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In their recent 2005 College Football Preview, The Sporting News ranked the ACC head coaches in order from best to worst. Frank Beamer was at the head of the class, followed by Ralph Friedgen, Tom O’Brien, Jim Grobe, Larry Coker, Bobby Bowden, Chuck Amato, Chan Gailey, Al Groh, Tommy Bowden, John Bunting and Ted Roof. Whether you agree with the order or not, that’s a pretty good list. The ACC is known for having a good coaching group, but exactly how many are Hall of Fame caliber?
There are a few criteria that a candidate must meet to gain access to the College Football Hall of Fame.
There are different levels of the Hall of Fame, such as Division I-A, Division I-AA, etc. Although it is not specified in the College Football Hall of Fame website, it is a safe guess to assume that you must have a 60% winning percentage in whatever level of the Hall of Fame you are applying for. For example, there is no way John Bunting qualifies for the Division I-A Hall of Fame with a 19-30 career record, but he was 38-14-2 after five seasons at Rowan. If he ever went back to Division III, he could eventually become eligible for the Hall of Fame on the Division III ballot.
Without further adieu, here are the 12 ACC head coaches and their records.
The obvious choice for the Hall of Fame in this group is Bobby Bowden. Bowden, being over 70 years old, will be eligible for the Hall of Fame as soon as he retires. He is the all-time winningest coach in college football history, and has led Florida State to a plethora of ACC championships and two national championships.
Frank Beamer is the other sure-fire Hall of Fame coach on the list. Beamer has coached 18 years at the Division I-A level, all of them at his alma mater Virginia Tech. Beamer has won 135 games for the Hokies and has a career Division I-A winning percentage of a little over 63%. We don’t know how long Beamer will continue to coach the Hokies, but we can be pretty certain that his ticket to the College Football Hall of Fame has already been punched, provided he continues to win and his percentage stays over 60%.
After Beamer and Bowden, we can only speculate. One guy that appears to be on the fence is Tom O’Brien of Boston College. If O’Brien coaches two more years, and there is not reason to suspect that he won’t, he will complete the requirements for ten years of being a head coach and at least 100 total games. However, at this point his career winning percentage is barely, and I mean barely, below par. If O’Brien coaches a while longer and manages to get his winning percentage up a few points, he could find himself next to Bowden and Beamer in the Hall in South Bend.
But honestly, O’Brien’s back is probably against the wall. He has done a great job at BC, bringing them back from the horrible gambling scandal of 1996, but the ACC is a step up in competition from the Big East. That 60% winning percentage, which he is very close to, may be just too far out of his reach.
Miami’s Larry Coker is another possibility. Coker went undefeated and won the national championship (albeit with Butch Davis’ players) in his first season as Miami’s head coach, and nearly repeated as champions the next year, narrowly losing to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. He has an incredible winning percentage of 88%. If he coaches Miami for six more years, he will be at the 10 year mark and past the 100 game mark. It’s quite likely that his career winning percentage and his national championship would get him into the Hall of Fame.
Despite being constantly on the hot seat, Clemson’s Tommy Bowden has to be included in the list of possibilities. Two more seasons will get him to the 10 year and 100 games marks, and a very good career percentage 66.7% would be hard to ignore. He had an undefeated season at Tulane and he is, of course, his father’s son. Then again, if Clemson fires him, that won’t look too good on the resume. But if he is able to have a stable career at Clemson, he’s definitely got a shot.
It’s way too early to tell for Ralph Friedgen and Chuck Amato. They are both off to excellent starts in their careers, but they need to coach a lot longer before anyone can make an accurate judgment. They both took a step back during the 2004 season, and are looking to rebound in 2005.
Al Groh of Virginia doesn’t have an overly impressive winning percentage to say the least, but he has done well since he arrived at Virginia. He went 26-40 at Wake Forest, which hurts his percentage quite a bit. If he stays at Virginia long enough and continues to post 8 or 9 wins per season, he could have a chance. However, he should be considered an extreme long shot at this point.
There are just two guys in the ACC that I would say have absolutely no shot at the College Football Hall of Fame. They are North Carolina coach John Bunting and Duke coach Ted Roof. Bunting’s job was saved by Darion Durant and a couple of other stud offensive players in 2004, but those guys aren’t coming back in 2005. Couple that with the toughest schedule in the country in 2005, and Bunting might not be around too much longer.
I actually think Ted
Roof is a pretty good coach, and he has already proven to be a good recruiter.
But, he’s coaching at Duke, which probably means he is committing career
suicide. He’ll never have enough players at Duke to have success, so he would
need to move on to somewhere else. Soon.
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
Hokie Football Image Gallery: The 2004 Season, Part 2
Breaking Down VT's 2005 Recruiting Class: Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Dark Days, Redemption, and an ACC Championship: Ten Years of the VT-Miami Rivalry, Part 2
Tech Lands Second DeMatha Hoops Star for 2006
Breaking Down VT's 2005 Recruiting Class: The Offensive Backfield
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