It wasn't too long ago that a pair of boy wonders led their teams to the Final Four.
Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart 2011 had a combined seven years of head coaching experience when the Bulldogs and Rams squared off in a semifinal in 2011.
When Rick Pitino faces John Beilein on Monday in the NCAA's national championship game, they bring more than half a century of experience to the table. And they've got a combined 18 years at their current schools (Pitino has been at Louisville since 2001, Beilein at Michigan since 2007).
Even the other Final Four participants, Wichita State and Syracuse, are led by season veterans. Gregg Marshall has been a head coach since 1998, and Jim Boheim has coached Syracuse for nearly 40 years.
Although it's not impossible for men with little head coaching experience to lead their squads deep in the tournament, it's also no coincidence that programs with stable head coaches have achieved this much success.
"It's huge," Steve Kerr, who will be on the call for Monday's game, told ThePostGame of the importance of coaching stability. "Because once a coach builds the momentum of the program, and then decides to stay, that continuity shows itself from one year to the next. Because each class is teaching the younger class. It's one of the beautiful things about college basketall. When players stay and when coaches stay, you end up with this progression."
Kerr is no stranger to legendary coaches. When he starred at Arizona he played under Lute Olson, who not only had decades of experience, but who took Arizona to the NCAA tournament in all but his first year with the program. In fact, Olson's run of 25 straight tournament appearances is the second longest in NCAA tournament history.
So not only was Olson seasoned, but he was very familiar with postseason play.
"It helps a lot," Kerr said of Olson's NCAA history, "just because the coach can share that experience with his players and prepare them for what they’re about to face."
It appears Pitino would have the edge on Monday, as this will be his third time coaching in the NCAA championship game. But Beilein and Michigan have defied the odds all tournament. Plus, Beilein does have some championship experience -- he led West Virginia to the NIT title in 2007.