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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Latest Basketball News & Rumors Today / Top 17 Dirtiest College Basketball Coaches of all time

Top 17 Dirtiest College Basketball Coaches of all time

Publish Date:11/05/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

These are the scummiest coaches on earth.

Today we will look at the biggest cheaters in college basketball history; this list could easily be a top 100 list!

17) Bruce Pearl

The story broke a few years back that Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl had repeatedly denied making inappropriate contact with recruits when confronted by an NCAA investigator. When questioned, Pearl denied these accusations without hesitation.

Though Pearl was not terminated, he was fined $1.5 million and prohibited from coaching the first eight SEC games that season.

This isn’t the first instance of Pearl’s impropriety, as he was photographed on a boat drinking with much younger college coeds.

Video: NCAA Penalties for Auburn Basketball and Bruce Pearl | INVESTIGATION DONE!

NCAA Penalties for Auburn Basketball and Bruce Pearl | INVESTIGATION DONE!


16) Jim O’Brien

Former Boston College and Ohio State coach Jim O’Brien made headlines in 2004 for offering illegal financial compensation to players. Aleksandar Radojevic’s mother received $6,000 from O’Brien; when this information was revealed, O’Brien was immediately fired from his position.

O’Brien sued the school, alleging they had wrongfully fired him and was awarded a settlement of $2.4 million. This despite having been placed on three years probation and ordered to repay every dollar received from the NCAA tournament while Radojevic was part of the team.

15) Jan Van Breda Kolff

Coach Jan van Breda Kolff of St. Bonaventure University had his college coaching career abruptly cut short when controversy broke late in the 2002-03 season.

The Bonnies had mistakenly admitted junior college transfer Jamil Terrell with only a welding certificate, leading them to forfeit all games that Terrell had played in.

Van Breda Kolff denied being aware of the scandal, but reports indicate pressure from his assistants kept school President Robert Wickenheiser from finding Terrell ineligible.

14) Todd Bozeman

Bozeman was fired as coach at California after it was revealed he had paid $30,000 to the parents of Golden Bears recruit Jelani Gardner. As a result, Cal forfeited their entire 1994-95 season, while Bozeman received an eight-year show-cause order.

Ironically, shortly after the NCAA sanctions were announced, Bozeman was ordered to stay away from a student who had accused him of making lewd phone calls.

Your classy example sets the bar high.

Video: 1995 Todd Bozeman Commercial

1995 Todd Bozeman Commercial

13) Kelvin Sampson

Kelvin Sampson is too scummy college coaches what Muhammad Ali was to boxing: the greatest. Sampson had already earned Oklahoma three-year probation for recruiting violations when he took over as the head coach of Indiana. Great Hire Indiana!

The current Houston Cougars coach raised the ire of fellow coaches for his inappropriate behavior surrounding the recruitment of Eric Gordon. Gordon had already verbally committed to Illinois when Sampson swooped in to sign the 6’4″ shooting guard.

When the NCAA’s investigation wrapped up, it was revealed Sampson had made over 550 illegal calls to 17 different recruits and had broken five significant rules.

Video: Sampson Out As Indiana Basketball Coach

Sampson Out As Indiana Basketball Coach

12) Joe B. Hall

In 1985, The Lexington Herald-Leader won a Pulitzer Prize for an investigation that exposed widespread corruption within the program, from boosters’ “$100 handshakes” with Wildcat stars to free meals for players and other dubious benefits. Unfortunately, at that time, the NCAA’s crack investigative force–presumably made up of Geraldo Rivera, Inspector Clouseau and Roger Rabbit–was unable to develop enough evidence to prosecute–although they cited Kentucky for lack of cooperation. This time however, the violations were unbelievably loud and poignantly clear.

Video: Bob Knight at the 1978 roast of Joe B. Hall

Bob Knight at the 1978 roast of Joe B. Hall

11) John Wooden

This may surprise you and if you don’t believe me do your own research, because its all true.

A 1981 Los Angeles Times investigation series interviewing 45 people associated with the UCLA basketball program revealed Gilbert as “a one-man clearinghouse which has enabled players and their families to receive goods and services at deep discounts or no cost.”

Brent Clark, an NCAA field investigator, claimed in 1977 that he had been instructed to drop his case in Westwood after spending one month there. Clark claimed that if he had spent another month in Los Angeles, UCLA could have been suspended indefinitely. An NCAA spokesman refuted this assertion, asserting Clark was living in a “fantasy world.”

Of course, the NCAA wanted to avoid any negative publicity that taking away nine NCAA Championship banners from UCLA would bring them. Thus, nothing was done, and the problem disappeared. As a consolation prize for Time’s investigation, they did decide to strip UCLA of their 1980 appearance in the NCAA Championship game; however, they failed to address widespread cheating while coach Wooden was in charge.

Video: Bob Knight On John Wooden:

Bob Knight On John Wooden: “I Don’t Respect Him”

10) Jerry Tarkanian

Tarkanian, affectionately known as “Tark the Shark,” served as head coach of UNLV from 1974-1992 and Fresno State from 1995-2002. In 1976, his long battle with the NCAA began when he was placed on two years probation for engaging in what was then considered “questionable practices”.

In 1991, a photograph was published of three UNLV players enjoying a hot tub with Richard Perry–a well-known gambler known for his connections to the Mafia. While it was never proven that Tarkanian was involved with any underworld activities in Las Vegas, these allegations followed him throughout his career.

He may be one of college basketball’s all-time great coaches, with 990 wins and four Final Four appearances, but his off-court antics may be his greatest legacy.

Video: Rebels on the Run: The Rise and Fall of UNLV Basketball

Rebels on the Run: The Rise and Fall of UNLV Basketball

9) Adolph Rupp

Rupp was the head coach at Kentucky during the point-shaving scandal of 1951. On October 20, 1951, former Kentucky players Alex Groza, Bill Spivey, Ralph Beard and Dale Barnstable were arrested for taking bribes from gamblers to trim points off their total during a National Invitation Tournament game against Loyola Ramblers during the 1948-49 season. This game occurred the same year Kentucky won its second consecutive NCAA title under Rupp. Saul Streit, the presiding judge at the hearing, criticized Rupp and the university for creating an environment conducive to violations and failing in his duty to uphold amateur rules, build character, and safeguard the morals and health of students. Rupp denied any knowledge of point shaving, and no evidence was ever presented against him that connected him.

Following an NCAA investigation, it was revealed that Kentucky had violated several rule violations, such as giving illegal spending money to players on multiple occasions and allowing some ineligible athletes to compete. As a result, the Southeastern Conference voted to ban Kentucky from competition for one year. The NCAA requested all basketball-playing members not to schedule them; ultimately, none did so. Due to these actions, Kentucky eventually had to cancel its entire 1952-53 basketball season. Years later, an independent audit revealed the true extent of these actions: years after, many still remember how hard it felt to watch that season end for good! Plus he was a racist!

Video: Adolph Rupp was a racist (FUNNY)

Adolph Rupp was a racist (FUNNY)

8) Jim Harrick

How many points are awarded for a three-point basket in basketball? How many halves are there in an actual basketball game? On what type of court do they score from?

Congratulations! You’ve successfully passed Jim Harrick Jr.’s “Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball” course at the University of Georgia!

Academic fraud is made a mockery when Rashad Wright and Chris Daniels both received A’s in this class despite not attending it.

Harrick had already been dismissed from UCLA for falsifying an expense report, so it’s probably best that he be kept away from college life for eight years.

Video: Easiest Final Exam for Student-Athlete Ever?

Easiest Final Exam for Student-Athlete Ever?

7) Eddie Sutton

In the 1989/90 season under head Coach Eddie Sutton, the squad finished with an appalling 13-19 record; however, that wasn’t even close to being their biggest concern.

Kentucky basketball violated multiple NCAA regulations, leading to a two-year postseason ban for one of college basketball’s premier programs. Furthermore, they were ordered to forfeit wins and remain on probation for three seasons.

Assistant coach Dwayne Casey donated $1,000 to the family of freshman Chris Mills while also illegally aiding Eric Manuel on his college entrance exams. As a result, the NCAA banned Manuel from participating in any NCAA-sanctioned event, and he eventually transferred him to an NAIA school.

Video: Former Kentucky players remember Eddie Sutton

Former Kentucky players remember Eddie Sutton

6) Larry Eustachy

After Tim Floyd left Iowa State to become the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, Iowa State brought in Larry Eustachy. In his second year as coach, Eustachy led ISU to a school-record in wins and an Elite Eight appearance – though he may be best remembered for his off-court tactics.

On April 28, 2003, The Des Moines Register published a photo of Eustachy kissing several young coeds while holding a beer at a party near the University of Missouri’s campus. At first, Eustachy stated he would appeal the school suspension; however, he eventually chose to resign instead.

Colorado State then gave Eusrachy their head coaching job, and if you guessed that Eustachy did nasty things there, you would be right.

Video: CSU investigation: Coach Eustachy's 'culture of fear'

CSU investigation: Coach Eustachy’s ‘culture of fear’

5) John Calipari

Coach Calipari’s list of indiscretions is long and impressive. His record is so disgraceful that it’s incredible the NCAA still allows him to coach. When Marcus Camby’s Final Four berth was vacated due to illegal payments received, Calipari earned himself an unlikely place in coaching circles.

Calipari then worked with the New Jersey Nets before returning to college, coaching Memphis. There, Calipari’s season was voided after violations revealed that Derrick Rose had falsified his SATs and Rose’s brother had had travel expenses paid for by the school.

How is that type of irresponsible behavior sanctioned? With an eight-year, $31.65 million contract at Kentucky.

Calipari has already caused controversy for the Wildcats, with the NCAA investigating him for academic fraud. His actions reflect poorly on the values that the NCAA should uphold and should have resulted in a ban for life.



4) Clem Haskins

In 1999, the former University of Minnesota coach was forced to resign following one of NCAA history’s most egregious academic fraud scandals. Allegations swirled around Jan Gangelhoff – manager of their academic counseling office – that she had written more than 400 pieces of coursework over five years.

It turned out that Haskins had paid Gandelhoff $3,000 to write papers for his players. As a result, all 242 wins by Haskins were vacated, and the school was placed on four years of probation.

Video: Wronged Sports Ep. 6: Minnesota Basketball Academic Scandal

Wronged Sports Ep. 6: Minnesota Basketball Academic Scandal

3) Rick Pitino

On April 24, 2009, Karen Sypher, the wife of equipment manager Tim Sypher, was charged with the extortion of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino.

What was Sypher trying to blackmail Pitino with? In 2003 the two had relations under the table of an Italian restaurant. No, you read that right.

When Sypher became pregnant, Pitino paid $3,000 for her to have an abortion. At the time, she was not married to Tim, and he was also paid an undisclosed sum to marry her.

This incident got even uglier as Sypher accused Pitino of raping her and stated that Pitino only lasted 15 seconds.

Video: What did Rick Pitino know in Louisville basketball scandal?

What did Rick Pitino know in Louisville basketball scandal?

2) Steve Fisher

Who could have predicted that Chris Webber’s unwise timeout would rank as his second-worst mistake during his tenure at Ann Arbor?

The Michigan Fab Five (Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Juwan Howard and Ray Jackson) made headlines around college basketball with their flashy shorts, exciting style of play and thrilling victories. They guided Michigan to two Final Fours but never came away with the ultimate prize.

However, it was later uncovered that Ed Martin had made payments of $616,000 to several players, including Webber. As a result, head coach Steve Fisher was fired, the Final Fours were cancelled, and banners were removed from their rafters.

Video: Jalen Rose on Fab Five's Record Erased After Chris Webber Bribery Scandal (Part 7)

Jalen Rose on Fab Five’s Record Erased After Chris Webber Bribery Scandal (Part 7)

1) Dave Bliss

At Baylor University, Dave Bliss broke more NCAA, legal and ethical codes than one could imagine. After the NCAA investigated the circumstances surrounding the death of former player Patrick Dennehy in 2003, Bliss was ultimately forced to resign his position.

Bliss was never criminally charged, yet the allegations made against him are absolutely devastating. Dennehy was allegedly murdered by another former player–Carlton Dotson–and it has been claimed that Bliss attempted to cover up by framing Dennehy as a drug dealer.

These allegations are so offensive that his player payments appear like mere footnotes.

Video: The Murder, The Cover Up And The Lies That Stunted Baylor's Growth! What Really Happened?

The Murder, The Cover Up And The Lies That Stunted Baylor’s Growth! What Really Happened?

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