Shifting Gears: Underwood Narrowly Missed NCAA Wins in Back-to-Back Years

Most coaches leaving a school on heels of appearing in the NCAA playoffs are bound for a program in turmoil or requiring rehab. Prior to aligning with Illinois, Brad Underwood's narrow defeat against Michigan in his first campaign with Oklahoma State after departing Stephen F. Austin prevented him from becoming the 15th coach to win at least one NCAA Tournament game in back-to-back seasons with different schools. An Oklahoma State alumnus is a specialist in this category. Kansas' Bill Self, the only individual to achieve the feat twice, is the lone mentor to reach a regional final in back-to-back seasons with two different schools (Tulsa in 2000 and Illinois in 2001).

Tippy Dye (Ohio State in 1950 and Washington in 1951) went 35 years as the only coach in this category until Eddie Sutton duplicated the achievement (Arkansas in 1985 and Kentucky in 1986). Following is a chronological list of coaches promptly continuing their winning ways in the NCAA playoffs after switching jobs (three from Tulsa):

Playoff Coach in Back-to-Back Years 1st School (Season/Record) 2nd School (Season/Record)
William "Tippy" Dye Ohio State (1950/1-1) Washington (1951/2-1)
Eddie Sutton Arkansas (1985/1-1) Kentucky (1986/3-1)
Paul Evans Navy (1986/3-1) Pittsburgh (1987/1-1)
Tom Penders Rhode Island (1988/2-1) Texas (1989/1-1)
Orlando "Tubby" Smith Tulsa (1995/2-1) Georgia (1996/2-1)
Ben Braun Eastern Michigan (1996/1-1) California (1997/2-1)
Steve Robinson Tulsa (1997/1-1) Florida State (1998/1-1)
Bill Self Tulsa (2000/3-1) Illinois (2001/3-1)
Thad Matta Butler (2001/1-1) Xavier (2002/1-1)
Bill Self Illinois (2003/1-1) Kansas (2004/3-1)
Roy Williams Kansas (2003/5-1) North Carolina (2004/1-1)
Bruce Pearl Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2005/2-1) Tennessee (2006/1-1)
Trent Johnson Stanford (2008/2-1) Louisiana State (2009/1-1)
John Calipari Memphis (2009/2-1) Kentucky (2010/3-1)
John Groce Ohio University (2012/2-1) Illinois (2013/1-1)