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   Welcome to TSLMail #182 - Friday, July 1, 2005    
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ACC Football Coaches On the Road to the Hall of Fame
by Chris James,

In their recent 2005 College Football Preview, The Sporting News ranked the ACC head coaches in order from best to worst. Frank Beamer was at the head of the class, followed by Ralph Friedgen, Tom O’Brien, Jim Grobe, Larry Coker, Bobby Bowden, Chuck Amato, Chan Gailey, Al Groh, Tommy Bowden, John Bunting and Ted Roof. Whether you agree with the order or not, that’s a pretty good list. The ACC is known for having a good coaching group, but exactly how many are Hall of Fame caliber?

There are a few criteria that a candidate must meet to gain access to the College Football Hall of Fame.

  • Coaches must be out of the college coaching profession for at least three years, or immediately following retirement providing he is at least 70 years of age.
  • Coach a minimum of ten years and 100 games as head coach.
  • Coach must not currently be coaching at the professional level.
  • Coach must win at least 60% of his games.

There are different levels of the Hall of Fame, such as Division I-A, Division I-AA, etc. Although it is not specified in the College Football Hall of Fame website, it is a safe guess to assume that you must have a 60% winning percentage in whatever level of the Hall of Fame you are applying for. For example, there is no way John Bunting qualifies for the Division I-A Hall of Fame with a 19-30 career record, but he was 38-14-2 after five seasons at Rowan. If he ever went back to Division III, he could eventually become eligible for the Hall of Fame on the Division III ballot.

Without further adieu, here are the 12 ACC head coaches and their records.

The Road to the Hall of Fame

ACC Coach



Div. I-A

Div. 1-A

Div. 1-A
Winning %

Bobby Bowden






Frank Beamer






Al Groh






Jim Grobe






John Bunting






Tom O'Brien






Tommy Bowden






Chan Gailey






Chuck Amato






Larry Coker






Ralph Friedgen






Ted Roof






The obvious choice for the Hall of Fame in this group is Bobby Bowden. Bowden, being over 70 years old, will be eligible for the Hall of Fame as soon as he retires. He is the all-time winningest coach in college football history, and has led Florida State to a plethora of ACC championships and two national championships.

Frank Beamer is the other sure-fire Hall of Fame coach on the list. Beamer has coached 18 years at the Division I-A level, all of them at his alma mater Virginia Tech. Beamer has won 135 games for the Hokies and has a career Division I-A winning percentage of a little over 63%. We don’t know how long Beamer will continue to coach the Hokies, but we can be pretty certain that his ticket to the College Football Hall of Fame has already been punched, provided he continues to win and his percentage stays over 60%.

After Beamer and Bowden, we can only speculate. One guy that appears to be on the fence is Tom O’Brien of Boston College. If O’Brien coaches two more years, and there is not reason to suspect that he won’t, he will complete the requirements for ten years of being a head coach and at least 100 total games. However, at this point his career winning percentage is barely, and I mean barely, below par. If O’Brien coaches a while longer and manages to get his winning percentage up a few points, he could find himself next to Bowden and Beamer in the Hall in South Bend.

But honestly, O’Brien’s back is probably against the wall. He has done a great job at BC, bringing them back from the horrible gambling scandal of 1996, but the ACC is a step up in competition from the Big East. That 60% winning percentage, which he is very close to, may be just too far out of his reach.

Miami’s Larry Coker is another possibility. Coker went undefeated and won the national championship (albeit with Butch Davis’ players) in his first season as Miami’s head coach, and nearly repeated as champions the next year, narrowly losing to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. He has an incredible winning percentage of 88%. If he coaches Miami for six more years, he will be at the 10 year mark and past the 100 game mark. It’s quite likely that his career winning percentage and his national championship would get him into the Hall of Fame.

Despite being constantly on the hot seat, Clemson’s Tommy Bowden has to be included in the list of possibilities. Two more seasons will get him to the 10 year and 100 games marks, and a very good career percentage 66.7% would be hard to ignore. He had an undefeated season at Tulane and he is, of course, his father’s son. Then again, if Clemson fires him, that won’t look too good on the resume. But if he is able to have a stable career at Clemson, he’s definitely got a shot.

It’s way too early to tell for Ralph Friedgen and Chuck Amato. They are both off to excellent starts in their careers, but they need to coach a lot longer before anyone can make an accurate judgment. They both took a step back during the 2004 season, and are looking to rebound in 2005.

Al Groh of Virginia doesn’t have an overly impressive winning percentage to say the least, but he has done well since he arrived at Virginia. He went 26-40 at Wake Forest, which hurts his percentage quite a bit. If he stays at Virginia long enough and continues to post 8 or 9 wins per season, he could have a chance. However, he should be considered an extreme long shot at this point.

There are just two guys in the ACC that I would say have absolutely no shot at the College Football Hall of Fame. They are North Carolina coach John Bunting and Duke coach Ted Roof. Bunting’s job was saved by Darion Durant and a couple of other stud offensive players in 2004, but those guys aren’t coming back in 2005. Couple that with the toughest schedule in the country in 2005, and Bunting might not be around too much longer.

I actually think Ted Roof is a pretty good coach, and he has already proven to be a good recruiter. But, he’s coaching at Duke, which probably means he is committing career suicide. He’ll never have enough players at Duke to have success, so he would need to move on to somewhere else. Soon. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Boston College Officially Joins the ACC
by Chris James,, 7/1/05, 12:55 am
Boston College officially joins the ACC today, bringing the total number of member institutions to 12. The ACC is now tied with the Big 12 and the SEC for most teams in a BCS conference, and like the Big 12 and SEC, will start playing a conference championship game in football at the end of the 2005 season. With the addition of Boston College, the ACC now enters the Brave New World of college athletics.
in News and Notes

Hokie Football Image Gallery: The 2004 Season, Part 2
by, 6/30/05, 3:05 pm
The 2004 Hokie football season ended strong for Virginia Tech, who started out 2-2, then won eight games in a row before falling to Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. presents part 2 of a photo gallery of five Tech football games in the second half of the season, including close wins over Wake Forest and UNC, plus blowout wins over Maryland and FAMU and a home win over Virginia.
in TSL Pass

Breaking Down VT's 2005 Recruiting Class: Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
by Phil Martin, 6/29/05, 12:50 pm
We continue our breakdown of VT's 2005 recruiting class by examining the wide receiver and tight end positions. We'll figure out if the Hokies got the player they wanted at each position and will project where recruits like Ed Wang will fit into Virginia Tech's plans.
in TSL Pass

Dark Days, Redemption, and an ACC Championship: Ten Years of the VT-Miami Rivalry, Part 2
by Will Stewart,, 6/28/05, 12:30 pm
After Virginia Tech's five straight victories over Miami from 1995-1999, the Hurricanes rebounded nicely, not just against the Hokies, but against everyone. From 2000-2002, Miami went 35-2, including a 34-game winning streak that left observers wondering if anyone would ever beat the Miami Hurricanes again. The Hokies nearly derailed the Hurricanes in 2001, and it wasn't until 2003 that VT broke Miami's 39-game regular season winning streak with an epic night win at Lane Stadium.
in TSL Pass

Tech Lands Second DeMatha Hoops Star for 2006
by Chris Horne, 6/27/05, 11:35 pm
When Nigel Munson and Lewis Witcher committed to the Hokies in May, it was widely thought that Virginia Tech was done with their 2006 men's basketball recruiting class. Apparently not, as the Hokies received a third commitment from a rising senior, Jeff Allen. Allen is a teammate of Munson's at DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Maryland and has pledged to join the Hokies in the fall of 2006.
in Basketball Recruiting

Breaking Down VT's 2005 Recruiting Class: The Offensive Backfield
by Phil Martin, 6/26/05, 11:05 pm
In my last three articles I provided a “macro” analysis of recent recruiting trends by looking at different criteria such as recruiting competition, the location of the recruits, and the positions being recruited. Now I'd like to take more of a “micro” view by analyzing the last recruiting class in depth. Each position will be evaluated as to the players offered and how heavily they were recruited. Based on this evaluation we can have an idea of whether Tech landed the recruits that were on the top of their recruiting board. Also, I will provide a subjective evaluation on how I see these players fitting into the team.
in TSL Pass

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