Dino Gaudio's unceremonious exit from Wake Forest on Wednesday left him in a unique group of former ACC coaches.
Since 1986, 16 coaches have either been fired or forced out. Gaudio tops the dubious group in ACC winning percentage (.562) and ranks second in overall winning percentage (.663).
It should be noted, Gaudio's tenure was the shortest of the group, tied with North Carolina's Matt Doherty and Maryland's Bob Wade at just three seasons.
Still, the winning record in the ACC, one of three on the list of 16, and the overall record made Wednesday's announcement unusual.
"On the surface, that looks like a very controversial and difficult decision," Wake AD Ron Wellman said Wednesday.
|Lefty Driesell, Md||1970-1986||17||348-159||.686|
|Dino Gaudio, WF||2008-2010||3||61-31||.663|
|Jim Valvano, State||1981-1990||10||209-114||.647|
|Pat Kennedy, FSU||1992-1997||11||202-131||.607|
|Bobby Cremins, GT||1982-2000||19||354-237||.599|
|Al Skinner, BC||1998-2010||13||247-165||.599|
|Jeff Jones, UVa||1991-1998||8||146-104||.584|
|Cliff Ellis, Clem||1985-1994||10||177-128||.580|
|Pete Gillen, UVa||1999-2005||7||118-93||.559|
|Matt Doherty, UNC||2001-2003||3||53-43||.552|
|Dave Leitao, UVa||2006-2009||4||63-60||.512|
|Larry Shyatt, Clem||1999-2003||5||70-84||.455|
|Les Robinson, State||1991-1996||6||78-98||.443|
|Steve Robinson, FSU||1998-2002||5||64-86||.426|
|Bob Wade, Md||1987-9189||3||36-50||.419|
|Bob Staak, WF||1986-1989||4||45-69||.395|
|Dino Gaudio, WF||27-21||.562|
|Lefty Driesell, Md||122-100||.549|
|Jim Valvano, State||71-69||.507|
|Al Skinner, BC||40-40||.500|
|Matt Doherty, UNC||23-25||.479|
|Bobby Cremins, GT||134-150||.427|
|Pat Kennedy, FSU||45-51||.469|
|Jeff Jones, UVa||59-67||.468|
|Dave Leitao, UVa||27-37||.422|
|Pete Gillen, UVa||45-67||.402|
|Cliff Ellis, Clem||56-90||.384|
|Steve Robinson, FSU||25-55||.313|
|Les Robinson, State||28-66||.298|
|Larry Shyatt, Clem||20-60||.250|
|Bob Wade, Md||7-35||.167|
|Bob Staak, WF||8-48||.143|
The overall numbers don't account for how a season unfolds. Wellman was clear Wednesday that he fired Gaudio, who had four seasons left on his contract, because of how each of his three seasons finished.
The undertone of Wellman's decision was that Gaudio didn't do enough with the talent on the roster.
In the past two seasons Gaudio had a combination of Jeff Teague, James Johnson and/or Al-Farouq Aminu, two first-round NBA draft picks and a projected lottery pick, yet lost in the ACC tournament to a double-digit seed by at least 10 points in both 2009 and 2010.
In 2009, the Deacs lost in the NCAA tournament to 13th-seeded Cleveland State in a game that was never close.
The second part of Wellman's decision, which he never enumerated, is that Wake's starting over in 2011. With Aminu off to the NBA, after his sophomore season, and three starting seniors exiting the program, Wake has to rebuild next season.
Instead of letting Gaudio dangle and then fry, after what will likely be a losing season, Wellman decided to start over with a new coach now.
Wellman's foresight and desire to be proactive is commendable and that could work out in Wake's favor, given the base of a five-man recruiting class, which includes four top 100 prospects.
In could also backfire on Wellman, who has worked himself into corner by firing Gaudio for his postseason failures.
That means he has to hire someone with a proven postseason record. The options are somewhat limited on that front, certainly if he wants to find a coach with East Coast ties.
Minnesota's Tubby Smith, who a national title at Kentucky, and Texas' Rick Barnes, who has a Final Four trip with the Longhorns, would both top that wish-list and would both be expensive.
Northern Iowa's Ben Jacobson and Texas A&M's Mark Turgeon, are two younger coaches, who have made a splash in the NCAA tournament, but recently signed considerable extensions. Not that extenstions are written in stone (See Dino Gaudio).
Butler's Brad Stevens is obviously the big prize but surely there are bigger jobs in the 33-year-old prodigy's future, immediate or otherwise.
Perhaps the best fit would be Baylor's Scott Drew, who led a small Baptist school to the Final Eight this season.
Wellman said he has a list. Given the parameters of Gaudio's firing, it can't be a long one.