ACC Coaching Turnover

We’ve been talking for a while about the correlation between the recent deterioration of the quality of Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball and the weak set of coaches in the league.

With Gary Williams’ surprise retirement, the ACC lost one of the best coaches the conference will ever see; but, on the other hand, we lose a coach whose program had clearly stagnated and was not helping add to performance production for the conference’s national reputation.

Williams’ departure means that eight of the ACC’s twelve coaching jobs have turned over in the last three off-seasons and seven of those eight have happened in 2010 and 2011. WRAL summarized the list in this link

Since March of 2009 there have been eight head coaching changes in the ACC, an astonishing amount or turnover to take place in two years and a month.

Here’s how it all changed:

1. Tony Bennett, named head coach at UVA on March 31, 2009, replaced Dave Leiitao.
2. Steve Donahue, named head coach at BC on April 6, 2010, replaced Al Skinner.
3. Brad Brownell, named head coach at Clemson on April 13, 2010, replaced Oliver Purnell.
4. Jeff Bzdelik, named head coach at Wake Forest on April 13, 2010, replaced Dino Guadio.
5. Brian Gregory, named head coahc at GT on March 28, 2011, replaced Paul Hewitt.
6. Mark Gottfried, named head coach at NCSU on April 5, 2011, replaced Sidney Lowe.
7. Jim Larranaga, named head coach at Miami on April 22, 2011, replaced Frank Haith.
8. ???????? replaces Gary Williams at Maryland.

The Maryland transition will be interesting for all fans to watch – particularly for NC State fans – as the media will most surely proclaim Maryland a significantly better ‘program’ than NC State despite NC State’s better facilities; more attractive geographic location; similar academics; larger fan base and more successful tradition. I’m thinking that Maryland is like every other school in the ACC EXCEPT NC State — for some reason the media doesn’t seem to think that they ‘compete with Duke and UNC’ like NC State does.

I know that everyone is interested…but, a couple of our long time message board members posted the news yesterday, “Herb Sendek has withdrawn his name from consideration.” That was a good one.

We’re going to have more topical blogging coming your way…but, in the meantime, our message forums available here have dozens of current topics that would be of interest to you.


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ACC Teams Coaching Carousel College Basketball

45 Responses to ACC Coaching Turnover

  1. wolfpacktexx 05/06/2011 at 10:22 AM #

    Yes John Feinstein and others have made a point to compare our coaching search against Maryland’s future search and shedding NCSU in a negative light yesterday. Plus more jabs at our AD.

    It funny how Maryland’s coaching search brings out the NCSU bashing…
    Feinstein stated that Jay Wright, Brad Stevens, Jaime Dickson are attainable candidates. Let see how much of a coaching magnet Maryland is. I am glad to see Gary William’s leave, he owned us like a family owns a pet. Something like 9 straight wins…

  2. Clarksa 05/06/2011 at 10:33 AM #

    Just throwing this out there about the fuhcilities…is the RBC really better than Comcast? I think being basketball only and on campus gives Comcast the edge…?

  3. bradleyb123 05/06/2011 at 11:16 AM #

    Heard an interesting statistic: Coach K has been at Duke longer than all the other eleven ACC coaches have been at their schools COMBINED.

  4. StateFans 05/06/2011 at 11:17 AM #

    Basketball facilities don’t stop at just the arena.

    At the very least, I think the point is that there is Maryland is not clearly a winner in any of those criteria…yet they are supposedly ‘clearly’ a better job than ours?

    Would anyone have said that in 1990? Even 1995?

    Of course not.

    The only difference is that Maryland’s program has been coached by Gary Williams and ours hasn’t. That doesn’ make their program any better than ours. It means they’ve had a better coach and better administration.

  5. jbwbubba 05/06/2011 at 11:51 AM #

    Yeah, heard Katz yesterday calling it one of the”plum” jobs in America.

  6. StateFans 05/06/2011 at 12:19 PM #

    And for every reason it is plum, NC State has the exact same characteristic OR BETTER.

  7. blackdom 05/06/2011 at 12:23 PM #

    I agree StateFans^ but if they wind up with one of those top coaches and we got who we Gott ,well that will be interesting.

  8. JSRy2k 05/06/2011 at 12:36 PM #

    Doesn’t Bzdelik replacing Gaudio look idiotic? That’s what you do NOT want to happen when you get rid of a coach – end up w/ somebody equal or worse.

    Other than UVA, we’re the only other clear upgrade. I’m excited about the staff Gott has surrounded himself w/, including new S&C coach.

  9. Tau837 05/06/2011 at 12:47 PM #

    “the media will most surely proclaim Maryland a significantly better ‘program’ than NC State despite NC State’s better facilities; more attractive geographic location; similar academics; larger fan base and more successful tradition.”

    I’d love to see someone on this blog smarter and better informed than me do a detailed point by point comparison supported by facts and numbers.

    Are our facilities better? I have read that Maryland’s are better. I don’t know where the truth lies or how to determine that.

    Is our geographic location better? For me personally, I have lived in Raleigh and in D.C. and I prefer Raleigh. But I don’t make $2M+ per year, either. I would think making that kind of money would make living in D.C. a lot more attractive, since it would open up a lot more and better possibilities on where one could live.

    I’d like to see a current comparison on academics as well, though I really doubt that is much of a factor in a typical coach’s decision.

    I assume we have a larger fan base, but how much does it really matter to a head coach when weighing a job opportunity? We are fans, so we like to think that matters a lot. As long as there are “enough” fans and enough money in the basketball budget, it may not matter much to a prospective head coach. Doesn’t Maryland have “enough”?

    Tradition only favors us if you count history through the 80s as weighing as much or more than recent history (90s & 00s). We all want that to be true, because it makes the case stronger for State. But is it true for a guy like Jay Wright and coaches like him? If they were comparing the two jobs, would they give tradition to State? I’m not so sure. They may care more about tradition in the way it is viewed to recruits, which would emphasize recent history, which obviously favors Maryland.

    Speaking of recruits, the D.C./Baltimore area is supposedly loaded with talent that Williams stubbornly refused to court (via AAU). I doubt his replacement will take the same stance as Williams. I could easily see a coach feeling that it would be easier to recruit to MD than State. And, yes, I know about State being among the number of top 10/100 signees over the past 13 years. The problem is that those signees didn’t accomplish enough for it to be a well known fact, meaning a prospective coach is probably unaware.

    You also didn’t address spending. We all know State’s spending lags the rest of the conference. A prospective coach will probably also know that and may favor Maryland as a result. Meanwhile, Maryland is said to have “Under Armour money”. Not sure how that translates on the bottom line, but it sounds good.

    And finally compensation. Supposedly State was willing to pay a lot more for the right coach than was paid for Gottfried. So maybe this is a wash, not sure. I believe Williams made around $2M. I assume it would take more than that to get Wright/Miller/Dixon.

  10. Tau837 05/06/2011 at 12:54 PM #

    I guess the bottom line is that entering the past three N.C. State coaching searches, I felt State to be a “plum” job. Yet we ended up with Herb, Sid, and Gott. A number of coaches, including some great coaches, passed on the job.

    I am cautiously optimistic that Gott will turn out to be a good hire, but I was forced to admit to myself that I had overestimated the appeal of our job.

  11. Prowling Woofie 05/06/2011 at 1:05 PM #

    In light of Coach Gottfried’s contract -having a moderate baseline salary, but chocked with performance incentives – I’m wondering if a good portion of the conflict between Yow and Williams wasn’t her bent toward a similar arrangement for him ?

    Maybe it included classroom and graduation incentives, as well as incremental achievement levels, and Gary was insulted or at least chafed by being expected to work that hard, given his track record ?

    Just a thought…

  12. novawolf 05/06/2011 at 1:28 PM #

    Agree with Statefans comments on Maryland having a better recent record due to Gary Williams. If we had him we’d have at least that one national title and probably more in his timeframe too. But Maryland only had him because he was an alumnus. Their search before that resulted in Bob Wade. And due to the way that Maryland hired Wade (Lefty’s firing) and got rid of Wade (controversy galore) is the reason Gary couldn’t recruit DC and Baltimore… that killed his local pipeline. While I prefer the Triangle, I feel right at home at UMd. The school is probably more similar to State than any other. While some may conveniently forget that everybody competes against the blues, they don’t realize the UMD has competition that we don’t…DC is a pro sports town. While NC folk focus on State/Duke/UNC, here it’s the Redskins, or whatever team these transient fans owe their loyalty to. And their Duke is Georgetown. Whih is to say looking at both schools up close, UMD may be on par but it is not a better job. They’ll have the same troubles trying to get a big name that we had or that everyone else has. The guys that didn’t accept our overtures, I don’t expect to accept theirs. Their search should look very much like ours…unless they make it easy on themselves and select Oliver Purnell.

  13. rky 05/06/2011 at 1:38 PM #

    “. . . but I was forced to admit to myself that I had overestimated the appeal of our job.”

    You know is worse than that? I had to admit it to a MD fan . . . and now I owe him a beer.

    When State started their search, I had a discussion with him concerning the state of the ACC. He pronounced the ACC dead (other than EweNC and Duke, of course) adding the GT & NCSU hires would prove him correct. I agreed that GT would probablly not get a sexy hire due to the $$$ side of the issue but that State could/would get a proven coach or a great up-and-comer. Then we got Gott.

    Of course, now that MD is searching he claims this is the ‘real test of ACC relevance’. I only hope I can get that beer back when they have to hire a Herbesque replacement for the Sweaty One. Fnck Maryland.

  14. Clarksa 05/06/2011 at 1:59 PM #

    “Basketball facilities don’t stop at just the arena.”

    Good point…I just never think about the Dail center since no one really gets to see it…

  15. whitefang 05/06/2011 at 2:07 PM #

    I too can’t see why the Maryland job would be better than ours, but to paraphrase, “we are who we thought we weren’t.”
    In retrospect when our football job came open a successful coach (from our own conference no less) who was coaching a program that definitely had better national recognition with a strong returning class raised his hand and said, “I want that damn job.” No matter what you think of TOB at this point that is pretty amazing. Yet when we need a basketball coach and we have 2 NC banners hanging, numerous conf championships, play in a perennial powerhouse conference (I know the ACC is not as strong as it has been but still)and have quite frankly a much stronger bb tradition than fb, we end up with Gott. Sure it is an improvement, but WTF??? Makes no sense.

  16. NCSU84 05/06/2011 at 3:03 PM #


    It is simple, we are more of of FB school now. BB WAS our strong suit, but that was more than two decaes ago. MD has won an NCAA championship within the last ten years and has been stronger than us in BB for several decades. Thus, they are currently a better BB program (that was hard to write, but the facts are what they are). So yes, MD may in fact land an A list coach for BB to replace Gary – I would not be surprised.

  17. backnine 05/06/2011 at 3:25 PM #

    Traditionally speaking, our job and the Maryland job are pretty similar in terms of clout. And pre 1990 we were way out in front. But twenty years of suck will kill a brand. And don’t look now but that’s exactly what happened to us. No need to rehash all the reasons and characters. Meanwhile Maryland has been more than relevant for those same 20 years, even winning a National Title.

    So there’s no need to argue or feel bad when Maryland lands a higher profile coach with their search. Their program DOES enjoy a better brand right now. It just does. To try and deny that is just being blind. That dosen’t mean it has to stay that way. Its up to Gottfried and company to change that. I’m optimistic they will. But doubt it will happen overnight – it didn’t for Gary at Maryland either. I don’t care much for Williams but do admire what he was able to build in spite of the hole they were in.

  18. Tau837 05/06/2011 at 3:43 PM #

    Reading on other boards, I’m seeing the high bankroll alums card (Under Armour CEO and Steve Bischotti) cited as an advantage few other schools in the nation have. I must admit I’m not that familiar with Maryland’s boosters and their level of support for the program, and how that compares to State… but it sure sounds good.

    The other consistent theme is the talent in the D.C./Baltimore area that Williams ignored because he didn’t like to play the AAU game. Players to come out of there in the past decade or so include Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Ty Lawson, Rudy Gay, Josh Selby, and many others. I guess the assumption is that the new coach won’t ignore this pipeline like Williams did and will stand a good chance of improving the program’s talent level.

  19. coach13 05/06/2011 at 3:44 PM #

    Here’s a list of what I want from this search…ahem…selection (Sorry Adam Gold)

    1-I want to know who they talk to…talking is offering
    2-I want to know who says no thanks
    3-I want ridicule and speculation for every no thanks
    4-I want laughter after 3 no thanks
    5-I want absolute panic after 5
    6-I want conversation about what a mediocre job it is after 5
    7-I want it blamed on their lunatic and tacky fan base.

    That’s all I want.

  20. Tau837 05/06/2011 at 3:46 PM #

    Also, Maryland alums on D.C. and national talk radio (e.g., Scott Van Pelt, Chris Knoche) have said today that they know some of the names who have expressed interest in the job, and they include some of the names that have been reported (implying Wright, Dixon, et al) and people will be surprised to know how many top candidates are involved. Now, those guys may be biased, who knows. It has been said that the job will probably be filled by the middle of next week.

  21. packalum44 05/06/2011 at 3:51 PM #

    I live in DC and have been to MD’s campus several times to watch State b-ball and f-ball. The Comcast Center is the 2nd “nicest” ACC arena after the RBC but let’s be clear…the RBC is easily the “nicest” in the ACC and perhaps the country. Comcast is on campus but so what, MD has the WORST campus in the ACC and is literally in an ugly and relatively ghetto part of MD – think Durham but worst… DC is nowhere near as “nice” as the triangle – it is a big place and has nice parts but it also has many more nasty parts than nice. No contest there you don’t see DC being ranked high on places to live. I’d much rather coach Georgetown than MD.

    MD does have better basketball fans (not f-ball duh that was discussed ad nauseum during bowl selection). They sell out most games (arena seats around 15K). Is this attributable to them having more sustained success in the past decade? In large part yes.

    State is in a smaller place where World news, or anything else for that matter, overshadows collegiate sports.

    To summarize: MD is in awful awful area and does NOT have nicer facilities than State but they are nice.

  22. otisthetowndrunk 05/06/2011 at 3:57 PM #

    I don’t think a A class hire will happen for them. No one wants to follow a HoFer. Is not gonna happen. Gott will be a better hire than who they end up getting. All the hot names got new deals for listening to us. Maybe they hire Dino.

  23. wolfmanmat 05/06/2011 at 4:26 PM #

    Maryland is a better job than us RIGHT NOW. The reason is pretty simple: location. Maryland is in a recruiting hot-bed. Not saying that Raleigh and NC is not, but we have Duke/UNC/Wake to compete with for in-state recruits. Maryland’s competition is Big East and they have alot more kids to pick from(just by sheer surrounding population). I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Maryland pull a big name.

  24. mak4dpak 05/06/2011 at 5:03 PM #

    packalum44 thanks for you take on arena comparisons. Obviously, being there has given you a clear and realistic assessment, and that is that the RBC is better, and that includes location. I just wish people could get over the on campus syndrome. As CF, is next door, and I am certainly proud of the facilities we have in that location, and access, and traffic flow much better than what we had on campus. As for the fans who want to put down Gott, because he is not a big name coach, I think we owe him the chance to prove himself, before we sell him short. Good luck, Coach!

  25. 61Packer 05/06/2011 at 5:55 PM #

    I think Miami also clearly upgraded with their new basketball hire. I think the sloppy, undisciplined basketball seen for so long in Coral Gables is going to be significantly upgraded by the veteran coach from George Mason. Miami will no longer be an easy “W” on our schedule.

    I would not want to be a George Mason or Missouri basketball fan for the next three seasons.

    I don’t see Maryland being turned down. I think the first person they go after will say yes. And I think they’ll probably get the best hire of all 4 ACC schools who’ve had to replace coaches this season.

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