The ACC’s best combined coaching 1-2 punch

September 9th, 9:15 pm: This entry originally posted earlier in the week, but got buried in the UNC scandal coverage. We’re going to bring it back to the top of the blog since we are getting so much traffic from various ACC blogs today. Please don’t miss out on the other big entries we’ve got fresh for Friday and please don’t ignore the great conversations going on in our Message Forums..

As we start a new academic and athletic year in West Raleigh, one common sight during the summer on the internet is to rank something. We have seen rankings on things like “ACC Toughest Stadiums” to “Rank the mistresses of Tiger Woods.”

Over the years, we have not really done a ranking, at least not one that I can remember.

Until today.

This is the first ever rankings to determine which ACC school have the best combination of coaches in football and men’s basketball. To make this more scientific than completely random, each coach will get a score based on the points given for accomplishments at each stop of his coaching career. I tried to set this up so that the number of points for an accomplishment is relative to the difficulty of it. Here is the breakdown of points for each sport:

For example, winning record is having a winning record coaching a team not in the ACC. The ACC winning record is having a winning record coaching a team in the ACC (not having a winning conference record…overall records only). A NCAA appearance is one where the coach’s team appeared in the NCAA. An ACC NCAA appearance is one where the coach’s team appeared in the NCAA when he was coaching in the ACC.

The main point of this exercise is to weight any accomplishments more if they occurred at an ACC school. For any accomplishment that happened at a non-ACC school, the number of points is less than if it happened at an ACC school. For any accomplishment that happened at a non-BCS school, the number of points is less than if it happened at a BCS school. Conference records are not taking into account in this excerise. As an example, a Final Four that Roy Williams reached while at Kansas does not count as much as a Final Four that he reached while coaching North Carolina. My aim was consistency. Therefore, I divided the total number of points accumulated by the total number of years as a head coach. This can lead to some interesting results.

The school with the most points has the best combination of coaches. These rankings did not wind up as I would have put them. But more on that later. Here are the results:

1. North Carolina – 26.61 points – Williams is one of the few coaches in the country with multiple NCAA titles (although his lack of changing schemes to better fit his personnel this past year was disconcerting to Tar Heel fans). Davis has won big at Miami and has recruited well at UNC, although we seem to have more insight now as to how he recruited so well as we watch the NCAA investigate Agentgate and Nannygate. We will watch what happens over in Orange County with a lot of interest.

Football – Butch Davis – 7.11 points
Basketball – Roy Williams – 19.5 points

2. Duke – 26.51 points – Coach K. Enough said. I am a big Cutcliffe fan as he has made Duke a competitive team in only 2 years. It will be interesting to see him the next few years as he gets his players in Durham.

Football – David Cutcliffe – 3.19 points
Basketball – Mike Krzyzweski – 23.33 points

3. Virginia – 12.5 points – Tony Bennett is on the fast track to being an upper-echelon coach in this league. When he gets his players, watch out. Mike London won at Richmond so he can obviously coach. I don’t know how it will relate to the ACC but he seems like a good hire.

Football – Mike London – 9 points
Basketball – Tony Bennett – 3.5 points

4. Maryland – 12.09 points – Personally, I think Gary Williams is the second best coach in the league behind Coach K. He may rub people the wrong way and may not be a great recruiter, but he can sure coach. Friedgen is at a cross-roads season as he was really good early but has not been as successful with his players. Having a new President and AD doesn’t help his security either.

Football – Ralph Friedgen – 4.78 points
Basketball – Gary Williams – 7.31 points

5. Georgia Tech – 11.3 points – Paul Johnson is a great offensive tactician and has won big everywhere he has coached. His point total is actually hurt by the fact he coached Navy, an independent. Paul Hewitt is a fantastic recruiter but seems to get burned with early NBA defections and a lack of chemistry on his teams. The 2004 NCAA runner-up is a feather in his cap, but based on his other years, it seems to be more of a fluke.

Football – Paul Johnson – 6.92 points
Basketball – Paul Hewitt – 4.38 points

6. Clemson – 10.63 points – Dabo Swinney got to the ACC title game in his first full year. This will partially satisfy the title hungry Tiger fans for a while, but now without Davis, Spiller, etc. we will see how he recruits and teaches over the next couple of years. Getting Parker to come back is huge. Brad Brownell has won at both UNC-W and Wright State. A very good pickup after Purnell left for DePaul (must be a nice severance package waiting for Oliver there).

Football – Dabo Swinney – 8 points
Basketball – Brad Brownell – 2.63 points

7. Boston College – 9.75 points – Gene DiFilippo is the anti-Fowler. He seems to relish firing coaches for seemingly frivolous reasons. Spaziani is a very good defensive coordinator but we don’t have much of a sample size to know how this translates to being the head man. But that program tends to win 8-9 games no matter who is the coach. Donahue lead Cornell to the Sweet 16 but it is a risky hire as he has never recruited or coached ACC talent. He will need at least 3 seasons to get the program where he wants.

Football – Frank Spaziani – 7 points
Basketball – Steve Donahue – 2.75 points

8. Virginia Tech – 7.52 points – The Hokies have very good coaches. Beamer is an institution with almost unmatched assistant coach loyalty. Hands down the best football coach in the league. Greenberg would have more points but needs to win some titles. He is the most accessible head coach in the league but needs to bring in a couple more top flight classes to match up with his coaching acumen. His out of conference scheduling needs to be beefed up some. If he does that, his teams are squarely in the NCAA most of the past few years.

Football – Frank Beamer – 6.22 points
Basketball – Seth Greenberg – 1.3 points

9. NC State – 5.04 points – O’Brien has been hit by a rash of injuries that has really curtailed his team’s progress. This year is shaping up as a big year for the team and depth should almost be there for him. Lowe was put into a no-win situation and has not done enough to satisfy all but the most positive faction of the fan base. Even more so than O’Brien, this is a BIG year for him.

Football – Tom O’Brien – 4.04 points
Basketball – Sidney Lowe – 1 point

10. Miami – 3.4 points – I thought Shannon had turned the corner last year but they couldn’t stand prosperity. Now, they are one of four really good teams in the Coastal (along with Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech). It sounds like 2010 should be closer to the really good Miami teams but I need to see it to believe it. I think Haith does a decent job in a tough position. Even when they are good, no one in Miami cares to go watch. He either has a good frontcourt or backcourt, but never both at the same time. Neither coach has won a title.

Football – Randy Shannon – 2 points
Basketball – Frank Haith – 1.4 points

11. Wake Forest – 3.24 points – Jim Grobe is a coach whose teams don’t make mistakes to hurt them. He won a conference title at Wake Forest. WAKE FOREST! That tells me the man can coach. Jeff Bzdelik is now in his first year after three unremarkable years at Colorado. He has the stigma of running the Princeton offense so it will be interesting to see how he can recruit and coach in the ACC.

Football – Jim Grobe – 2.67 points
Basketball – Jeff Bzdelik – 0.57 points

12. Florida State – 1.4 points – I think that Hamilton does a really good job bringing talent to Tallahassee where basketball is the 4th most popular sport behind football, spring football, and baseball. If he can get their offense to match the defense, watch out. Even though Fisher is a rookie head coach, he has done a good job improving the offense in his years waiting for Bobby Bowden to retire.

Football – Jimbo Fisher – 0 points
Basketball – Leonard Hamilton – 1.4 points

After looking at how the rankings came out, a few things surprised me. The first thing that jumped out at me was that I thought Virginia Tech would be much higher than they wound up. In my opinion, they should be in the top 3. However, Greenberg’s lack of titles and postseason success brought them down. Staying in the commonwealth state, Virginia is too high. However, London did win a national title in FCS in one of his two years at Richmond so that skews his numbers up.

I think both Boston College and Clemson are too high. They have young football coaches who are in their 2nd full years of head coaching (and both experienced success last year) and new basketball coaches who haven’t gone through the ACC yet. I also perceive that Wake Forest is a little low. I do like Grobe as he has done a fantastic job there. But you got to wonder if his numbers will continue to drop. I don’t see another title run in his future, at least not at Wake.

As for the Triangle teams, I think that the placement of the teams is what I think is true. With their 6 combined NCAA basketball titles, it is not surprising that North Carolina and Duke are at the top. And in terms of national relevance, the schools have never had more respected and relevant football coaches (at least before the investigation started in Chapel Hill). For the Wolfpack, the coaches are entering program defining years. A good year for one or both will give them more job security and getting their teams closer to championships. A bad year for one or both and Debbie Yow may have to make some tough decisions earlier than later in her tenure in Raleigh.

About ruffles31

1996 NC State graduate who is still waiting on his first ACC conference championship in any of the four main revenue sports (football, men's basketball, women's basketball, and baseball) since enrolling. All I want is a ACC Champions t-shirt.

ACC & Other Coaches NC State Rankings & Lists Sidney Lowe Tom O'Brien

9 Responses to The ACC’s best combined coaching 1-2 punch

  1. Moose Hunter 09/07/2010 at 8:20 AM #

    FSU is an outlier as Jimbo has no history. Put Bobby in there, and they are #1 I would guess. But the title of the article is about current coaches, and Jimbo has no history…

  2. NCStatePride 09/07/2010 at 8:52 AM #

    I love it! One thing that wasn’t necessarily pointed out is the score gap between teams. If we rank them on a consistent scale:

    0 –
    Florida State
    2 –
    Wake Forrest, Miami
    4 –
    NC State
    6 –
    Virginia Tech
    8 –
    Boston College
    10 –
    Georgia Tech, Clemson
    12 –
    Maryland, Virginia
    14 –
    16 –
    18 –
    20 –
    22 –
    24 –
    26 –
    Carolina, Duke
    28 –

    That jump is what is crazy to me. My question is whether this jump is a matter of the method you used or because the ACC accomplishment truly is that much more significant for these two schools. I’m sure it’s a little of both, but as you pointed out, Virginia Tech’s football program, seems to me, has been pretty successful, even compared to other conference’s trends (we’ll leave last night out of this).

    To me, this is more significant for Debbie Yow than the coaches and here’s why: Notice that almost all the ACC schools are in a tight pack with the exception of UNC and Duke. This lends creedance to the “lunatic fringe’s” expectation that NC State can and should be, at the VERY ABSOLUTE LEAST third in the ACC in most varsity sports if we aren’t higher. It shows that the goal to be reached for higher standing in the conference isn’t as high as it may seem.

  3. StateFans 09/07/2010 at 8:59 AM #

    The Virginia ranking seems a little askew…ahead of Maryland?

    Gary Williams has a National Championship, 2 Final Fours and ACC Titles. Friedgen has an ACC Title, an Orange Bowl berth and multiple 10 win seasons.

  4. goalielax 09/07/2010 at 9:14 AM #

    I understand you’re weighting ACC performance, but even at that, you’re somehow managing to say that one of three active coaches to have won an ACC championship, Paul Johnson, is worse than 3 guys who among them have one division championship, Swinney, Davis, and Spaz. that just makes no sense.

    of course, I guess that pales in comparison to the fact that Beamer, who has won 3 ACC titles and played for a 4th is ranked as the SIXTH best – come on dude

    and london is the best football coach in the acc – lolwut. if, by your own admittance, the numbers are skewed, then you need to put more time into devising an equation that eliminates bias

  5. ruffles31 09/07/2010 at 11:58 AM #

    I worked on several different formulas with several different weighting schemes. Virginia is too high on all of them, I agree. But when you have been a head coach, albeit at a I-AA school, for only two years, and you win a national title and a conference title, the average will be high.

    When I started working on this, I thought that it would turn out like this:

    Duke and UNC (with all of the basketball titles)
    Virginia Tech and Maryland (b/c of Beamer and Williams)

    Everyone else.

    I was stunned that UVA was that high. Unless I used only games coached while at an ACC school, any equation that includes career statistics would inflate London and, therefore, UVA.

    The goal was to look at this from a consistency throughout their careers while giving more weight to their time as an ACC coach. Only two ACC coaches have won a championship of any kind. London and Johnson both have won I-AA titles (Johnson has multiple).

  6. newt 09/07/2010 at 2:08 PM #

    One thing about stats is they never consider the future, only the past. There is both benefit and danger in looking at the past to draw conclusions about the future.

    Sorry to get all Confucius on y’all.

  7. NCStatePride 09/07/2010 at 2:28 PM #

    Unfortunately, with many of these coaches, there isn’t really enough consistency/history to get a good idea of what’s going on. Hell, Paul Johnson if you eliminate the fact that he’s only coached 2 seasons, he looks crazy-good (Chik-Fil-A Bowl and Orange Bowl). Some things are just two hard to cram into one data set. In this case, I think it would have been nice to split scores vertically between football and basketball then horizontally between older coaches (3+ years of data) and newer (1-3 years of data) coaches.

    I think the numbers may also be poorly skewed due to the fact that each school’s “ranking” is completely based on the coach, however then coach’s recent history (prior to accepting a position in the ACC) is eliminated. It kind of makes for an incomplete data-set. A really good predictor of what could happen is if we looked at each coach’s previous 5 years or something like that, judge what their average success is regardless of program, then accumulate that into a full ACC set like this. Obviously that wouldn’t have worked with TOB in 2007 to predict 2009, but in general it would probably be pretty decent.

  8. ruffles31 09/07/2010 at 10:17 PM #

    BlackHole91, it is averaged over all the years he has coached. Therefore, one title as a head coach for 15 years is averaged out and that is why his point total is less than 3.

  9. 2terpgirls4u 09/09/2010 at 12:20 PM #

    This is why any idiot can make a list, so here’s mine

    1. North Carolina ?
    Football ? Butch Davis ? 12 points (would have more if he didn’t cheat)
    Basketball ? Roy Williams ? 20 points

    2. Duke
    Football ? David Cutcliffe ? 6 points (winning at Duke lol)
    Basketball ? Mike Krzyzweski ? 25 points

    3. Maryland
    Football ? Ralph Friedgen ? 9.5 points (ACC, BCS, several bowls even with bad years done more than credited for)
    Basketball ? Gary Williams ? 22 points (2nd best behind Coach K)

    4. Virginia Tech
    Football ? Frank Beamer ? 17 points (national title game)
    Basketball ? Seth Greenberg ? 8 points (does good job with what he’s got)

    5. Georgia Tech
    Football ? Paul Johnson ? 10 points (very smart good coach)
    Basketball ? Paul Hewitt ? 4 points (NCAA runner up can’t be that bad)

    6. Clemson
    Football ? Dabo Swinney ? 8 points (ACC title game)
    Basketball ? Brad Brownell ? 1 points (new guy)

    7. Boston College
    Football ? Frank Spaziani ? 7 points (decent job aka Barry Switzer)
    Basketball ? Steve Donahue ? 1 points (new guy)

    8. Wake Forest
    Football ? Jim Grobe ? 8 points (won ACC)
    Basketball ? Jeff Bzdelik ? 1 points (new guy)

    9. NC State
    Football ? Tom O’Brien ? 7 points (won at BC)
    Basketball ? Sidney Lowe ? 0 point (hah)

    10. Virginia
    Football ? Mike London ? 2 points (new guys don’t get 9 points)
    Basketball ? Tony Bennett ? 3 points (new guys don’t get more either)

    11. Miami
    Football ? Randy Shannon ? 4 points (both decent not great)
    Basketball ? Frank Haith ? 4 points

    12. Florida State
    Football ? Jimbo Fisher ? 8 points (great Offensive coordinator)
    Basketball ? Leonard Hamilton ? negative 1 points (no one does less with more)

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