Posted: 12:54 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013
Mike DeCourcy read our response to his theory of why the ACC declined and didn’t think much:
“The folks at Duke Basketball Report tried to debunk my theory on ACC decline by focusing on recent coaching changes. Meh.”
Well it’s always nice to be noticed, especially by such an outstanding reporter.
Still, our critique wasn’t so much of coaching changes as the guys who had the jobs prior. And that’s a record of mediocrity which talent wasn’t going to overcome:
|Old coaches||New Coaches|
|Al Skinner at BC 247-165 (.600)||Steve Donahue 46–52 (.469)|
|Oliver Purnell at Clemson 138-88 (.611)||Brad Brownell51–45 (.531)|
|Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech: 190-162 (.540)||Brian Gregory 27–33 (.450)|
|Gary Williams at Maryland 461-252 (.647)||Mark Turgeon 17-15 (0.531)|
|Frank Haith at Miami: 129-101 (.561)||Jim Larranaga 49–20 (.710)|
|Mark Gottfried 48–24 (.667)|
|Dave Leitao at UVa: 63-60 (.512)||Tony Bennett 76–53 (.589)|
|Seth Greenberg at Virginia Tech 170-123 (.580)||James Johnson 13–19 (.406)|
|Dino Gaudio at Wake Forest: 61-31 (.663)||Jeff Bzdelik 34–60 (.220)|
There are some qualifications here: Robinson followed Jim Valvano and was asked to focus on basketball last after the mess Valvano left behind. Gary Williams won a national title but his career fell off sharply afterwards – to the point where fans (and the Post) were calling for his dismissal.
Dino Gaudio took over for Skip Prosser after his tragic death and the general sense was that he was let go because he wasn’t in full control of his program, a sense reinforced when Jeff Bzdelik saw players leave or be asked to leave for two years.
And while Purnell was successful at Clemson, it is unbelievable that he has never – in his entire career – won an NCAA game.
We’d also like to point out that almost every coach on the list put players in the NBA. Robinson had Todd Fuller, Sidney Lowe put two or three guys in the NBA (and Lorenzo Brown, CJ Leslie and Richard Howell were his recruits), Paul Hewitt had elite talent including Derrick Favors, Jarrett Jack, Anthony Morrow and Thaddeus Young.
You can do the numbers yourself. It’s not like these coaches were completely lacking in talent. Moreover, before his decline, Williams was as good as any ACC coach despite his self-imposed recruiting limitations.
The jury is necessarily out on the new guys, but we have confidence in Bennett, Turgeon, Larranaga, Brownell and Donahue, somewhat less (but still there) in Gottfried and Bzdelik, while the jury really is out on Johnson, who has no track record to speak of.
Still, as a group, it’s much more promising and the ACC should really benefit. We expect DeCourcy will concur soon enough.