As the Internet continues to grind out speculation regarding the the coaching vacancy in the Wolfpack men’s basketball program, the now legendary thread on the StateFans Nation forums got me to thinking; what really drives this collective desire to find out any information on who the next coach might be? Why would hiring Rick Barnes/Billy Donovan/Sean Miller excite a larger percentage of the fan base than hiring Shaka Smart or Gregg Marshall? As we pointed out last week, truly educated opinions on coaches are few and far between, it’s primarily a perception game that drives fan excitement.
And then it hit me.Â The press conference to announce the new hire is the program’s first “win” under new leadership. Let’s just say that Debbie Yow rolls up to the podium with Billy Donovan in hand in a few days. The press will go nuts, the coverage will be national and the admins at StateFans Nation will probably have to get even more powerful servers to handle all the traffic. We’ll all stroll into work the next day with our chest stuck out and that Tarhole who works for you will have to grudgingly concede that little ‘ol NC State pulled off a big hire.
Under that scenario, we haven’t won the first game yet, but we have won the press conference and fired a strong first shot in the perception war. The payoff is immediate and it would feel really good to get that first win.
Contrast that with the announcement that we hired Shaka Smart/Gregg Marshall/insert mid-major here. I’d be pleased and not disappointed in the least.Â However, in terms of fan excitement, we’d all have a very hopeful wait and see attitude. We wouldn’t get the immediate payoff of winning the press conference.
The irony is that winning the press conference is certainly no guarantee of restoring Wolfpack basketball to its previous greatness. It
would will be nice to win the press conference, but there are much bigger fish to fry.