It’s been an interesting few weeks related to respected former NC State Head Football coaches.
First, the Wolfpack’s head man for the last six years, Tom O’Brien, accepted a job at the University of Virginia that saved NC State a million dollars in buyout. It was a GREAT move by the Cavaliers to land TOB (and John Tenuta). Definitely an upgrade for their staff.
Today, the News & Observer ran a very good article stating that Tom O’Brien does not harbor any anger towards NC State. The article is very comprehensive about TOB’s time in Raleigh and should be read if you have time. The following snipit is the set up:
Within two weeks of his dismissal as N.C. Stateâ€™s football coach, Tom Oâ€™Brien knew he wasnâ€™t ready to retire to a life of leisure.
Sure, he had given away all the Wolfpack gear in his wardrobe within 48 hours of the Nov. 25 firing, but that was more a matter of moving on than an expression of discontent. And in Oâ€™Brienâ€™s case, moving forward meant accepting an associate head coach position at Virginia, where he previously spent 15 seasons as an assistant under George Welsh before becoming Boston Collegeâ€™s head coach in 1997.
In his first public comments Friday since his return to Charlottesville, Va., he joked that he was eager to defer all future media obligations to Cavaliers head coach Mike London, who coached under Oâ€™Brien for four seasons at BC. He offered no sign of irritation or disappointment in the end of his six-year tenure at N.C. State, only pointed pride at the programâ€™s accomplishments during his time in Raleigh.
â€œI didnâ€™t have any anger, I didnâ€™t have any frustration,â€ Oâ€™Brien said of his response to his dismissal after compiling a 40-35 record and taking the Wolfpack to four bowl games in the last five years. â€œWhen I was hired at N.C. State, I was hired to do a job. I went there with the goals of being champions in the classroom, champions in the community and champions on the football field. Thatâ€™s always been my goal.â€
Oâ€™Brien cited academic strides â€“ the Wolfpack football teamâ€™s 2011-12 Academic Progress Rate was 990, up 70 points from four years earlier â€“ and the support of Stateâ€™s academic community.
â€œI got some great letters from the faculty, how their whole perspective of athletics has changed since I was there â€¦ When I left Boston College, it was a top 3 [academic program in the ACC]. I went to N.C. State, and it was a bottom 3. Now weâ€™re back in the top 3. I did what I was supposed to there.â€
Of course, a series of TOB quotes wouldn’t be complete without some kind of Yankee-fied, snarky, backhanded swipe at everyone. I kinda feel like the following comment about other fans having “newfound respect” for poor old NC State all because of Tom O’Brien is one of those statements. If TOB is the reason for “newfound respect” then I’d like to remind all of the whacked out State fans that the penance of forcing Les Robinson, Larry Monteith, Todd Turner and Herb Sendek on us was as big of a failure as we preached for the last 20 years.
â€œI donâ€™t have any regrets. I donâ€™t feel bad,â€ Oâ€™Brien said about how his time at N.C. State ended. â€œI accomplished a lot. Many people in this profession expressed those feelings, and those are the only people that are really important to me, because they know what itâ€™s like and they know what you have to go through. There were as many people â€“ Carolina people, Duke people, Wake people â€“ that would come up to me and tell me how much they respected what I did, the type of program I ran at N.C. State and had a newfound respect for State. So I think I accomplished a lot, and I have nothing to say one way or another, except to say itâ€™s a new chapter, and itâ€™s time to move on.â€
Then, late this week Virginia Tech fired Mike O’Cain. I find this move FASCINATING because of the contrast it draws between coaches that are ultimately successful, and coaches that aren’t.
Much like Tom O’Brien, Mike O’Cain went through multiple years where he could’ve helped solidify his job security AND probably help the performance of his program if he would’ve just made some key changes on his coaching staff. And, much like TOB, MOC wouldn’t make any moves citing excuses like ‘loyalty’ and ‘continuity’. Yet, in the first year that MOC’s offense struggled at Virginia Tech, Frank Beamer didn’t hesitate to make a move. Quick question, who is move successful – Frank Beamer or Mike O’Cain? Some people have what it takes to lead and be successful. Some people don’t.
Virginia Tech quarterbacks coach and offensive play-caller Mike Oâ€™Cain has been fired.
Oâ€™Cain said he was informed Tuesday by football coach Frank Beamer that he would not be part of the Hokiesâ€™ staff next season.
â€œItâ€™s just part of this business,â€ Oâ€™Cain said Thursday night. â€œItâ€™s not a part that you look forward to at all. Sometimes you donâ€™t understand why things happen when they do. Frankâ€™s in charge of this thing. He has to do what he thinks is best for this football program.â€
Oâ€™Cain was the head coach at North Carolina State from 1993-1999 and the offensive coordinator at North Carolina and Clemson after that, before joining Techâ€™s staff before the 2006 season.
Oâ€™Cain said he was aware of growing fan unrest surrounding the offenseâ€™s productivity, but said he did not know changes were coming until the offseason.
â€œThere was never any indication during the season that anything was going to happen,â€ Oâ€™Cain said. â€œIâ€™ve been in this profession for 36 years. You know when things arenâ€™t going good and youâ€™re struggling and thereâ€™s a disgruntled bunch out there, for whatever the reason, that that could happen. But I had no inclination that it was going to happen.â€
The 58-year-old Oâ€™Cain said heâ€™d like to remain in coaching and has been â€œinvolvedâ€ in a few searches this offseason, but â€œthey didnâ€™t quite pan out.â€
Oâ€™Cain said his age is an obstacle to getting hired as is his primary position. As a quarterbacks coach, heâ€™d need to find a team where the offensive coordinator is not also the quarterbacks coach. Tech is expected to announce the hiring of three new offensive assistants as early as Friday.