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Breaking Radio Silence: Thoughts On Gottfried Hire

April 6, 2011

Like a catcher afraid to speak with his pitcher in the middle of a crucial ballgame, I've (obviously) not been posting lately.

Call it superstition if you will, but a part of me was certain if I started blogging about any and every little (or big) coaching rumor we all heard, I'd somehow find a way to blame myself for screwing it all up. This is what it's like being a State fan…doom is around every corner and can be found with minimal effort.

Courtesy N&OBut lo and behold, Tuesday came and delivered to us a basketball coach: Mark Gottfried. He was unemployed in the coaching ranks previously, working at ESPN as an analyst, living out the remaining months of his buyout from his exit at Alabama in '09.

In many ways, Yow's hire mimiced the recent hire at another historically-strong-but-recently-irrelevant program, St. John's, who hired Steve Lavin this past season away from ESPN. And in his first season, the Johnnies enjoyed spurts of high success this year.

Look, no one will tell you this was a slam-dunk hire. It wasn't. Mark wasn't an A-Lister, a B-Lister, or a C-, D- or E-Lister. He was a Not-On-Anyone's-Lister.

(He damn sure wasn't on my spreadsheet.)

But think about where we, as a fanbase, were in the hours during and following the national title game Monday. We'd seen Shaka, Marshall and Cronin all slip through Yow's fingers (allegedly) in a matter of 2-3 hours earlier. Then comes the baffling email right at tipoff where Yow basically tells us the State job has been really, REALLY hard to fill.

In a short timeframe, I went from believing there was a magical big-name hire already on the hook causing all these declinations to realizing we were back at square one. Or worse. To say I was bummed out would be a severe understatement.

And yet, 24 hours later, State is suddenly hiring a guy with a fairly impressive resume; someone completely off the radar because all of us were so laser focused on scouring the ranks of those currently coaching that few–if any–considered those who might be out of coaching at the time.

Was the process messy? Yes. Very. And that was concerning given we State fans foot a $90K bill for the services of Parker Executive Search firm. And the letter  still blows my mind–it contained some language that was over-the-top in its frankness about the job and, had Gottfried come to Debbie's rescue, could've further hindered the search process.

But you don't judge a search on the search…you judge it on the results it yields down the road. Mark Gottfried probably won't win State its third national title, but I feel much better about State's chances of becoming a regular fixture in the NCAAs moving forward than I did Monday evening.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Tampa-Pack permalink
    April 6, 2011 1:07 pm

    First off welcome back! Great article. I’m pretty much in the same boat as you. Could’ve been better, really could’ve been worse. Once you get past the shock of it, he has a decent resume – one of the best we’ve ever hired. The W/L column will determine if he will be successful, best of luck coach!

    • Tampa-Pack permalink
      April 6, 2011 1:41 pm

      In addition to what I said above, although this may be a good friend of Yow, you know Woodson, at the least, also had to approve of the hire. If both of them are okay with the hire, than I will be as well – until he proves something different on (or off) the court.

  2. April 6, 2011 1:23 pm

    Good article and perspective on the feelings of NCSU fans from Monday into Tuesday. At first I was extremely skeptical of the hire. I feel much better about it after my initial reaction, but will wait to judge until we see the product he puts on the floor. It appears his first true test is going to be getting the players to stay.

  3. April 6, 2011 1:26 pm

    He’ll go a long way toward winning me over if the current players stick around … that will show me if he is still in tune with today’s players. These are his first big recruits, and I think a reason a lot of us thought this job was a good one was because of the talent we currently have on the team. Gottfried’s first few weeks on the job may be his most important ones.

  4. ironmonger_captain permalink
    April 6, 2011 1:37 pm

    Well said.

  5. 74eagle permalink
    April 6, 2011 1:38 pm

    I was more comforted by the silence on your site than anything else during this search. -Thank you. I’m also pleased with the hire. Given the he loves me/ he loves me not candidates be they real or imagined, the kick-me-when I’m down national media editorials, and the apparent blood-lust of GW to DY, to have a coach that achieved success at freakin’ Alabama makes me hopeful towards the future.

    We know how good this job is, despite all the people who like to bash it. We have the recruiting base, we have the fuh-cilities, we have the $, and the commitment from adminstration. If hwsnbn can win here, Mark G can win big here. (And his teams at Al were fun to watch, so we could win without an excruiating inflexible offense).

    Good luck Mark and Go Pack!

    • Anonymous permalink*
      April 9, 2011 12:36 am

      I have a feeling I’ll be in the minority here, but I think if Herb had the personality of MG and played an exciting brand of basketball, I think most folks would’ve been much more patient with him at the success level his teams were at near the end. The basketball style was horrible, and there was zero connection with him and the fanbase.

      That’s not to say I’ll be happy if MG plateaus at about the same level as Herb, but watching exciting basketball (isn’t this supposed to be entertainment, after all?) and having a coach who connects with the fanbase goes a long way.

  6. SlackZac permalink
    April 6, 2011 1:41 pm

    I am cautiously optimistic. His resume has some good things on it. There are obviously some things that aren’t that good. His mysterious departure from the Alabama program is a little disconcerting. but, he’s got a second chance. I hope he takes it and runs with it. There is talent on the roster. If he can keep it and then start recruiting, he might be able to turn things around pretty quick. the cubbard is not bare. cautious, because optimism and being a state fan go together like oil and water. I hope our current players will stay (as well as the 2 recruits coming in).

    • Anonymous permalink*
      April 9, 2011 12:42 am

      Hodge was on the radio today and believes all three will stay. Lo is a lock; CJ will probably stay; Harrow is probably the most likely to leave, but Hodge thinks he’ll ultimately stay.Now, how these guys adjust as they go from a coaching staff that pretty much let them do what they wanted to one that will hold them more accountable…that’ll be an interesting angle to keep an eye on.

  7. packalum08 permalink
    April 6, 2011 2:55 pm

    Like SlackZac, I’m cautiously optimistic. His last two seasons at Alabama were not good. However, I’m hoping that he has learned from his mistakes and from his time as an analyst. At this point, only time will tell.

    • Anonymous permalink*
      April 9, 2011 12:22 am

      I think for coaches that reach a certain level and then plateau, 10 years or so is about the time a coach and a fanbase start to reach the end of their relationship. Look no further than the Herb era, obviously. By year 10, even though we were still making tournament appearances, I think everyone in Raleigh knew it was time for a change.

      I, too, hope that Gottfried has used these last two years away from the game to get refreshed and rejuvenated about the game of basketball. It’s a new lease on life, so to speak.

  8. Travelwolf permalink
    April 7, 2011 4:31 am

    Either I’ve been reading your posts too much or you and I think alike. Well said.

    • Anonymous permalink*
      April 9, 2011 12:15 am

      I will never fault a man for reading my posts too much. 😉

      Thanks for the kind words!

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