Note: These rankings are strictly the opinion of the writer of this article, and are not based only on the 2018-19 season.
ACC basketball has officially started, and rather than writing another article about the state of Wake Forest basketball I decided to rank the current ACC coaches.
1) Mike Krzyzewski, Duke Blue Devils
Career Coaching Record: 1111-339
Record at Duke: 1038-280
As much as I hate Duke, there is no way anyone can make a list of ACC coaches and not have Coach K at number 1. The all-time winningest coach in NCAA history, 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist as head coach for Team USA, 5-time NCAA Champion, 12 Final Four appearances, 14 ACC Tournament titles, 12 ACC Regular Season titles, 3-time Naismith College Coach of the Year, 5-time ACC Coach of the Year. A reloaded team with 5-star recruits every single year. I don't think there's anything else to say here. Coach K is the GOAT when it comes to ACC basketball coaches.
2) Roy Williams, North Carolina Tar Heels
Career Coaching Record: 852-230
Record at Carolina: 434-129
Roy has somehow managed to make his team competitive come March every single year, in spite of not always having the top level of talent. Roy just edges out Jim Boeheim for second, if only because Boeheim hasn't been in the ACC all that long. Roy has 3 National Championships (all at UNC), 9 Final Four appearances, 8 ACC Regular Season Championships, 3 ACC Tournament Championships, a 2-time AP Coach of the Year, and a 2-time ACC Coach of the Year. Roy puts Carolina in a position to win every single year during March Madness, and as a result Carolina is always a threat to make a deep run in the tourney.
3) Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Orange
Career Coaching Record: 933-371
Record at Syracuse: 933-371
Boeheim is below Roy on my list because he’s only been in the ACC for a few years. He may have more wins, but Roy has done a lot more in the conference. Boeheim has 1 National Championship, 5 Final Four appearances, a Naismith Coach of the Year Award, an AP Coach of the Year Award, and several Big East Championships (which don't count for too much on this list).
4) Tony Bennett, Virginia Cavaliers
Career Coaching Record: 301-119
Record at Virginia: 232-86
Tony Bennett is a defensive wizard, and very few coaches are able to figure out how to beat his pack-line defense. He has led Virginia to 2 ACC Tournament Championships, 3 ACC Regular Season Championships, is a 2-time Naismith National College Coach of the Year, a 2-time AP Coach of the Year, and a 3-time ACC Coach of the Year. He also holds the single-season wins record at Virginia.
5) Mike Brey, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Career Coaching Record: 511-257
Record at Notre Dame: 412-205
Mike Brey is a Coach K disciple, and always seems to get the most out of his team. He has an ACC Tournament Championship, a National Coach of the Year Award from several different media outlets, and a Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award. He always seems to compete with the blue bloods at the top of the league.
6) Chris Mack, Louisville Cardinals
Career Coaching Record: 225-101
Record at Louisville: 10-4
Chris Mack is in his first year at Louisville, so he hasn’t yet had a chance to make his mark on the league as a head coach. But he did help Skip Prosser to lead Wake Forest to its last ACC Regular Season Championship in 2003. Mack led Xavier to its best season ever multiple times, a Big East Regular Season Championship, two Atlantic Ten Regular Season Championships, won a Coach of the Year award in two different leagues, won the Henry Iba Award, and was the recipient of the Skip Prosser Award. Don’t be surprised if Mack has Louisville at the top of the ACC in a couple of years.
7) Buzz Williams, Virginia Tech Hokies
Career Coaching Record: 240-147
Record at Virginia Tech: 87-61
Buzz Williams was hired five years ago, and now has Virginia Tech ranked in the Top 10 going into conference play. Buzz is also easily the most passionate coach in the ACC, sweating completely through a shirt seemingly every single game. He had two Big East Regular Season Championships, and should lead Virginia Tech to an easy NCAA Tournament appearance and potentially make a deep run. Look for the Hokies to pull off a couple of upsets over ACC royalty.
8) Kevin Keatts, North Carolina State Wolfpack
Career Coaching Record: 106-41
Record at NC State: 34-13
Keatts is only in his second year, but he has NC State in the Top 25 and playing like a real contender. They only have one loss on the year so far, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them pull off a big upset this year, and potentially make a deep run in the tournament. Keatts was definitely the right hire for NC State, and the Wolfpack are very lucky to have him.
9) Leonard Hamilton, Florida State Seminoles
Career Coaching Record: 538-419
Record at Florida State: 338-209
Hamilton has the Noles in the Top 25 once again, and his team always seems to be in peak form come conference play. He has one ACC Tournament Championship, and is a 2-time ACC Coach of the Year. Florida State should make the NCAA Tournament again this year, and could pull off a couple of upsets.
10) Jeff Capel, Pittsburgh Panthers
Career Coaching Record: 185-114
Record at Pitt: 10-4
Capel took a few years off from being a head coach to serve as Coach K’s top assistant at Duke. He desperately wanted the Wake Forest job in 2014 when Ron Wellman hired Danny Manning. Pittsburgh pounced on the opportunity to get him back into coaching after they fired Kevin Stallings at the end of last season. Capel is this high on the list because he has turned a very bad roster in a pretty decent team so far this year. Pitt should no longer be a cellar-dweller in the ACC with Capel at the helm.
11) Jim Larranaga, Miami Hurricanes
Career Coaching Record: 638-419
Record at Miami: 169-85
Larranaga and his Miami team are experiencing a down year so far, and haven’t been at their best the last couple of years. He has a Final Four appearance, an ACC Regular Season Championship, and ACC Tournament Championship, a National Coach of the Year Award from several outlets, and is a 2-time ACC Coach of the Year. Never count Miami out with Larranaga at the helm.
12) Brad Brownell, Clemson Tigers
Career Coaching Record: 326-202
Record at Clemson: 159-117
Brownell needs only 20 more wins to pass Cliff Ellis for most wins in Clemson basketball history. His team was ranked in the Top 25 to begin the season, but lost a lot from last year’s Sweet 16 team, a feat the Tigers accomplished for the first time since 1997. Clemson should give everyone a tough game once again, and has a chance for a big upset or two.
13) Josh Pastner, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Career Coaching Record: 210-113
Record at Georgia Tech: 43-40
Pastner somehow managed to lead the Yellow Jackets to being the NIT Runner-Up in his first year in Atlanta, but time may be running out for him to make a difference for the Jackets. This Tech team is not a strong one, and is once again expected to finish near the bottom of the league.
14) Jim Christian, Boston College Eagles
Career Coaching Record: 299-241
Record at Boston College: 57-87
Christian was at helm when Boston College became the first team ever to finish with an 0-18 record in the ACC, and finished 7-25 overall. He was kept around for a fifth year after leading the Eagles to an NIT appearance last year, and a ten win improvement over the previous season. BC probably won’t finish last in the league, but they still won't be in the top half. Look for Christian to be on the hot seat, and his job to be in jeopardy by the end of the season.
15) Danny Manning, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Career Coaching Record: 99-107
Record at Wake Forest: 61-78
Manning is the only coach on this list with a losing record for coaching career. And though Christian’s record at Boston College is technically worse than Manning’s at Wake, Manning is ranked lower due to recent events. Christian appears to maybe be turning around Boston College in year 5, while Manning appears to be going backwards at Wake. The Deacs aren't favored in any game remaining on the schedule, and may go winless in the ACC. And they play uninspired and more often than not look like they just don't care. If reports are to be believed though, don't expect Danny to go anywhere anytime soon thanks to Ron Wellman.
How would you rank the ACC coaches? Comment below.