Mike DeCourcy of the The Sporting News helped the national media save a little face on Tuesday when he ran a piece called N.C. State isn’t doing this hiring thing right. So much that has been written recently from survey-course-journalists who were educated on MTV and Nintendo has been so far beyond the realm of common sense that we haven’t even bothered commenting here at SFN. As the coke-bottled judge on Boston Legal would say, “Too much jibber-jabber. It’s just poppy-coock”
Most of DeCourcy’s piece, however, was fantastic. A few comments were a little off (I’ll hit more on them later). Much of it re-emphasized the accurate words that good words that Tom Suiter shared last week. Ultimately DeCourcy criticized the execution of Lee Fowler’s search by citing a few public developments.
I think DeCourcy probably shares an opinion that I have and the bloggers here at SFN share — the ultimate result of the search does not have to be concluded to analyze how the search is being executed. Of course the ultimate result should be the primary component of any final judgement. But, just like a team that wins a game after playing horribly, the result was not 100% reliant on the team played and the the result doesn’t stop coaches from wanting to fix what went wrong on Monday morning.
Like I, DeCourcy believes
There are lots of reasons lots of coaches would love to have this job, but State’s blind lust for a famous coach leads us to believe they’d hire Paris Hilton before calling Gregg Marshall or Bob McKillop.
The university has allowed this pursuit to get really sloppy, and it’s a shame, because this is one of the great basketball programs. Wolfpack fans deserve better. The calamity of this search has turned some potential candidates against it. Some are angry. Some are merely suspicious that if chosen now — in the wake of open rejection by Rick Barnes, John Calipari, Steve Lavin and John Beilein — their selection would not be embraced.
^This exact point was eloquently developed by BJD earlier today on SFN. I think that there have been a lot of mistakes made to this point of the search (none of which cannot be undone with a super hire, mind you)…but DeCourcy/BJD’s points are what I believe to be Lee Fowler’s fatal flaw in this process (to this point in time) –
After John Calipari turned down NC State, Lee Fowler made a conscious decision to continue the â€˜big game huntâ€™ when it was not the natural next step in the search. By unrelentingly continuing the chase a â€œname” rather than a well-researched, strategic hire Fowler essentially reduced the pool of valuable “Stage B” candidates potentially hireable while opening himself and NC State up to massive public ridicule.
I can’t currently figure out if we are fortunate or unfortunate that all the criticism would be ‘undone’ with a huge ‘name’ hire? It feels as though the dwindling allure of landing a big name continues to be the drug upon which Fowler is addicted. With each passing day, a huge hire becomes more and more about getting lucky with timing despite Les Robinson’s consistent reminder that “CM Newton hired Rick Pitino in July.”
People close to the search continue to rely on their perspective that ‘there are a handful of good candidates that State could hire with one phone call.’ I totally buy that; no argument from me.
What I wonder/worry about is the size of the quality gap that exists between the home run candidates and the fallback candidates. I fear that NC State may have sacrificed many of the potentially super hires “in the middle” – B. Gillispie, M. Turgeon, D. Felton, T. Floyd, J. Pelphrey – by the manner in which the search has been executed.
That is not a huge criticism…and I think that it is a fair concern. Analyzing talent, building networks, and being prepared is what AD’s are paid to do when searches aren’t happening. The fans that say that “nothing matters until the hire is made” are the fans who are too dense to understand that every day that a hire was not announced (for the first 21-28 days) was another day of creating an impediment to hiring a strong Stage B candidate.
You should read DeCourcy’s whole piece. I am going to bullet point a couple of disagreements I have with his info/perspective:
* Rick Barnes – DeCourcy has been vocal about not believing that Rick Barnes would ever consider NC State. If he would open himself up to facts on the matter, he would be batting almost 1.000 on the coaching search.
* Phil Ford – DeCourcy is right that it “embarassed the school” that news leaked that someone spoke to Ford. But, some of the good bloggers at SFN tell me that there is no reason to be embarassed about the conversations. Evidently, there will be more on this in the future.
No matter what you think of the coaching search at N.C. State, understand one thing: Not a single coach turned down this job because some Wolfpack fans were mean to Herb Sendek. Not one.
Many of them will tell you Sendek did a pretty fair job, and they’d be right, but most coaches only will be critical of a rival coach if the two of them are competing for the same recruit.
What those coaches who are — or were — interested in this job understand is that despite not making the NCAA Tournament for his first five seasons on the job, Sendek was allowed to remain for another five seasons. That’s the kind of sturdy support few coaches expect in the positions they hold now.