Article: Fingers will be pointing at Sendek again

Bob Lipper says that the fingers of discontent are already pointing at Sendek again. He also quotes the poll that PackPride ran in the middle of the season, that 86% wanted Sendek out. Would be interesting to see if that number has changed any.

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8 Responses to Article: Fingers will be pointing at Sendek again

  1. Archive 03/26/2005 at 1:33 PM #

    Fingers will be pointing at Sendek again
    POINT OF VIEW Mar 26, 2005
    Contact Bob Lipper at (804) 649-6555 or e-mail blipper

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. Another basketball season concluded a few laps shy of a thunderclap victory for N.C. State last night, which means only that Julius Hodge’s college career is over and Herb Sendek once again is on the clock.

    Hodge leaves the program with 2,040 points and lots of memories. Sendek remains with looming shadows in his midst and an ever-present wolf at the door (hint: It ain’t the school mascot).

    We’re talking one very strange coach/constituency relationship here. State fans are as gung-ho as you’ll find. They show up. They root, root, root for the home team. They still largely support their brash, shades-wearin’ football coach, even though he receded to the darkness of sub-.500 territory last season and never finished above fourth in the standings with Philip Rivers at the joystick.

    When it comes to Herb Sendek, they are decidedly less charitable.

    They bombard talk radio with Herb-must-go tirades. They complain about his unsexy offense and bland personality. They e-mail AD Lee Fowler to vent their frustrations about not being North Carolina or Duke and not having a coach who’s got a seat reserved at the Hall of Fame. At a recent online poll conducted by, 86 percent of 1,371 respondents said Sendek should not be retained.

    Imagine what his poll numbers might be like if he weren’t 83-48 with four NCAA berths over the past four years.

    The 48th setback was last night’s 65-56 clunker against Wisconsin. The Pack was up 10 points (30-20) a minute before intermission and down 10 (47-37) some 11½ minutes into the second half. This constituted a whirlwind by the Badgers’ plodding standards, and State was all but helpless in the face of it. It shot 32 percent after the break to UW’s 58.3, got clunky efforts from Hodge (4 for 16) and Ilian Evtimov (2 for 10, plus five turnovers) and faded quietly.

    “It certainly was a tale of two halves,” Sendek said, and that’s about as profound as he got on this occasion.

    There is, to be honest, a bit of the odd-duck egghead about Sendek, a quality that’s never played particularly well to visceral State boosters. He graduated summa cum laude from Carnegie-Mellon. He said a few weeks ago that the teachings of Buddha help him cope with criticism. He answered a question at an NCAA news conference by saying, “My paradigm is much holistic as opposed to looking at any single matchup.”

    He does not remind anyone around Raleigh of Norm Sloan or Jimmy V.

    Nor has he claimed an ACC title during his nine seasons at the helm. As for keeping up with the Joneses — which is to say, Duke, UNC and Wake Forest well, fuggedaboutit. His record against those neighbors is a well-chilled 16-49. Don’t think the jackals haven’t noticed.

    That’s the debit side of the ledger. In Sendek’s behalf, let it be noted that he inherited flotsam in Raleigh and slowly (too slowly for some) shaped it into a credible product. His players graduate. They aren’t troublesome. They improve on his watch. They are 23-18 in postseason tournaments.

    They were 3-7 in the ACC and on the ropes at one rocky juncture this season but gathered themselves, won eight of 11 starts and muscled onto the NCAA drawsheet. They upset UConn and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1989. A lot of State fans don’t want to hear it, but that’s the sign of a pretty decent coach.

    Problem was, he couldn’t rouse his bunch in the second half last night, and now there will be the inevitable speculation about how he’ll fare without his meal ticket. Hodge (“It’s still great things yet to come”) touted the future. Others figure to wait and see.

    “I guess a lot of different people have their opinions about coach Sendek,” Hodge said a couple of days ago. “But to me . . . and the rest of the guys, he’s a great guy. He’s been getting the job done year in and year out, and he’s going to continue to do so.”

    Like it (14 percent) or not (the rest).

  2. Dennis Gartman 03/26/2005 at 8:33 PM #

    Gentleman and ladies, I have listened and read of the abject disdain for Coach Sendak on this website and others, and on the radio and even occassionally on television, over the course of the past several years and I have kept quiet, but the time has come to stand up in defense of decent, solid gentleman who remains at the helm of our basketball team. He does not lead tirades against the referees as we see the all-too-often venerated Coach “K” do. He is not vindictive. He does not get angry; he simply gets on with the job he has been given, which is to coach young men at our great university, make them into men of quality who play basketball at a high level, win as often as he can while remaining true to the goals of making certain that his men graduate and move on to life, and perhaps win us an ACC and/NCAA championship eventually. My guess is that he shall do all of this in time.

    We need to remember that we now have the longest string of consecutive “admissions” to the “Dance” of any school in the ACC other than Duke. We win games at the end of the season when the chips are down. We graduate our men at a higher rate than any other school other than Duke, if I’m not mistaken. Our SAT scores for our ball players are rising apace. Our young men seem to stay out of trouble and comport themselves well when on television, at press conferences and around campus. These things are worthy of note and applause from those of us who buy the tickets and send the checks to the University and its associations. I for one unequivocally and enthusiastically support Coach Sendak from my post here in Virginia, and shall continue to do so long into the future. Its time that others did also. This is a gentleman in charge of your teams, and although success under Coach Valvano was exciting, I ask everyone to remember the graduation rates we were so embarrassed by in those days; I remind everyone of the Chris Washburn embarrassement. Those days are gone, and better basketball days lie ahead. Cheering for ill-educated thugs is not my idea of great good fun; cheering for fine young men such as Mr. Hodge, Mr. Bennerman, Mr. Evtimov, Mr. Atsur, Mr. Brackmen et al who win games, go to class on time, graduate and bring eventual honour to our school is.

    Go Pack!

    Dennis Gartman Editor/Publisher
    The Gartman Letter

  3. BJD95 03/26/2005 at 10:28 PM #

    Cue “Hail to the Victors.” I was at a very unfortunately timed rehearsal dinner Friday night, so I was spared the agony of watching 92% of the action.

    I can accept Sendek coming back next year, but I’m certainly not excited about it. It will be an interesting couple of weeks, to see if any new rumors start to surface.

  4. Rick Editor/Publisher of the Rick Letter 03/27/2005 at 3:02 PM #

    I expect nothing from the basketball team. That way if you have any success whatsoever you are pleasantly surprised and happy.

  5. Bullish 03/27/2005 at 9:33 PM #

    Dennis Gartman,

    You should check the facts before you start mouthing your (incorrect) opinion.

    NC State is and has been last or second to last in graduation rates in the entire ACC! I think you may want to rethink your statements.


  6. scott 03/28/2005 at 1:25 AM #

    I would like to respond to Mr. Gartman’s comments, if I may. I think the faculty, staff & fans at UNC & Duke would take great offense at any suggestion that their players are “ill-educated thugs.” I know that’s probably not what he meant, but it does imply (and/or presume) that those schools are different & NCSU cannot compete with them unless it recruits such “thugs.” What a low view of your school! No question Valvano used poor judgment in several instances, but he also brought in young men who have represented the university quite well, including Terry Gannon, Derrick Whittenberg, Tom Gugliotta & Chris Corchiani, just to name a few.

    Coach K may “lead tirades” against officials, but I don’t think one can accurately accuse Roy Williams, Tubby Smith, Tom Izzo or a host of other very successful coaches of such tactics. There are numerous collegiate coaches who do not cheat or recruit “thugs” and win consistently without sacrificing academic integrity. To insinuate the contrary reflects limited knowledge (and appreciation) of collegiate athletics. Moreover, Mr. Gartman is just plain wrong about the academic status of Sendek’s players. A report published in the Raleigh New & Observer a couple of weeks ago showed that, applying graduation requirements that will be mandated by the NCAA beginning in 2006 (w/potential loss of scholarships by non-compliant schools), NCSU ranked LAST on a list of all 11 current ACC schools plus ECU. Yikes!

    Any long-time observer of college basketball should realize that some coaches’ teams routinely have very good won-loss records & win conference or national championships. Others do not. Some coaches like Rick Barnes & Tubby Smith can be successful even at places like Clemson and Georgia, respectively, that are not normally very competitive. Conversely, even UNC’s program tumbled under Doherty and Duke had a losing season the year Coach K was out. (Note UNC wasted no time getting rid of Guthridge & then Doherty even though the former’s record was much better than Sendek’s and the latter had just been NATIONAL coach-of-the-year two years before he “resigned.” In addition, I doubt AD Ron Wellmon and the administration at Wake have any regrets about replacing the perfectly good Dave Odom with the better Skip Prosser.)

    Why do we readily acknowledge some people are much better in their chosen professions than others but less inclined to do so when it comes to coaches? If a corporation is losing money, shareholders aren’t going to be inclined to retain the CEO just b/c he’s a nice fellow who doesn’t falsify earnings statements. The analogy is appropriate b/c, like it or not, college athletics is big business these days. Success on the field & the court generates considerable revenue for the university (just ask UNC), not to mention pride and stature for the entire institution.

    Coach Sendek is a fine fellow, but his coaching record at State is weak. He has yet to lose fewer than 10 games in a single season, and usually loses 13, 14 or 15 games. This year alone, his team lost 14 games compared to 6 for both Duke & Wake and 4 (so far) for UNC. Each of those schools has been considerably more successful on the court than State during Sendek’s nine years. During that period, five of the other 10 ACC schools have advanced further in the NCAA tourney than Sendek’s teams have.

    Sendek’s teams do not normally win when “the chips are down.” This is the first year his team managed to reach the Sweet Sixteen, and they saw an 11-point lead evaporate in the last 3 minutes versus UConn in just barely hanging on to win that one. In the previous 2 years, his teams lost big leads and lost out to decided underdogs. His teams have lost 11 of their last 13 games that were decided by 3 points or less or went into OT. His record against the other Big Four schools is abyssmal. He has a losing record in ACC competition and his very mediocre 169-122 overall record is padded with victories against the weakest nonconference teams he can schedule.

    NC State can and should do better. Folks like Mr. Gartman, who assume NCSU cannot be successful on the court without cheating or recruiting “thugs,” are the reason our teams are no longer serious national contenders. As long as that mentality prevails, “Go Wolfpack” will continue to have the hollow ring of hope rather than the sound of firm command.

    Sorry for the long reply, but this kind of post just can’t go unrefuted.

  7. Vic 03/28/2005 at 12:37 PM #

    Thank you Dennis, you so eloquently state your acceptance of mediocrity so well. You state, “perhaps win us an ACC and/NCAA championship eventually”. Wow, what expectations! “Perhaps…eventually” is so exciting and filled with such emotion. I am glad we all root for Davidson. I mean gosh, isn’t it all about relationships?

  8. Jeremy Newsom 03/10/2006 at 4:47 PM #

    I have been an NC State fan as long as I can remember and I really believe I’m going to give up on college basketball. The way this team has ended the season is shameful! Not to take any respect from Herb, the rebounding is a serious problem not to mention the shooting slumps this season. Last year it was I balmed it on Hodge but the entire team has no excuse. I get too excited and really think its going to give me a heart attack. The North Carolina games goes without saying that some changes need to be made. Simmons is a great center not actually being used. Please I beg for someone to help the program out before we lose any more fans.

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