ACC football: Does that ‘A’ stand for ‘awfully managed’?

Tech coach Paul Johnson: By ACC standards, he's an institution. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Tech coach Paul Johnson: By ACC standards, he's an institution. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Here’s a fun fact: Paul Johnson, who’s about to enter his fourth season at Georgia Tech, ranks fourth among football coaches in his 12-team league in on-the-job seniority, and the only reason he’s not third is that North Carolina State hired Tom O’Brien instead of PJ in December 2006.

Think about that. The ACC isn’t some fly-by-night conference. It has been in operation since 1953. And yet it has taken to operating as if it’s some geographically incorrect start-up.

North Carolina fired Butch Davis on Wednesday, two days after he was allowed to meet the media assembled in Pinehurst, N.C. This was but the latest in a series of weird ACC coaching maneuvers. Since 2007 the conference has seen two Bowdens nudged aside — one at Clemson, the other at Florida State — and one Fridge moved. (Ralph Friedgen was bought out by Maryland last December after going 8-4, but not before James Franklin, who had been designated the Terps’ coach-in-waiting, had bolted to Vanderbilt.)

In January 2009 Jeff Jagodzinski was canned by Boston College AD Gene DeFillippo after interviewing for the New York Jets’ head coaching position. (Jagodzinski, best known as Matt Ryan’s college coach, has since lost jobs as Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator and as head coach of the UFL Omaha Nighthawks.) That same year Al Groh, who’s now Georgia Tech’s defensive coordinator, was fired by Virginia, and his final act in Charlottesville was reciting a poem. Last fall Miami dumped Randy Shannon; back in 2006, the U had promoted Shannon after dumping Larry Coker, who’d won the 2001 BCS title.

If you’re keeping score, Frank Beamer, who became Virginia Tech’s coach in 1987, has been in his current job the longest, although technically Beamer has worked in the ACC only since 2004. (That’s when the Hokies joined.) If you count his time at Boston College, O’Brien has been the head coach at an ACC school since 2005. (He worked at BC when the Eagles moved from the Big East.) And Jim Grobe has been in place — at both Wake Forest and in the ACC — since 20o1. So he’s the dean, I guess.

Oh, one thing more: Even the unshakable Beamer had a tough offseason. It has been revealed that he invested with alleged Ponzi schemer Jim Donnan, who played at — wouldn’t you know? — N.C. State. (Though Beamer says he didn’t lose any money.)

And this, too: Carolina AD Dick Baddour announced today he’s stepping down.

By Mark Bradley

163 comments Add your comment

Darth Fornicator

July 28th, 2011
11:15 am

HA!

I claim this blog’s virginity.

Darth Fornicator

July 28th, 2011
11:17 am

The ACC will ALWAYS be a doormat for the rest of college football, particularly the SEC.

Butch Davis was THE BEST, yet apparently THE WORST, thing to happen to North Carolina Football in generations, if not ever.

MagnaCarterGT

July 28th, 2011
11:20 am

“the only reason [Johnson]’s not third is that North Carolina State hired Tom O’Brien two days before Tech tapped PJ.”

TOB brought his brand of blandness to Raleigh in 2007, Mark.

Mark Bradley

July 28th, 2011
11:25 am

Thanks, MagnaCarterGT. Got my Decembers confused.

Outside Observer

July 28th, 2011
11:29 am

MB, Isn’t this same concept prevalent in other conferences like the SEC where the coaching turnover is insanely high? I believe Richt is the longest tenured coach in the SEC, and he has been there about as long Grobe at WF.

Tech Class of 2013

July 28th, 2011
11:31 am

So where is the tickle pile going to be for the opening game? and its it shirts vs skins?

Atlanta Gator

July 28th, 2011
11:32 am

Does anyone know if Tony Barnhart’s blog column will return for the fall college football season? Without it, I have found that the quality and quantity of the AJC’s college football coverage has nose-dived . . . .

ClemsonBrad

July 28th, 2011
11:33 am

Hate to say it….but if Dabo doesn’t get the tigers past 6-6 this year…he very well could join this list.

Steve

July 28th, 2011
11:34 am

Was there really nothing else to write about today, MB?

There’s a lot of turnover in every CFB conference. If you check the all-mighty SEC beyond Mark Richt (who will probably be gone after this season), there isn’t a lot of tenure.

cattle dawg

July 28th, 2011
11:34 am

So is cpj a candidate for unc job? I believe he is from North carolina , correct?

[...] post by webmaster@technorati.com and software by Elliott Back Comments [...]

P-Man

July 28th, 2011
11:35 am

Atlanta Gator, Tony Branfardt is now at CBSSports.com. Greener pastures, I guess…

RAMBLE ON!!!

July 28th, 2011
11:36 am

Jamaaliver

July 28th, 2011
11:38 am

Mark, is it wrong at all that I miss rawdawg?

Richt`s Hammer

July 28th, 2011
11:39 am

Wow I can win 3 games this year and no one will notice. Life is grand.

Mark Bradley

July 28th, 2011
11:39 am

I miss him, too, Jamaaliver.

Mark Bradley

July 28th, 2011
11:42 am

Oh, and I’ll concede that other conferences have turnover, too. But I don’t know that any conference has lately had a run of messier changes than the ACC. Florida didn’t fire Urban Meyer. LSU didn’t fire Nick Saban. Tennessee didn’t fire Lane Kiffin (though it did fire Philip Fulmer).

JacketsRule87

July 28th, 2011
11:45 am

If the ThUga joined the ACC they’d be perennial champs hands down. We [ACC] are no better than Conferece USA,….if not worse.

CFB Fan

July 28th, 2011
11:48 am

Mark I don’t know what you are trying to get at on this one.

Before Groh’s firing he was there for a long time. Jags was at BC for a while.

It’s cyclical. Write this article in 5 years about the SEC. I’d wager Richt will be gone, Miles will be gone, Vandy will have a new coach, Spurrier may be gone.

Tech Fan

July 28th, 2011
11:51 am

Gotta agree Mark, the ACC has to have the most turmoil year in and year out. And we all thought the ACC was going to turn into a power when the U and Va Tech came in. Amazing

techfan

July 28th, 2011
11:53 am

The ACC has been under performing for the past several years. Wouldn’t you expect there to be a lot of changes? I would be more worried if the ACC wasn’t doing anything.

5150 UOAD

July 28th, 2011
11:54 am

SEC
Southerners Excelling @ Cheating.

dawgmatic

July 28th, 2011
11:57 am

ALL CHEATERS CONFERENCE

You NERDS should be ashamed of yourselves.

Paul in RDU

July 28th, 2011
12:02 pm

I am not sure that the ACC has any more coaching turnover than other big conferences the details of the removals of Bobby Bowden, Fridge, Butch and Jagodzinski are bizarre.
The timing of Davis’ firing (although not the firing itself) was strange. The only thing that seems to make sense is that the firing happened on the same day of the first meeting of the Board of Trustees after electing a new board chairman and he pushed for the change.

Curious George

July 28th, 2011
12:07 pm

Is Jim Donnan going to prison?

headley lamar

July 28th, 2011
12:10 pm

Tech assistant gets one-game suspension

Geez can we go one day without a scandal at Tech.

They have turned into one of the dirtiest programs in college football.

JB

July 28th, 2011
12:11 pm

Tech and North Carolina BOTH in Big trouble with the NCAA. Tech already sentenced…We’re waiting on NC. Big time cheaters at Tech. They’ve just come off probation. I just don’t understand it. They seem like nice folks over at Tech…..But seem to stay in hot water with the NCAA. We need our sister State school to straighten out and obey the rules. Go Dawgs. ( tongue and cheek, this will be fun to read)

Curious George

July 28th, 2011
12:12 pm

If Mark Richt is the Head Coach at North Carolina this time next year, will Richt help that ACC team end Georgia’s recent stranglehold on the FULMER CUP?

Worm

July 28th, 2011
12:13 pm

Paul Johnson could be returning to his home state!

ToccoaDawg

July 28th, 2011
12:14 pm

ACC stands for Another Coach Canceled

JB

July 28th, 2011
12:15 pm

C George………..Donnan hasn’t drawn a check from UGA in years………….We’ll tolerate losing to Florida, but not the Nerds. Donnan was fired for that. Richt, 9 of 10……And as much trouble as ya’ll stay in, we need to review that game…LOL

DawginLex

July 28th, 2011
12:15 pm

Why is a monkey giving us advice about football?

Auburn is the runaway leader in 2011 Fulmer Cup

UGA has zero points.

http://www.edsbs.com

Paul H

July 28th, 2011
12:16 pm

You got the “Awful” part right.

JB

July 28th, 2011
12:16 pm

Johnson would be a good fit at NC. That “I just got out of bed look” would probably play better up there.

BigTimeTechFan

July 28th, 2011
12:21 pm

ACC football: Does that ‘A’ stand for ‘awfully managed’?

No, the A stands for “Atlantic”

You have been a sports reporter in the south for how many years and you don’t even know what ACC is. Not good.

BigTimeTechFan

July 28th, 2011
12:22 pm

Th e ACC leads BCS automatic-qualifying conferences in the latest US News & World Report “Best Colleges 2011” rankings with a combined average ranking of 50.5. The ACC is the only conference with seven schools in the Top 50 (4 private, 3 public). The ACC is the only conference with 10 schools in the Top 70. Of the league-record eight
teams from ACC schools that won NCAA Titles during the 2009-10 season, all came from schools ranked in the Top 56.

BigTimeTechFan

July 28th, 2011
12:24 pm

A leader among the BCS conferences for APR and GSR, predominately all programs register rates at/or above the national average. In addition, the ACC has led the nation in graduation rate for its football student-athletes for the fifth consecutive year and also ranks No. 1 nationally in football APR for the fourth straight year

JB

July 28th, 2011
12:25 pm

And if they don’t slow down, they’ll lead in NCAA sanctions soon.

ToccoaDawg

July 28th, 2011
12:37 pm

Tech should be happy. Now they have a chance of a win against UNC

ajc sports idiots

July 28th, 2011
12:38 pm

Big Time, don’t you know Mark Bitterly is full of anger and has to rant and accuse GT by now? Bitterly wants GT to take his own shame for being the laziest and sorriest writer at the AJC which is hard to accomplish. When the AJC replaces Bitterly with Coley Harvey one day, it will be too comical. The best of the worst at AJC was Jeff Schultz that finally stated that Tech didn’t do much of anything and that is the best the Atlanta paper can do. It is like GT has to appeal the AJC.

Yeah, the southeastern chumps are the way truth and life with coaches above board in all categories and players who didn’t know anything when fathers out there soliciting 6 figures for playtime.

Keep accusing Bradley, that is about all you got left to do in your so called career

Russ, the Temporary Mascot turned Running Back

July 28th, 2011
12:38 pm

Let’s face it, running backs in the ACC get to play more games per capita than running backs in the SEC because you have to figure UGA’s running backs in. Since most of UGA’s running backs are gone now and some new ones are on the way in . . . I believe that the worm is about to turn. Soon, you will see a little scatback toting the ball, running low to the ground, and slobbering all over the ball. Soon, UGA football will be back to normal. Who will be running this state now? Crazy Legs Russ!

DetroitBraves

July 28th, 2011
12:39 pm

The UNC firing was understandable, though the timing a bit odd. I was looking at (early) recruiting rankings today. Perhaps Miami and FSU will ascend to their previous lofty positions in the coming years and add both some stability and respectability to the conference. The newer staffs there are off to decent starts. Having said that, it only pays off for the conference if the rest of the programs are then forced to keep up, and are somewhat successful in doing so. It’s not as if the Big East or ACC were considered premiere conferences when Miami and FSU were contending for national championships out of those leagues.

Old Gold

July 28th, 2011
12:40 pm

Paul Johnson will be the next head coach at NC!!!

DetroitBraves

July 28th, 2011
12:44 pm

“ACC football: Does that ‘A’ stand for ‘awfully managed’?

No, the A stands for “Atlantic”

You have been a sports reporter in the south for how many years and you don’t even know what ACC is. Not good.”

Heh! Just read this one. You got a chuckle out of me Techfan. Good shot.

ACC Insider

July 28th, 2011
12:44 pm

PJ to NC !! Take it to the bank!!

Tech

July 28th, 2011
12:46 pm

Tech is NOT in big trouble with the NCAA. Keep dreaming JB. I know you hate Tech but that’s wishful thinking brother. Comparing Tech’s program to UGA’s is day/night as far as problems. You have NO room to talk about Tech.

gtfanfrom1951

July 28th, 2011
12:47 pm

Looks like a 4-0 start for GT to me!!!!! Russ If the SEC is back normal then Fla should win the east and UGA will back to just flapping their jaws. HAHAHAHAHA

ToccoaDawg

July 28th, 2011
12:51 pm

The tragic truth is the UNC players are the ones who will end up paying for this. Davis and the old AD will still be laughing all the way to the bank while the players are left holding the bag. And lest we forget, the majority of the players had NOTHING to do with this at all.

JB

July 28th, 2011
12:53 pm

ACC Insider…………don’t think so. I am a Dawg fan, but I don’t believe NC would hire a coach who himself has just spent a week or two in the National News with NCAA troubles, just say’n

techfan

July 28th, 2011
12:59 pm

It’s pretty hilarious to see people trying to equate the UNC situation with the Tech situation.