I don’t think it will surprise anyone to hear that Sidney Lowe’s 5th season coaching the North Carolina State Wolfpack will be his last. I honestly don’t think anyone with an IQ above room temperature would dispute that statement.
Ordinarily, there would be lots of fire and brimstone when a coach is clearly in the death spiral. Threads swell with comments. Passions rage at an all-time high. Not now. The quiet is more than a bit eerie at times. But it’s here, and we still have at least 8 more basketball games to somehow get through before the energy returns, and NC State basketball turns the page officially.
There will be no mid-season firing. Despite the spontaneous thrill such a move would bring – it couldn’t possibly help us long-term. Not one iota. The season can’t be saved (even if a reincarnated John Wooden sat on the bench), and really shouldn’t be saved. It is what it is. Although there’s no upside, there is downside – and Dr. Yow is right to recognize it. NC State would look even more unprofessional than it did in March and April 2006 – if that’s possible. And any kind of winning streak could re-fracture the fanbase and the roster, with some voices rising in support of making the interim dude permanent. Bad, bad idea. Please stop harrassing our athletic director about it. Even politely.
With last Saturday’s loss, NC State is de facto eliminated from NCAAT at-large consideration. There will be no signature win for the program, even of the random “Les Robinson beats Dean Smith twice in a season, with a 9-game losing streak in between” variety. All that remains is the ACC tournament. Winning it would not save Sidney Lowe’s job. It would certainly not magically fix the numerous, deep flaws in our basketball program. But voices would rise in dissent once again – and you could have the perverse situation of wins being bad for NC State.
So, here’s my best and fondest wish – although I would not be so arrogant as to press Dr. Yow to follow this vision. On Monday morning after the regular season ends, announce what everybody knows (but is afraid to say out loud, at least in the local media) – that Sidney Lowe will not return for the 2011-12 season. Shake his hand, and wish him well with his future endeavors. And see if he can make the most out of his last chance in undoubtedly his best setting as a college head coach. Perhaps (hell, probably), we get our expected beatdown in Greensboro. But maybe, just maybe, Lowe goes out with one more run. Maybe it’s just one or two victories, but still we see a little more fire, emotion, and focus from everyone. Every staff member, player, and fan has the yoke of “what does this mean for Lowe’s job status” removed from their shoulders. Just play. The Lowe era won’t end as anyone hoped, but the last weekend could at least serve as a decent send-off for all parties involved.
As always, thanks for reading, and look forward to profiles of prospective coaches in the following days and weeks.