Central Missouri State. The path to his current position (he is entering his third year as head coach at Eastern Illinois) has taken him from Division I benches to head jobs at two junior colleges. Spoonhour won a NJCAA National Championship with Wabash Valley College and was named the interim head coach of UNLV in 2004 after his father resigned from the Runnin’ Rebels midway through the season. His tenure at Eastern Illinois has been less than noteworthy, however, as he has won only 22 games overall and is under .500 in Ohio Valley Conference play.
Bryce and Scott Drew: Each of Homer’s sons has arrived at similar destinations, but their paths could not have been more different. Scott, the elder of the two brothers, did not play basketball in college and barely did so in high school. However, coaching seemed to be in his blood from a very early age. After graduating from Butler University, where he served an a student manager for the Bulldogs, Scott took an assistant coach position at Valparaiso, which was then coached by his father. When Homer resigned from Valpo, his son took over the program for one season before heading to Waco, Texas in 2003 to coach Baylor. The Bears were coming off a ridiculous murder/drug scandal involving former coach Dave Bliss, and Scott was charged with resurrecting a program that lost scholarships and the right to schedule non-conference games. Since then, he has led Baylor to 4 NCAA Tournament Appearances (3 Sweet 16s and 2 Elite Eights) and had added an NIT championship. Not bad for a guy who never played varsity high school basketball.
By contrast, Scott’s younger brother, Drew, hit the national stage as a player with his one shining moment. While playing for Homer at Valpo, Drew’s 13th seeded Crusaders faced the Ole Miss Rebels, a 4 seed, in the 1998 NCAA Tournament opening round. Trailing 69-67 with time winding down, Bryce nailed a three-point shot at the buzzer to send Valpo to an eventual spot in the Sweet 16. He parlayed his moment in the sun, and a quality set of point guard skills, into a seven-year-long professional basketball career, six of which were in the NBA. His quick rise to the head job at Valparaiso began with a spot on his father’s staff with the Crusaders. In 2011, Bryce took over for Homer, who resigned a second time from Valpo to let another son take over - perhaps for the first and only time in history such an occurrence has taken place. In three season with the Crusaders, Bryce has taken his team to post-season play three times, his best season resulting in a trip to the second round of the NCAAs in 2013.
Archie and Sean Miller: The Brothers Miller have had successful careers both as players and coaches. Sean, the older of the two, played collegiately at Pittsburgh while Archie laced up his shoes for North Carolina State. Both were standout players in high school coached by their father, John. Nether Miller Bro was able to crack a professional line-up after their respective playing careers ended, but both were born to coach the game of basketball. After he graduated from Pitt, Sean found himself as a grad assistant at Wisconsin. He made stops in Miami (OH), Pittsburgh, North Carolina State (he was an assistant coach for Archie while with the Wolfpack) before landing a spot as an assistant at Xavier. In 2004, he took over as head coach for the Musketeers before heading to the desert of Tucson in 2009. Overall, Sean has made seven trips to the NCAA Tournament, including leading Arizona to a number one seed last spring.
Not to be outdone, Archie made a name for himself in the NCAAs last March in a tournament that turned into his coming out party. Upsets of in-state rival Ohio State and high-powered Syracuse led to a Sweet 16 victory over Stanford. By the time the Flyers bowed out to Florida in the Elite Eight, Archie’s team had dominated the headlines. Such success, however, was no accident; he has been groomed for this from the very beginning. After leaving NC State, Archie worked under some very accomplished coaches - Herb Sendek (NC State and Arizona State), Thad Matta (Ohio State), and big brother Sean (Arizona). Archie is no stranger to the big stage, and Dayton was more than ready to offer the keys to its ship to the younger Miller. And to reward the school’s trust, in three seasons he has won 63 games and made two postseason trips.
Chris Collins: Being the son of a former NBA player and coach may never be an easy road to travel, but Chris has done well in following in his father Doug’s footsteps. The Elder Collins was the number one overall selection in the 1973 NBA Draft and spent eight years with the Philadelphia 76ers before embarking on an NBA coaching career that saw him with the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, and a swan song with his 76ers. All during this time, Chris was soaking up the lifestyle. An accomplished player at Duke in the mid-90s, Chris got his coaching start as an assistant with the Detroit Shock of the WNBA. His college experience includes a stop at Seton Hall and 13 years on the Duke bench under Mike Krzyzewski. Finally he was nabbed to coach Northwestern and remove its label as the only major conference school to have never qualified for the NCAA Tournament. After an 14-19 initial campaign, Collins has his work cut out for him.
Scott Sutton: Eddie Sutton, the former coach of several Division I schools over 36 years, actually has two sons in the coaching ranks. Sean coached the Oklahoma State Cowboys under his father before being let go after two nondescript seasons in Stillwater. Scott, the youngest of the Sutton brothers, played for both Dad and big brother at OSU and took an assistant position at Oral Roberts after his playing days were over in 1994. Four years later Scott was handed the head job for the Golden Eagles, a position he has now held for 16 years. In that span, he has taken ORU to postseason play seven times, including 3 consecutive trips to the NCAAs from 2006-2008. In an interesting role reversal, Scott added Sean to his coaching staff in 2011.
Dave and Doug Wojcik: While Dave is enjoying the start of his second season with San Jose State, his brother Doug has fell on much more difficult coaching times. Doug has been the subject of national news for his alleged verbal abuse of players while at the College of Charleston, which led to his firing in August. Dave, on the other hand, is finally being given an opportunity to run his own program after having served as an assistant coach for two handfuls of schools including Wake Forest, Dayton, and Xavier. He got his coaching start at James Madison in 1991 after a playing career at Loyola (MD). Now, over 20 years later, he is getting a shot at building up a San Jose State program that has only 3 NCAA Tournament appearances in its history and none since 1996.
Tony Bennett: The Pack Line Defense has been a major topic of discussion in college basketball circles, especially after Tony led his Virginia Cavaliers to a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament last spring. Tony learned the ins and outs of the Pack Line from his father, Dick, the former coach of Green Bay and Wisconsin. After a brief professional career (He suited up for the Charlotte Hornets for three years), Tony took a seat next to his father on the Wisconsin bench. A few years later, after Dick accepted the head job at Washington State, Tony again coached right next to him. The younger Bennett then took over for Dick as the Cougars’ top man in 2006. In just three years in Pullman, Tony won 69 games and made two trips to the NCAAs, including a Sweet 16 visit in 2008. He left the Northwest for the ACC and the head job at Virginia in 2009. After 5 seasons with the Hoos, he has won 106 games and earned the aforementioned number one seed. His Pack Line Defense has caused problems for high powered ACC teams like North Carolina and Duke, and Tony figures to have his Cavs near the top of the conference for years to come.
James and Joe Jones: Although neither Jones brother has reached the “big time,” both are accomplished college basketball coaches who have experienced success in circles where athletics is largely secondary to academics. James, the eldest of the two, has been the head coach at Yale since 1999. While his overall mark is fairly plain - his Ivy League Conference record hover at or near .500 nearly every season - James has led the Bulldogs to postseason play three times, including a 19-14 record and a runner-up finish at last year’s CIT Invitational Tournament. Joe, younger by two years, also spent time in the Ivy League as head coach of the Columbia Lions from 2003-2010. After a one-year stopover as a Boston College assistant, Joe took over the Boston University basketball program. In three years he has led the Terriers to the CIT and NIT once each and posted 57 wins. Last year Boston won 24 games and captured the Patriot League regular season championship with a 15-3 mark before being upset in the conference tournament.
Chuck Driesell: From a very early age, Chuck, son of legendary Maryland coach, Lefty, was groomed to be on the sidelines. As a young boy, Chuck worked as a water boy for his dad’s Terps teams. Later on, he played for his father at Maryland and played in three NCAA Tournaments. After he hung up his sneakers, Chuck joined the Navy and coached the Naval Academy Preparatory School, the beginning of his unconventional rise to Division I head coach. Chuck worked for his father at James Madison before taking a head job at DIII Marymount. After being on the bench at Georgetown, he found himself the head coach of Bishop Ireton High School in Virginia. Two years later Gary Williams, the coach at Maryland, offered Chuck a position at his alma mater. In 2010, The Citadel extended an offer to Driesell to coach its basketball team which he has done ever since. Chuck’s time might be drawing nigh, however, as he has only tallied 31 wins over four years with the Bulldogs.