The 30 greatest all-time college coaches in Illinois

College sports loves a good debate. See Selection Sunday or the eternal arguments over major college football’s playoff system.

Reaching a consensus on Illinois’ greatest college coaches was similarly murky. Though we limited the list to Division I — with apologies to legends such as North Central’s Al Carius (28 Division III national titles in cross-country and track and field) and Augustana’s Bob Reade (four straight D-III football titles in the 1980s) — that hardly limited the debates.

Should maintaining consistent excellence over a long period (think Lou Henson) be rewarded more than bringing a program out of the gutter (hello, Gary Barnett)? How much weight should national titles carry? And how does success amid the relative low pressure of non-revenue sports measure up against the high stakes of Big Ten football and men’s basketball?

One thing is clear: Knowing the passion of college sports fans, many will find this list debatable.

Shannon Ryan, Teddy Greenstein, Joel Boyd, Tim Bannon
Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune
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