Top 25 Winningest Head Coaches in Division I Baseball
The last few years have seen a major turnover in the coaching ranks. Since 2015, Pat Casey, Pete Dunn, Mike Fox, Augie Garrido, Mike Gillespie, Jim Gilligan, Wayne Graham, Jack Leggett, Andy Lopez, Mark Marquess, Mike Martin, Jim Morris and Tony Robichaux have all left the game, having won more than 1,000 games apiece and 16 national titles.
With their departures, college baseball’s coaching ranks have truly undergone a changing of the guard. That group includes the two winningest coaches in college baseball history—Martin and Garrido—and half of the top 10.
Following Fox’s retirement this month, college baseball’s active wins leader changed again, for the third time in five years, as the mantel was passed from Garrido to Martin to Fox. Now, Louisiana State coach Paul Mainieri has become the sport’s winningest active coach with 1,467 wins.
After so much turnover, it is a good time to take a look at the sport’s top 25 active winningest coaches. There are now just 10 active coaches with more than 1,000 wins and few are even on the precipice of the milestone. There’s a new generation of coaches leading college baseball.
Per NCAA rules, to be included on this list, a coach must have spent at least five years at a Division I school and all victories achieved at a four-year school are included.
1. Paul Mainieri, Louisiana State—1,467 wins
At this point, Mainieri is most known for his accomplishments at LSU, including five College World Series appearances and a national title in 2009, but he also racked up tons of victories before making it to Baton Rouge. First, he won 152 games in six seasons at Air Force, and then never won fewer than 38 games in any of his 12 seasons at Notre Dame, a tenure highlighted by an Omaha trip in 2002.
2. John Anderson, Minnesota—1,325 wins
Anderson is synonymous with Minnesota baseball, and rightfully so. Not only has he led the Golden Gophers for the last 39 years after taking the job at 26 years old, but the team has remained a consistent Big Ten contender over the entirety of his tenure. In all, his Minnesota teams have collected seven Big Ten regular-season titles, nine Big Ten Tournament championships and 18 postseason appearances.
3. Keith Guttin, Missouri State—1,288 wins
Like Anderson, Guttin has spent every year of his head coaching career in one place. Over 38 seasons, 32 with assistant coach Paul Evans by his side, he has led the Bears from an independent to the conference that is now known as the Summit League to the Missouri Valley Conference, winning a bunch of games along the way. His teams have made the postseason 10 times, including going all the way to the CWS in 2003.
4. Danny Hall, Georgia Tech—1,281 wins
After six seasons and 208 wins at Kent State, Hall succeeded Jim Morris at Georgia Tech and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down after adding more than 1,000 wins over 27 seasons to his ledger in Atlanta. His Yellow Jackets teams have made three CWS appearances, including in his first season, 1994, when they came up one win short of a national title.
5. Gary Gilmore, Coastal Carolina—1,227 wins
In his 25 years at Coastal Carolina, Gilmore has transformed the program from an also-ran that had only been to the postseason once in its history to a national title-winning outfit that earned the right to be called a power program, even if it wasn’t in a power conference. Along the way, Gilmore has has led the Chanticleers to 16 postseason appearances.
6. Mike Sansing, Kennesaw State—1,131 wins
Although not as famous as the coaches above him on the list, Sansing has amassed a lot of victories in his time at Kennesaw State. In 29 seasons, he has guided the Owls from NAIA to Division II to Division I, winning at every level. In 2014, he led KSU to the postseason at the Division I level for the first time, with his team going all the way to a super regional.
7. Elliott Avent, North Carolina State—1,113 wins
In 24 years at NC State, Avent has led the Wolfpack to 18 regional appearances, four super regional appearances and a trip to Omaha in 2013. Prior to turning NC State into one of the most consistent programs in the country, he spent eight seasons as the head coach at New Mexico State, collecting 225 wins.
8. Dave Van Horn, Arkansas—1,071 wins
Van Horn is in rarified air as a coach who is arguably the greatest skipper in the history of two storied college baseball programs, Nebraska and Arkansas. His first stop at Northwestern State also makes him one in a long line of great coaches who have passed through Natchitoches, La. He has won a regular-season title at each stop, and across all three, he has been to the postseason 20 times and to the CWS on eight occasions.
T9. Bill Brown, George Mason—1,046 wins
A George Mason alum, Brown spent two years as an assistant at his alma mater before taking over as head coach prior to the 1982 season. The Patriots have changed conference affiliation twice in his time there, but the Patriots have been competitive at all three stops, making seven postseason appearances along the way, the most recent coming in 2014.
T9. Rich Hill, San Diego—1,046 wins
Prior to taking over at San Diego, Hill won 193 games in six seasons at Cal Lutheran and 139 games in five years spent at San Francisco, but his greatest accomplishments have come leading the Toreros. In 22 seasons at USD, he has guided his team to eight postseason appearances, including hosting a regional for the first time in 2007.
11. Paul Kostacopoulos, Navy—968 wins
Kostacopoulos began his head coaching career at Providence, where he won 220 games in seven seasons and led the Friars to two regionals before departing three years before the program was discontinued. At Maine, he won 274 games and got the Black Bears into the postseason in 2002. Most recently, he has turned Navy into a program that has won five straight Patriot League regular-season championships.
12. Steve Owens, Rutgers—920 wins
Owens is best known for turning Bryant into a northeastern powerhouse, but before that, he won nearly 600 combined games at SUNY-Cortland and LeMoyne (N.Y.). After nine seasons and 328 wins at Bryant, which also included three postseason appearances, Owens is now just one partial season into his time at Rutgers.
13. Lindsay Meggs, Washington—917 wins
Meggs made a name for himself as a head coach by leading Division II Chico State to nine postseason appearances in 13 seasons. From there, he spent three seasons at Indiana State and has now been at Washington for 11 seasons, where he led the Huskies to their first CWS appearance in 2018.
14. Tony Rossi, Siena—908 wins
The longest-tenured head coach in Division I, Rossi has coached at Siena in six different decades. When he took over at 27 years old in 1970, the Saints were a Division II independent program that played about 20 games a season. Since then, Siena has been a Division I independent and a member of three different conferences. Rossi has guided his team to two postseason appearances, the most recent coming in 2014.
15. Rick Heller, Iowa—904 wins
Heller has made four stops as a head coach in his career—Upper Iowa, Northern Iowa, Indiana State and Iowa—and he has guided each to the postseason. Most recently, he has turned a downtrodden Iowa program into one that competes well in a competitive Big Ten year after year.
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16. Mike Bianco, Mississippi—867 wins
After three years, 100 wins and a regional appearance in 2000, Bianco left McNeese State to become the head coach at Ole Miss. Since then, he has led the Rebels to 16 postseason appearances, six super regionals, an SEC regular-season title in 2009 and a CWS trip in 2014.
17. Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt—859 wins
An assistant under Jack Leggett at Clemson from 1994-2002, Corbin actually got his start as a head coach prior to that at Presbyterian, where he won 106 games in six seasons. Since arriving in Nashville, he has taken Vanderbilt from a forgotten program in the SEC to a behemoth in the world of college baseball that won national titles in 2014 and 2019.
18. Mike Batesole, Fresno State—848 wins
Batesole is known mostly for being the coach who led the 2008 Fresno State Bulldogs, known as the Wonderdogs, to the national title. In total, he has led the Bulldogs to seven postseason appearances in 18 seasons. But also of note is that he is the last coach to take Cal State Northridge to the postseason, as he got the Matadors there in 2002 in the last of his seven seasons at the helm.
19. Matt Senk, Stony Brook—840 wins
Senk has been at Stony Brook long enough that it was a Division III program when he first took over prior to the 1991 season. Since then, he has not only guided the Seawolves (or the Patriots, as they were known in Division III) all the way up to Division I, but he has turned them into one of the best teams in the Northeast and led them to the CWS in 2012.
20. Rich Maloney, Ball State—839 wins
The highlight of Maloney’s 10 seasons and 341 wins as the head coach at Michigan were four straight regional appearances and three Big Ten regular-season titles from 2005-2008. Sandwiched around that time in Ann Arbor are two different stints and 15 total seasons as the coach at Ball State, during which the Cardinals have been consistent contenders in the MAC.
21. Rodney Hennon, Georgia Southern—801 wins
After two seasons and 78 wins at Western Carolina, Hennon took over at Georgia Southern prior to the 2000 season and has been there for the 21 seasons since. The Eagles have been to five regionals under Hennon, the last of which came in 2014, and only once have they won fewer than 30 games in a season.
22. Jim Sherman, Delaware—787 wins
Sherman’s coaching career has been exclusively spent in the state of Delaware. He began as the head coach at Wilmington, where he led the program to two NAIA World Series. After serving as an assistant at Delaware from 1994-2000, he took over as head coach of the Blue Hens in 2001. Since then, he has guided the program to two regular-season titles and two regional appearances.
23. Tracy Smith, Arizona State—772 wins
Smith has made three coaching stops at the Division I level, at Miami (Ohio), Indiana and Arizona State. In those first two roles, he led his teams to big breakthroughs. With the RedHawks, it was a 45-win 2005 season that ended in a regional trip. At Indiana, it was a 2013 College World Series appearance. In 2020, he had one of the most talented teams in college baseball at Arizona State, even if its season was cut short.
T24. Jim Schlossnagle, Texas Christian—770 wins
After winning 77 games over two seasons at Nevada-Las Vegas, which included a 47-win season and a postseason appearance in 2004, Schlossnagle took over at TCU. Since then, the Horned Frogs have missed the postseason just twice and have been to Omaha five times, including four in a row from 2014-2017.
T24. Dave Schrage, Butler—770 wins
Schrage has coached at six different Division I programs, all in the Midwest—Northern Iowa, Northern Illinois, Evansville, Notre Dame, South Dakota State and Butler. His best season came at Evansville in 2006, when he led the Purple Aces to 43 wins, a Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title and a regional appearance.