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).
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.
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.