Not counting Brown and two terms, the longest-tenured ACC coaches are Swinney, promoted from receivers coach to succeed Tommy Bowden midway through the 2008 season; Clawson, who landed at Wake Forest after being head coach at Fordham, Richmond and Bowling Green, and Dave Doeren, who came to N.C. State after two years at Northern Illinois. Some Tech fans will cringe at the thought, but such low-profile consistency might suit the Jackets.
This is Doeren’s 10th season in Raleigh; his Wolfpack haven’t won the Atlantic. Only in 2021 did Clawson’s Deacons manage more than eight wins. Doeren has never been the ACC coach of the year; Clawson won it last year, his eighth season at Wake. These aren’t flashy men at flashy programs. But they’ve done, by non-Clemson standards, pretty well.
Tech mightn’t be able to make a flashy hire. Would Lane Kiffin leaved the SEC for the ACC? As much as coaching in Atlanta might appeal to Deion Sanders, Prime Time figures to target a prime program, which Tech isn’t. Jamey Chadwell, who has done well at Charleston Southern and now Coastal Carolina, is a possibility, but I recall when luring Scott Satterfield from Appalachian State seemed a slam-dunk for Louisville. In Year 4 with the Cardinals, he’s 24-23.
Matt Rhule? He preceded (and exceeded) Collins at Temple and worked wonders in sweeping up Art Briles’ mess at Baylor. Still, he didn’t last three seasons with the NFL Panthers, who owe him $40 million. He’s not taking just any job. Tech, as we know, is harder than most. It’s a technical institute in the shadow of the nation’s best program. Collins brought great hype and put a huge emphasis on recruiting. He lasted three years and four games.
The abject failure of the #404Takeover leaves Tech with a fundamental issue. As antiquated as Johnson’s offense could seem, it nonetheless was capable of wrong-footing superior opponents. He won three times in Athens. Using conventional methods – pursuing 4-star recruits, throwing the occasional forward pass – how long might it be before any Tech team beats Georgia again? Jahmyr Gibbs, Tech’s biggest signing of the past 15 years, played two seasons here and hopped into the transfer portal.
Say what you will about Johnson, but he did something Gailey never did and Collins couldn’t do. He and his offense got Georgia’s attention. The Tech-Georgia game is 12 days away, and I guarantee you no UGA fan – except maybe Jeff Dantzler, who worries about everything – has given a thought to the Jackets. Maybe J Batt, the new AD, will find a coach capable of making Tech scary again. Darned if I know who that person might be.
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