Authors note: This is the first in a series of articles reflecting on the “Crap 10,” a list of the 10 worst college football coaches for each of the power five conferences, during the last 20 years. The first installment will look at the ACC.
In the last two decades, the Atlantic Coast Conference has been home to some of the best CFB coaches in the country, ranging from Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher to Bobby Petrino at Louisville. However, for every successful coach there’s always an equally bad one, hence the reason for the Crap 10–where being terrible at coaching gets you recognition! And for the poor fans and alums of these schools, conjure bad memories.
1. Carl Franks, Duke 1999-03
A former player at Duke in the 1980′s, Franks became head coach of his alma mater in 1999, replacing Fred Goldsmith, the last coach to take Duke to a bowl until David Cutcliffe in 2012. While Franks was lauded for his run of academic success with Duke football, his teams on the field left much to be desired, winning only three ACC games in five years. In 2000 and 2001 Duke would post back-to-back winless seasons.
2. Ted Roof, Duke 2003-07
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse in Durham, Duke decided that Roof was an upgrade over Franks. Despite having one of the best defenses in the country, Duke managed to win only six games in five years under Roof, which included a winless 2006 season as well as three straight years without an ACC victory.
3. Greg Robinson, Syracuse 2005-08
Once upon a time Syracuse was regarded as one of the best teams in the country.
In a period between 1991 and 2005, Syracuse won four Big East championships, played in a Sugar Bowl, and was an NFL factory.
After a mediocre 2004 season by Syracuse standards, the school decided to replace Paul Pasqaloni with Robinson, a guy that had enjoyed success as a defensive coordinator at the University of Texas under Mack Brown. And while he was lauded for his ability to speak, the fact of the matter is that on the field, his teams were atrocious.
Aside from the Orange’s upset of Louisville in 2007, Robinson posted the only double-digit loss seasons in school history, losing 10 games in 2005 and 2007. After a 3-9 season in 2008, Robinson would be fired.
4. Ron Cooper, Louisville 1995-97
Hard to imagine this, but almost twenty years ago, Louisville made one of the most mind boggling hires in college football history. Cooper replaced Howard Schnellenberger in 1995 after spending two seasons at Eastern Michigan as head coach. Anytime you hire a football coach from the worst college football program in the country, you’re set up for failure.
Louisville didn’t get the memo.
5. John Bunting, North Carolina 2001-06
Hired to replace Carl Torbush in 2001, Bunting, who played on UNC’s last ACC championship team, went 27-45 as head coach in Chapel Hill. While he managed to lead the Tar Heels to a Peach Bowl in 2001 (what is today considered today as the Belk Bowl), in 2004, Bunting’s tenure was for the most part an unmitigated disaster due to facilities, poor recruiting, etc.
6. Steve Kragthorpe, Louisville 2007-09
After a successful run at Tulsa, Kragthorpe was put in the unfortunate task of replacing Bobby Petrino as the head man in Louisville. Despite having a team read to win 10 or so games in 2007, Kragthorpe only could eke out six wins in 2007. Along with that, Krag’s team lost to Syracuse in back-to-back seasons, giving Greg Robinson (#3 on the list) two of his three Big East wins in his time in western New York.
After a 4-8 season in 2009, Kragthorpe would be canned as Louisville coach, becoming the first Cardinal coach to post a losing record since Ron Cooper (#4 on this list).
7. Jim Caldwell, Wake Forest 1993-2000
The first African American coach in the history of ACC football, Caldwell managed to have one winning season in eight seasons as coach at Wake Forest. While his offenses were prolific through the air, his rushing offenses were pretty much a steaming pile of shit. More importantly, in eight years at Wake Forest Caldwell won 12 ACC games.
8. Randy Edsall, Maryland 2011-Present
In 2011, James Franklin, a former Maryland assistant, took Vanderbilt to the 2011 Liberty Bowl becoming the first Vanderbilt coach to make a bowl game in their first season. That same year, Maryland hired Edsall. Despite having most of a team that won the Military Bowl the previous year, the Terps went 2-10.
Franklin then followed that season by taking Vanderbilt to three straight bowl games. Meanwhile, Edsall has one bowl appearance in three seasons at Maryland.
9. Carl Torbush, North Carolina 1997-00
Torbush was thrust into the unfortunate position of replacing Mack Brown in Chapel Hill. After winning the 1998 Gator Bowl, Torbush struggled mightily the next three years, eeking out his only bowl bid in three full years, appearing in the 1998 Las Vegas Bowl.
10. Mike London, Virginia 2010-Present
Once upon a time, London was a cop.
Then he was a football coach.
And then he sucked.