The debate over the ACC’s best football coach is a spirited one that boils down to whether you prefer Dabo Swinney and his impressive career resume at Clemson or the immediacy of the past 2 seasons put together by Florida State’s Mike Norvell.

Basketball offers a much easier call.

With the recent retirements of Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams and Jim Boeheim, Virginia’s Tony Bennett, with his .732 winning percentage and the national championship he won in 2019, is now the undisputed king.

But what happens when you combine the 2 sports?

Bennett gets dropped from consideration because of a football coach, Tony Elliott, who has won only 3 games in each of his first 2 seasons. And while Swinney and Norvell are the cream of the crop in the ACC, the basketball programs at their schools haven’t been nearly as successful.

Who has the league’s best football/basketball coaching combinations?

Let’s check out the top 5.

5. Dave Doeren/Kevin Keatts, NC State

Neither coach has brought home an ACC championship, which continues to be a source of frustration to the Wolfpack’s passionate, long-suffering fan base.

But Doeren has been the model of consistency, leading State to 8 or more wins in each of the past 4 seasons – the first time in school history that’s been done. A respected developer of talent who has sent numerous players to the NFL, he became the school’s all-time winningest coach by beating Miami for his 78th victory last November. Doeren’s no-nonsense personality and blue collar coaching philosophy have also been a good fit for a program that loves to play the part of the underdog.

Wolfpack Nation hasn’t been nearly as patient with Keatts and for good reason. Although he’s won nearly 60% of his games during his tenure (129-88), he’s only managed to get his team into the NCAA Tournament twice in 6 seasons. But there have been extenuating circumstances, including the cloud of a lengthy NCAA investigation not of his doing and the COVID pandemic that canceled a tournament the Wolfpack likely would have been in.

4. Dave Clawson/Steve Forbes, Wake Forest

Peahead Walker and Jim Grobe each have 14 more career wins — at least for now — but a legitimate argument can be made that Clawson is the best football coach in school history. He presided over the program’s most successful 7-year stretch, winning an ACC Atlantic Division title in 2021 and earning bowl eligibility every season from 2016-2022 before having the streak snapped last season. Beyond the numbers, an accurate indicator of Clawson’s coaching ability is that his name is among the 1st mentioned for virtually every Power 5 job that comes open.

Forbes has only been at Wake for 4 seasons. But the job he has done in resurrecting a dormant basketball program has been nothing short of remarkable. The Deacons posted only 2 winning records in 11 seasons under Jeff Bzdelik and Danny Manning prior to his arrival. This season will be their 3rd in a row.

Nicknamed “The Portal Whisperer” because of his ability to spot transfer talent, he has used the portal to land the likes of 2022 ACC Player of the Year Alondes Williams, league-leading scorer Tyree Appleby and this year’s sensation Hunter Sallis. While he has yet to get to the NCAA Tournament, his 2021-22 team won 25 games, the 3rd-most in school history.

3. Mack Brown/Hubert Davis, North Carolina

The Tar Heels would easily have been No. 1 on this list before Roy Williams retired. It isn’t often that a school has Hall of Famers leading their teams in the 2 highest-profile sports. But even with 1st-time head coach Davis taking over the basketball program, UNC’s combo still ranks high compared to others in the conference.

Brown’s credentials speak for themselves. He won a national championship ring at Texas that sandwiched 2 successful runs in Chapel Hill. Not only are his 107 wins the most ever at UNC, but with the Tar Heels’ season-opening victory against South Carolina last September, he became the first coach in college football history to post at least 100 victories at 2 different schools.

Although the book is still out on how good a coach Davis is, his sample size is small and the bar he has to reach is extremely high, there can be no denying he’s off to a promising start. He’s already taken the Tar Heels to a national championship game, beating rival Duke and Krzyzewski twice in the process. And his current team is ranked in the top 10 and poised for another deep postseason run — maybe his first ACC Tournament title.

2. Dabo Swinney/Brad Brownell, Clemson

Dabo is obviously the one doing the heavy lifting in this duo. He has 170 wins, the most in school history, to go along with 2 nattys, 8 ACC titles, 3 Bear Bryant Awards as national Coach of the Year and bowl bids in each of his 16 seasons as a head coach. Now that Nick Saban has retired, he’s the most accomplished active coach in college football. (Sorry, Georgia fans.)

Swinney’s success and Clemson’s status as a football blue-blood have made life considerably less complicated for Brownell. With only 3 NCAA Tournament appearances in 13 seasons and an ACC record barely above .500, he might not have lasted this long at some other schools where basketball is a much higher priority.

And yet, you don’t stick around long enough to become the 3rd-longest tenured coach in the conference because nobody notices. He’s the winningest coach in Tigers history, with nearly 200 more victories than Cliff Ellis, the man who’s 2nd on the list. He’s had only 1 losing season since coming to Clemson, all the way back in 2011-12, and is well on his way to his 6th 20-win season and along the way. And oh yeah, he’s the only coach in program history to beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill – something he’s done twice in the past 4 years.

1. Mike Norvell/Leonard Hamilton, Florida State

With or without a spot in the College Football Playoff, Norvell’s performance in leading the Seminoles to an undefeated regular season and first ACC championship since 2014 has helped catapult the FSU duo straight to the top of the list.

Norvell’s success in Tallahassee goes much deeper than just one great season, though. He took over a program that was just a shadow of its former self and after 2 losing seasons while rebuilding, he has restored the Seminoles to elite status. The fact that he signed an extension to stay at FSU rather than flirting with Alabama about its job opening in December should tell you all you need to know about the long-term stability of the program.

When it comes to long-term success, no one in ACC basketball has done it better or longer at his school than Hamilton. Now in his 22nd season with the Seminoles, This is his 22nd season at FSU. And while his 2 most recent teams have slipped somewhat, he’s won 439 games, an ACC regular season and Tournament crown, and been to 8 NCAA Tournaments in a career that should eventually land him in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.