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Barry Jacobs On ACC Coaching Debuts!

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Boston College clearly qualifies as the surprise team in the ACC during the early going, rejuvenated under the leadership of new coach Steve Donahue. The Eagles were picked near the bottom of the rankings with much the same cast that finished 6-10 in 2010. Now they're 3-0 after beating N.C. State at home earlier this week. BC also has victories at Maryland and at the Conte Forum over Georgia Tech.

ACC Head Coaches with Most First-Year Victories in League Play

ACC W-L Coach, School Year All W-L ACC Finish ACC Tourn.
11-3 Bill Guthridge, NC*$ 1998 34-4 2 title
11-3 Matt Doherty, NC 2001 26-7 1-tie 2-1
10-4 Press Maravich, NCS*$ 1965 21-5 2-tie title
9-7 Skip Prosser, WF 2002 21-13 3-tie 1-1
8-6 Bucky Waters, D 1970 17-9 4 0-1
8-6 Les Robinson, NCS 1991 20-11 3-tie 1-1
8-8 Paul Hewitt, GT* 2001 17-13 5-tie 1-1
8-8 Roy Williams, NC 2004 19-11 5 0-1
Previously Head Coach at School When Entered ACC:
11-5 Pat Kennedy, FS* 1992 22-10 2 1-1
9-1 Harold Bradley, D 1954 22-6 1 1-1
8-4 Murray Greason, WF 1954 17-12 3 2-1
8-8 Seth Greenberg, VT* 2005 16-14 4-tie 0-1
* ACC Coach of the Year.
$ Assistant at school previous season.

Last year Virginia got off to a similar start under a new coach, Tony Bennett. The Cavaliers won their first three ACC games, one on the road and two at home. Following two defeats, they won at North Carolina and beat N.C. State back at Charlottesville. That 5-2 start had the ACC buzzing. Bennett looked a bit like a miracle worker and was an early leader for ACC Coach of the Year consideration.

Then the rest of the conference caught on. UVa finished 5-11 in ACC play, losing nine games in a row to finish the regular season.

Recalling that very recent example, it's probably best to resist proclaiming Donahue a savior just yet. BC has 13 games left in conference play, with visits ahead to Clemson, Duke, and Virginia Tech, probably the most difficult venues in the ACC. There are also games at Miami and UNC, first-division contenders, both of which return the visits.

There's no denying Donahue, the former Cornell coach, is off to an impressive start. But it's not just recent history that mitigates against his winning Coach of the Year honors.

Only three men in the ACC's first 57 seasons took over at a school and immediately won the award - Press Maravich at N.C. State in 1965, Bill Guthridge at UNC in 1998, and Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech in 2001. Of that group, only Hewitt was, like Donahue, an outsider rather than an assistant already seated on the bench beside his predecessor. Maravich, who'd previously been head coach at Clemson, even assumed a 1-1 record from Everett Case.

Overall five coaches were named ACC Coach of the Year for their achievements in their first season in the league. Florida State's Pat Kennedy (1992) and Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg (2005) already were established at their schools when their programs were added to the conference through expansion.

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