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Barry On The 2018-19 ACC Basketball Coaches

Two new additions replace a failure at Pitt and a Hall of Fame disaster at Louisville

Wake Forest v Duke
Former Duke assistant Jeff Capel hopes to point Pitt in the right direction
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The ACC has a new pair of head coaches this season, Jeff Capel at Pitt and Louisville’s Chris Mack. Unlike last year, when there were also two newcomers, both Mack and Capel are upgrades from their predecessors -- great gets in their 40s with ACC assistant’s experience and nine prosperous years each running their own show in a high-powered conference.

Capel previously was a head coach at VCU and Oklahoma, posting a .596 winning percentage (162-110) from 2003 through 2011. He had another 13 victories vacated at OU as part of an NCAA punishment. Add the negated Ws and his career winning mark is .614.

Three of Capel’s squads made the NCAAs. The 2009 Sooners, led by Blake Griffin, that year’s AP player of the year, advanced to the Elite 8, losing to eventual champ North Carolina.

His new school incidentally also made the ’09 regional finals under Jamie Dixon, matching the ’74 squad for the program’s deepest NCAA penetration.

Capel of course played at Duke from 1994-97 and assisted Mike Krzyzewski from 2012-18. During his stint as an assistant Capel spearheaded recruiting that landed the Blue Devils several No. 1 classes and a 2015 national title.

Mack played between 1989 and 1993 at Evansville and Xavier under Jim Crews (like Coach K an Indiana guy) and Thad Matta, respectively. He is the fourth ACC head coach to come from Xavier -- after Bob Staak and Skip Prosser at Wake and Pete Gillen of Virginia. Only Prosser, for whom Mack worked as an assistant at Winston-Salem from 2002 through 2004, was a success in the league.

Mack followed NC State grad Sean Miller at Xavier and went to eight NCAA tournaments in nine years (2010-18), including three Sweet 16s and the 2017 Elite 8. His career record is 215-97, a gaudy .689 winning percentage. That victory total includes four wins in six tries against the Demon Deacons from 2010 through 2017.

As for the rest of the ACC coaching roster:

Counting this season, the combined tenures of the three Hall of Fame coaches at their current schools – Krzyzewski, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and UNC’s Roy Williams – is 98 years.

Capel is one of three coaches who hail from North Carolina (with Williams and Leonard Hamilton). Three are New York products (Boeheim, Jim Christian, Jim Larranaga).

Mack, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is among four coaches with Midwestern roots, with Clemson’s Brad Brownell (Indiana), Krzyzewski (Illinois) and Bennett (Wisconsin).

Five head coaches qualify for Social Security -- Syracuse’s Boeheim (73), Duke’s Krzyzewski (71), Florida State’s Hamilton (70), Miami’s Larranaga (69) and North Carolina’s Williams (68). All but Hamilton directed a team to the Final Four. It’s unlikely any will need Social Security payments for financial support upon retirement.

Six coaches have spent a decade or more at their current school.

Seven coaches are in their forties, from Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner at 41 to UVa’s 49-year-old Tony Bennett. Seven have served five years or fewer at their present job; not all of those relative newcomers are in their forties.

ACC Coaching Roster for 2018-19 Season
Based on Age through November 1, 2018
Jim Christian, BC February 6, 1965 53 New York 5
Brad Brownell, C November 15, 1968 48 Indiana 9
Mike Krzyzewski, D February 13, 1947 71 Illinois 39
Leonard Hamilton, FS August 4, 1948 70 North Carolina 17
Josh Pastner, GT September 26, 1977 41 West Virginia 3
Chris Mack, UL December 30, 1969 48 Ohio 1
Jim Larranaga, Mi October 2, 1949 69 New York 8
Roy Williams, NC August 1, 1950 68 North Carolina 16
Kevin Keatts, NCS July 28, 1972 46 Virginia 2
Mike Brey, ND March 22, 1959 59 Maryland 19
Jeff Capel, PU February 12, 1975 43 North Carolina 1
Jim Boeheim, SU November 17, 1944 73 New York 43
Tony Bennett, V June 1, 1969 49 Wisconsin 10
Buzz Williams, VT September 1, 1972 46 Texas 5
Danny Manning, WF May 17, 1966 53 Mississippi 5