clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Barry Jacobs On ACC Coaching Greatness

There are 91 people enshrined as coaches in basketball's preeminent Hall of Fame. Pretty soon, nine of them will have worked in the ACC.

That's the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Massachusetts, by the way. Not to be confused with the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame or the baseball, football, or any other Halls of Fame.

We say not to be confused, but such distinctions don't matter to most anyone in the national media. This year's class of basketball inductees is routinely said to be joining the "Hall of Fame" without further amplification, as if that settles the matter.

Additional coaches are enshrined in the Naismith Hall of Fame as "contributors." To name a select few: Hubie Brown, Paul Hinkle, John McLendon, Pete Newell, and Tex Winter. James Naismith, a relative failure as a coach but the game's inventor, is honored as a contributor.

The Naismith Hall includes men's coaches and women's, among them UNC's Sylvia Hatchell, to be inducted in the fall. N.C. State's Kay Yow is a honoree as well.

There are pro coaches and college coaches and a handful of high school coaches.

Five men and two women in the Hall coached at circa-2013 ACC schools, not counting Ben Carnevale, who was at North Carolina in the mid-1940s prior to the founding of the ACC. Three more - Hubie and Larry Brown, and Chuck Daly - were ACC assistants before establishing their bona fides elsewhere.

The reconstituted ACC, intended to grow to 15 members for the 2014-15 season, will add two Hall of Famers, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Louisville's Rick Pitino. That's assuming neither retires in the next two years. Both are in their 60s. Louisville's long-retired Denny Crum is in the Hall too.

(Pitino and Hatchell were among four coaches selected this month, along with former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian and ex-Houston coach Guy Lewis. Proven NCAA cheaters are not disqualified from inclusion.)

Also in their mid-sixties are the Naismith Hall of Fame men who coached in the ACC in 2012-13, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Carolina's Roy Williams.

Assuming no retirements and no further changes in ACC membership, as well as no additional active coaches earning enshrinement over the next two years, the conference will soon achieve a milestone unlikely to be duplicated.

When Syracuse joins next season, the ACC will boast three active Naismith Hall of Fame coaches. The following year the conference will boast every active Naismith Hall of Fame men's coach, all four of them.

No league has ever had four Hall of Fame coaches on its sidelines simultaneously.

The league-previously-known-as-the- Big East had three overlapping Hall of Famers - Boeheim, Georgetown's John Thompson, and UConn's Jim Calhoun. Then Thompson retired following the 1999 season; Pitino arrived in 2001-02 while Calhoun and Boeheim were active.

So far, some pair of Naismith's Finest overlapped on the sidelines in 42 of the ACC's 60 seasons. Each time, the duo combined to win the majority of ACC Tournaments contested during that period.

There hasn't been a time yet when the ACC lacked at least one Hall of Fame coach, or had at least three.

Periods Of Overlapping Tenure, ACC Men's Head Coaches
Enshrined In Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Coaches, Schools Seasons ACC Titles During Overlap
Everett Case, NCS-Frank McGuire, NC 1954-61 Case 4, McGuire 1 (5 of 8)
Frank McGuire, SC-Dean Smith, NC 1965-71 McGuire 1, Smith 3 (4 of 7)
Dean Smith, NC-Mike Krzyzewski, D 1981-97 Smith 6, Krzyzewski 3 (9 of 17)
Mike Krzyzewski, D-Roy Williams, NC 2004- Krzyzewski 5, Williams 2 (7 of 10)