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How Do You Rank ACC Coaches?

Honestly? Tentatively.

NC State v Duke
Duke coach Jon Scheyer is very popular with Blue Devil fans, but is he the best coach in the ACC? Well, he might be - but not yet.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Over at, this guy took a run at ranking ACC basketball coaches and we have questions.

We have no problem with Tony Bennett and Jim Larrañaga being 1 and 2 respectively, but why would Hubert Davis be #3?

Presumably that would be based on UNC’s run to the championship game in Davis’s first season, but there are two caveats there: 1) he spent most of that first season pleading with his team to play together before they finally did and 2) he spent virtually ALL of last year doing the same thing, and they didn't. Davis could still turn out, but right now, at best he’s mediocre with one good six-week stretch.

That would obviously move Jon Scheyer up and as much as we respect him, and we know Duke fans do too, it’s pretty early to rank him as the #3 coach in the conference. We think he has a brilliant future, but you can't base this list on projection.

We don’t have any big issues from 5-11 although anyone reading this might move someone up and someone down. Do your worst!

As you may have gathered, we are very impressed by Earl Grant and how he has started to transform his program. To us, 12 seems too low, but to borrow what Mark Cuban said about one-time Dallas Maverick Adam Harrington, somebody has to get the doughnuts. So fine.

But on what basis do you rank Damon Stoudamire ahead of Adrian Autry? Autry at least has the advantage of knowing the ACC and by that we mean the little things too, like good hotels and restaurants. Those things aren’t a big deal unless you’re burning time trying to figure them out.

Having said that, we’ve been really impressed with what we’ve read about Stoudamire as we work on ACC Preview #13, Georgia Tech.

Finally, Kenny Payne. Look, we get this one. We know how wretchedly bad and awful Louisville was last year. It was the kind of season where people were tempted to wear paper bags on their heads. Louisville was historically awful. And Payne was the coach.

Yet it wasn’t really his fault.

Louisville was facing potential NCAA punishment which we think could have included the death penalty. Payne had limited options with high school recruits and then with portal recruits as well.

So he took his lumps and waited. This year, he has a much better roster and Louisville is going to be a difficult team to play.

Anyway, this is an impossible list to do. Big chunks of it are subjective if not hopeful. This is how we’d probably rank them, for what it’s worth:

  1. Tony Bennett
  2. Jim Larrañaga
  3. Jon Scheyer
  4. Brad Brownell
  5. Mike Young
  6. Leonard Hamilton
  7. Steve Forbes
  8. Hubert Davis
  9. Jeff Capel
  10. Kevin Keatts
  11. Earl Grant
  12. Damon Stoudamire
  13. Adrian Autry
  14. Kenny Payne
  15. Micah Shrewsbury

Some things you can’t really change. We think Payne is going to be terrific eventually but you can’t just overlook last year and the last four are basically throwing darts. Who knows? We also think Scheyer is going to emerge rapidly but he’s had just one season.

We moved Shrewsbury to the bottom only because, like Payne, he is inheriting a very weak program. And like Payne, we’re sure that he’ll get Notre Dame back on track quickly.

But probably not this year.

This is a fun exercise and we may revisit it soon.

Here's the original list:

  1. Tony Bennett
  2. Jim Larrañaga
  3. Hubert Davis
  4. Jon Scheyer
  5. Leonard Hamilton
  6. Brad Brownell
  7. Micah Shrewsbury
  8. Steve Forbes
  9. Kevin Keatts
  10. Mike Young
  11. Jeff Capel
  12. Earl Grant
  13. Damon Stoudamire
  14. Adrian Autry
  15. Kenny Payne