Bubble Coach is Good Enough For NC State

Tom Sorensen from the Charlotte Observer in today’s article:

We hear about bubble teams. N.C. State’s Herb Sendek is a bubble coach.

He’s too good to fire but he’s not good enough to fire up fans.

He has a winning record but he can’t beat Duke or North Carolina.

He always gets to the NCAA tournament but he never competes for the championship.

The best word to describe his work is solid. His seasons at N.C. State have been devoid of scandal. He is a solid citizen. He does a solid job.

Question: What happens to solid coaches at North Carolina and Duke?

Answer: Ask North Carolina’s Matt Doherty and Duke’s Pete Gaudet.

Sorensen’s piece goes on to talk about how tough it is to be at NC State and compete with Carolina and Duke…yada…yada…yada. All the same ridiculous crap that you’ve heard before. As if we play Carolina and Duke every game and as if no other school in the country has to get by Carolina and Duke in the NCAA Tournament. (More on this later).

The problem with all of this “Carolina & Duke” stuff is that it is wrong. NC State DOESN’T have to compete with Carolina & Duke. Can’t you tell? The losers in our athletics administration and at the University DON’T feel that they have to compete with Carolina and Duke and they prove it over and over and over again every single day and in every single (not) decision that they are cowardly to make.

The media talks about competing with Carolina and Duke. The fans talk about competing with Carolina and Duke. But, the only time Lee Fowler and folks at NC State talk about competing with Carolina and Duke is when they are making another excuse for why their version of NC State can’t succeed.

As Lee Fowler so eloquently stated last year,

“Our fans are comparing ourselves to Duke and North Carolina. Every program in the country doesn’t do well when you’re compared with those two on a day-to-day basis. I understand that our fans want to be able to compete with them; we all do. But you can be real good on a daily basis and not be better than those two programs.�

Don’t you get it…NC State can be “real good” without competing with Carolina and Duke. Here’s a question — are we? Are we “real good”? I guess only Lee Fowler can answer that since only Lee Fowler knows the definitions of such immeasurable terms. But, this year’s performance didn’t at all match Fowler’s preseason expectations.

If this is the way that NC State wants to run its Athletics Department and the University, then that is great. Unfortunately…that is not what was told to all of the thousands of NC State fans who the Wolfpack Club solicitied for millions of dollars over the last 15 years. For 15 years…all we have heard is how we have to have these great facilities to compete with the best. We have to have these great facilities to be the best. Suddenly, we are told and we run our program in a completely different manner than we were marketed. It’s called bait & switch. And, you and I are called suckers.

Today, we have a coach that has been given a DECADE of opportunity to succeed. We have a coach that has had the nation’s top college basketball arena at his disposal and has recently added one of the top practice facilities in the country. With those resources, this coach has succeeded in destroying the NC State fanbase’s sense of community in route to compiling:

* The second worst record of performance in the history of the NC State program

* performance that clearly ranks him ahead of a ONE of the 17 coaches in ACC history that have been provided the honor to coach for a decade or longer in the ACC.

Folks…it is as good as it is going to get.

This is obviously as good as the administration wants to aim. You need to know this. You need to realize this. And, you need to stop acting like everyone else in the world has your historical perspective and has your standards of success. The administration doesn’t care about having a championship-caliber program. They never address the topic and at this point, if someone from NC State would dare make such a claim then you need to move away quickly before the lightening strikes them. So, why should we care?

When you finally accept the truth…perhaps you can a chuckle at the University that is currently raising over a billion dollars in what they call the “Achieve!!” campaign so that NC State can compete with higher ranked universities. Gee…where have I heard that before?

I think that they should rename it “Solid!!!”

General Media NCS Basketball

93 Responses to Bubble Coach is Good Enough For NC State

  1. newswolf 03/22/2006 at 8:21 AM #

    The NC State administration has basically waved the white flag on basketball. Purcell, Fowler & Oblinger know they have their stream of revenue secure in LTR’s, so the fans can pound sand.

  2. Herb 03/22/2006 at 8:34 AM #

    The university administration sees no problem in competing with Duke and UNC on an academic basis but is scared to in athletics? It’s bull we’re willing to go toe to toe with two of the finest universities in the nation when it comes to academics but maintain that we “can’t be expected to be competitive” in athletics. I’m happy to give to our academic programs, they, unlike athletics, have big goals and measurable successes.

    I appreciate the strides we have taken as a flagship research university, but why can’t our administration see that athletic success and academic prowess are not mutually exclusive? (see: UNC, Duke, Texas, Michigan, Stanford, Notre Dame…)

  3. beowolf 03/22/2006 at 8:36 AM #

    I made note of that fact a couple of years ago. Just as the play-in game was dubbed “the Les Robinson Invitational,” I said, the NCAA “bubble” should be renamed the “Herble.”

  4. SaccoV 03/22/2006 at 8:38 AM #

    I’ve said this before and I will say it again, unless we fans are willing to stop the flow of money into the WPC, there will be no meaningful change within the athletics department. The university is only really interested in the bottom line (sorry for the callous nature of the comment but it is true at ALL universities, not just my alma mater). The university only wants the athletics department to basically pay for itself and give some nice national exposure to the school by occasionally putting itself in a position to compete nationally. Otherwise this university’s administration has an obvious laissez faire attitude toward athletics. If we really want to be heard by the administration or by someone with the power to change things, it will be by closing our wallets and checkbooks. Turn-in your receipts fellows; take one for the team.

  5. choppack 03/22/2006 at 8:40 AM #

    Question: What happens to solid coaches at North Carolina and Duke?

    Answer: Ask North Carolina’s Matt Doherty and Duke’s Pete Gaudet.

    That’s more than a little bit of a strawman. Doherty and Gaudet were clear steps back from the previous coach. Herb is clearly better than his predecessor, but he is definitely below the statistical norm for us. (The last 2 coaches who coached at NC State this long won a national championship.) I think Sendek presents an interesting challenge for the “average” newspaper columnists or college b’ball analyst, who are either too stupid, too lazy, or dishonest to understand.

  6. Mike 03/22/2006 at 8:47 AM #

    I have said this before, will say it again. We do not have to beat Dook and UNC every time. We need to be competitive, have a chance to beat them and be competitive in the tournaments. If we go 26-4 and lose to Dook and UNC but are competitive, I am happy. If we go Final 4 every year, and lose to Dook and UNC in Final 4, I am OK with that. Sounds like I am settling for losing, which I am not. But I know if that were the case, we would all be happy, NCSU would be respected, and we would be able to have the national respect that Dook and UNC have.

    Every now and then a team will slip up in the big dance and drop early. That is OK from time to time, stuff happens. But I want to be competitive, to have a chance to win it all. Say what you will about some of V’s teams that struggled, but you knew he would be a factor and have a chance to win it all. When V was there, we always picked State to go far in our pools, not because our heart said so, but because our brain said we could. I hate to say it but now I fill out my brackets with little or no advance by the Pack. I would be satisfied with the days when we would pick NC State to go far into the tourney, and then the heart (both mine and the coach who gives the players heart) would find a way to get them to the championship.

    Bubble coach? We are a bubble team. We have 5 NCAA tourneys in a row, and all 5 entries we were a bubble team. Under the current regime, we will always be a bubble team.

    BTW, in this morning’s N&O, article stated Fowler was clearly backing Herb. I am dipping the plastic ring down into the bottle and blowing bubbles, bubbles, bubbles everywhere.

  7. WTNY 03/22/2006 at 8:51 AM #

    *… the NCAA “bubbleâ€? should be renamed the “Herble.”*

    I recall that one beowolf and still like it.

    My new favorite is “Herbatory” — rather than purgatory:

    N&O — Fowler says Sendek is Secure

    “”We strongly support Herb, and we’re moving forward, . . . Asked if Cincinnati or any other school had contacted him to request permission to talk to Sendek, Fowler said no one has called.”

  8. ncsslim 03/22/2006 at 8:53 AM #

    It’s not that Herb fits the job description, it’s that the job description has been tailored for Herb. I don’t understand the fixation of this wealthy little underachiever with these otherwise successful, cynical people (not including Jethro; he’s merely a well paid hack). He is their mediocre antithesis. How can this strange relationship be explained?

  9. BJD95 03/22/2006 at 9:05 AM #

    Wow, hard to believe that Sendek has so little market value that we don’t even make it to Final Four weekend before giving up all hope of a fresh start.

  10. Rick 03/22/2006 at 9:16 AM #


    We might as well not even have a basketball team. Why bother? IMO you either play to win championships or you do not play.

  11. class of '74 03/22/2006 at 9:29 AM #

    Who other than NCSU is willing to pay Herb $900k/year? Not that many stupid athletic departments in the nation apparently.

  12. Mike 03/22/2006 at 9:30 AM #

    Oh come on Rick. I think it is fine to play for the middle tier of the conference. That will get us a bubble bid to the tournament. Isn’t that what it is all about? Getting to the tournament? We have done that in all 5 of Herb’s years.

  13. class of '85 03/22/2006 at 9:32 AM #

    For the youth of N.C., N.C. State has already dropped their bb program. Just open your eyes. How many kids do you see wearing NCSU hats, shirts etc. compared to UNC. Even lifelong state fans are having trouble keeping their own kids from pulling for a winner, UNC! Everybody wants to be a winner (well not everyone as is indicated by some of the posts on this site. “HERB SUPPORTERS”)

  14. beowolf 03/22/2006 at 9:38 AM #

    “Wow, hard to believe that Sendek has so little market value that we don’t even make it to Final Four weekend before giving up all hope of a fresh start.”

    Well, someone hired Mazzone.

    I’m just not ready to give up hope. Don’t give up! Never give up!

  15. WufPacker 03/22/2006 at 9:49 AM #

    ^beo, I haven’t given up hope either (well not completely, anyway) but man oh man it ain’t looking too good. I had really hoped that Cincy would be wanting someone like Herb who could run a clean program and be respectable in the win/loss column, but apparently even they ain’t biting.

    Sad part is that I think Herb would likely do quite well at Cincy and in that conference.

  16. beowolf 03/22/2006 at 10:01 AM #

    I think Herb would do very well at a mid-major. He has many things in his favor — he does run a clean program, he doesn’t make an ass of himself on the sidelines, his players aren’t thugs, his system is disciplined and difficult to prepare for and generally results in wins. Where it breaks down is against teams with superior athletes, top coaches, and also strong backcourts and/or top-notch point guards — all of which prey on the weakness of Herb’s system, that being conceding the offensive rebounds and the “doesn’t need a PG or Center” aspect.

    It’s not Herb’s fault that NC State’s main rivals happen to be such teams. Just as it wasn’t Doherty’s or Gaudet’s fault. It is Herb’s fault that his team has the longest drought against UNC, our main rival, in the ACC — excepting VT, which joined the league last year and has only played UNC twice. All the other teams in the league have beaten UNC at least once since 2004 (they’ve beaten Roy — even Clemson), whereas Herb last beat them in 2003 (and it took OT for him to do that).

  17. class of '74 03/22/2006 at 10:05 AM #

    If you think his market value is low now just wait until next year. Another 5th or 6th place ACC finish will not boost his market value and the anger level here at home will be deafening! The next twelve months of wolfpack athletics may be the most heated in history!

  18. James 03/22/2006 at 10:12 AM #

    Who is going to come to coach for us if we keep running people out?

  19. WufPacker 03/22/2006 at 10:15 AM #

    ^Perhaps someone with enough self-confidence to believe they will be successful? I wouldn’t want anyone who DIDN’T possess that quality, anyway.

  20. beowolf 03/22/2006 at 10:15 AM #

    Keep running people out? The fuck are you talking about?

  21. beowolf 03/22/2006 at 10:16 AM #

    Oops, sorry, thought there was a profanity filter here. Let me say it this way:

    “Keep running people out”? The %$#@ are you talking about?

  22. class of '85 03/22/2006 at 10:18 AM #

    “keep running people out?”

    He has been here 10 years! what current ACC coaches have been at their schools for 10 years? When you get the answer, take a look at what they have done. Everyone else had to move on and the same thing will continue to happen (at the other schools) if they cannot be successful.

  23. zeke 03/22/2006 at 10:20 AM #

    You have to forgive that guy. It was in the hss talking points

  24. WufPacker 03/22/2006 at 10:23 AM #

    “Who is going to come to coach for us if we keep running people out?”

    beo, I think you have excuse #11 for your infamous list. 😉

  25. beowolf 03/22/2006 at 10:29 AM #

    I may have to update it anyway. TOFKAP* has completely invalidated excuse #6** anyway.

    *TOFKAP — The Offense Formerly Known As Princeton’s
    ** “6. Just wait till we have the horses to run the Kentucky offense”

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