I came to this site years ago because it was the one NC State athletics site in which every bit of joy, frustration and confusion was all expressed with tongue firmly implanted in cheek. Profiles of a Possible Savior (POAPS) was (and still is) my favorite reoccurring series here, so much so I did a series of reflections on the Mark Gottfried search last year (and plan a Dave Doeren one for this summer). All that said, we shouldn’t have to worry about POAPS but other programs across the country do. Jim McElwain just “parted ways” with the University of Florida, Oregon State’s coach set fire to millions of dollars and the expectation is that P5 jobs at Tennessee, Nebraska, Arkansas, Ole Miss and maybe UCLA will open up this year. What does that mean for the ACC? After one year of zero turnover in the conference, can we expect it to remain the same? Lets look at the likelihood:
You Can’t Run Away
1-8 Chapel Hill, Larry Fedora: He had a shot to leave but stock is way down right now during this disastrous 1-8 season where UNC-Chapel Hill is 1-8. Injuries will be the excuse to retain Fedora. One and Eight.
Miami, Mark Richt: Can’t imagine he’d leave his alma-mater after the best start they’ve had in years. Doubt another P5 program would attempt to make that call
Duke, David Cutcliffe: Duke has had its ups and downs lately but Coach Cut made them respectable. He’s a lifer there now and is of the age that moving to a new job would make little sense. Retirement (of which there are no rumors of) seems to be the only way he goes.
Pitt, Pat Narduzzi: Pitt has had a history of coaches bolting after a short time but I think The Nard Dog is there to stay. Had this been a more successful year he’d have been a candidate to move on but Pitt’s struggles won’t endear him to another P5 team
UVA, Bronco Mendenhall: Had they secured a bowl and gone on to win a couple of winnable games, Bronco may have been on a few short lists but I doubt someone makes an attempt until he can turn UVA into a regular contender
Georgia Tech, Paul Johnson: Another coach whose age and inconsistency makes him likely to be at GT for a while. The natives aren’t particularly restless because PJ will crank out a 9 win season every couple of years and beat UGA randomly. He’s staying.
FSU, Jimbo Fisher: $40 Million. I could stop there. FSU has to make some coordinator changes ASAP and Jimbo has to be less ridged in his style but no school can afford him and FSU ain’t dropping that kind of cash to fire him.
Clemson, Dabo Swinney: Has ‘Bama opened up? Oh...No? Yeah Dabo’s set...also BUYOUT
NC State, Dave Doeren: Coach DFD is already had contract extension negotiations and has shown no sign of interest in stepping out on this job (especially with another veteran team next year). If we win the Atlantic, we could definitely see some callers for his services but I believe he’d stay for now.
May Give Some Pause
Virginia Tech, Justin Fuente: Look we all view VPI as a job someone would want to stay in long-term. Look at how long Frank Beamer stayed and how many jobs Bud Foster let pass him by. Fuente also just signed a contract extension worth $25 million. I think he would stay at one of the best jobs in the ACC but some schools have deep pockets and may want to kick the tires a bit.
BC, Steve Addazio: Coach Daz won three straight ACC games to save his job! NOT so fast my friend. I believe he’s done enough that his team will be competitive the rest of the year. Yet its still likely they miss a bowl game and its also very possible they lose out. If that happens and the old BC rears its head...would they make a move? Not likely, but maybe, just maybe
Wake Forest, Dave Clawson: Clawson just builds programs, its all he does. Wake is playing very well right now and should give teams a scare for the rest of the season. There’s no reason for him to leave...except (according to the OJays) for the love of money. Wake doesn’t have the capital other programs have and if a school feels like they need a program builder and is willing to be patient, Clawson may be on their list.
In For A World Of Hurt?
Syracuse, Dino Babers: Syracuse is like Wake in that they aren’t drowning in cash. Babers personality, style of play and success this year makes him a prime candidate for a new job. The media loves him which will prematurely throw him on short lists. If not this year, Cuse has to battle for Babers each and every year as they move forward. This might be year one of that war.
Louisville, Bobby Petrino: Look old Bobby was an offensive genius. New Bobby rested on the laurels of Lamar Jackson these past two years. Fan frustration is rising, the defense has been exposed, and the question now is what will happen next year when LJ is sure to go in the draft. Add that to the drama with Tom Jurich’s firing (plus that contract wrinkle that no makes Petrino’s buyout cheaper) you have a guy who will definitely pick up the phone for a better offer...hey he’s done it to Louisville before...he could definitely do it again.
Of course anything can happen, we are just 2⁄3 of the way through the season so anyone’s year could flip for the positive or negative moving forward altering this whole list. We also aren’t taking into account the shuffleboard of assistants in the league that are sure to be fired or find greener pastures. See the SEC fires coaches all the time, the Pac-12 seemingly keeps them forever...the ACC is somewhere in the middle. So after a pretty quiet 2016-2017 offseason, we’ll see if the coaching carousal spins again come January.