View Full Version : New ACC Coaches – Will it make Duke’s Season More Difficult?

05-11-2011, 10:45 AM
As we’re all aware, two-thirds of the ACC’s teams have new head coaches (either incoming or very recent). All of these men are experienced and successful, and all want to make a definitive statement (early) next season, to announce their own – and their team’s – return to conference competitiveness, if not prominence. Obviously, this is important to several relevant constituencies, some of which will seek prompt confirmation that their new coach can return their university to ACC viability.

At Duke, we are used to this; many good – but not outstanding – programs perceive a victory against Duke as a decisive event, long to be remembered and celebrated. I believe this tends to make such teams play with greater intensity against Duke than against many other opponents.

My question is, will this make our ’11-’12 season even more difficult? For example, is it likely that George Tech or State (among other teams) will play with more determination than they have in recent years?

05-11-2011, 10:55 AM
I think that, by and large, the coaching changes in the last few years have been improvements from what was left behind. So I think the conference will become more challenging over time with better coaches and recruiting, and I am glad to see that.

My favorite period was the mid- '80's when you had several institutions (Dean, Holland, Lefty), several up-and-comers (K, Cremins) and even a young superstar (Valvano). Better coaches makes for better competition, which makes for better teams by the end of the season.

Olympic Fan
05-11-2011, 11:33 AM
My short answer is that all the changes will make things easier in the short run as teams deal with the transitions (which are usually de-stabilizing), but tougher in the long run because most of the changes are coaching upgrades.

Just as example, Tony Bennett is one of the best of the new wave coaches coming into the league. His teams have struggled the last two years as he's worked to reload the talent. I believe that Virginia will start to make major strides next season in his third year.

On the other hand, Steve Donohue did a good job with Al Skinner's leftovers last season and I think will go a very good job in the loong run. But next year is going to be awful as he deals with the fact that Skinner basically quit recruiting in his last two years at BC.

Just another example, I think Mark Gottfried is a clear coaching upgrade over Sidney Lowe at State. But the transition cost them Ryan Harrow, a very talented young guard (the fact that Kentucky is recruiting him hard should tell you something) and their top big-man recruit (Uchebo) will produce some short-term struggles.

But overall, I think the changes were for the better. Maybe not Turgeron for Gary Williams (although I think Turgeron is a good hire) and not Bzdelik for Gaudio (one zero replaces another zero). But I like the rest of the new wave -- Bennett, Gottfried, Gregory, Brownell and Donohue. They'll make the ACC better in the long run.

But not right away.

05-12-2011, 09:16 AM
I think next season is both harder and easier. Yes new coaches take a while to get their recruiting going, to install their system, identify with the fan base, etc. etc. etc which can make the going easier for the competition. On the other hand, established programs will have to reevaluate the new coaches and their systems. As there are so many new coaches, the challenge for established coaches in preparation could be significant.