By David Teel
3:31 PM EDT, April 11, 2013
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.
Short-timer Maryland is the only ACC team returning its entire staff from last season, ironic given the mass transfers the Terps have endured since head coach Randy Edsall was hired in 2011.
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.
MARYLAND (0): If ever a program needed some stability. As friend and esteemed colleague Patrick Stevens notes, the Terps had had three offensive coordinators in as many years and four defensive coordinators in five.
MIAMI (3): Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and running backs coach Terry Richardson went to the Jacksonville Jaguars and were replaced, respectively, by Coley from Florida State and Hurricanes operations director assistant Harlie Brown.
When receivers coach George McDonald departed for Arkansas — he later went to Syracuse as offensive coordinator — Al Golden hired deposed Florida International coach Mario Cristobal. He promptly went to Alabama, and Golden turned to Larry Scott, formerly of South Florida, not the Pacific 12 commissioner.
NORTH CAROLINA (2): Deke Adams (defensive line) and David Duggan (linebackers) departed for South Carolina and Southern Mississippi, respectively. Head coach Larry Fedora hired Keith Gilmore from Illinois and Ron West from Arizona State as their successors.
N.C. STATE (8): New head coach Dave Doeren retained one of Tom O’Brien’s assistants: running backs coach Des Kitchings. His offensive coordinator is Matt Canada, previously the OC at Wisconsin (2012), Northern Illinois (2011, under Doeren) and Indiana (2007-10). Dave Huxtable is the Wolfpack’s defensive coordinator, the same position he held last season at Pittsburgh.
PITT (1): Head coach Paul Chryst promoted Matt House (defensive backs) to replace Huxtable. He then hired John Palermo as a defensive assistant. Palermo and Chryst were co-workers at Wisconsin.
SYRACUSE (7): Scott Shafer retained Rob Moore (receivers) and Tim Daoust (defensive line) from Doug Marrone’s staff. His coordinators are McDonald (past two years at Miami, previous two with Cleveland Browns) on offense and Chuck Bullough on defense. Bullough worked the past two seasons with the Browns, the previous five at UCLA.
VIRGINIA (5): After firing defensive coordinator Jim Reid, Shawn Moore (tight ends), Mike Faragalli (running backs) and Jeff Hanson (defensive line), London lost offensive coordinator Bill Lazor to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Replacements, not to be confused with the alternative rock band: offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild from the San Diego Chargers, defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta from N.C. State, associate head coach/offense O’Brien from N.C. State, running backs coach/special teams Larry Lewis from Nevada and receivers coach Marques Hagans, promoted from graduate assistant.
London’s original hire to succeed Faragalli, Jeff Banks from Texas-El Paso, left soon thereafter to Texas A&M.
VIRGINIA TECH (3): The most debated and anticipated changes in our little corner were in Blacksburg, where Beamer demoted offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring and excused Mike O’Cain (quarterbacks), Kevin Sherman (receivers) and Curt Newsome (offensive line).
In their stead, Scot Loeffler will run the offense and coach quarterbacks, while Jeff Grimes handles the o-line and Aaron Moorehead the receivers. Loeffler and Grimes come from Auburn, Moorehead from Stanford.
WAKE FOREST (2): Former Purdue All-America receiver Taylor Stubblefield arrives from New Mexico to coach his specialty position, replacing Lonnie Galloway, who went to West Virginia. Warren Belin comes from the Carolina Panthers and will coach the outside linebackers, succeeding Tim Duffie, now at Oklahoma State.
There you have it. If only we had this rate of turnover in Congress.
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