Thank You, Lord Jesus. I can finally talk about it!! It has been driving me nuts for weeks.
After NC State’s 10 point win at Virginia last night, Jerry Ratcliffe of The Daily Progress wrote an article about the Pete Gillen coaching situation titled, “With Gillen likely out, is Barnes next.”?
That is…Rick Barnes –North Carolina native, Lenior-Rhyne graduate, long time NC State fan, and current University of Texas Coach. Oh yea…and same man that Todd Turner and Lee Fowler both explicitly or implictly have turned away as the Head Coach of NC State University Basketball…all in favor of some guy named Herb Sendek.
(We won’t harp replaying the past in today’s blog entry. You just need to accept two truths as a baseline for now and the future: (1) Rick Barnes has publicly and privately cited the NC State job as one of the most appealling in the country to him and he has sought the position at various times in the past, and (2) If you could seriously consider a legitimate conversation where a case could be made for Herb Sendek’s employment as a basketball coach over that of Rick Barnes – especially at NC State – then you are too stupid and completely unworthy to read anything on this page and I ask that you move on now. The concept that you would be getting close enough just read my words scares the hell out of me.)
Ratcliffe states in his article:
“With rumors swirling out of Texas all day long Wednesday that Rick Barnes would become Virginia’s next basketball coach, Pete Gillen fought for his coaching life in what could have been his last appearance at University Hall.
“While (AD) Littlepage said this week that no decision has been reached on Gillen’s fate and that such a decision will be made after the season, there were strong rumors out of Austin earlier in the day that Barnes, who once accepted the Virginia job, only to renege under pressure from his superiors at Providence, might be Charlottesville bound.
Barnes once agreed to take the Virginia job in the early ‘90’s when Terry Holland was on his way out. Then-UVa Athletic Director Jim Copeland had flown Barnes to Charlottesville and persuaded him to succeed Holland, with the two men then flying back to Providence where Barnes wanted to personally resign. However, Providence College officials persuaded him to stay.
A Texas source said that Barnes would be leaving the Longhorns after the season and would likely end up at Virginia.
It was the one-jillionth rumor concerning the Virginia job and possible successors to Gillen, should he get the axe. However, this one seemed to carry more validity than the run-of-the-mill variety.
Rick Barnes’ potential interest in leaving Austin is not news to me; nor is his interest in the Virigina job. Ratcliffe’s revelation is (FINALLY) the inital public disclosure that I have been waiting for before I would comment on the situation. Let the flood gates open….
In the middle of last week, the Barnes to Virginia rumor started seeping onto the interent through various message boards around the country. A link to a Wake Forest board was posted on PackPride.com. Want to have some kind of clue how much NC State fans covet Barnes, whom we consider the perfect “fit” to our program? In one week…the simple link to another message board has generated FORTY-FOUR PAGES of posts. That is almost 1,000 comments regarding the topic that was not even publicly validated until today. Ironically…over 1,000 Wolfpackers logged onto PackPride a few weeks ago to vote (85%+) in favor of Herb Sendek’s removal as Head Coach at NC State.
I posted a single comment on the initial thread on PackPride…and I will share it here to close the loop on where we are on this rumor and to serve as a foundation for future conversations —–
I am happy to see this finally hit the internet…but I have a lot of reservations about its ultimate impact.
I have had to bite my tongue because I know that if I shared it – it would have immediately been discounted by all comers as self-serving and inaccurate (despite my efforts of passing along as accurate of information as possible for almost a decade in an effort to maintain credibility).
This will be my only post on this particular part of the topic (until new news surfacres) as I refuse to get drawn in to debates.
As most of you know, I live in Houston, TX (and have many clients in the Austin area).
At different times this year, I have heard from various sources from within both the ACC and my Texas-based clients that Barnes most definitely would entertain opportunities to return to the area. (Relatively well-educated Wolfpackers OBVIOUSLY understand how to add 2+2 based on Barnes’ affinity for our school and our job). No reason to cite his natural competitiveness, affinity for the area, etc. It is what it is.
Additionally, I have recently heard that he would definitely entertain UVa’s potentially open job. (It gets him back to the ACC where he loves to compete and the Cavs are getting ready to open their new BBall palace).
Many people in college athletics simply know this stuff to be true. It isn’t that big of a deal to them, or a big revelation.
Remember that post from the guy that spoken to Lee Fowler for 45 minutes where the “50 people on the internet originated”? Why did nobody ever comment that Fowler actually referred to Barnes in a specific manner in that conversation when Fowler made up an excuse about money (also known as a lie)?
Fowler was trying to stay ahead of the curve and set the public opinion that Barnes wouldn’t be interested in State because of money, while at the same time inferring that little old NC State couldn’t find a creative way to afford Barnes at the same time that our public school sibling could afford Roy Williams.
Fowler also wanted to squelch any thoughts of Barnes for fans in the event that fans started catching on to the simple truth that every day that Herb Sendek is here is a day that Lee Fowler has chosen Herb Sendek over Rick Barnes. Even the hard-headed, public-relations impaired, Lee Fowler understands how this would play with an already fired-up fan base.
I am sure that Fowler is also mightly confused by Barnes’ interest. Unfortunately for all of us, Lee Fowler can’t see the alignment between his average opinion of NC State’s Basketball and the interest of one of the top coaches in the country.
This issue is OBVIOUSLY one of high sensitivity (which is why I didn’t share some of this before). The more public this issue becomes…the more premature pressure and public spotlight Barnes has to encounter. The more of that…the less chance that he will make a move. What if the potential job doesn’t pan out for Barnes in a manner that represents a good move for him? Then he would be forever tainted at Texas. These types of stituations have to be handled very carefully on all sides. Remember, Todd Turner already whiffed on Barnes twice – once after Les’ 5th year when Barnes inquired about the job and once when Turner required a formal discussion with Clemson’s AD without just giving him the job. That kind of stuff creates way too much career risk and opportunity for disaster. For respect of Rick and his current Texas team, it was best that this stuff seep out on its on. (God knows they’ve encountered enough hard luck to deserve some respect).