College basketball coaches with most NCAA Final Four appearances

Mike Krzyzewski
Mike Krzyzewski is tied with John Wooden for most Final Four appearances by a coach.

Mike Krzyzewski has experienced the madness of March more than any other NCAA coach.

Krzyzewski not only has made 35 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, the most all-time by a coach, but his teams often have been one of the last standing during his 41 years at Duke.

If Duke reaches the Final Four in the upcoming tournament during Krzyzewski’s final season, Coach K will hold yet another NCAA record all to himself by breaking a tie for most semifinal appearances with another legendary coach.

Here are the college basketball coaches with the most NCAA Final Four appearances…

Mike Krzyzewski - 12

Final Four appearances (national championships in bold): 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2010, 2015


Coach K currently has more Final Four appearances than every NCAA men’s basketball coach not named John Wooden. Krzyzewski and the legendary UCLA coach are tied atop the list with 12, though Coach K will get a chance to move into sole possession with Duke among the favorites in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Krzyzewski holds NCAA Tournament records for games coached with 127 and wins with 97. He has guided Duke to 26 appearances in the Sweet 16, 16 appearances in the Elite Eight and five national championships.    

John Wooden - 12

1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975

Many of the tournament records once held by the “Wizard of Westwood” have been surpassed as iconic coaches have followed in his footsteps and the field in the NCAA Tournament has grown from 16 teams to 68. One of Wooden’s records, the most important of all, still stands: 10 national championships. Of Wooden’s 12 trips to the Final Four between 1962 and 1975, 10 ended with UCLA winning the tournament’s final game. That included seven consecutive national championships.    


Dean Smith - 11

1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997

The first of two legendary University of North Carolina coaches on this list, Smith guided the Tar Heels to the Final Four 11 times in his 36-year career at Chapel Hill. Two of those trips ended with a national championship, with Smith capturing his first title in 1982 on a late jumper by a 19-year-old freshman named Michael Jordan. Smith, in total, amassed 65 tournament game wins, which is third most all-time behind Krzyzewski and Smith’s fellow UNC coach, Roy Williams.     

Roy Williams - 9

1991, 1993, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2016, 2017

Williams is one of two NCAA men’s basketball coaches to lead two programs to the Final Four on multiple occasions. Williams guided Kansas to the tournament semifinals four times and then did so with UNC five times. The only other coach to make multiple Final Four appearances with two different schools was Jack Gardner, who led Kansas State and Utah to two Final Four appearances each between 1948 and 1966 (Rick Pitino would be the third member on the list had two of his three Final Four appearances with Louisville not been vacated). Three of Williams’ five trips to the Final Four with the Tar Heels ended with a national championship for North Carolina, his alma mater. He has the second-most tournament game victories with 77.

Tom Izzo - 8

1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2019

Those at Michigan State don’t call him “Mr. March” for nothing. Izzo has helped the Spartans become a regular in the Final Four over the last 20-plus years with eight appearances. Izzo’s streak of three consecutive Final Fours from 1999 to 2001 is tied with Smith for third longest of all-time behind Wooden’s nine straight and Krzyzewski’s five straight. However, only one of Izzo’s eight trips to the Final Four ended with Michigan State cutting down the net, with the Spartans winning the national title in 2000.   


Other Final Four Regulars

Making six Final Four appearances were Denny Crum with Louisville and Adolph Rupp with Kentucky. Reaching five Final Fours were Bob Knight with Indiana, Guy Lewis with Houston, Lute Olson with Iowa and Arizona, Jim Boeheim with Syracuse and Rick Pitino with Providence, Kentucky and Louisville (Pitino reached two additional Final Fours in 2012 and 2013 that were vacated for violating NCAA rules)