Raise your hand if, like me, you gave a loud “What the hell?” when Mark Gottfried was announced as the new Wolfpack men’s basketball coach nearly a year ago. I admit it – at this time a year ago, I was spending hours on the internet trolling for the scoop on who State would hire. Barnes didn’t want the job, Miller didn’t want the job, Smart didn’t want the job. When I heard the name Gottfried, my first knee-jerk reaction was that NC State had flubbed yet another basketball hire. I mean, this guy wasn’t even employed as a coach when we landed him!
Here we sit a year later and with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that Mark Gottfried was the right choice to bring our beloved men’s basketball program back from the dead. I’m not saying that the man is the second coming of Everett Case, only time will tell that. But the clear improvement in the Wolfpack players between this year and last year can’t be ignored. This guy can coach and teach basketball.
The fact that so many of us were scratching our heads over Gottfried’s hire is another example of what I wrote (but then failed to actually practice) during the coaching search, Ya Gotta Know What Ya Don’t Know. If only I followed my own advice when I wrote;
There are a gazillion factors in hiring a major college basketball coach. And the great majority of those factors are things that the average fan doesnâ€™t know by judging a win-loss record or watching games on television. We are making strong judgments based largely on perception.
Instead, I jerked my knee banging it so hard when I read that the choice was Gottfried. It turns out that the sky wasn’t falling and the Athletic Director Debbie Yow did actually know what she was doing in hiring Gottfried. Was he the first choice? No, but he was the right choice and clearly Yow had the professional expertise to make the right call. This is an expertise that I and certainly most other Wolfpack fans don’t have.
And those so-called “name” coaches we all wanted? Check out our StateFans Nation Forums for an update on coaches named Barnes, Miller and Turgeon who are now scheduling their tee times rather than basketball practice.
My knee has healed nicely, thanks for asking!