Quotes of Note: Tudor on NC State BBall & Sendek

February 3, 2005
News & Observer
Sendek is on the clock
Herb Sendek has proven to be a good — not great — coach for the Wolfpack. “
By Caulton Tudor

Simply being good is not good enough to raise N.C. State basketball to the level that most Wolfpack fans desire. In these parts, “good” will only get you third place and an occasional pat on the back. After almost nine years under Sendek, State is right back where it stood in the Triangle when he arrived — third.

But over the long term, a good basketball coach won’t cut it at State. A great coach is required. That means a coach capable of beating Carolina or Duke anywhere, anytime. Indeed, that measuring stick will ultimately settle the great debate about Sendek’s status.

Triangle basketball is cannibalistic. “Great” conquers and consumes “good.” It’s been that way for 50 years, and it will stay that way. Sendek understood as much when he was hired. Being good will carry a coach over the rough water at most schools in the NCAA Tournament. Being good at State will produce exactly the results Sendek is getting.

State, like Duke and UNC, needs a great coach. And that’s not to say Williams qualifies yet. He hasn’t won a national championship. Around here, that’s a resume requirement for greatness.

…The uncomfortable truth is that State needs a great coach because programs in this area can’t sneak up on anybody. There are no Utahs or Marquettes here. In North Carolina, good coaches survive for a while, but they never really flourish.

…Whether anyone in the NCSU administration wants to admit it, Sendek is on the clock. He has to be. The alarm won’t ring this season or perhaps even next. But at some point, a program with State’s expectations and heritage can’t gain ground on anyone by having to settle for third in the neighborhood and fourth or fifth in the conference year after year.