Contrary to many Wolfpackers preconceived notions, the sun did come up today!!
Instead of moping and whining about some slimeball that played us, it is time to turn our sights to the future. We think that most people already have.
Before we get going we want to thank some NC State “insiders” who we understand have been very complimentary of SFN. We understand that few people close to the search have commented on SFN’s accuracy, discretion, and quality of conversation. We very much appreciate the comments:
The Wolfpack Today
* Barring an unknown & unexpected event with some kind of “mystery candidate”, NC State’s coaching search has probably entered a different phase where “Stage B” candidates will need to be properly vetted if they have not already been analyzed by Lee Fowler and team.
* We would be severely disappointed if Fowler had not taken advantage of the last ten days (not to mention the couple of weeks before Sendek’s announcement that Fowler claimed to have knowledge of Sendek’s potential departure) to do his homework. People close to NC State claim that this is not a problem and that Fowler was engaged in creating a contingency plans prior to Barnes & Calipari.
* Relatedly, some in college basketball tell SFN that Lee Fowler’s “shotgun approach” to the market may have hurt NC State’s reputation amongst coaches worse than publicly missing on two of the best names in coaching. Evidently, Fowler (NC State) made so many initial calls to named coaches that had no connection or reason to be interested in leaving their current position that we came across as disorganized and desperate. We understand this. But, we call a little bit of “BS” on this as we don’t think that this ultimately made a difference to anyone whom we had a legitimate shot to land.
The ultimate question now is which candidate will ultimately rise to the top (and why) of the “next tier.”
Standard of Evaluation
One of our biggest pet peeves during this process is to watch and listen to idiots just throw names out of the blue as potential candidates for no legitimate reason or “fit”.
One of the worst mistakes that fans make is taking a potential candidate’s historical record somewhere else and extrapolate it to NC State. Fans have a very bad habit of taking a coachâ€™s overall record and latching on to it as if it would be transferrable to other jobs. Fans need to analyze how a coach has performed compared against the resource base of their past jobs, compared to the historical performance of the schools where they coached, and compared to the performance of their peers during their coaching tenure.
Steve Lavin is a good example of this folly. Many fans just pull up Lavin’s biography and see some decent numbers. They fail to acknowledge that he had one of the five best basketball jobs in America and that his numbers were so unacceptable when framed against the backdrop of his resource base that he was fired after seven years.
Would we be pleased with Lavin’s seven years at UCLA? Probably. But, the real question is, “would he be able to deliver those seven years at NC State today when it was the best that he could do at UCLA after inheriting a program just a couple of years after winning a National Championship and when there was no UNLV with which to contend out west? Probably not. (Click here for more on Lavin)
Frank Haith – State’s Floor Provides Comfort
Many people have asked, “why aren’t you more devastated by the Rick Barnes & John Calipari situation over the last ten days?” The answer lies in what we think is NC State’s “floor” in this search. In other words, “what is the worst that NC State can do?”.
Barring a God-awful mistake like John Brady (that we honestly do not think that the Wolfpack Club would allow to happen), we think that the “worst” that NC State could do is hire Frank Haith. If you don’t know much about Haith, then click here to give yourself a little background.
Step away from all of your pre-conceived notions for a moment. Think about this and realize that State is in a position that the “WORST” (for lack of a better term”) that we can do in this search is get: a current Atlantic Coast Conference head coach who was the lead assistant in the ACC for successful Wake Forest teams before becoming the lead assistant and top recruiter for Rick Barnes at Texas. By all personal accounts, Haith is an articulate, fiery, tireless worker who has valuable ties in local recruiting networks and is going to be a super coach.
And, some people are upset thinking that the search isn’t going well and is supposed to be bad?
Stop thinking that the sky is falling and realize that State’s downside in this search is very limited — a current ACC Head Coach with great upside! What is their to be worried about?
For some more relevant and poignant discussion related to Haith and the obstacle of him currently coaching within the ACC, please click here.
* As you have hopefully noticed about our coaching updates – we try to focus our “scoop” on de-briefing on events that are in the past and that public disclosure would not negatively impact NC State. We spend more time analyzing and discussing “what ifs” and “what we thinks” than we do trying to ‘spill the beans’ on scoop.
* Unless there is anything of which we are unaware brewing with Jay Wright (or some other mystery ‘name’ candidate), then NC State’s coaching search is entering a phase where secrecy should be at a premium. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to pursue Rick Barnes and John Calipari. And, its not nearly as ‘embarassing’ to have been turned down by them as many people seem to think (especially in light of how genuinely interested that Barnes was and how publicly interested that Calipari was). BFD.
* But, the next phase is going to be different. We don’t expect there to be much information that would be prudent to be shared publicly considering where the search is today. < * We do think that the Athletics Department continues to play the local and national media almost as effectively as they were played by John Calipari. We think that department continues to leak the names of obviously sub-par candidates like John Brady and Steve Lavin in an attempt to lower Wolfpackers standards and generate fear about “how bad” things could be. This helps Wolfpackers naturally accept the names of candidates that had not previously been higher on the preferred list. We think that this is a great strategy is proving quite effective.
This leaves us with “The List” that we hoped that we would never have to compile.
The following are the names that think represent a BLEND of whom we think that NC State should consider, who we think is realistic to consider, and who we think is actually being considered
Potentially Being Considered
The following are names that we have reason to believe have been or are being considered by NC State. Other names not included on this list may be under current consideration:
Billy Gillispie, Texas A&M
Gregg Marshall, Winthrop
Frank Haith, Miami
Steve Lavin, ESPN
John Brady, LSU
Should they be Analyzed/Considered?
The following are names that we toss out as names that may be on NC State’s list &/or may be worth examining (at this point in the process):
PJ Carlisemo, San Antonio Spurs
Sidney Lowe, Detroit Pistons
Dennis Felton, Georgia
Mark Turgeon, Wichita State
John Pelphrey, South Alabama
Dave Odom, South Carolina
Sean Miller, Xavier
Should NOT be Discussed
The following are names we don’t believe deserve discussion right now either because of their legitimacy as a candidate in the reality of the search or because of they absurdity of their candidacy. (Any comments about any of these coaches will be deleted from the comments section)
Bobby Lutz, Charlotte
Monte Towe, New Orleans
Dereck Whittenburg, Fordham
It has been no secret that behind the scenes Frank Haith has been lobbying hard for the job. We look at it the current situation this way — Haith is the floor under which State should not allow themselves to fall.
At this point, all candidates should be compared to what Frank Haith offers NC State. When we look at the list, we think that the situation boils down to Greg Marhsall of Winthrop vs Billy Gillispie of Texas A&M vs Frank Haith of Miami.
We don’t know the ins and outs of each candidate. We don’t know a lot of their ‘backstory’ within college basketball. We don’t know who is the right “fit” for NC State. This kind of granular research is why you pay Lee Fowler what you pay him.
If somebody else who was ACTUALLY PLAUSIBLE had a significantly better resume, then maybe you make a play. But we don’t see it right now. We expect the search team to use Haith as the standard by which other candidates are compared. In our opinion, Haith’s familiarity of the area and legitimate passion and energy for the job ultimately get him over the finish line.
And, this excites us more and more with every passing moment.
Postscript: We wrote this last night and wanted to wait until the middle of today to post it. Great minds must think alike because the folks at Pack Pride have just posted detailed information about the candidates that we have been discussing. This is their link in case you need some research on this names.