Before you read this article, please take a peek at what is probably the most on-point argument as to why NC State and it’s fans should continue to demand a winner…oh, and it’s written by a Duke website.
A lot of you have already read the article written a few days ago by Gary Parrish on the Wolfpack’s recent firing of Mark Gottfried. If you haven’t, go ahead and read what Mr. Parrish had to say regarding the NC State and their fan base here.
The article talks about the ‘unrealistic expectations’ that NC State fans have to win in the ACC. While this may or may not ring true, let’s break down the points Gary Parish made in his article, along with some other popular talking points that are floating around these days.
Point 1: NC State chased out Herb Sendek and Mark Gottfried after taking their teams to a fair number of NCAA tournaments
Now, I am not going to get into the ‘should we have fired Sendek’ argument, but let’s just take a look at what Sendek did after he was pushed over to ASU from NC State.
After 9 seasons and just two NCAA tournaments (one of which was lead by NBA star James Harden) Sendek was fired from ASU. Maybe it’s just that ASU fans are just as crazy and unrealistic as NC State fans. Whatever the case, it seems as if Sendek was who Wolfpack fans thought he was; a guy who ran a good program but never could build them into a true championship contender.
Now let’s look at Gottfried. He was not fired simply because of his two losing seasons, he was fired because his team showed a complete lack of some major fundamental building blocks. The team lacked physicality, showed long stretches of passionless basketball and ranked as one of the ACC’s worst Defenses of all time, which led to multiple losses by 20+ points.
Let’s not forget that multiple opponents have spoken out about NC State quitting when they got behind. Their lack of fight was literally built into opposing team’s scout prep. Gottfried has undoubtedly lost this team. The real questions are why and how?
It’s not really unprecedented to fire a coach who has shown some success early in career, but then completely unraveled only a couple years later. Let’s take a quick look at a somewhat similar scenario over at UNC.
Matt Doherty was the coach at UNC for 3 years. In his first year, the man made the NCAA tournament and at one point was #1 in the nation. He then followed that with one very bad season with a young team and then another decent season where they barely missed the NCAA. Following that, Doherty was pushed out from UNC amidst rumors that he had lost the respect of his players.
Think back to that time. There were no national articles about how UNC was expecting too much or that they weren’t giving Doherty was being treated unfairly. In fact, the national media joined the bandwagon and helped push the narrative that Doherty had failed and it was time for the Heels to move on.
Point 2: NC State cannot get a top-tier talent because they are right down the road from UNC and Duke
This is a point that drives us nuts, and the arguments on this are absolutely absurd.
What year are we living in? This isn’t 1970 where you are only competing for talent within state lines. We are talking about a time where a coach can go and watch a kid play ball in California and the next day be in Florida to watch someone else. The location of rival schools makes little difference. While there is some truth to the notion that you want a chance to pull kids who want to stay close to home, it is hardly the focal point of recruiting anymore. Take a look at this years Duke team if you want. Just one player from the state of NC. So is Duke a bad job because they are losing the local battle to UNC and NC State? Come on. This is a strawman argument that holds little weight.
Point 3: According to Gary Parish, this is a job coach’s won’t touch because of how NC State and their fans treat their coaches.
Ok, lets take a look at this. You’re saying that no coach would want to work in an atmosphere where you face the best teams day in day out, at a school who absolutely loves and supports their team?
Sure, you’re not going to get a coach who is scared, or someone who wants to play it safe, rack up the wins at a mid-major and then retire off into the sunset without even trying his hand at a true challenge. Fair enough, but coaches are naturally competitive and the ones that believe they are the best are looking for a job like this. One where they are on the national stage, with shot after shot at dethroning the king.
This job isn’t for everyone, that is understood. But to act like people won’t touch this job because it’s too tough or demands too much is completely misunderstanding the mindset of a coach looking to make a name for himself.
That being said, no one says this job is easy. It’s a high risk, high reward opportunity, and like any industry, when the stakes are higher and the demands are greater, then the compensation needs to also increase. NC State is not an ideal job for $2 million or $2.5 million. Especially for a proven coach with years of experience. But NC State is a very interesting opportunity for $3 – $3.5 million. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that it’s a really good job for that price, and one that will be piquing the interest of a lot of quality coaches.
There is no doubt that the timing of the fire is probably not ideal, but there is absolutely no reason to believe that no top-tier coach would want to coach at NC State. There are obviously plenty of factors that will play into finding a coach, and the expectations of the fan base and staff at NC State is one of them, but for the right price, it’s worth the risk.
On top of that, there is no reason that NC State fans should be ridiculed for demanding to win (and win consistently). This is a school that is rich in history. One that at a point was better than Duke and on par with UNC. One that has had hall-of-fame coaches, plays on Tobacco Road and boasts one of the most passionate fan bases in college basketball.
So, Gary Parish, we appreciate your expertise on NC State’s basketball program and you can tell your anonymous second tier coach that he can stay at his cozy second tier job. That is fine with us. We’ll keep demanding excellence until we get it.