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With Three New Coaches, ACC Basketball Is In A Period Of Significant Transition

This season is definitely going to be interesting

Oral Roberts v Duke
Background: ORLANDO, FLORIDA - MARCH 16: Head coach Jon Scheyer of the Duke Blue Devils signals on the sideline during the first half in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at Amway Center on March 16, 2023 in Orlando, Florida.
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

ACC coaches as a group are far younger, less experienced, and less accomplished than they’d been at any time in recent memory.

A season short of a decade ago, when Louisville took Maryland’s place in the ACC, the league boasted four Hall of Fame coaches, all NCAA title winners. Now there are no inducted HOF members and a single championship coach (Virginia’s Tony Bennett).

Only four coaches (Brad Brownell, Leonard Hamilton, Jim Larranaga, Bennett) remain of 15 from UL’s inaugural ACC season.

Five coaches, representing a third of the league, are in their first or second year at their respective schools. Two more, BC’s Earl Grant and UNC’s Hubert Davis, are in their third year. The average age of the seven newest coaches is 47 at the dawn of the ’24 season.

The average age of all 15 ACC coaches is a shade under 50 (49.7). When Louisville came aboard, the average age was 58.

There are three new coaches this season alone – Damon Stoudamire at Georgia Tech, Micah Shrewsberry at Notre Dame, and Adrian Autry at Syracuse.

Recent head coaching hires departed from the conservative past practice of seeking leaders already tested running a college program. Duke’s Jon Scheyer, Louisville’s Kenny Payne, North Carolina’s Davis, and now Syracuse’s Autry all broke in as head coaches at their current jobs. All alums of the programs they now direct, meaning they are generally familiar with their school’s much-cited “culture” and traditions.

On a more granular level, four coaches were born in North Carolina (Autry, Capel, Davis and Hamilton, in alphabetical order) more than any other state. Indiana produced two, Clemson’s Brad Brownell and Notre Dame’s Shrewsberry. Both were born at mid-November, though 14 years apart. Payne was likewise born in November.

Autry shares the same birthday, Feb. 28, as UNC’s late, great Dean Smith.

Brownell, Hamilton, Larranaga, and Bennett now stand as their schools’ all-time leaders in victories.

There are two Duke alums coaching ACC programs – Jon Scheyer at Durham and Jeff Capel at Pittsburgh. Capel was born on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

Three active head coaches took teams to the Final Four: Jim Larranaga at George Mason (2006) and Miami (2023), UNC’s Davis (2022), and UVa’s Bennett (2019, when the Cavs won their championship).

A pair of coaches are older than 70 (Hamilton, Larranaga) and two are 40 or younger (Scheyer, Stoudamire). Scheyer remains the youngest coach in the ACC, Hamilton the oldest.

Stoudamire comes to Atlanta after five seasons as head coach at Pacific, where his Tigers were 71-77. Stoudamire is the most accomplished former pro performer to coach in the ACC, having played 14 years in the NBA. He was the 2003 NBA Rookie of the Year with Phoenix, and was a six-time NBA all-star.

The 5-10 All-American nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” played at Arizona under Lute Olson, graduating a year before Josh Pastner, the man whom he succeeded on the Georgia Tech bench, arrived in Tucson. Among his seven previous coaching stops, two in the NBA, Stoudamire assisted Brad Stevens, Ime Udoka and Joe Mazzulla over the past two seasons with the Boston Celtics.

Stevens ties Stoudamire and Micah Shrewsberry, the new Notre Dame coach, who likewise worked for the highly regarded coach at Boston.

Shrewsberry, from Indianapolis, is at his ninth coaching stop, third as head coach. First was an NAIA school in South Bend. He was on Stevens’ Butler staff when the Bulldogs lost by an eyelash to Duke in the 2010 NCAA title game. Like Stoudamire he was also on Stevens’ staff with the Celtics (not at the same time), a role newly filled by Duke product Amile Jefferson.

Most recently Shrewsberry spent two years directing the Penn State program. Last season the Nittany Lions reached the NCAAs for the first time since 2011, setting a Big 10 record for most 3-pointers made in a season.

Finally, Adrian “Red” Autry spent the first five years of his life in Monroe, NC, before moving to Harlem, NY. He played prep ball at tradition-rich Tolentine High in The Bronx, which produced, among others, NC State’s Ernie Myers and UNC’s Brian Reese. Autry played point guard for four years at Syracuse for Jim Boeheim. Then came 10 years playing in Europe.

His first college coaching job was at Virginia Tech under Brad Greenberg. In 2011 he took an assistant’s position at his alma mater. Autry became the Orange’s associate head coach in March 2017 when Mike Hopkins, SU’s designated coach-in-waiting, took the Washington head coaching job.

Autry is one of seven ACC coaches in his 50s and the fourth to take an ACC job at that age after Hubert Davis, Kenny Payne and Stoudamire. Despite their advanced years, all but Georgia Tech’s Stoudamire arrived as novice head coaches.

BENCH BRAINS
ACC Coaching Roster for 2023-24 Season
(Age As Of November 1, 2023,Tenure Includes Upcoming Season)
COACH BIRTHDATE AGE BORN TENURE, YRS
Earl Grant December 25, 1976 47 SC 3
Brad Brownell, C November 15, 1968 54 Ind 14
Jon Scheyer August 24, 1987 36 Ill 2
Leonard Hamilton, FS August 4, 1948 75 NC 22
Damon Stoudamire, GT September 3, 1973 50 Ore New
Kenny Payne, UL November 25, 1966 55 Miss 2
Jim Larranaga, Mi October 2, 1949 74 NY 13
Hubert Davis, NC May 17, 1970 53 NC 3
Kevin Keatts, NCS July 28, 1972 51 Va 7
Micah Shrewsberry, ND July 31, 1976 47 Ind. New
Jeff Capel, UP February 12, 1975 48 NC 6
Adrian Autry, SU February 28, 1972 51 NC New
Tony Bennett, V June 1, 1969 54 Wisc 15
Mike Young, VT May 1, 1963 60 Va 5
Steve Forbes, WF March 22, 1963 60 Iowa 4