Rank the ACC Hot Seats

Remember when all the football coaches in the ACC were hot commodities? Seems like a million years ago. Anyway, more than half of the ACC’s 12 head coaches face varying levels of grumbling. How do you rank them? Here’s my list, from hottest seat to (relatively) coolest:

Coker, Groh, Bunting, Amato, Friedgen, Gailey, Roof.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

'06 Football Chuck Amato General NCS Football

75 Responses to Rank the ACC Hot Seats

  1. redfred2 09/18/2006 at 11:30 AM #

    “Whle I hate to say it. If we had a coach who could accomplish an ongoing winning record we wouldn’t have him long. hate to admit that but….”

    That all stems mainly from administration, in my mind anyway, it’s just not important enough to do whatever it takes to stay there. I think the feeling is, if it’s fine, don’t make it better or work hard to keep it going. They want to celebrate for a few years in between.

    The NCSU administration is totally hands off, good, bad, or indifferent, until it blows up in their faces and they are absolutely forced into action to remedy a situation.

    At other universities, where their programs are consistently in the upper echelon, they work just as hard at staying there from year to year, as most do for that one magical season in a decade.

    Like I’ve said before, if the university is going to hang it’s hat on nothing bowl games and one and done NCAA tourney appearances, celebrating those lack lustre accomplishments as “good enough”, there is no hope to make this place a nat’l power in anything.

  2. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 09/18/2006 at 11:49 AM #

    Gailey’s situation at GT is probably alot like Sendek’s was at NC State. Consistently wins but not in a big way.

    We must of been watching different baskeball programs. Back in the dark days of NC State basketball I remember a coach that had teams consistently fall apart in the final 5 minutes of almost every big game. I remember a team that was not only beaten but humiliated by Carolina a couple years ago when I think every UNC score was a sky dunk.

    Amato shouldn’t be on the hot seat at all this year unless Cowher is available.

  3. Cardiff Giant 09/18/2006 at 12:02 PM #

    Amato’s repeated stupidity on and off the field makes his seat much hotter than it would otherwise be. No other coach in division I this season has made himself a national laughingstock like Chuck.

  4. BladenWolf 09/18/2006 at 12:10 PM #


    “The NCSU administration is totally hands off, good, bad, or indifferent, until it blows up in their faces and they are absolutely forced into action to remedy a situation.”

    You hit the nail on the head.

  5. BladenWolf 09/18/2006 at 12:15 PM #


    Good post. The discussion would be decidedly different if Cowher had announced that he was retiring at the end of the season.

    Amato’s seat would be atop Dante’s Inferno if that were the case.

  6. jncope 09/18/2006 at 12:19 PM #

    “…Chuck — cooler heads prevail. Good recruits down the line. The West Coast offense shoudl take hold next year…”

    No offense intended (no pun intended either) but that is preposterous. The writing has been on the wall for 2 to 3 years now that NCSU is not going anywhere but down under Amato. There was a decent four years under Rivers and some other decent recruits but without Rivers, we haven’t done anything.

    Furthermore, we haven’t been losing games the past few years for a lack of talent or athleticism. Frankly, we have been outcoached time and time again. Our teams have lacked any sense of discipline, play calling has been poor and staff defections have been atrocious. These aren’t things that improve with time. Hopefully, the Chuck love-fest that is still going on with our fans and administration will end before we are left without good recruits. The recruiting is going to go down, down, down if you can’t even beat the likes of Akron and Souther Miss. Who wants to play for a loser?

    Chuck has done a lot for the program but he is 100% incapable of taking us to the next level or even duplicating the mediocre success he had in his first four years. It is time for Chuck to return to Defensive Coordinator somewhere. If his pride would let him do it at State, then I would vote to let him do it as he can make a difference there. He is in over his head as a head coach, though, and it is obvious to anyone who will open their eyes. It was a noble experiment to let him try his hand at head coach but it is time to go with a proven performer.


    Grow a pair and do the right thing for the university.

  7. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 09/18/2006 at 12:21 PM #

    You guys got to remember NC State has been about little else other than raising and spending money since the beginning of the Chancellor Fox era. Nothing else matters except how much money can be raised or bonded by the taxpayer and how quickly that money can be spent on facilities fit for a monarch not a public school.

    For this reason alone Amato is not in trouble because he has managed to seperate a lot of people from their savings. Which in turn the facilities will be maintained by the taxpayers. Just think if NC wasn’t commited to maintaining all these new facilities maybe the colleges could afford white board markers and chalk for classrooms. Tax, fundraise and spend it quickly so you can start supporting moretaxes, fundraising and spending for the next ‘needed’ project.

  8. choppack1 09/18/2006 at 12:47 PM #

    “Amato shouldn’t be on the hot seat at all this year unless Cowher is available.”

    In a perfect world, I’d agree. However, here’s the trend in conference games under Amato:
    2000 – 4-4
    2001 – 4-4
    2002 – 5-3
    2003 – 4-4
    2004 – 3-5
    2005 – 3-5
    2006 – ??

    Considering that Duke hasn’t been on our schedule the last 2 years – and won’t be on it this, we can say that Amato would have a 4-4 record vs. the old the ACC. When I look at it this way – things don’t seem so bad. Of course, they don’t seem too good either. Our conference record this year will tell us a lot. Of course, I also said the Southern Miss would tell us a lot too…

  9. PAPacker 09/18/2006 at 12:51 PM #

    Educate me about this, how has State’s adminstration changed since the 1970s-1980s when football and basketball did flourish consistently (excepting Kiffin and Tom Reed)? Was there more of a commitment from them then? Was Willis Casey a much more talented AD? I remember the Wolfpack Club guys back then, my dad among them, were rabid to win. Thoughts?

  10. m00kie 09/18/2006 at 1:06 PM #

    Redfred touches on why I believe Amato is going to be OK this season. The administration is not proactive and only step-in waaaaay after an issue needs resolution.

    I just don’t see how Cowher is even an option this year. Look at the list of things that would have to go right for NCSU:

    Item 1: Administration will actually fire Amato. (see above)
    Item 2: Cowher decides to leave Pittsburgh after this season.
    Item 3: Cowher is even looking to coach after Pittsburgh.
    Item 4: Cowher is even ready to coach without any time off
    Item 5: Pittsburgh season ends early enough for us to even discuss this with him.
    Item 6: Administration does not mess it up.

    We simply would need a lot of things to go right in order to pull this off. Keep in mind that we are all talking about OUR administration that repeatedly found newer ways to mess up our basketball coach search.

  11. BladenWolf 09/18/2006 at 1:09 PM #


    How has the Admin. changed? One word. Money.

    Money changes everything.

  12. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 09/18/2006 at 1:12 PM #

    PAPacker- We used to have an athletics department commited to athletics. The athletics department was hijacked by the academics during the lynching of Jimmy V. Ever since State seems to be focuse on our athletic teams graduation rate opposed to athletic teams championships.

  13. BladenWolf 09/18/2006 at 1:13 PM #

    choppack1 –

    That was errie. I was just about to post with the exact same conference game stat just before I hit F5 and saw yours.

    I would add that the best conf. record of 5-3 came when we went 11-3 overall and Rivers threw for 20 TD’s that season.

  14. Sam92 09/18/2006 at 1:32 PM #

    i hate to say it, but our (slim) chances of getting cowher are better plus one more year, so we should just suffer through amato in the interim

  15. BoKnowsNCS71 09/18/2006 at 1:43 PM #

    Question: Who are the successful NFL coaches that have come to the NCAA AND have built a good program in a locale where recruiting is difficult?

    Weiss at ND has only one year under his belt with others recruits.
    Bill Wannstadt at PA struggled last year in his early games so jury is still out.
    Bunting was an AC — and has done little.

    Pete Carrol came in but he came to USC where recruiting is not a challenge. But he has done well.

    My point is — Would Cowher do much better or less worse?

  16. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 09/18/2006 at 2:15 PM #


    You forget the Cowher is one of/if not the best coach in the last decade of the NFL. Bunting never showed much at NO, he was kinda of a ‘save-face’ choice. Wannstadt has always sucked so that is to be expected.

    Cowher has a ring that makes a big difference. I would hardly say NC is the hotbed of competitive recruiting. If you can’t recruit going against UNC, Wake and Duke then we have a big problem. UCLA/USC/Cal recruiting battles are far greater than State/UNC/Wake.

  17. choppack1 09/18/2006 at 2:38 PM #

    “PAPacker- We used to have an athletics department commited to athletics. The athletics department was hijacked by the academics during the lynching of Jimmy V. Ever since State seems to be focuse on our athletic teams graduation rate opposed to athletic teams championships.”

    I don’t buy this. Are we saying that our successes in the 70s and 80s in both sports were built upon turning a blind eye to academics? I don’t think that’s the case. I’ll counter that some would say Amato turns a blind eye towards them (once again I don’t think that’s the case) – since he’s signed 26 kids ( more than an entire recruiting class) that couldn’t play their 1st season due to academics.

    Call me naive – but I don’t think that we have to compromise our academic standards to win on the field/court.

  18. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 09/18/2006 at 2:39 PM #

    you’re naive.

  19. joe 09/18/2006 at 2:54 PM #

    Here is a quote from an unusal source for ACC FB – the New York Post

    “Chuck Amato’s fate at N.C. State was sealed after he lost to Akron at home and then morphed into Mr. Sour Grapes by blasting the Zips for playing non-qualifiers. Amato added to his woes by getting blown out at Southern Miss.”

    I wonder how many inside sources a NY paper has at NCSU?

  20. BoKnowsNCS71 09/18/2006 at 2:55 PM #

    tct —

    Yes — Cowher has a ring. Cowher has the longest tenure. The Rooney family (unlike Pack fans and most NFL team owners) stayed with him 12 or more years during the good times and the bad times. Stability brings rewards.

  21. RickJ 09/18/2006 at 2:57 PM #

    ^”UCLA/USC/Cal recruiting battles are far greater than State/UNC/Wake.”

    Not a good comparison at all. California has over 35 million people with NC having less than 9 million. Cal is also located almost 400 miles North of Los Angeles.

  22. Tarheel86 09/18/2006 at 3:08 PM #

    Anyone who thinks Bunting’s seat is hotter than is chuckie boy’s has not spent enough time in Chapel Hill. Expectations are way lower over here–administration is slow to act when it comes to non-basketball issues. He has a winning record against Duke and NCSU, and unfortunately that is enough for at least several more seasons of mediocrity.

  23. Gene 09/18/2006 at 3:08 PM #

    So. Cal. had some relatively obscure years, before Caroll got there. Does anyone remember So. Cal being ranked or highly regarded in the 1990’s? I don’t.

    From what I recall Coker took over Miami (FL) after they got hit with a scandal or some kind of problem, and were trying to recover from it. Before Coker they looked good, but not top-10-every-year good. And weren’t close to contending for a National Championship.

    Bunting – the fans hate him. The Admin. could care less. Kind of like the situation with Sendek, right before he left.

    Groh – isn’t getting it done at UVa.

    Gailey – I agree he’s in a no win situation at Ga. Tech. Maybe their one national title, under Ross, has gone to their heads and they think they should be that good every year.

    Roof – Duke football is an embarrassment to the Div.-1A football. They Admin and fans should care enough to invest in it to at least make them good enough to beat Richmond.

    Friedgen – Maryland’s getting worse, not better under him. Good enough reason, for me, to sack a coach.

    Amato – I’ve had it with him. He’s good at somethings, and maybe should get a job as an Asst. AD, like Les did, so he can help doing what he’s good at. I don’t buy into Trestman trying to install an offense in three years…blah..blah…blah…I can understand it in the NFL, where you might have the same guy play QB for you for 12 years, but 3-4 years is all you get with any player in college. You can’t make an offense so complicated, it takes three years for the team to master it. The problem isn’t Trestman. He takes shots down the field. Either the WR drops the ball, or Stone makes a bad pass. Our offensive line isn’t the old Michigan, Nebraska O-Lines, which just lined up and blew a team off the ball. We need to have good play calling to get mismatches for the running game to work. Without an effective passing game, it’s hard to do it.

    Anyhow, if the Admin and Amato had any creativity, they’d bump Amato up to Asst. AD, to save face and hire someone else to replace him, to do things he’s bad at.

    I doubt it’s going to happen this year, partly because NCSU finally committed to multi-year deals for the assistant coaches, which is why we have some stability there, so I doubt you can hire a new coach, without having to replace some of the assisstants. I don’t think we want to buy out so many contracts.

  24. class of 74 09/18/2006 at 3:18 PM #

    ^Wrong on Coker. He took over after Butch Davis left to go to the Browns. Davis inherited the problems and he cleaned them up not Coker. Coker was an assistant under Davis and inherited a program loaded with Butch Davis’ recruits!

  25. bTHEredterror 09/18/2006 at 3:27 PM #

    Coker far and away, simply because in Miami a two loss season is a letdown, and their struggles on offense point to at least one more loss, and the fired assistants put all the pressure on him.

    Groh is probably next cuz they have simply gotten worse every year. Couple that with an uninteresting style of play equals bye-bye.

    Roof because of the off field stuff that has been going on, which Duke could little afford, followed by a 0-11? C-YA!

    Amato and Friedgen are tough calls, true they both are struggling, but both of them made their programs nationally relevant, which was not the case before they got there. Every time Chuck embarasses us this year, his seat will get hotter. A nationally televised blowout a la Clemson last year, might put him over the edge. Maryland will have patience because Fridge doesn’t embarass the program, although a blowout to one of your rivals never helps. WVU is scary.

    Bunting IMO, may be in more danger than it appears. A consistent underacheiver, and some ugly losses at home in his tenure. The rest of the year could get ugly.

    The Triangle coaches will probably have to fight each other for their jobs. A win over Wake and UNC could save Chuck, and a win over UNC could definitely save Roof. At Duke they only really care about the Bell game, and K takes heat off the football program every year anyway. Bunting is still there only because he can beat State.

    Gailey is probably ok, depending on how he does the rest of the year. A win over Miami, Clemson, or Georgia and a decent bowl will keep him around.

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