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Leonard Hamilton, Moving Up The ACC Charts

With the arguable exception of Hugh Durham, Leonard Hamilton is the best coach Florida State has seen.

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Orlando Practice
 Mar 15, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton addresses the media during a press conference prior to the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Amway Center.
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Leonard Hamilton has been around the ACC for a long time, perhaps longer than you realize. Hamilton took over at Florida State for the 2002-03 season, before the bulk of today’s college players entered kindergarten.

Mid-way through the 2017-18 season, his 16th at the school, Hamilton’s teams have won a combined 128 regular-season and ACC Tournament games. That places him in some exclusive ACC coaching company.

His current squad is 1-2 in the ACC, with ACC losses to Duke and Miami on the road sandwiching a win over North Carolina at Tallahassee.

Five of those ahead of “Coach Ham” in total league victories have spots in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. (Or at least their names do.) Next in the ranks were two of the more successful and colorful characters in ACC history, and a near-forgotten Final Four pioneer.

Now, as FSU prepares to host Louisville on Wednesday, Hamilton is tied for seventh with Vic Bubas, formerly of Duke. Bubas was a head coach for a decade and then walked away from basketball. His Blue Devils won four ACC titles and advanced to three Final Fours between 1963 and 1966.

Incidentally, Bubas still holds the record for winning percentage in ACC tournament play. His 22-6 mark was good for .786 efficiency in what was then a do-or-die event. He’s also second among the top-10 league winners with 12.8 ACC victories per year.

By the way, it’s fair to note that the number of league games has varied over the years, even in the ACC Tournament. Playing an 18-game conference schedule, as has been the case since 2014, obviously allows active coaches to accumulate more wins than were possible for their predecessors.

Top 10 Coaches All-Time in Wins in ACC Competition,
Regular-Season and Tournament Included
(Asterisk Means Active, 2018 Excluded From Annual Average)
Wins Coach, School W/L ACC Seasons Per Year
461 Mike Krzyzewski, D* 461-189 1981- 12.5
422 Dean Smith, NC 422-159 1962-97 11.7
210 Gary Williams, M 210-176 1990-2011 9.5
190 Roy Williams, NC* 192-78 2004- 13.7
160 Frank McGuire, NC&SC 160-76 1953-61;1965-71 10.0
149 Bobby Cremins, GT 149-166 1982-2000 7.8
139 Lefty Driesell, M 139-116 1970-86 8.2
128 Vic Bubas, D 128-38 1960-69 12.8
128 Leonard Hamilton, FS* 128-139 2003- 8.5
126 Terry Holland, V 126-118 1975-90 7.9
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