Posted March 18, 2013

All 68 NCAA Tournament Schools Ranked By Coolest Person Who Went There

Rating famous alums from Big Show to Bob Saget

Lists
reddit.com

reddit.com

The field is set for this year’s NCAA Tournament, but rather than break down the brackets like everyone else, Extra Mustard is ranking the 68 schools in this year’s field by coolest alumnus (or alumna).


68. Florida Gulf Coast: Don Carman

After 10 years in the majors, the lefty hurler went back to school in Fort Myers, Fla., and earned a degree in sports psychology.

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67. Middle Tennessee State: Hillary Scott

The frontwoman of Lady Antebellum graduated from the Murfreesboro, Tenn., school in 2006.

Steve Granitz/Getty Images

Steve Granitz/Getty Images


66. New Mexico State: Joe Pisarcik

The quarterback responsible for The Miracle at the Meadowlands played college ball in Las Cruces, N.M.

AP

AP


65. Memphis: Jerry Lawler

The celebrated professional wrestling commentator went to Memphis State on a commercial art scholarship.

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64. Northwestern State: Bobby Hebert

The Cajun Cannon was drafted from the Natchitoches, La., school into the USFL before a lengthy NFL career that included a Pro Bowl appearance with the Saints.

John Biever/SI

John Biever/SI


63. Boise State: Chris Childs

The Idaho school’s most famous alumnus is the guy who punched Kobe.

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62. Valparaiso: John Lutz

The writer and comedian best known for playing J.D. Lutz on 30 Rock was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the Indiana university.

zap2it.com

zap2it.com


61. Liberty: Sid Bream

Before he scored the run that dramatically lifted the Braves into the 1992 World Series, Bream attended the Lynchburg, Va., school founded by Jerry Falwell.

Ronald C. Modra/SI

Ronald C. Modra/SI


60. Iona: Jeff Ruland

The one-time NBA All-Star played under Jim Valvano at Iona before leading the Gaels to three 20-win seasons as a coach.

phillyburbs.com

phillyburbs.com


59. Saint Louis: Robert Guillaume

Benson!

sitcomsonline.com

sitcomsonline.com


58. Belmont: DJ Qualls

It’s hard out here for a pimp.

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57. VCU: Founding members of GWAR

Three members of the blood-spraying heavy metal band, including lead vocalist Dave Brockie, met at the Richmond, Va., research university.

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56. Saint Mary’s: Von Hayes

Mr. Five-for-one himself played at the Moraga, Calif., school before a major league career that included an All-Star appearance in 1989.

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55. New Mexico: Penny Marshall

Before starring on Laverne and Shirley and directing A League of Their Own, Marshall briefly attended the Albuquerque school.

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shakesville.com


54. Villanova: Jim Croce

The “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” crooner attended the Catholic school during the early ’60s.

amanderson.com

amanderson.com


53. San Diego State: Raquel Welch

The One Million Years B.C. bombshell left San Diego State College, as it was then known, due to her heavy schedule while working as a weather anchor for a local TV station.

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52. South Dakota State: Adam Vinatieri

The kicker who booted the game-winning field goals in Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII won a pair of Division II scoring titles at the Brookings, S.D., school.

Al Tielemans/SI

Al Tielemans/SI


51. Kansas State: Kirstie Alley

The Cheers star attended the Manhattan, Kans., school many moons ago.

sitcomsonline.com

sitcomsonline.com


50. LIU-Brooklyn: Nicholas Pileggi

The Wiseguys author, Goodfellas screenwriter and New York City native (left) attended the Brooklyn university.

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49. Duke: Ken Jeong

Mr. Chow!

kenjeonghangover


48. North Carolina A&T: Jesse Jackson

The civil rights activist and Democratic presidential nominee transferred to finish his undergrad studies at the HBCU after originally attending Illinois University on a football scholarship.

lib.unc.edu

lib.unc.edu


47. Pacific: Jamie Lee Curtis

The Halloween star attended the Stockton, Calif., school for one semester before quitting to pursue acting.

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46. Davidson: Woodrow Wilson

The 28th President attended the Presbyterian school as a freshman before falling ill and taking year off before finishing at Princeton.

totallyhistory.com

totallyhistory.com


45. Oklahoma: Olivia Munn

The Newsroom star graduated from the Norman, Okla., school in 2004 with a degree in journalism.

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44. Colorado: Christopher Meloni

What’s you glitch, Gene?

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screened.com


43. James Madison: Steve James

The Hoop Dreams filmmaker graduated from the Harrisonburg, Va., school in 1977.

indyweek.com

indyweek.com


42. Minnesota: Ron Perlman

The prolific character actor — in everything from Cronos to Sons of Anarchy to Drive — was a Golden Gopher during the ’70s and graduated with an M.F.A. in 1973.

complex.com

complex.com


41. North Carolina: Louise Fletcher

Piss on your f—ing rules, Nurse Ratched!

fanpop.com

fanpop.com


40. Florida: Stephen Root

Anyone seen a stapler?

sanglucci.com

sanglucci.com


39. Iowa State: George Washington Carver

The man Time magazine called the “Black Leonardo” attended the Ames university for both undergrad and graduate studies.

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blackhistoryheroes.blogspot.com


38. Akron: George Wallace

Don’t go to Vegas without seeing this Akron grad’s live show at the Flamingo.

laughspin.com

laughspin.com


37. Wichita State: Big Show

Then known as Paul Wight, the future WWE World Heavyweight Champion averaged 2.0 points and 2.3 rebounds as a Shocker.

chronicle.augusta.com

chronicle.augusta.com


36. Notre Dame: George Wendt

Norm! He was expelled from the South Bend school after getting a 0.00 GPA the first semester of his junior year but finished with a B.A. in economics from Rockhurst College in Kansas City.

blawgsd.com

blawgsd.com


35. Bucknell: Philip Roth

The decorated author of American Pastoral and The Human Stain earned an English degree from the Lewisburg, Pa., school.

galleristny.com

galleristny.com


34. Gonzaga: Bing Crosby

The crooner enrolled at Gonzaga College in 1920 with the intent to become a lawyer — but sent away for a set of mail-order drums while in Spokane. The rest is history.

bingcrosby.com

bingcrosby.com


33. Temple: Bob Saget

Temple Owls are everywhere: the Full House star graduated from the North Philly school in 1978.

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32. UNLV: Suge Knight

The co-founder of Death Row Records played defensive end at the Las Vegas school after transferring from El Camino College.

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31. Pittsburgh: Gene Kelly

The Singin’ in the Rain, An American in Paris and Xanadu star was a member of the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity on his way to earning a B.A. in economics from Pitt in 1933.

biography.com

biography.com


30. Arizona: Kristen Wiig

The longtime Saturday Night Live cast member was an art major at the Tucson school before dropping out to pursue acting.

Dana Edelson/NBC Universal

Dana Edelson/NBC Universal


29. N.C. State: Zach Galifinakis

The member of the fictional Wolfpack was a member of the real-life Wolfpack from 1988 through 1992, but claims he failed his last course by one point and never got his degree.

filmschoolrejects.com

filmschoolrejects.com


28. La Salle: Peter Boyle

Boyle earned a B.A. from the Philadelphia school in 1957, later earning acclaim for his roles in Joe, Taxi Driver, Where The Buffalo Roam and many other films.


27. Louisville: Johnny Unitas

Unitas didn’t just play quarterback for the Cardinals — he also played safety, linebacker and returned punts.

uoflcardgame.com

uoflcardgame.com


26. Southern: David Banner

The rapper, record producer and part-time actor attended Southern — his mother’s alma mater — served as the president of the Student Government Association and received a B.A. in business.

missinfo.tv

missinfo.tv


25. Georgetown: Bradley Cooper

The Silver Linings Playbook star graduated from Georgetown with honors — after transferring from Villanova — with a B.A. in English in 1997.

The Weinstein Company

The Weinstein Company


24. Michigan State: James Caan

Sonny Corleone attended the East Lansing, Mich., school before transferring back home to Hofstra.

godfather.wikia.com

godfather.wikia.com


23. Creighton: Bob Gibson

The legendary Cardinals pitcher attended the Omaha school on a full basketball scholarship.

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whiteandbluereview.com


22. Indiana: Lee Majors

The Six Million Dollar Man himself went to Indiana on a football scholarship before a back injury prompted his turn to acting.

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21. Cincinnati: Sandy Koufax

Koufax was a walk-on on the Cincinnati freshman basketball team, later earning a partial scholarship, before making the varsity baseball team.

Mark Kauffman/SI

Mark Kauffman/SI


20. Miami (Fla.): Sylvester Stallone

Stallone left Miami to pursue acting but was granted a B.F.A. from the school in 1999 when he requested that his acting and life experiences be accepted in exchange for his remaining credits.

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19. Montana: Carroll O’Connor

The future Archie Bunker was an editor at the school paper and member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity  while in Missoula.

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vimeo.com


18. Butler: Kurt Vonnegut

The Slaughterhouse-Five author (and one-time Sports Illustrated staffer) attended the Indianapolis school but left amid mediocre grades in 1942.


17. Western Kentucky: John Carpenter

The cult director of Halloween and Escape From New York was a Hilltopper before transferring to USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in 1968.

horroronscreen.com

horroronscreen.com


16. Albany: Steve Guttenberg

The Police Academy star went to SUNY Albany to become a dentist before heading to Hollywood to try his luck as an actor.

thefancarpet.com

thefancarpet.com


15. Oklahoma State: Gary Busey

The Point Break star left the Stillwater, Okla., school just one credit short of graduation.


14. California: Gregory Peck

Atticus Finch rowed on the crew team and graduated from Berkeley in 1942.

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13. Michigan: Madonna

Her Madgesty went to Ann Arbor on a dance scholarship before dropping out and relocating to New York City.

krismbeal.com

krismbeal.com


12. Kansas: Wilt Chamberlain

The Big Dipper was the tallest Jayhawk during the late ’50s.

George Silk/Getty Images

George Silk/Getty Images


11. Ole Miss: William Faulkner

The Nobel Prize-winning author of The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying skipped classes often at Ole Miss, getting lousy grades and dropping out after three semesters.

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10. Marquette: Chris Farley

The longtime SNL cast member attended Marquette in Tommy Boy but also graduated from the Milwaukee school in real life in 1986.

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9. Colorado State: John Amos

The Good Times and Coming To America star graduated from the Fort Collins, Colo., school with a degree in sociology and also played on the football team.

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8. Ohio State: Roy Lichtenstein

The famous pop artist graduated from the Columbus university after studies that were interrupted by World War II.

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7. Harvard: Norman Mailer

The novelist, journalist, essayist and Muhammad Ali confidant enrolled in Harvard at 16 years old, graduating in 1943 before joining the U.S. Army.

full-stop.net

full-stop.net


6. Illinois: Hugh Hefner

The Playboy founder needed just two-and-a-half years to graduate from the Champaign school with a B.A. in psychology and a double minor in creative writing and art.

Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images


5. UCLA: James Dean

The Rebel Without A Cause heartthrob dropped out of UCLA after one semester of acting study to pursue a full-time career as an actor.

whatculture.com

whatculture.com


4. Wisconsin: Butch Vig

The producer of Nirvana’s Nevermind, The Smashing Pumpkins’ Gish and Sonic Youth’s Dirty studied at Madison and was a mainstay in the local music scene.

paranoid13xforever.wordpress.com


3. Syracuse: Lou Reed

The Velvet Underground frontman graduated with a B.A. from Syracuse in 1964.

westword.com

westword.com


2. Oregon: Ken Kesey

The influential author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — “too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie” — graduated from the Eugene, Ore., school with a degree in speech and communication in 1957.

demeterclarc.com

demeterclarc.com


1. Missouri: Brad Pitt

The film star, who enrolled at Mizzou as a journalism major with a focus on advertising, left the Columbia, Mo., school two weeks before earning his degree to move to L.A. and pursue acting.

Simon Bruty/SI

Simon Bruty/SI

77 comments
CurtHennig
CurtHennig

Sorry but Daryl Hall and John Oates are much cooler Temple alums than Bob Saget

JakeLawrence
JakeLawrence

You want to talk "cool"? How about Miles Davis from Juilliard. He is the definition of cool, literally... 

HankGilday
HankGilday

Notre Dame should be #1 because of Regis Philbin!

NashHerrington
NashHerrington

Ummm Wichita State's should definitely be Frank Carney!  I mean, the dude started Pizza Hut!!!  The original Pizza Hut building is still on campus today

DavidGeckle
DavidGeckle

Magic Johnson not the most famous Spartan?!?!?

GlenAdams
GlenAdams

Lee Majors went to Eastern Kentucky University and played football there.  He's from Middlesboro KY.  

Popfly68
Popfly68

Kansas State has had numerous notable alumni but I think the most famous and hip current celebrity would have to be Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family. He gets the whole cast dressed in purple in support of the Wildcats.

butc0017
butc0017

Ron Perlman is a more famous Minnesota alum than Bob Dylan? Who is cooler than Bob Dylan?

hankmoody14
hankmoody14

Amateurs.  Adam Duritz, front man for Counting  Crows, should be the guy for Cal.

BrianCain
BrianCain

in what universe is anyone cooler than Sandy Koufax?

KellySchlater
KellySchlater

list is in what appears to be a random order picked out by attaching names to pieces of food and then seeing which pieces were selected by pigeons first.

buckybone
buckybone

Perlman's ranked WAY too low!

justinmichaelwatson
justinmichaelwatson

i call bs that all these famous actors, etc fell 'one credit short' or 'left two weeks before graduating'.  ha.  

TedDanson
TedDanson

Alright, how is Norm from Cheers the coolest guy to go to ND? Regis Philbin, Joe Montana, Carl Yastrzemski....that is just off the top of my head. I am sure it goes with a lot of these schools. Horrible reporting. Horrible.

Robert27
Robert27

Norman Mailer? You guys are clowns.

mikerappaport49
mikerappaport49

I guess we can't expect more from SI anymore. The guys who wrote this article must be about 12 years old. Maybe they know something we don't about Bob Saget and the Olsen twins, but as far as I know, Saget isn't cooler than anybody. Good Lord, Bill Cosby went to Temple. I was going to argue Woodrow Wilson at 46 behind Olivia Munn at 45, but she totally kicks his ass with that rack.

Brady_Ford
Brady_Ford

Y'all chose Bob Saget over Bill Cosby, Adam McKay, Irvin Kershner, and Jill Scott? Do you know what 'cool' means?

muser
muser

That's the worst article I've ever read.

dmac1199
dmac1199

Jim Brown - coolest and baddest SU grad.

AuenGrrr
AuenGrrr

You pick Gregory Peck over Chunk for Cal? Sure, Gregory Peck spent a little bit of time in front of the camera, but Chunk had the real talent. I truly believe the Goonies were snubbed by the Oscars. 

Extra points to Chunk for doing the truffle shuffle in person in front of the Cal student section at a football game. Well played, sir. Well played.

Vince V
Vince V

Not sure Guttenberg graduated UAlbany.  If attending is the threshold, Ed Burns would have been a better choice.


hahame
hahame

Lots of Badgers to chose from:  Frank Lloyd Wright, John Muir, Crazy Legs Hirsch, Charles Lindbergh, Edwin Newman, Gaylord Nelson, Eudora Welty ...

MichaelSullivan
MichaelSullivan

You realize that Bill Clinton went to Georgetown, right?

MichaelSullivan
MichaelSullivan

You realize that Bill Clinton went to Georgetown, right?

Wootang08
Wootang08

Phillip Roth is a cool dude and all, but no Christy Mathewson for Bucknell?  Seriously?

smyers317
smyers317

Wow now I have another reason to love Cheers! GO IRISH! 

But it's hard to ignore Regis Philbin or the Chicago Cubs biggest fan, Steve Bartman. 

apcoggins
apcoggins

For Michigan - you use MADONNA???  Are you kidding me?  Have you never heard of President Gerald Ford (also a College FB HOF member) astronaut Jack Lousma, James Earl Jones, Arthur Miller, Selma Blair, EVERY ASTRONAUT ON APOLLO 15 (Col. David R. Scott, Maj. Alfred Worden, Col. James Irwin), Lawrence Kasdan, William Mayo of the Mayo Clinic, Michael Phelps (the MOST decorated Olympian ever)...


Didn't think so.  Next time, do some research and don't pander to the lowest common denominator.

mark.w.westhoff
mark.w.westhoff

For Colorado: Christopher Meloni?? I mean I like Law and Order: SVU as much as the next guy... but we've had plenty of astronauts, nobel prize winners, a heisman winner, an all-pro HoF basketball player, the creators of South Park, and lots more. Christopher Meloni??

Reuben2
Reuben2

"North Carolina: Louise Fletcher"??? Seriously? Try Michael Jordan.

WilliamGarverIddings
WilliamGarverIddings

Your "Back to School" photo is of Keith Gordon, not Kurt Vonnegut. Michigan State University is in East Lansing, Mich., not Lansing.

zeebaneighba
zeebaneighba

Lee Majors is cool? It's a good thing Whittier College isn't in the tournament or we'd probably have Nixon up there as well.

raslavens
raslavens

You totally botched The University of Akron: Both members of The Black Keys -- Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney -- attended. Can't get much cooler than that.

rabbitsblinkity
rabbitsblinkity

1. Brad Pitt's cool, but as others have noted there are way cooler people for Mizzou.

2. Hefner is not cool.

3. Especially not when compared with Shel Silverstein, Temple Grandon, or Ann Bannon.

4. This list shows it's authors' ages quite badly.

(Also, only ~10 women? Out of 60? I know this is a sports-related list, but really? Sigh.)

etheridge2
etheridge2

When did Steve James go to JMU? I know he went to SIUC for his undergraduate degree. When Hoop Dreams came out they had a screening there and he talked about being a student in Carbondale. Did he get a 2nd degree from JMU when was he at each school. 

James Wiki page lists SIUC as his Alma mater, but the list of notable SOIC alums doesn't include James, yet he does appear on the list of notable JMU alumni

motraveler
motraveler

Good pick of Mizzou, but difficult to base it on Mr. Pitt, who dropped out, especially when Sheryl Crow not only attended but also graduated and has even leant her name to promote her alma mater and her home state.

LesNesmann
LesNesmann

@apcoggins settle down....they picked Tommy Boy for Marquette. Do you really think that Farley is most impressive graduate? The writer was having a little fun....please unbind your panties.

NebTiffam
NebTiffam

@Reuben2 

How about Andy Griffith? or Brooklyn Decker? or Lawrence Taylor? or Erskine Bowles?

JosephCharles
JosephCharles

@Reuben2 They did this to a number of other schools.  Magic at MSU was bigger than James Caan.  Kareem at UCLA, and the list goes on.  

StevenKeys
StevenKeys

@rabbitsblinkity Maybe the "authors" of this list are Justin Bieber fans but felt someone who'd helped save the world (W. Wilson - Davidson), an inventor & civil rights pioneer (G.W. Carver - Iowa St) and a millionaire advocate for free speech (Hefner - Illinois) were pretty cool people, too.   

PlasticOnoJohn
PlasticOnoJohn

@JosephCharles @Reuben2 Or, if they want edgy, Lewis Black for UNC. Or Billy Crudup or Ken Jeong, even.

But yes, Michael Jordan tops most of this list, with apologies to the aforementioned Magic and Kareem.