Change Necessary in ACC Overhaul
By BJ Bennett
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SouthernPigskin.com ACC Columnist Marc Hugdens explains why coaching changes were necessary in the ACC's attempt an at overhaul.
By Marc Hudgens
SouthernPigskin.com ACC Columnist
SouthernPigskin.com ACC Columnist Marc Hugdens explains why coaching changes were necessary in the ACC’s attempt an at overhaul.
Coaching changes a necessary step in ACC overhaul
A couple of years ago the winds of change began to blow across the eastern seaboard. In an effort to help improve the ACC’s pitiful lot, North Carolina, Boston College, N.C. State and Miami all sported new skippers entering 2007. Florida State gets a half-credit, because although the legendary Bobby Bowden still reigns in Tallahassee, he revamped his staff as he brought in Rick Trickett from West Virginia, Chuck Amato from N.C. State and Jimbo Fisher, former LSU offensive coordinator. Fisher is slated to take over for Bowden upon the latter’s departure, whenever that will be.
After last season two more schools (Duke, Georgia Tech) changed coaches. So in a matter of a year there were 6.5 head coaching changes in the ACC. The conference as a whole traded…http://graphics.fansonly.com/photos/schools/unc/sports/m-footbl/auto_action/1262684.jpeg
1. Chuck Amato for Jeff Jagodzinski (through Tom O’Brien who made a lateral move from Boston College to N.C. State, so no net coaching change there)
2. John Bunting for Butch Davis at UNC.
3. Larry Coker for Randy Shannon at Miami.
4. Ted Roof for David Cutcliffe at Duke.
5. Chan Gailey for Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech.
5. Bobby Bowden for Jimbo Fisher (forthcoming).
The talent is indeed there, as past NFL Drafts have shown, but the coaching clearly wasn’t (coaching changes obviously being indicative of that). And to a certain extent, it still isn’t at some other schools. But with over half the conference changing head coaches, and one on the way, it’s clear most ACC schools are tired of its pathetic lot in college football and want change. But it’ll likely take another year or two to see if these coaches can do what they were originally hired to do.
And it doesn’t appear these changes may end there. If Al Groh takes Virginia back to its losing ways, he may be in trouble in Charlottesville. If the Terps have another losing season, Ralph Fridgen’s collar may tighten. Clemson’s Tommy Bowden, the longest-tenured FBS coach without a championship, is not in trouble this year but if the Tigers don’t win the crown with the ACC landscape being what it is this year, he may enter ’09 on a plasma-hot burner. Especially after Arkansas was used as bait for a new contract after last season. Lastly, some say this will be Bobby’s last season over the Seminoles, other say next year is, but the end is near for the future Hall of Famer.
The conference may still not be that great this year, but who knows? One thing is for sure, with all the coaching changes that have occurred (and those that have yet to happen) it’ll be very interesting to see how all this pans out in the next few years.
And if this new breed improves their respective teams, that will only push the old guard either to produce hardware or get out the door.
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