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Barry Jacobs On ACC Coaches & Their Starts

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Head coaching careers, like presidential terms, start off full of hope and promise. Sometimes buoyant aspirations are borne out over the long haul. Other times there is a flashy start, followed by a guttering flame that flickers and then dies.

Occasionally what starts with a fizzle grows to greatness.

Among active ACC coaches, the man with the most victories to begin his ACC tenure is North Carolina's Roy Williams, winner of his first six games in 2003-04. He's done fine at Chapel Hill.

Williams' opening streak, tied for third-longest in ACC history with Duke's Bucky Waters, ended in a triple-overtime thriller against Wake Forest at the Smith Center on Dec. 20, 2003.

Miami coach Jim Larranaga has started with three straight victories, and can tie Williams by month's end. Next up is an almost certain victim, Florida Gulf Coast. Then come trips to Mississippi and Purdue.

The worst debut among those currently roaming conference sidelines, in terms of immediate victories and overall achievement, was turned in by Jeff Bzdelik at Wake Forest. His team lost its opener last year to Stetson en route to an 8-24 overall record, most defeats ever suffered by an ACC squad.

Ten other ACC coaches started their careers with a loss. Some flamed out quickly. Maryland's Frank Fellows lasted two seasons (1968, 1969). Duke interim head coach Pete Gaudet was shown the door immediately after the 1995 season despite a long record of loyalty to Mike Krzyzewski, for whom he pinch hit while his boss was sidelined by exhaustion and a back ailment.

Another Dukie, Vic Bubas, lost his opener in 1959-60 but went on to one of most distinguished careers in ACC history, with three Final Four appearances in a decade at the helm at Durham, as well as what remains the best winning percentage in ACC Tournament play (.786).


Consecutive Wins To Start Career As ACC Head Coach
(Current Coaches Only)
Wins Starting
In Row
Head Coach School Season
6 Roy Williams UNC 2004
3* Jim Larranaga Miami 2012
3 Brad Brownell Clem 2011
3 Leonard Hamilton FSU 2003
3 Mark Gottfried NCS 2012
2 Steve Donahue BC 2011
2 Mike Krzyzewski D 1981
2 Brian Gregory GT 2012
2$ Seth Greenberg VT 2004
1 Mark Turgeon Md 2012
1 Tony Bennett UVa 2010
0 Jeff Bzdelik WF 2011
* Ongoing streak, plays Florida Gulf Coast 11/22.
$ Year prior to school joining ACC.

Most Consecutive Wins To Start ACC Coaching Career
(School ACC Member At Time Of Debut)
Coach, School Starting
17 Bill Guthridge, NC 1998
10 Rick Barnes, C 1995
6 Roy Williams, NC 2004
6 Bucky Waters, D 1970
5 Sidney Lowe, NCS 2007
5 Herb Sendek, NCS 1997
4 Steve Robinson, FSU 1998
4 Dino Gaudio, WF 2008
4 Skip Prosser, WF 2002
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