Duke of the ACC: Where UVA’s Bennett Ranks Among Conference Coaches

Duke of the ACC: Where UVA’s Bennett Ranks Among Conference Coaches
By Christopher Boan
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

It’s been more than a decade since Tony Bennett traded in the Palouse for Central Virginia.

In the meantime, the Virginia basketball coach has won more than 300 games, has taken the Cavaliers to their first Final Four in a quarter-century and won the program’s first national title in 2019. 

In total, Bennett is 331-120 (.734) at Virginia, with eight NCAA Tournament appearances and five regular season ACC titles.

Again this year, the Cavaliers are Virginia sports betting favorites, off to a 15-3 overall mark (7-2 in the ACC).

After winning at Wake Forest last Saturday, Virginia doesn’t play again until this Saturday at home against Boston College.

FanDuel Sportsbook Virginia lists the Cavaliers as the overwhelming favorite to win the ACC regular season at -105. Clemson is second at +300.

Of the 15 ACC coaches, Bennett’s .734 winning percentage ranks first. His 331 wins are fourth — Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim is far and away the league leader with 1,112 victories.

BetVirginia.com took a look at where Bennett stands in the ACC, now that legendary names such as Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina’s Roy Williams have ended their long runs.

Top ACC Coaches By Winning Percentage

Coach School Age Record Win % 1st Year at School
Tony BennettVirginia53331-120.7342009-10
Hubert DavisNorth Carolina5243-16.7292021-22
Jim BoeheimSyracuse781,112-433.7201976-77
Jon ScheyerDuke3514-6.7002022-23
Mike BreyNotre Dame63481-270.6402000-01
Leonard HamiltonFlorida State74424-255.6242002-03
Jim LarrañagaMiami73241-115.6242011-12

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Who is the ACC’s New Standard Bearer?

If Virginia sports betting apps took wagers on the ACC’s top coach, Bennett would be among the favorites.

The three-time Associated Press National Coach of the Year is the seventh youngest coach in a conference that has a 43-year gap between its youngest (Duke’s Jon Scheyer) and oldest (Boeheim) leaders.

Scheyer, in his first season with the Blue Devils, was percentage points ahead of Bennett through his first 19 games before Monday’s loss to Virginia Tech.

Of the six coaches who are younger than Bennett, none have won more than a third as many games as the 53-year-old, with NC State’s Kevin Keatts being the next closest, at 105-73 with the Wolfpack.

It’s also worth noting the ACC has as many coaches 60 or older as under 40 (four apiece), meaning there will likely be more turnover before long.

In the case of longtime Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, that turnover is coming sooner rather than later, as the all-time leader in wins in South Bend will step down at season’s end after going 481-270 between 2000 and 2023.

Larrañaga (73 years old), Hamilton (74), and Boeheim (78) could all decide to retire soon, which would remove three of the conference’s leaders in winning percentage.

Who Could Challenge Bennett As ACC’s Top Coach?

The other candidates to one-up Bennett in the ACC are from the conference’s youthful wing, such as Scheyer and Davis. Davis took the Tar Heels to the NCAA title game during his first season at UNC.

The other two ACC coaches under the age of 50 (Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner and Pitt’s Jeff Capel III) have sub-.500 records at their current school and don’t appear set for long-term success.

That leaves longtime conference coaches, like Clemson’s Brad Brownell, who has gone 234-170 (.579) with the Tigers, and Keatts at NC State as the most likely outsiders to challenge Bennett as the ACC’s standard-bearer.

If the Tigers can continue their hot start to the season (ranked 24th in the latest AP top 25) and Scheyer and Davis can continue winning at the pace they have, they will likely emerge as top challengers to Bennett among ACC coaches.

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Contributors

Christopher Boan has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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