Job Security: How Long a Leash Do ACC Coaches Get?


Two ACC coaches went winless in conference last year. 

One, Virginia’s Mike London, won ACC Coach of the Year two years earlier, which should buy him some time before his seat heats up.

Right? 

Jim Grobe led Wake Forest to an ACC title in 2006 and found himself out of a job following last season, which is an unbelievable lack of patience and loyalty. 

Right? 

We crunched the numbers to find out. We looked at the averaging “coaching life expectancy” over the history of the ACC and how certain milestones–good and bad–affected it. 

Here’s what we found:  The average ACC coach can expect 5.4 years on the job. Almost half–46%–get at least five years on the job. 15% hit the 10-year mark.

Here are the best ways to buy yourself more time: 

Milestone

Additional years

Win National Title

7.4

Go Undefeated in Conference

7.0

Win 10 Games

6.6

Go Undefeated Overall

6.3

Finish First

5.8

Going undefeated overall buys you less time than going undefeated in conferece, but that’s mainly due to sample size. Bobby Ross was one of three coaches to do it, and he left Georgia Tech a year after going 11-0-1, pulling down the average.

Bad news for Mike London: An ACC coach of the year has a shorter life expectancy than a brand new coach.

Milestone

Additional years

Win Coach of Year

4.9

Brand New Coach

5.4

 In other words, Dave Clawson has a longer leash at Wake than London’s 2012 trophy bought him. 

Here are the biggest coach-killers: 

Milestone

Additional years

Winless Season

1.3

Winless in Conference

2.7

1 Win Season (Overall)

3.3

The good news for Doeren is that he won some non-conference games. That bought him almost a year and a half extra time. 

The bad news is that NC State has historically not been patient with coaches. Here’s a look at the average coaching tenure, by school, since 1953 (regardless of whether the school was a member of the league or not). 

School

                                                 Coaching Life Span

Syracuse

10

Florida State

9.5

Virginia Tech

6.8

Clemson

6.2

North Carolina

5.9

Virginia

5.7

Louisville

5.54

Duke

5.50

Georgia Tech

5.50

NC State

5.45

Boston College

5.2

Wake Forest

5.1

Miami

4.5

Pitt

3.5

Current coaches weren’t included, since their tenure isn’t complete yet, which is why Frank Beamer-less Virginia Tech isn’t in the top spot on the list. Interim coaches, whether they took over mid-season or for a bowl game only, were given a half-year’s tenure. 

So, crunching all the numbers, here’s the life (on the job) expectancy for each coach in the league: 

 

 

 

Coach

                      Expectancy (date leaving)

Reason

Scott Shafer, Syr

                           9 yrs (through 2022)

Syracuse coach w/ 1 year tenure

Jimbo Fisher, FSU

7.4 (mid ’21)

Won National Title in 2013

David Cutcliffe, Duke

6.6 (mid ’20)

10 wins in 2013

Dabo Swinney, Clemson

6.6 (mid ’20)

10 wins in 2013

Bobby Petrino, Louisville

5.5 (mid ’19)

New Louisville coach

Dave Clawson, WF

5.1 (mid ’19)

New Wake coach

Paul Johnson, GT

4.8 (mid ’18)

First place finish in 2012

Al Golden, Mia

4.8 (mid ’18)

First place finish in 2012

Larry Fedora, NC

4.8 (mid ’18)

First place finish in 2012

Frank Beamer, VT

4.6 (mid ’18)

10 wins in 2011

Steve Addazio, BC

4.2 (mid ’18)

BC coach w/ 1 year tenure

Mike London, Va

2.7 (mid ’16)

Winless in ACC in 2013

Dave Doeren, NC State

2.7 (mid ’16)

Winless in ACC in 2013

Paul Chryst, Pitt

1.5 (mid ’15)

Pitt coach w/ 2 years tenure

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