Do Duke's David Cutcliffe and Mike Krzyzewski lead the way among their ACC peers?
Even with Jimbo Fisher leaving Florida State for Texas A&M, the ACC isn’t hurting for talent in the coaching ranks. Some of the nation’s top coaches in college football and college basketball reside in the conference. And once again, Duke’s duo of Mike Krzyzewski and David Cutcliffe checks in at No. 1 on Athlon Sports’ list of the ACC’s top coaching tandems. Virginia Tech, Clemson and North Carolina fall in behind the Blue Devils with Miami and the Seminoles’ new duo of Willie Taggart and Leonard Hamilton rounding out the top six.
Each year, Athlon Sports ranks the coaching tandems from each Power 5 league. A variety of factors are considered for this exercise. It’s important to note that we are attempting to value balance — i.e., which schools have an above-average coach at both positions? That’s why some programs with an elite football coach and a new (or struggling) basketball coach will be ranked lower than one might expect.
Ranking the ACC's Football-Basketball Coaching Duos for 2018
Football: David Cutcliffe
Basketball: Mike Krzyzewski
Cutcliffe guided the Blue Devils back to a bowl game after a one-year hiatus. In the past five seasons, he is 48–27 with four bowl trips — unprecedented success in the modern era of Duke football. Krzyzewski is one of the most successful coaches in the history of college basketball. He has the top three players in the 2018 recruiting class either signed or committed to play for the Blue Devils next season.
2. Virginia Tech
Football: Justin Fuente
Basketball: Buzz Williams
Fuente (above, right) is 19–8 overall and 11–5 in the ACC in two seasons at Virginia Tech. He is building a program that will compete for Coastal Division titles for years to come. Williams has elevated the Virginia Tech hoops program in his three-plus seasons and could be headed to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season. He’s a highly respected coach who guided Marquette to the Tournament five times in six seasons.
Football: Dabo Swinney
Basketball: Brad Brownell
Swinney further cemented his reputation as one of the game’s elite coaches by leading Clemson to a CFB Playoff spot for the third straight season. He continues to recruit at a very high level and will have team ranked in the top one or two spots in most preseason polls. Brownell is on the verge of a breakthrough season at Clemson; the Tigers are headed to an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since 2011, his first season at the school.
4. North Carolina
Football: Larry Fedora
Basketball: Roy Williams
The Williams critics point out that he’s been a head coach at Kansas and North Carolina — two schools where it’s hard NOT to win — but the fact remains that he’s averaged a staggering 28.7 wins in 29 seasons and has won three national titles. Fedora’s career has been highlighted by two very good seasons (12–2 at Southern Miss in 2011 and 11–3 at UNC in '15). He’s averaged a rather ordinary 6.8 wins in his other eight seasons.
Football: Mark Richt
Basketball: Jim Larranaga
Richt has built his alma mater into a legitimate national title contender after two seasons on the job. That followed a 15-year run at Georgia in which he went 83–37 in SEC games — but failed to win a league championship in his final 10 years. Larranaga, who is 22 games over .500 in the ACC in his six-plus seasons at Miami, is one of the nation’s most underrated coaches.
6. Florida State
Football: Willie Taggart
Basketball: Leonard Hamilton
Taggart arrives at Florida State after successful stops at Western Kentucky, South Florida and Oregon. His overall record of 47–50 is hardly eye-popping, but he’s taken on rebuilds at each previous stop. He is a Florida native who is regarded as an elite recruiter. Taggart should win big in Tallahassee. Hamilton, in his 16th season at Florida State, should have the Seminoles in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.
Football: Dino Babers
Basketball: Jim Boeheim
Babers thrived at his first two stops as a head coach (Eastern Illinois and Bowling Green) but is only 8–16 in two seasons at Syracuse. He will be given time to turn things around. Boeheim has won one national championship and been to five Final Fours in his storied career at his alma mater.
Football: Bronco Mendenhall
Basketball: Tony Bennett
Mendenhall went 2–10 in his first season at Virginia, the first time in his career he’s had a losing record. He rebounded to win six games in Year 2 and appears to have the program on the right track. He won 99 games in 11 seasons at BYU. Bennett and Arizona’s Sean Miller are battling for the title as the top coach in college basketball who has never been to a Final Four.
Football: Bobby Petrino
Basketball: David Padgett (interim)
Petrino has won at every stop (in the college game) and has an impressive 21–11 record in ACC play in his four years since returning to Louisville. Don’t forget: He went a combined 12–4 in the SEC in his final two seasons at Arkansas. Padgett, only 33 years old, was thrust into the job as Louisville’s interim head basketball coach after Rick Pitino was fired in the fall. He has done an outstanding job — especially considering the circumstances — and has an opportunity to get the job on a permanent basis.
10. Wake Forest
Football: Dave Clawson
Basketball: Danny Manning
Clawson has successfully rebuilt four programs in his career as a head coach that includes stops at Fordham, Richmond, Bowling Green and Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons went 8–5 overall and 4–4 in the ACC in 2017 on the strength of one of the league’s top offenses. Manning has done a great job recruiting during his three-plus years at Wake Forest but the Demon Deacons have only made the NCAA Tournament once (in 2017) and are headed toward a losing record for the third time in four seasons.
11. Georgia Tech
Football: Paul Johnson
Basketball: Josh Pastner
Johnson suffered a losing record for the second time in three years and has gone three straight seasons with a non-winning mark in ACC play. That followed a stretch of four straight winning league seasons. Pastner has done a solid job during his brief time at Tech but will miss the NCAA Tournament for the second time in two seasons.
12. NC State
Football: Dave Doeren
Basketball: Kevin Keatts
Doeren earned a contract extension after guiding the Wolfpack to a 9–4 record in 2017. Still, he’s 15–25 in the ACC in five seasons and has never fully been embraced by the fan base in Raleigh. Keatts has re-energized the NC State program and has his team on the NCAA Tournament bubble as the regular season winds down.
13. Boston College
Football: Steve Addazio
Basketball: Jim Christian
Addazio greatly improved his job security by leading the Eagles to two straight winning seasons. The Eagles went 4–4 in the ACC in 2017 after combining to win only two conference games in the two previous seasons. Christian struggled mightily in his first three seasons (6–48 in the ACC), but the Eagles are showing signs of life in 2017-18. It might not be enough to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but it likely will ensure Christian gets at least one more year at the school.
Football: Pat Narduzzi
Basketball: Kevin Stallings
Narduzzi has won some big games during his three years at Pittsburgh, but the team’s ACC record has regressed each season, from 6–2 in 2015 to 5–3 in '16 to 3–5 this past fall. Stallings’ tenure is off to a rough start — and that’s being kind. After underachieving greatly with a veteran team in Year 1, the Panthers could be headed toward an 0–18 record in ACC games in 2018.