As many are aware, recently Debbie Yow had to fire Coach Carter Jordan, the 8-season coach of our wrestling team. There has been a lot of discussion on our forums about the issue, but many are still unaware of what is going on in the non-revenue world of NC State athletics.
The following comes from my university-centric blog Wolfpack World and explains who Coach Jordan is and gives a brief overview of exactly what happened.
The latest news in Debbie Yow’s crusade against athletic mediocrity is obviously the dismissal of our 8-season men’s wrestling coach Carter Jordan. From a recent interview he had with The Technician, it appears that Coach Jordan disagrees vehemently with the athletic department’s decision, or at least with their press release.
First, a brief history lesson. Coach Jordan’s predecessor is Bob Guzzo who had served as head coach for 30 years, dating back to the athletic administration of Willis Casey and coaching in the same era as Lou Holtz, Norm Sloan, Jimmy Valvano, and the beginning of Kay Yow’s women’s basketball program. In 30 years, he went 356-183-7 overall and 115-50 in the ACC. That’s a guy who wins 65% of the dual matches he attends and 70% of his conference matches. He also lead NC State to 86 individual conference championships, 13 ACC titles, and 3 ACC championships in his last 4 seasons. Overall that adds up to almost 3 individual conference championships each year of his career and an ACC title almost every two years.
So looking at how Coach Guzzo did, how did Coach Jordan build on that success, especially the momentum of winning 3 ACC titles in the last 4 years? He finished his 8-year career at 66-77-3 (45%), had 13 individual conference championships (just under 2 per year on average) and won 1 ACC title out of a possible 8. Unlike Coach Guzzo who took an unknown program and put it on the map, Coach Jordan took a pre-built winner and managed to sink to mediocrity. Even giving him 8 years to ‘catch his second wind’, his only ACC title was in 2007, less than halfway through his tenure.
HOW DID WE GET JORDAN?
Carter Jordan served as a long-time assistant coach under Guzzo. When Guzzo announced his retirement, inept athletic direct Lee Fowler (the same brain child that gave us Sidney Lowe after a botched coaching search) rightly appointed Jordan as interim head coach, but then followed that decision up by naming him permanent head coach. He had been an assistant for Guzzo since 1997 and wrestled for Guzzo prior to that in 1983-1986.
So that makes him an ‘alumni’ of our athletic program…
Putting the slights of Lee Fowler aside (and trust me, they are legion), Jordan was the lazy hire. He was already at State, we already had a contract for him, and he already knew the administration. All Fowler had to do was sit back and use the flawed logic of “you already know and love this guy… plus, he’s one of our own!” This logic has bit NC State in the ass time and time again. NC State’s wrestling program, something that would be envied by most coaches of any varsity sport, was taken from a regular top-20 program to a program that wouldn’t sniff an ACC (duals) title in 5 years.
(link to full story)
The rest of the story talks about the problem with hiring alumni, but there is another important take-away from this story: Debbie Yow’s attention to excellence in our non-revenue sports.
Unfortunately, due to the ESPN-centric nature of many sports fans, these guys (non-revenue athletes and coaches) don’t get the credit the are owed. While the ACC doesn’t have a “clear front runner” in wrestling, NC State is undoubtedly a powerhouse in the sport, or at least we were. While Coach Jordan has been able to continue producing quality individuals who go on to win various honors and titles, the team has not been performing. In previous administrative eras, it could be argued that as long as Jordan wasn’t doing anything illegal and was still gaining a few notable results, he was good-to-go. But as SaccoV put it in our forums…
Also, if Debbie really is the type of AD we want (and I agree that she is), coaches like Jordan are casualties of the previous system (as has been previously stated).
A university’s attention to non-revenue sports is indicative of their attitude towards athletic achievement in general. It is similar to the phrase people use to define integrity: “Your character can be defined not by the things you do when people are looking, but by the things you do when no one is looking”. Unlike in football, basketball (men’s and women’s), and baseball, a national title in wrestling isn’t going to get you on the front page of the Charlotte Observer (actually, being in an NC State uniform generally isn’t going to get you on the front page of the Charlotte Observer, but that’s another article for another day). Despite that, Yow’s mentality of athletic achievement shines through, even where it may not be as visible to the public eye and that is a very good indicator of exactly the type of leader Debbie Yow really is and exactly what kind of expectations she has for this program, even when not as many people may be looking.
In a way, by Carter Jordan having such a piss-poor attitude about being asked to resign (at least that’s how I would determine telling your boss to “Go to Hell”), he highlighted one of Yow’s greatest strengths: an unwillingness to accept mediocrity and the will to enact positive change. Yow is here to change the old paradigm of results being “good enough” which is in-line with a lot of what she tried to do at Maryland. If anyone was in “wait and see” mode about Debbie Yow when she was hired, it’s time to wake-up and realize that she’s moving NC State in the right direction.