At last check, ACC assistant football coaches are not subject to term limits, but as teams went through spring practice last month and this, the turnover among staff was striking.
Barring additional changes, 40.5 percent of full-time ACC assistants, 51 of 126, will be new in 2013. Virginia, Florida State and Miami lost replacement coaches to other schools before they gassed up their courtesy rigs.
Granted, the three programs that changed head coaches — North Carolina State, Boston College and Syracuse — account for nearly half the turnover. The Wolfpack, Eagles and Orange will employ 24 new assistants — the NCAA permits Bowl Subdivision programs nine full-timers each.
But even if we remove N.C. State, BC and the ’Cuse from the calculation, the ACC’s other 11 programs have 28 staff changes, a 28.3-percent rate.
An even higher rate of turnover among offensive and defensive coordinators makes handicapping the conference more problematic than usual.
Half of the ACC’s 26 offensive and defensive coordinators — Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher do not employ an OC — 13 are new. Virginia, Boston College, N.C. State and Syracuse have two newcomers each. Virginia Tech, Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh changed one.
How all this change compares to other major conferences and to previous seasons is a research project for another day (when do the summer interns start?), but there’s no denying it’s significant.
Some head coaches, chiefly Virginia’s Mike London and Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer, dismissed assistants after a disappointing 2012. Others, especially Fisher, lost staffers to promotions at other schools.
Here’s the short-story version, school-by-school, in alphabetical order, with number of new assistants:
BOSTON COLLEGE (8): Running backs coach Al Washington is the lone holdover from the staff of fired head coach Frank Spaziani. New big whistle Steve Addazio’s coordinators, Ryan Day on offense and Don Brown on defense, accompanied him from Temple.
CLEMSON (1): Mike Reed, formerly at N.C. State, replaces Charlie Harbison as secondary coach. Harbison left for Auburn.
DUKE (2): Passing game coordinator Matt Lubick moved to Oregon and was replaced by Blue Devils alum Scottie Montgomery, who was working under Mike Tomlin with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Also, head coach David Cutcliffe promoted graduate assistant Re’quan Boyette to running backs coach after tight ends coach Ron Middleton went to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
FLORIDA STATE (6): No one-graph summary possible. So deep breath.
Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops became Kentucky’s head coach and took defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot with him to coordinate Wildcats’ defense. Also, running backs/special teams coach Eddie Gran became Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator, linebackers coach Greg Hudson defensive coordinator at Purdue, quarterbacks coach Dameyune Craig the co-offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Auburn.
Finally, offensive coordinator James Coley, an FSU grad, took the OC job at rival Miami, where unlike at his alma mater, he’ll call the plays. Fisher directs the Seminoles’ attack, and indeed, in remaking his staff, he did not appoint an offensive coordinator.
Fisher’s new assistants: defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt (previously at Alabama), Randy Sanders (quarterbacks, from Kentucky), Sal Sunseri (defensive ends, formerly at Tennessee), Charles Kelly (linebackers, from Georgia Tech), Jay Graham (running backs, from South Carolina), and former Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster (tight ends, most recently at Mississippi State).
Fisher originally hired Billy Napier for Brewster’s position. But Napier then went to Alabama as receivers coach, replacing former Virginia offensive coordinator Mike Groh, who joined the staff of new Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman.
GEORGIA TECH (3): Johnson fired defensive coordinator Al Groh, father and former boss of aforementioned Mike, during the season. Ted Roof, a Georgia Tech graduate and former Duke coach and Penn State DC, replaces Groh.
Mike Pelton, who worked the past two years at Auburn, is Charles Kelly’s successor and will coach the Yellow Jackets’ defensive line. Georgia Tech announced Wednesday the hiring of quarterbacks coach Bryan Cook, previously co-offensive coordinator at Cal Poly. He replaces Brian Bohannon, who became the first head coach at Kennesaw State.