Carolina is off to a quick start in 2009 recruiting with 11 commitments so far, including 4-star prospect Josh Adams who is mentioned in the linked article. It seemed like odd timing for Adams to commit so early in the process, however it makes a little more sense now:
Since his departure from Cambridge in December, Paul Gonnella said he has been all over the country, around the clock, in search of the right coaching job. Finally, the most prominent virtue he expressed -– patience -– appears to have paid off.
Gonnella said has accepted a job last week at the University of North Carolina to be the football program’s Director of Player Personnel and Assistant Recruiting Coordinator. The job offer would effectively end a four-month journey that Gonnella said spanned eight states and included a stint as an assistant coach for the U.S. Army All-American Game. Last month, the Raleigh News & Observer reported that UNC got a commitment from former Cambridge wide receiver Joshua Adams, a top recruit in the class of 2009, who is now at Cheshire (Conn.) Academy. Word filtered out in January that Adams had left Cambridge to attend the college preparatory school in the Nutmeg State.
The hiring of high school coaches of key recruits is a fairly common practice. It isn’t always necessarily a shady practice as most coaches are hired because of pre-existing relationships and networking. Most NC State fans remember Larry Brown’s hiring of Danny Manning’s father while at Kansas.
Former NC State head coach Herb Sendek hired Mark Phelps who was coaching Damon Thornton and Kenny Inge during the Wolfpack’s recruitment.
As the poster below added, Herb also hired Sean Miller whose younger brother Archie was a top 40 junior recruit at the time. Damon Thornton was the first player that Herb Sendek landed after he was hired. Kenny Inge and Archie Miller were part of a six man recruiting class the following year that was ranked in the top 10 by www.prepstars.com. Inge (top 65~), Miller (top 40~) and Ron Kelly (top 60~) were the three highest rated recruits in that class that also included Cornelius Williams (top 125), Ron Anderson (top 150+) and Rhouldra Thomas (top 150+).
It is always difficult to know the exact assignments of assistant coaches once they are on a campus, but if I remember correctly Phelps was a solid contributor at NC State. I think he was responsible for finding Engin Atsur who turned into a four year starter for NC State and remains on Herb Sendek’s staff at Arizona State.
Phelps, who had been a member of the Wolfpack staff for a decade after enjoying tremendous success in the high school ranks, added a new list of responsibilities last year as he also was NC State’s Director of Scouting and Recruiting Coordinator. The 1996 Old Dominion graduate had spent the previous six seasons as an assistant after serving as the Wolfpack’s Director of Basketball Operations for four years. He originally joined the NC State program after a highly successful tenure as a high school head coach.
Phelps spent two seasons (1995-96) at Atlantic Shores Christian High School in Chesapeake, Va., where his teams compiled a 44-12 record. His 1996 squad finished 20-3 and set school marks for winning percentage (.870) and fewest losses. Two of his former Atlantic Shores players went on to play basketball and graduate from North Carolina State — Damon Thornton and Kenny Inge.
Sean Miller obviously has become very successful as a head coach leading Xavier to the Elite 8 this year. He eventually left NC State after Herb’s fifth season after not being hired by at least one small college program (Robert Morris?). If I remember correctly, then he took a position on Thad Matta’s staff at Xavier. Matta and S. Miller were assistants for Herb Sendek at Miami, OH(thanks to poster below for that information), Matta is now the head coach at Ohio St., and Matta recently recently hired Archie Miller away from Herb Sendek. If you aren’t confused yet, then Thad Matta also has another former NC State/Sendek assistant on his staff at Ohio St. in John Groce who originally left NC State to join Matta at Xavier around Herb’s third of fourth year in Raleigh.
Following the Miller brothers should be interesting over the next few years. Clearly, Sean has elevated himself to a level where a BCS school will eventually come calling as long as he keeps winning. At Xavier in their conference, the winning should continue. Archie is now in a great position working for one of the best coaches in the country in Thad Matta. Hopefully, Sean stays put for a few more years. Xavier has sent two former head coaches to ACC jobs(Gillen to UVa, Prosser to Wake) and Matta to Ohio St.
Sendek continued to use the practice of hiring HS coaches in his transition to Arizona State where he quickly hired Scott Pera from the high school ranks. Pera’s biography on Arizona State’s website states the following:
Pera’s path is similar to that of current ASU Associate Head Coach Mark Phelps, who has been part of Coach Sendek’s staff for 11 years. Phelps joined Coach Sendek’s North Carolina State staff in 1996 as the Wolfpack Director of Operations after a successful high school coaching career in Virginia.
“This is an exciting time to be a part of Arizona State basketball,” notes Pera, who coached incoming ASU McDonald’s All-American James Harden at Artesia as well as current point guard Derek Glasser. “The transition from high school is always difficult, so the familiarity will be an advantage in working with James and as Derek progresses”