SFN’s Football Coaching Scoop & Discussion (Tuesday Morning – 10:45am Update)

It is that time of decade again!!! Time for a coaching search!!! If you’re a long time reader of SFN then you know how we do this and how much we love it — not only will we pass along nuggets of information that we are picking up in our network, but we try to add analysis and insight to what we hear.

After the news of Coach O’Brien’s firing hit on Sunday afternoon many news outlets and blogs began compiling their lists. There weren’t too many surprises on the lists. The following is our attempt to partially set the table on the situation and share a little of what we are hearing.


And we’re off!!!!
The 2012 installment of ‘Follow the Coaching Search’ appears to be developing very similar to Debbie Yow’s 2010 basketball search — QUIETLY.

Over the last 48 hours, we have have picked up very little tangible information from NC State-related sources. So, it took much of yesterday for others in college football to start talking and have the echo chamber begin reverberating around the country. Most of what we are currently learning is being learned from others talking.

The search started with two distinct theories — (1) First, Yow either already had her man (or felt confident in how quickly she could get him); or (2) Yow would be working fast and furious to collect as much information as possible on potential candidates. Both of these theories could be supported by developments yesterday; so, we do not have a position on this yet.

However, I do have a position on how prepared NC State is for this search and situation — I am 100% confident that Yow has been preparing for this situation since the day she arrived in Raleigh. There is NO WAY that she doesn’t already have a general list of some potential targets (if not already has her man). She shared her desired profile of a candidate in the news conference on Sunday – and that picture of an energetic and tireless recruiter is one that we need to keep in mind when evaluating potential candidates.


This is NOT Basketball
I’ve heard some NC State fans and media members spinning cautionary tales about Debbie Yow’s hiring talents and using the length of the 2010 basketball search as an example. 99.9FM’s Joe Ovies uses the analog that Yow ‘threw a hail mary’ that we got lucky was caught by Mark Gottfried.

People are forgetting a major item in their selective view of history — the basketball ‘calendar’ is very different than the football calendar.

In 2010, our basketball search was held hostage by the NCAA Tournament and Shaka Smart’s run to the Final Four. NC State wanted Shaka Smart; and, Shaka Smart wanted NC State to the point that after VCU lost in the Final Four on Saturday that his lawyer worked through the night with NC State to finish a contract. Yes it all fell apart when he and his wife wanted to stay closer to her family. But, the point is that the timeline in 2010 was dictated to us by game schedules and circumstances that do not exist here. Don’t fall for this kind of trepidation from negative nellies that just want to complain about something.

SFN has done some work analyzing historical hiring trends in college football and history would dictate that next week is when the action really starts happening as a lot of teams – and their top coordinators – are still playing (full Big XII schedule, Big East schedule, conference championship games).


James Franklin
There is no doubt in my mind that this job is James Franklin’s if James Franklin wants it. Debbie clearly tried to take this off the table from the very beginning in the press conference. We could attempt to over-analyze what was actually said and the way it was said – but there is no reason to go that route at the moment.

I think the most important take away regarding Franklin is how the strength of his relationship with Yow mitigates us from some of the risks that we took with Shaka Smart an our past basketball searches — Franklin and Yow are close enough for there to be no BS. No jerking around. It sounds simple, but Franklin has either said an absolute ‘yes’ or an absolute ‘no’ and therefore will not cloud our search and take us off course.

For now, we have to accept Yow’s public proclamation that it won’t be James. If true, that means he has said ‘no’ because Tennessee, Auburn, Arkansas and others are in pursuit with big dollars. Good for him.


Monday’s Clubhouse Leader
The name that had the most buzz on Monday was Sonny Dykes, current head coach at Louisiana Tech (link to Wikipedia). Dykes clearly fits the profile Yow outlined in her press conference on Sunday.

Dykes generated immediate success at Louisiana Tech with a 22-15 overall record in three years as head coach. The Bulldogs have consistently improved under Dykes from 5-7 in 2010 to 8-5 in 2011 and 9-3 this season.

Dykes is only 43 years old and has a national reputation as one of the country’s best recruiters and offensive minds. He has worked as a co-ordinator with some of the most innovative offensive coaches in the country including Mike Leach at Texas Tech and at Tulsa with Dana Holgorson (currently at West Virginia).

When Debbie Yow was at Maryland and the Terrapins were positioning for a post-Fridge era, rumors leaked that Yow liked Mike Leach and that Leach could be next in line at Maryland. So, a lot of eyebrows were raised when a rumor broke last week (before TOB was fired) that Yow had contacted Mike Leach. Of course, most people presumed that Yow was re-engaging with a potential candidate for NC State. But, if this internet scuttle is true, we think that it is more likely to be related to Sonny Dykes, not Leach.

Dykes has strong connections in and around Texas and could be on Arkansas’ current list. So, the idea of him strategically picking (or waiting for) a job in that geography is not a stretch. Ultimately, if Dykes represents the ‘worst’ we could get then we can all sleep well at night.


Why NOT Al Golden?
Late last week we linked up this article from a Boston College blog because we found it very interesting that they thought that both Dan Mullen and Al Golden could potentially be attainable. (See why you need to be on our message forums every day!!)

Then yesterday the Boston Globe ran an article that listed Miami’s Al Golden as ‘prime’ candidate for the Boston College job.

Al Golden, head coach at University of Miami: Golden has spent two seasons at Miami trying to pull a proud Hurricanes program from the rubble of an NCAA investigation. After going 6-6 in 2011, the ‘Canes are 6-5, including a season-opening victory over BC, but face a self-imposed postseason ban for a second straight season.

Folks, if Al Golden is tired of the mess in Miami we need to be calling him immediately. The guy is young. Can recruit the socks off of you. Can clearly coach (NOBODY has won at Temple). And, Miami is in a position of extreme weakness if conference re-shuffling continues. Golden may very much want out; and he would be a HOME RUN hire.

[10am Update] Guess whose name the N&O’s Caulton Tudor floated in this article about the NC State job this morning?

My suggestion: Al Golden of Miami – assuming, that is, he hasn’t been pulled into the Nevin Shapiro cesspool.

No one could have said this only two or three years ago, but N.C. State is a better football job now than Miami, and that’s while the Wolfpack has been an average team.

Golden, 43, has established that he can recruit, make solid hires, win games and maintain order even in the midst of a dumpster fire.

Yow probably has other people in mind – maybe one she’s already lined up – but Golden has to realize it’s only going to get worse where he is now.


Chad Morris – Because he deserves his own paragraph
We will have more on Clemson Offensive co-ordinator, Chad Morris in the near future. Many Clemson fans attribute the bulk of Dabo Swinney’s success to Morris. Whereas Sonny Dykes appeared to be Monday’s most buzzed about name, it looks like Morris may be Tuesday’s most buzzed about name. He fits a lot of the profile that Debbie Yow submitted and Clemson is not playing this weekend, so it would make sense that if a lot of smoke starts to build here today then talks with Morris could be very serious.


First ‘Off-The-Radar’ Name = Pete Lembo
The first ‘off-the-radar’ obscure name that came to our attention on Sunday evening was that of Pete Lembo (link to Wikipedia). Lembo is the current head coach at Ball State, but has a pre-existing relationship with Debbie Yow during his five year run as Elon’s head coach where he compiled a 35-22 record. In case you didn’t know, Yow is a trustee at Elon.

247 Sports is the first outside source that we’ve seen reference Lembo in this quick little blurb.

Clemson OC Chad Morris. LSU DC John Chavis, Ball State coach Pete Lembo and former Minnesota coach Tim Brewster are the early names at NC State. Brewster has a long history in the state. He worked at UNC for Mack Brown and still owns a home in Chapel Hill.

Want a little more interesting nugget about Lembo? Check out the conspicuous tweet the coach made yesterday promoting his recruiting prowess in North Carolina (of all places!!) He clearly is no dummy.



It was the right thing for Debbie Yow and NC State to move quickly on this situation. As yesterday transpired, the urgency of timing became even more important. You are aware of all of the jobs that are currently open, but college football and our search could be significantly impacted by some changes that could be on the horizon. For example, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher has been rumored to have been shopping himself this coaching season and may be a strong candidate at Auburn. If Fisher were to leave FSU the chain reaction of events that would ensure may not end until FSU leaves the conference and no ACC ultimately exists.

Additionally, Wake Forest appears set to announce Jim Grobe’s ‘retirement’ today. (Another reason why you should be reading our message forums each day). If this happens, look for Pete Lembo to be very high on Ron Wellman’s list. If Lembo is indeed the best fit for NC State, our hand could be forced quickly.


More names
There are quite a few other candidate that deserve some discussion in the future here on SFN; among them Bobby Petrino, Butch Jones, Kirby Smart, Bob Stitt, and Notre Dame’s Bob Diaco.


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37 Responses to SFN’s Football Coaching Scoop & Discussion (Tuesday Morning – 10:45am Update)

  1. PackFamily 11/27/2012 at 10:21 AM #

    Speculation is fun:

    Is Dykes’ recruting reputation based on hard stats or opinion? I looked up this year’s class and it’s ranked 90th. I don’t want to get into a whole thing here on the rankings; just curious of others’ thoughts. 90th may not be too bad at a school like LaT…

    Pete Lembo… guy has spent his entire life outside of the BCS… that’s a tough sell

    Al Golden… anyone can recruit at Miami. He hasn’t done much with the talent that’s there.

    Fisher… if true and if i were among his family or friends, i would advise him to stay put. The grass isn’t always greener and he currently has acres of it

  2. JasonP 11/27/2012 at 10:27 AM #

    Lembo would be a solid hire. One of his NC recruits plays defense (secondary) for the Butler HS team in the state 4AA championship game. If he’s our man, would be interesting to see if he can swing those NC recruits our way.

    Other predictions based on nothing but a guess:

    ODU’s Wilder to BC
    WKU’s Taggart to KY
    Dykes to Purdue b/c they’re going to throw $$$ at him

    What happens with Fisher and Golden will be extremely interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them both land non-ACC jobs this offseason.

    UVA must be financially hurting right now – it’s the only reason I can think of for them keeping London.

  3. Texpack 11/27/2012 at 10:35 AM #

    When you read about the Elon connection between Lembo and Yow he seems most likely to be the “ace in the hole” candidate that has told DY he would take the job if offered.

  4. JasonP 11/27/2012 at 10:42 AM #

    Interesting thing about Lembo’s 3 losses this year:

    @ Clemson – not surprising due to not having the horses to compete; their only blowout loss

    @ Kent St – coached by hot prospect Hazell – only loss @ Kentucky 47-17

    vs. Northern Illinois – coached by another hot prospect in Doeren – only loss was first game vs. Iowa in Chicago by 1 point

    All 3 of these MAC coaches would be great hires.

  5. coach13 11/27/2012 at 10:57 AM #

    Sounds like there are several very good options. Considering the number of openings that is good. Just glad to see us trying to get better.

  6. wolfbuff 11/27/2012 at 11:06 AM #

    I don’t want to beat a dead horse w.r.t. James Franklin but I do not agree wih the following statement made in the blog:

    “For now, we have to accept Yow’s public proclamation that it won’t be James. If true, that means he has said ‘no’ because Tennessee, Auburn, Arkansas and others are in pursuit with big dollars. Good for him.”

    I agree that we have to accept the proclamation, but he may have said ‘no’ because he is truly happy where he is. Yow also proclaimed that. Time will tell, I guess.

    [Edit]: Plus, I don’t understand the love affair with Pete Lembo. He’s obviously a program builder, but aside from the 11-1 record in his first season at Lehigh, his best record has been 9-3. Very TOB-esque.

    Going to be an interesting couple of weeks

  7. PackPearl 11/27/2012 at 11:17 AM #

    I like Dave Doeren. Hazell connected to Ohio State / Tressel ????

  8. 61Packer 11/27/2012 at 11:23 AM #

    I don’t want Al Golden from Miami because anyone who would accept the head coaching position at a school that has baggage like the Hurricanes HAD to know what he was getting into, and to me no decent-minded coach would want to tarnish his reputation in that manner.

    I just hope we hire someone who already has head coaching experience, and that we don’t try once more to turn someone into a coach.

    For those currently not coaching, I like Steve Logan. For current coaches with experience, I like Butch Jones of Cincinnati, and for a rising star, I like Dave Doern at Northern Illinois. But I also like DY as an AD, so I’m not too worried.

    Thank GOD that Jed is gone.

  9. TWolf78 11/27/2012 at 11:28 AM #

    IMO, we need to go after a coach that knows how to put a tough defense together or a coach that knows how to hire a DC that can put a tough defense together.

    I know the spread offense is all the rage with these crazy kids these days, but take Clempson as an example. Do you think they lost to USuC because their offense didn’t click? NO – USuC shut them down because they have a stout defense. Stanford did the same thing to Oregon.

    Playing the zone and running line slants every play is killing us – just surprised that TOB didn’t address that early on. He had a tough D at BC, but he could recruit better up North too.

    I would love to see Chad Morris and Dana Bible working together because I think Bible is a good OC (when he wants to be aggressive). I would just hope that he could find a stud DC to replace lame a$$ Archer.

  10. FULL METAL PACK 11/27/2012 at 11:32 AM #

    We all want the best candidates to be interviewed and the best of the best to be hired. Franklin isn’t coming to Raleigh, NOT because Yow says he isn’t, but because he’s already in the SEC. After this year, it’s clear we in the ACC have a lot of catching up to do with the SEC, even at the lower tier like Vandy. Realistically, State is a good job–arguably the best open job in the ACC, but not better than the SEC openings. I agree with the “young and energetic” criteria, but we need someone with the administrative chops, too. The ACC coordinators being mentioned make the best sense to me. And, is Bible completely off the table?

  11. FULL METAL PACK 11/27/2012 at 11:39 AM #

    I don’t think Yow is the cats, but do believe she is smart enough to have turned over the search to people who know what they’re doing. Jones and Doern, along with Morris (who may be out of our price range), seem the best candidates mentioned here. If Yow already has someone in mind, it will be truly interesting who that might be, whether we get him or not. Regardless, even though TOB left us on solid ground, the current climate in the FBS does not allow time or room for learning on the job. We need a winner, and we need him to win quickly.

  12. phillypacker 11/27/2012 at 12:04 PM #

    Why not pep hamilton at stanford or sjsu’s macintre? Diaco sounds like great hire. Please discuss him. Thanks for the work and the shaka smart tidbit.

  13. MP 11/27/2012 at 12:13 PM #

    “Thank GOD that Jed is gone.”

    Ha, If he were here we wouldn’t have to worry about a coaching search for the next ~5 years.

  14. redwolf87 11/27/2012 at 12:59 PM #

    Regarding Lembo – perhaps part of the reason that his W-L appears mediocre has to do with the fact that he’s been at small schools that routinely schedule a couple of games as a sacrificial lamb for the elites. You’d expect an additional couple of losses a year.

    I thought his body of work at Elon was reasonably impressive.

  15. JohnGalt78 11/27/2012 at 1:03 PM #

    Re earlier Franklin comments:

    “I agree that we have to accept the proclamation, but he may have said ‘no’ because he is truly happy where he is.”

    How ’bout making him truly “happier” here?

  16. MISTA WOLF 11/27/2012 at 1:11 PM #

    Al Golden would be a fantastic hire. I don’t know what some of you guys are thinking but Golden has won everywhere he has been and has a knack for developing defensive studs. He really has cleaned that Miami program up and has bettered the W-L from last year.

  17. StateFans 11/27/2012 at 1:19 PM #

    I think we are going to institute a rule that ANY mention of Bill Cowher, Steve Logan, Dick Sheridan or John Gruden automatically gets deleted.

  18. VaWolf82 11/27/2012 at 1:29 PM #

    I think we are going to institute a rule that ANY mention of Bill Cowher, Steve Logan, Dick Sheridan or John Gruden automatically gets deleted.

    Can we add Bobby Petrino and Mike Leach to the list?

  19. PackMan97 11/27/2012 at 1:31 PM #

    @StateFans, that’s a real shame. I’d much prefer know who the mentally challenged are than have to guess.

  20. tvp1 11/27/2012 at 1:47 PM #

    That Shaka Smart nugget…wow. Way to bury the lede. Was that common knowledge that I missed somehow?

  21. PackPearl 11/27/2012 at 2:02 PM #

    TWolf78, I agree about defense. Wasn’t Doeren the DC at Wisconsin B-4 NIU ?

  22. StateFans 11/27/2012 at 2:03 PM #

    ^ It was not common knowledge at the time. We had to wait for VCU to finish playing (which was Saturday of the Final Four). So, all of her work before then was assessing potential other candidates. Smart changed his mind at the last minute. Then we were dealing with a messed up situation as the media & Gary Williams had poisoned some of our conversations. It was time to move fast to the fallback. When Utah did not hire Gottfried, it was easy for us.

  23. ncsu1987 11/27/2012 at 2:08 PM #

    “I think we are going to institute a rule that ANY mention of Bill Cowher, Steve Logan, Dick Sheridan or John Gruden automatically gets deleted.”

    OMG, especially Cowher. Lots of these guys are out of reach, but he’s in a class by himself…can’t stand my constant cringing every time I read his name. Was an effort to just type it just now…

  24. PackerInRussia 11/27/2012 at 2:36 PM #

    So Bill Cowher, Steve Logan, Dick Sheridan, and John Gruden walked into a bar…oh, sorry just saw the ban.

  25. JasonP 11/27/2012 at 3:12 PM #

    Kentucky hires FSU’s Stoops…

    Only a matter of time for Jimbo then. He better be careful or he’s going to make a fool of himself…wait a sec

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