It’s honestly wild that I even have to write an opinion piece such as this one, but the amount of times I see head coach rankings and Dana Altman is either way too low or not even included is unforgivable.
After becoming a Creighton legend from the mid-1990s until 2010, Altman decided to tackle a bigger head coaching job in Eugene as Oregon had an opening.
While he had a 65 percent win rate with Creighton, no one could have expected he’d have the success he’s had so far in Eugene.
His first year wasn’t exactly a success as he went 21-18 and the Ducks did end up winning the CBI, but missing the tournament and hovering around .500 all season was a little disappointing. Expected from the first-year coach, but disappointing nonetheless.
Altman immediately turned around and went 24-10 with an NIT quarterfinal appearance. It was a step in the right direction and it only led to bigger and better things.
Since that NIT appearance, Altman and Oregon basketball have made seven of the last eight NCAA Tournaments with the only miss coming in 2017-18 when they went 23-13.
The veteran head coach is fresh off his fifth Sweet 16 appearance and he has accrued a 72 percent win rate in his 11 years with Oregon along with a 67 percent rate in Pac-12 play. Not too shabby from a guy who many thought couldn’t coach at a power conference level.
Yet he somehow gets overlooked constantly. It’s hard to argue that he’s not the Pac-12’s best and most underrated coach.
Another successful offseason with Oregon basketball
This offseason just proved just how underrated Altman really is.
Losing Eugene Omoruyi, Chris Duarte, LG Figueroa, Chandler Lawson, and Jalen Terry this offseason looked to be a nail in the Ducks’ coffin for the 2021-22 season.
As Lee Corso says, “not so fast, my friend”.
Altman went out and picked up a commitment from Oklahoma transfer De’Vion Harmon. Then he added JUCO All-American Rivaldo Soares. And then last week, he picked up a commitment from Syracuse transfer Quincy Guerrier who should start right away at small forward.
Add in Nathan Bittle and a healthy N’Faly Dante and you have a truly elite roster. It’s hard to believe that Oregon lost so much and still looks like the favorite to win the Pac-12.
The best coaches always find ways to reload instead of rebuilt and Altman has done just that. Yet no one is talking about the job he’s done.
Let’s change that.