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Ranking the Best College Football-Basketball Coach Tandems in the ACC


With college football’s spring practice and basketball’s postseason around the corner, Athlon Sports decided this would be a good time to evaluate each school’s coaching tandem.

In this ranking, we aimed to reward balance. In short, which school’s fanbase is most likely to be satisfied from September to March? A handful of schools may have an accomplished football coach while the basketball coach is looking to keep his job, or vice versa. We did not grade on a curve in those cases.

In evaluating coaches, we examined past performance, with more focus on current and recent results and future expectations. We also considered how good a fit a particular coach is for a particular school.

For our No. 1 ACC tandem at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski’s credentials are impeccable, of course. But David Cutcliffe has made Duke football relevant. Krzyzewski and a bowl-contending coach in football vault the Blue Devils to the top football/basketball coaching duo.

Miami at No. 2 may be a surprise for a program that slipped under Larry Coker and Randy Shannon in football and put up meager basketball results under Perry Clark and Frank Haith. Both programs are making impressive turns under Al Golden and Jim Larranaga.

As with the Big East, we wanted to reflect changes due to realignment. Below the 2013 rankings, we ranked the conference alignment with Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse as full members and Maryland gone to the Big Ten.

Other coach tandem rankings:
Big 12
| Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

1. Duke
Football: David Cutcliffe | Basketball: Mike Krzyzewski
David Cutcliffe gave Duke fans a reason to get excited for football season with its bowl appearance in 2012, only its third since 1960. A quarterback guru, Cutcliffe has had dangerous passing games since he arrived at Duke. If the Belk Bowl isn’t convincing enough, consider he has more wins in his Duke tenure (18 in five seasons) than any coach since Steve Spurrier (20 wins in three). And you know Krzyzewski: Four national titles, 11 Final Fours, 948 wins and no signs of slowing down.

2. Miami
Football: Al Golden | Basketball: Jim Larranaga
This season may be the first in Miami history where the basketball coach has been the Big Coach on Campus rather than the football coach. This isn’t just a knee jerk reaction to Miami’s newfound basketball prominence this season. Larranaga led Miami to a 9-7 season in the ACC a year ago for its first winning season in the conference. That’s on the heels of an accomplished career at Bowling Green and George Mason, where he led the Colonials to the Final Four. Golden’s 13-11 record is nothing special by Miami football standards, but he’s navigating the off-field adversity at Miami with the same skill he used to revive Temple.

3. North Carolina
Football: Larry Fedora | Basketball: Roy Williams
Roy Williams has his flaws as a coach, some of which are coming to bear this season. But he has 691 career wins, two national championships and seven Final Fours at Kansas and North Carolina. He's already a Hall of Fame coach. North Carolina football remains a sleeping giant, and there’s reason to believe Fedora can be the coach to deliver on that promise once the Tar Heels weather NCAA sanctions. After four consecutive bowl games and a Conference USA title at Southern Miss, he went 8-4 overall and tied for the Coastal Division lead despite a bowl ban last season.

4. Florida State
Football: Jimbo Fisher | Basketball: Leonard Hamilton
The verdict on Fisher as the coach to return Florida State to national title contention is unsettled. He’s led the Seminoles to their first 10-win seasons since 2004 and their first top-10 finish since 2000. But the Seminoles can’t get back into the title picture thanks to losses to teams like Wake Forest and NC State. He’s facing an interesting season with a handful of staff defections. Basketball is a clear No. 2 sport at Florida State, but Hamilton has taken the ‘Noles to their best era in the sport with four consecutive NCAA Tournaments and an ACC Tournament title last year.

5. Clemson
Football: Dabo Swinney | Basketball: Brad Brownell
With his earnest enthusiasm, Swinney is the kind of character made for college football. He’s good for a chuckle, but he knows how to allocate his budget to top coordinators, especially Chad Morris. His 21 wins in the last two seasons are the most in school history, and the Tigers’ 2011 ACC title was their first since 1991. Brownell came to Clemson with good reputation by taking UNC Wilmington and Wright State to the NCAA Tournament, but he has a two-year postseason drought since reaching the Big Dance in his first season at Clemson.

6. Virginia
Football: Mike London | Basketball: Tony Bennett
In 2012, the football program slipped back to 4-8 after an eight-win season in London’s second year. The former police officer went 24-5 at Richmond with an FCS title before returning to Virginia. After ending Virginia’s four-year NCAA Tournament drought last season, Bennett has the program in position for its first back-to-back Tournament bids since 1994-95. His offensive and defensive systems will keep scores low, but it’s proven to work when he’s at at talent disadvantage.

7. Virginia Tech
Football: Frank Beamer | Basketball: James Johnson
Beamer is synonymous with Virginia Tech football even if his streak of eight consecutive 10-wins seasons ended in 2012. The Hokies haven’t missed a bowl game or had a losing season since 1992, Beamer’s sixth season in Blacksburg. Johnson is a much more unknown commodity. He was noted as a recruiter under predecessor Seth Greenberg’s staff, but it’s been a tough season in his debut as a head coach.

8. Georgia Tech
Football: Paul Johnson | Basketball: Brian Gregory
Johnson is the nation’s best coach in using the option offense. With a 2009 ACC title, he proved the offense could win at the major conference level. The real question has been the defense, which has struggled since then. Despite three bowl games, Georgia Tech has only one winning season since the ACC title. The hire of Brian Gregory from Dayton in 2011 didn’t generate a ton of excitement and neither has his tenure so far.

9. NC State
Football: Dave Doeren | Basketball: Mark Gottfried
Gottfried isn’t the nation’s best basketball coach or even one of the top coaches in the ACC. His team is too talented to have a middling record in the ACC even if most of those losses were close calls. Still, NC State is in a spot it hasn’t been in a long time. The Wolfpack reached only their second Sweet 16 since 1989 in 2011 and have a chance to go deeper in the Tournament this year. Or NC State could lose in the first round. Dave Doeren led Northern Illinois to MAC titles in his two seasons in DeKalb, including an Orange Bowl berth (though he was hired at NC State before the bowl game). He’s an unknown at the ACC level, and it’s a question how he’ll recruit over the long haul.

10. Maryland
Football: Randy Edsall | Basketball: Mark Turgeon
Edsall’s second season at Maryland wasn’t so bad before he was forced to start a freshman former linebacker at quarterback. The Terrapins started 4-2 before a six-game losing streak to end the season. After Edsall endured a 2-10 season that was as bad off the field as on it, his third season will be a critical one before the Terps move to the Big Ten. Turgeon will exceed his first season’s win total from 2011-12, but the real breakthrough is probably a year away. Before Maryland, Turgeon won at least 24 games in five of six seasons at Wichita State and Texas A&M.

11. Wake Forest
Football: Jim Grobe | Basketball: Jeff Bzdelik
Jim Grobe’s 2006 ACC title is a distant memory, but he remains one of the most respected coaches in the ACC. The Deacons have played in only one bowl game the last four seasons, but Grobe’s tenure remains notable given the obstacles at Wake Forest. Bzdelik was once a decorated coach when he led Air Force to the NCAA Tournament. He’s also one of the few college basketball coaches who also coached in the NBA. But his tenure at Wake Forest has been dismal.

12. Boston College
Football: Steve Addazio | Basketball: Steve Donahue
Addazio may end up a great fit at Boston College with his connections to the Northeast and experience coaching the offensive line, which has been a strength for BC over the years. He went 9-4 in his first season at Temple but 4-7 as an overmatched team moved to the Big East. In basketball, Donahue has a Sweet 16 at Cornell on his resume, but the building has been slow going at Boston College.

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1. Louisville
Charlie Strong | Basketball: Rick Pitino
Pitino is in a class with Krzyzewski, but Charlie Strong could be the ACC’s top football coach when the Cardinals join the league.

2. Duke

3. Miami

4. North Carolina

5. Florida State

6. Pittsburgh
Paul Chryst | Basketball: Jamie Dixon
Dixon has taken Pitt basketball to a new level. Chryst seems to be a great fit for a wounded football program.

7. Clemson

8. Syracuse
Scott Shafer | Basketball: Jim Boeheim
Boeheim has 910 career basketball wins. Shafer has never been a head coach.

9. Virginia

10. Virginia Tech

11. Georgia Tech

12. NC State

13. Wake Forest

14. Boston College