Welcome back for the top half of the Big East coaches, as ranked by me. The opinions offered below solely reflect my thought process and are not necessarily held or endorsed by Banners staff, SB Nation, or the Big East Conference. Part one of this little work can be found here. Let's hop right back in.
5. Chris Holtmann, Butler
This guy worries me. After three years as head coach at Gardner Webb (where he compiled a 44-54 record), he moved to Butler to join Brad Stevens's staff. Then Stevens moved to Boston and his replacement left for medical reasons. Holtmann took a lightly-regarded Butler team and helmed it to a 23-11 record and a six seed in the NCAA tournament behind a tenacious defense and just enough mildly unorthodox offense. He has his feet under him on the recruiting trail, too, having just landed a commitment from ESPN100 C Joey Brunk.
4. Ed Cooley, Providence
Cooley is definitely on the rise. After five consecutive years of improving Fairfield's KenPom ranking, he has pulled the trick four straight seasons at Providence, culminating in consecutive tournament appearances. He had the bad luck to play an away game in the first round this year, but that won't be an ongoing trend. He has excelled in both building a roster and putting all the pieces in play, and his offenses have been consistently excellent at Providence. He has had some misfortune with injuries and eligibility issues, but he has managed to continue moving the Friars toward the top of the Big East.
3. Chris Mack, Xavier
Online opinion amongst the Xavier faithful of Coach Mack basically rises and falls with the results of the most recent game, but he has proven a more than solid leader for the Xavier program. He has made five tournaments in six years, consistently performed well in conference play, and has of late shown a tactical flexibility that eluded him early in his career. Early recruiting misses had him playing with a shallow bench, but he has recently gotten on track and the team looks as deep in talent this year as it has in some time. There's a reason his name comes up whenever there's a high-profile job opening.
2. John Thompson III, Georgetown
In 11 years at Georgetown, Thompson has never finished lower than 65th in the KenPom rankings. His average finish has been 24th, which will generally earn you not only a tournament berth but a favorable seed. His offense has been in the top 50 in adjusted efficiency in 9 of those 11 years. Georgetown has had the opportunity to be part of several historic tournament runs by mid-major teams, which is basically the only black mark on Thompson's record as a coach in the Big East.
1. Jay Wright, Villanova
The longest tenured coach in the conference is also the best (and the best dressed). He has taken 'Nova to the tournament in 10 of the last 11 seasons. He has done it playing fast or slow, behind great offenses or great defenses, chucking from the cheap seats or pounding the ball inside. Wright is a great coach and a great recruiter. I guess when you've got the game on lock like he does, you have some extra time to spend with your tailor.