Insider Exposure Media

Covering Prospective Student-Athletes in the SouthEast US and beyond

Top 15 Active College Coaches in KY/TN

Dave Kragel has been coaching at Walters State since 1977 and has over 800 career wins. 

One can argue that some of the best coaches in the country are right here in Tennessee and Kentucky.  I would certainly agree.  Tennessee and Kentucky have long been known for their top women’s basketball coaches, with Pat Summitt clearly being the flag bearer for many years as the best at her profession.  With every level of college basketball represented between the two states, there are so many good college coaches it was very difficult to pick just 15.  To do this list I created a panel of 7 voters, including myself, who represent both Tennessee and Kentucky. We narrowed the list to 25 of the best coaches then voted. Obviously for any list of top coaches, longevity was a key factor, but clearly not the only factor as up and coming coach Cam Newbauer at Belmont has his team on the upswing and did it very quickly.  This is his first head coaching job and only 2nd year as a head coach. He’s proving he belongs and should be moving up to a BCS or high mid-major job fairly soon.  There were some great coaches who didn’t make the list but deserve recognition like Darrin Travillian from Maryville College (NCAA D-3) in eastern Tennessee.  In 3 years as Head Coach Darrin has won over 70 games.  Even D-1 coaches who have done a great job barely missed the cut and there were a few of those.  Of course there will be some debate of positioning and even arguments about coaches who didn’t make the list, but we are glad we are increasing the debate and discussion of women’s basketball around the region.  Certainly be on the look out for future articles, including the Kentucky Middle School State Championship and our look at top college assistant coaches, both of which will be published in the very near future.

  1. Jeff Walz – University of Louisville (NCAA D-1) – Guided team to 6 NCAA tournaments in 7 years…NCAA appearances include 2 National Runner-up finishes, an Elite 8 finish and 2 appearances in the Sweet 16…career record of 181-70…increased attendance to 2nd in Nation for WBB…Maggie Dixon COY 2008.

  2. Dave Kragel – Walters St. (NJCAA D-1) – Has over 800 career wins…Was inducted into the TN Juco HOF in 2004…been the HC at Walters since 1977…Inducted into the National Juco HOF in 2014…been nationally ranked 26 times…Named TJCCAA COY 18 times.

  3. Melanie Balcomb – Vanderbilt (NCAA D-1) – Team has made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in each of her 12 seasons at the helm of the Commodores…career record of 440-223…averaged 23.5 wins per season…Vandy’s All-Time Winningest coach…3 SEC Tournament titles…10 WNBA draft picks

  4. Rick Insell – MTSU (NCAA D-1) – 9 seasons at the helm of MTSU…recorded 228 wins…for an average of 24.9 per year…has won over 1000 games as a HS and College Coach, winning 775 at Shelbyville, TN…Insell is in the National HS HOF, the TSSAA HOF, and the TN Sports HOF…career college record of 228-67…7 regular season conference titles in 9 years as a college coach…MTSU All-Time Winningest Coach.

  5. Matthew Mitchell – University of Kentucky (NCAA D-1) – 5 Straight NCAA Tournament appearances…career record of 171-70…named SEC COY in 2010 and 2012…made it to the Elite 8 three times and the Sweet 16 four times….2011-12 SEC Champs.

  6. Dale Neal – Freed Hardeman (NAIA D-1) – Been in coaching 43 years including 19 seasons at the helm of Freed Hardeman…15 straight years of 20+ wins and NAIA D-1 National Tournament appearances…National Runner-up in 2013-14…7 other appearances in the Fab 4 or Final 8…career record of 444-151

  7. Kevin McMillan – UT Martin (NCAA D-1) – Guided UTM to 4 consecutive OVC Titles and 4 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances…the only times in school history they have won a title or been to the NCAA Tourney…in 6 seasons has a 98-62 career record as a head coach…previously a big time HS coach with a career HS record of 484-135 and a state title.

  8. Cam Newbauer – Belmont (NCAA D-1) – Up and coming D-1 coach, predicted 1st place finish in OVC in only his 2nd season…Led the Bruins to a 2nd place finish in his first season as head coach…nationally renown as a top recruiter during his time at UGA and Louisville…Led team to postseason berth in WNIT.

  9. Marty Rowe – Lee (NCAA D-2) – Lead Lee to a record of 285-58 in 10 years as head coach of the Flames…and a career record of 416-123…Lost in NAIA National Title game in 12-13 season…Successfully transitioned team from NAIA to NCAA D-2 winning the Gulf South Conference last season.

  10. Andrea McCloskey – Georgetown (NAIA D-1) – McCloskey holds a 68-29 record in 3 seasons as head coach…led Georgetown to 3 consecutive NAIA National Tournaments including a Fab 4 appearance in her inaugural campaign.

  11. Chris Nelson – Bethel (NAIA D-1) – Took over a Bethel team transitioning from NAIA D-2 to NAIA D-1…Team has made appearances in 5 of the past 6 NAIA D-1 National Tournaments and been ranked in the NAIA D-1 Top 10 2 straight years…career record of 158-99 while being named the TranSouth COY in 2011…3 NAIA D-1 Sweet 16s and a Final 8 appearance…program’s All-Time Winningest coach.

  1. Mark Campbell – Union (NCAA D-2) – In 15 years as coach, Union has won 5 National Titles…career record of 481-66…won over 30 games 12 times…fastest WCBB on any level to 400 wins…TranSouth COY 6 times, NAIA National COY 4 times…transitioned team seamlessly to NCAA D-2 level recording a 25 win season in the Gulf South Conference.

  2. Brittany Ezell – ETSU (NCAA D-1) – Took over a mediocre Belmont squad and guided them to the  upper echelon of the OVC…Team finished in 3rd in back to back seasons …now in the process of turning around dormant ETSU program…considered one of the top coaches at turning around a program…took Belmont to WBI, their first post-season berth since 2007.

  1. Ginger Colvin – Campbellsville (NAIA D-1) – In 7 years as head coach, has led Georgetown to 6 NAIA National Tournaments…career record of 185-54, including 3 years of 30+ wins…advanced to the NAIA Elite 8 three times.

  2. Ron Arnett – Kentucky Christian (NCCAA D-2) –  Led team to an unprecedented 14 NCCAA-II National Titles in 24 years as coach…7 time NCCAA National COY…2012 inductee to NCCAA Athletics HOF…Has won regional championship every year since he’s been Head Coach



 Jeff Walz – University of Louisville (NCAA D-1)

97 (4 First Place Votes)

Dave Kragel – Walters St. (NJCAA D-1)

89 (1)

Melanie Balcomb – Vanderbilt (NCAA D-1)

84 (2)

Rick Insell – MTSU (NCAA D-1)


Matthew Mitchell – University of Kentucky (NCAA D-1)


Dale Neal – Freed Hardeman (NAIA D-1)


Kevin McMillan – UT Martin (NCAA D-1)


Cam Newbauer – Belmont (NCAA D-1)


Marty Rowe – Lee (NCAA D-2)


Andrea McCloskey – Georgetown (NAIA D-1)


Chris Nelson – Bethel (NAIA D-1)


Mark Campbell – Union (NCAA D-2)


Brittany Ezell – ETSU (NCAA D-1)


Ginger Colvin – Campbellsville (NAIA D-1)


Ron Arnett – Kentucky Christian (NCCAA D-2)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on October 23, 2014 by .
%d bloggers like this: