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ACC Coaches In It For The Long Haul

As in so many ways, Mike Krzyzewski sets the standard here

Dean Smith obituary
 Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski acknowledges former UNC coach Dean Smith as he is honored with the Dr. James A. Naismith Good Sportsmanship Award on Wednesday, June 29, 2011, at Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh, N.C.
Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Now that Mike Krzyzewski has left the court, there are four active ACC coaches holding records for the longest tenure at their respective schools. More important, all but one of them has a last name that starts with the letter “B”: Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, Clemson’s Brad Brownell and Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton. (OK, maybe not the most important characteristic.)

Both Boeheim and Brey landed at their respective schools long before the programs were added to the ACC in 2013-14.

Boeheim, Brey, Hamilton and Brownell are the longest-tenured among the 15 current ACC coaches regardless of school.

Back in 2001 Brey replaced one-year Irish wonder Matt Doherty, who assumed the helm at his alma mater and quickly steered the North Carolina program into a ditch. Doherty was acclaimed the national coach of the year in 2001 while the ACC media voted Paul Hewitt of Georgia Tech the league’s top coach in what was his inaugural season as well.

Doherty was brought to Chapel Hill when Roy Williams declined to leave Kansas to replace Bill Guthridge, sparking muted acrimony within the program. Guthridge, a 30-year assistant, had stepped in when Dean Smith retired after 36 years at UNC, a record for head-coaching longevity apt to stand for awhile at the school.

Thus, Carolina had four head coaches in eight seasons (1997-2004), a flurry of instability now long forgotten.

Smith was among three ACC record-setters who never held another head coaching job before or after settling in place.

Boeheim was an assistant devoid of head coaching experience when he took the Syracuse helm in 1977, and is entering his 47th season directing the Orange. This is his 10th ACC season.

NC State’s Everett Case came straight from high school and likewise holds his school’s record for tenure, including a significant portion prior to joining the ACC.

Both Chris Mack (Louisville) and Jeff Capel (Pitt) hold the records for longest ACC tenures at their respective schools. Mack was fired short of four years on the job. Capel is now entering his fifth season directing the Panthers. Pitt joined the league a decade ago when the ACC plundered the Big East. UL came a year afterward to replace Maryland.

Jim Christian, BC’s tenure-topper as an ACC member, posted a single winning record in just under seven seasons. (He was fired in mid-February 2021.) Capel has yet to enjoy a winning record and may well be embarking on a make-or-break season in ‘23.

Longest Coaching Tenures Ever At Current ACC Schools
(Includes 2022-23 Season And Years Prior To Joining ACC)
School Coach Tenure (Years) Leader, ACC Tenure Only
BC Al Skinner 13 (1998-2010) 7-Jim Christian (2015-22)
C Brad Brownell 13 (2011- ) 13-Brownell
D Mike Krzyzewski* 42 (1981-2022) 42-Krzyzewski
FS Leonard Hamilton 20 (2003- ) 20- Hamilton
GT Whack Hyder 22 (1952-73) 19-Bobby Cremins (1982-2000)
UL Denny Crum* 30 (1971-2001) 4-Chris Mack (2019-22)
UM Bruce Hale 13 (1955-67) 12-Jim Larranaga (2012- )
NC Dean Smith* 36 (1962-1997 36-Smith
NCS Everett Case* 18 (1947-64) 11-Case
ND Mike Brey 23 (2001- ) 23-Brey
UP Doc Carlson* 31 (1922-53) 5-Jeff Capel (2019- )
SU Jim Boeheim* 47 (1977- ) 10-Boeheim
V Henry Lannigan 24 (1906-29) 16-Terry Holland (1975-1990)
VT Charlie Moir 11 (1977-87) 9-Seth Greenberg (2004-12)
WF Murray Greason 23 (1934-57) 13-Carl Tacy (1973-85)
* Member Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.