Mark Gottfried has been fired as the coach at NC State. Nothing surprising there. Except that it’s February and he’s going to finish out the season on the sideline for the Wolfpack. I understand letting him go, even though he’s been the best coach they’ve had since Jimmy V. Even if he hasn’t been able to keep the talent in Raleigh, he’s got them to commit. He’s had 4 out of 5 years in the NCAA tournament and two Sweet 16, that’s pretty good by most standards. But not good enough apparently.
I’m sure that Debbie Yow thinks that sending the message that he won’t be back next year is meant to calm the fans on the message boards and tell recruits that things are changing. But what she is really doing is showing other coaches how she does things. I’m sure the wish list of coaches includes Brad Stevens, Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall and just about every other A-lister out there. But that’s not going to happen and lets be real, those guys aren’t leaving for very many school . NC State has top notch facilities and money spend, but as you know they have some famous neighbors down the street. For some coaches, the neighbors outweigh the perks.
Why leave a cushy mid major job where you are the biggest fish in a small pond? If things go well in Raleigh, you may have five seasons to win a title. Gott inherited a pretty solid team from Sidney Lowe and he got them to over achieve. But it was all downhill from there. Expectations are going to be high for the next hire, but should they? Fans have to realize that you have to start with smaller expectations. Look to our conference friends at Clemson. Beating Alabama wasn’t an over night fluke. It was nearly a decade of Dabo Swinney build a program. You have to give your coach a chance and stick with him. Clemson got worse before they got better. It’s just part of the process.
My guess, they pursue the usual A+ suspects and end up with a fired coach from another power five school. Which is fine, NC State needs to start with “fine” and work their way up from there. I don’t think there were a ton of Clemson fans that were enthused about Dabo in 200. Hire someone and let them work. Plus, basketball is much more fun around these parts when NC State is a player. This Carolina fan hopes we see that sooner than later.