<
>

Winners and losers on the ACC coaching carousel

Four new head coaches joined the fray in the ACC this year, but that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the coaching carousel. The assistant ranks have shifted considerably, too, with nine ACC teams replacing at least one coordinator. With that in mind, here are a few winners and losers from the coaching derby.

WINNERS

Virginia Tech: The pundits have lauded Justin Fuente's hire as a home run for the Hokies, but it's possible Fuente's ability to retain Bud Foster as defensive coordinator was just as big a move. Virginia Tech's staff maintains stability on the defensive side of the ball, while Fuente has largely filled the offensive vacancies with assistants Fuente was familiar with at Memphis, including offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen.

Miami: As much as Hurricanes fans were ready to see a change at head coach when Al Golden was let go, they were clamoring even more for a new defensive coordinator. Mark Richt brought in Manny Diaz to handle that role, which looks to be a move in the right direction for Miami, and he filled out the rest of his staff with some strong hires, too, including Thomas Brown, Stacy Searels and Craig Kuligowski.

Virginia: Plenty of fans were left scratching their heads when East Carolina fired Ruffin McNeill, but the Pirates' decision to part ways with their head coach was Virginia's gain. McNeill, who oversaw some of the American Athletic Conference's most prolific offenses at ECU, will now serve as the Cavaliers' inside linebackers coach, which should be a boon for Bronco Mendenhall's new staff.

Florida State: There weren't any changes at FSU, and that's actually good news. Whether it was Jimbo Fisher's name being floated at LSU or Charles Kelly's at Auburn, there's no question the Seminoles' staff risked being plundered. Instead, Fisher keeps a consistent staff for a young team. That's particularly good news on defense, where Kelly made big strides last season. If he'd left, it would've meant a fourth defensive coordinator in five years in Tallahassee.

LOSERS

Boston College: After a dismal 3-9 season, the last thing BC needed was a major staff shakeup, but that's exactly what happened. Losing defensive coordinator Don Brown, who kept the Eagles as one of the top defensive units in the country despite massive problems on offense, is a particularly big blow.

Duke: Call it the problems of success. A decade ago, the idea of Duke's staff being plundered would've been laughable, but when Scottie Montgomery was hired as head coach at ECU, it meant the Blue Devils would be turning to their third offensive coordinator in four years. Keeping it in the family by promoting Zac Roper was a smart move that may pay big dividends down the road, but losing Montgomery -- one of the top young coordinators in the game -- was a blow.

NC State and Pitt: Dave Doeren decided to move on from Matt Canada, letting his offensive coordinator go despite the Wolfpack upping their scoring average in each of Canada's three years there. Oddly, Canada landed at Pitt, where first-year coordinator Jim Chaney had bolted for Georgia, while NC State filled the void with Boise State's Eli Drinkwitz. Neither move is necessarily a bad one, and it's possible both teams will benefit later on. But for two younger teams hoping to find some stability, the shakeups -- particularly at Pitt, where Canada is the third OC in three years -- could take time to pay dividends.