Holland: NC State 30 Years Ago

“There were no three better basketball programs in the country at that time than the NC State program, North Carolina and Maryland.”

* Terry Holland speaking of his first ACC Tournament at the University of Virginia

Wow. ^That is flabbergasting. I learn something new every day! Imagine my surprise when I learned that it was NOT INHERENT in the order of the world that Duke and Carolina are naturally always the greatest basketball programs ever. How can it be that this has not always been the case…and why are we constantly told that it should be accepted that it will always be the case?

There will be some folks that will want to respond to me with, “That was 30 years ago. Things change” without realizing that they are making much of the point of the Wolfpack faithful — things DO CHANGE.

But things only change if LEADERS are smart enough and talented enough to take actions to create positive change. In the absence of leadership, you have failure. That is what we have at NC State. Winners CREATE change and are positioned to take advantage of changes at the competition. People that are solely focused on building personal resumes and cashing fat checks usually are too content to strive for greatness. I guess I don’t blame them if they can figure out a way to get away with it.

The Carolina Example
Over the last decade, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s basketball program has been in so much turmoil that they have employed four different basketball coaches; at one point, the Tarheels had employed four coaches in seven years. But…of course…Herb Sendek shouldn’t be expected to compete with “Roy Williams” even though Williams has only been at Carolina for 3 years.

Defenders often refer to Herb Sendek’s “record against Carolina as only being slightly worse than Jim Valvano’s record”. It is interesting that the same crew that always has an excuse for everything, fails to point out that Valvano went head to head with Dean Smith…not 4 different coaches like Sendek. They also fail to reference the new basketball arena and other resources that Sendek has that V didn’t while competing against the Dean Dome. (Why did we build the Pig Palace, again?) They also fail to carve away V’s first 2 or 3 of years (when he went winless vs Dean) because “V was new”, a benefit that they provide Sendek for an entire five years of performance. Fascinating hypocrisy.

During Carolina’s transition decade, Maryland was able to play in two Final Fours and win a National Championship. Georgia Tech was able to win more NCAA Tournament games in a single season than Herb Sendek has in a decade. Wake Forest was successful in changing coaches and built a national program that achieved arguably their greatest seasons in history (capped by two weeks of a #1 ranking).

Why NOT NC State?

The immediate answer is because NC State doesn’t do anything to attempt to improve. It seems that the University is more than pleased with being on the bubble – just like we have been in 4 of our 5 consecutive NCAA Tournament bids that you hear so much about.

“The enemy of the best of the good.” – Anonymous

“I never worry about action; only inaction” – Anonymous

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try” – Beverly Sills

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act…but a habit.” – Anonymous

“Yeah, doc, ya gotta help us! We’ve tried NOTHING, and we’re all out of ideas!” – The Simpsons

General NCS Basketball Quotes of Note Tradition

72 Responses to Holland: NC State 30 Years Ago

  1. DCM 03/23/2006 at 11:23 AM #

    Wow. So massive change is the only thing that qualifies as “action”? Good thing UConn, Maryland, Duke, Syracuse didnt subscribe to that theory early on. Or the Pittsburg Steelers for that matter.

    Obviously, change at times in needed. But to say that only action going on at State is inaction is to make the claim that only action you would recognize is the one you prefer.

    I say I see action. I see two top 100 kids coming in plus a kid in Dan Werner that tore it up his senior year. I see a top 10 PG coming in for the year of 2007. I see high school programs and coaches buying into NC State across the board. I see Herb Sendek beating the likes of Villanova’s Coach Wright head to head in recruiting on a consistent basis. In two years, the starting line up at State will all be top 100 recruits. That is no where near close to a staff that sits “around with their thumbs up their asses.” Not even close.

    There are lots of types of action. Changing coaches is only one kind of action. Shooting yourself in the foot is technically an action.

  2. class of '74 03/23/2006 at 11:25 AM #

    I hope all of those under 30 years old do read this piece and reflect for just a moment. I remember when I was 18 and I knew more than my dad. Funny how the old I become the smarter my dad was and the dumber I used to be.

  3. Scott 03/23/2006 at 11:28 AM #

    I too remember exactly what Holland is talking about. My son is going to be a freshman at NCSU next year. It really makes me angry that, as long as Herb is here, he will never experience the excitement and energy around the basketball program that I felt when I was a student.

    Basketball was one of the great experiences of college life at NCSU. It
    was unique to only a few schools in the country and we were fortunate to have it. It hurts me when he asks me to TIVO the game for him but when he returns home from work I have to tell him not to bother watching it. At first, he was disappointed. This was followed by shoulder shrugging apathy. Now he just laughs. It appears that this ten year trend will only continue and the apathy around the program will continue until the great years are all but forgotten.

  4. beowolf 03/23/2006 at 11:31 AM #

    About those quotations:

    Remember the episode of “The Simpsons” where Ned Flanders’ parents took young Ned to a child psychologist because he was so destructive? The reason why became readily apparent: his parents were hippies who didn’t believe in disciplining their boy. Ned’s mom’s comments are Lee Fowler-esque:

    *Yeah, doc, ya gotta help us! We’ve tried NOTHING, and we’re all out of ideas!*

  5. BJD95 03/23/2006 at 11:31 AM #

    We have a ten-year body of work on Herb Sendek. It’s unfair TO THE PROGRAM to evaluate him as if he is in the “building stage” of his program. He has to be judged based on bottom line, objective RESULTS.

  6. BJD95 03/23/2006 at 11:32 AM #

    ^^ very apt analogy, beo.

  7. class of '74 03/23/2006 at 11:36 AM #

    DCM may I remind you that Herb has had several noted recruiting classes with no notable results to date. Sir, you suscribe to the WTNY philosophy and you will be here with no banners for as long as Herbie is here. Nobody goes this long without success and suddenly becomes a champion. History is against you in this matter!

    ^above should have been “Funny how the older”

  8. Rick 03/23/2006 at 11:37 AM #

    We are a second tier basketball school now.

    We have to accept the LF and Herb are running us into the ground.

  9. DCM 03/23/2006 at 11:45 AM #

    I agree with ’74 to a point. There have been good classes pre-Ced/Grant/B-Rack. But they were never strung together like they are now. They were never consistent. Which always meant we had holes in the line-up all the way to this year….see Ilian Evtimov. That is over now with the possible exception of Engin Atsur who isnt the big recruit but a solid player through the first 10000000000 minutes of his season.

    The classes now arent isolated. Its a trend now to recruit at a high level. And all signs point to it staying that way.

    And Rick, the high school talent coming in doesnt see us that way. And lets define “top tier”.. Who is a top tier school?

  10. DCM 03/23/2006 at 11:50 AM #

    ’74 really hit a major point there. And inconsistency in recruiting has been THEE problem with both b-ball and f-ball up to this point. Herb is now recruiting consistently. The 2007 class is already shaping up to be one of his best, let alone the 2006 class.

    What Herb went through between the Hodge class and the Ced class is what Chuck is going through now. The problem is in football is that it takes a lot longer to both feel the effects and to correct them. Make no mistakes, the football program will feel the effects of poor recruiting the last two-three seasons, and the b-ball team will reap the rewards of four solid classes in a row.

  11. class of '74 03/23/2006 at 12:02 PM #

    Recruiting classes are relative matters. And relatively speaking our class for ’06 is not in the top three of the ACC. Herb’s style of play is NOT conducive to bringing in the best talent. IMHO Herb would have to have three consecutive years of the NATIONS best recruiting classes just to overcome his coaching mishaps. Therefore, I have no reason to think we will see any significant achievements as long as he remains! This is why he must leave if we are to regain the place Terry Holland recalls.

  12. RickJ 03/23/2006 at 12:37 PM #

    This blog started me to thinking about something. How often does it end “well� for a basketball/football coach at a high D1 level school? The term “well� might be tough to define but I’m looking at it from the coach’s point of view. Look at the previous three basketball & football coaches in the Big Four:

    Carolina – Basketball; Doherty
    Football; Torbush

    Duke – Basketball; Foster
    Football; Franks

    State – Basketball; Robinson
    Football; O’Cain

    Wake – Basketball; Odom
    Football; Caldwell

    Let me start by saying I think the above names are right but I’m a little fuzzy on Duke & Wake. Of these 24 coaches, only 3 (Dean Smith, Mack Brown & Norm Sloan) either retired gracefully or moved on to higher paying positions. Sloan’s case of ending “well� could certainly be debated but he did get more money at Florida. Guthridge & Sheridan represent unique situations that are hard to gage.

    Is it fair to say that when a new football coach is hired by a Big Four school that he is just about doomed to fail? What current football coach in the Big Four has the best chance of really succeeding?

    Basketball jobs in the Big Four seem destined to produce much more success even though eventually, the majority of coaches fail even here. Obviously, K & Williams have a great chance to make it all the way to a graceful retirement. I wouldn’t put anybody else’s chances in the ACC at any better than 50%.

    Is there any dang point to all this? Only that coaching football & basketball at the D1 level is a very high risk / high reward endeavor. Coaches absolutely understand this and know that the end game is most likely not going to be pleasant. Norm Sloan gave us our first National Championship and the most successful two-year run in the history of league. Nobody could be more appreciative of his efforts than I am but it was probably time for him to move on when he did. Gary Williams is rapidly approaching the same place.

    Duke failed three times with the above coaches in an 11 year period after NC State grad Vic Bubas showed the school how much a great basketball program can mean to a university. Change is hard but sometimes necessary.

  13. DCM 03/23/2006 at 12:41 PM #

    ’74 you are rigth about ’06 not being in the top 3. But its in the top 5 and top 25 nationally and that is with Dan Werner being seriously undervalued right now…which will change with the next rankings. GT has two really nice kids coming. Although, I dont see Duke’s class as that much better than ours. UNC’s and GT is insane. But GT hasnt dont that lately. They dont have any commits for ’07 at this point (it is early). Obvioulsy Roy and K have and will.

    This summer is HUGE for Sendek. With Wright committing so early, this has a chance to be a special class. And it needs to be to keep up with the rest of the ACC (including Duke and UNC). Its just my opinion now that firing Sendek in the midst of this really great recruiting run is a huge mistake. Now if the trend reverses all of a sudden and there are consecutive years of poor recruiting again combined with poor results (a la Amato’s football team right now) then you have to seriously evaluate the situation at head coach.

    I just think that if a new coach were brought in, what we would expect of him in recruiting is exactly what Herb is now doing.

  14. site admin 03/23/2006 at 12:44 PM #

    Can Dan Werner “shoot it” like mike o’donnell?

    Wasn’t Ron Kelley a top 100 recruit?

  15. ncsslim 03/23/2006 at 12:50 PM #

    Just for perspective, and as crazy as it may seem, the excitement surrounding W’Pack bball in the early 70’s was a heavy influence on my career path selection. Prior to the that, I was a staunch supporter of the dark side (Charlie Scott was the man), and was destined to go to pharmacy school in Hole-land. However, upon discovery of the new, real man (DT), I fell in love with the passion of the times and became an engineer instead. The passion is still very much alive with me and my older son (a current NCSU student), but I feel very much like someone who’s homeland is occupied by an oppressive foreign force, and very little hope for change anytime in the near future. You can’t simply walk away from something that is as much apart of you as your family, whether that’s a rediculous situation or not. That’s the funny thing about passion. I hope the upcoming generation has the oportunity to feel that once again.

  16. Mike 03/23/2006 at 12:54 PM #

    This is a little off topic, but did some research of my own. It has come up in some other threads in the last few days, but putting it here, hope SFN editors will keep it. Read where someone said IF Costner had played this year things would be different. Herb does not play freshmen, except wiht few examples.

    I also read “where Costner played, he showed the talent we are missing” or something along those lines.

    OK, here goes history:
    Wilkins 32.4 MPG
    Atsur 29.4 MPG
    Hodge 27.5 MPG
    Evtimov 21.9 MPG
    Powell 19.5 MPG
    Brackman 18.7 MPG
    Sherrill 13.5 MPG
    Grant 13.1 MPG
    Melvin 11.2 MPG
    Bennerman 10.4 MPG
    Simmons 10.0 MPG
    Collins 8.4 MPG

    Want to know about this year?
    Costner 13.8 MPG
    Fells 7.7 MPG
    McCauley 6.9 MPG

    Remember, these stats include all games, including early season non-conference games, blowouts etc. Costner only played 5 games against poor competition, shot 5-23 (of which 4-18 were 3’s, another example of shooting nothing but 3’s – 18 of 23 were 3’s) and grabbed 13 rebounds for an average of 2.6 RPG. How in the world can you say a healthy Costner would have made a difference?

    Someone else questioned me when I said Sherrill was a McD AA. You can find this info on gopack.com, that not only was he McD, scored 12 points in McD game, and he was also Parade AA.

    There is no such thing as player development any more. Anyone remember a kid Coach V brought in as a favor? Lanky kid that would never play but V gave him a ride anyway. Thanks Gugs for 4 great years, working your butt off, developing, and becoming a steady NBA player.

    Make all the excuses you want HSSS. Sometimes I wonder if you say these things trying to convince yourselves when you know the truth, the fraudulent truth. The authors of this site post real numbers, facts, learn to live with it. You guys are just trying to fool yourselves. I dont know any of these guys personally that host this site, but they have done their research and can back it up.

  17. Mike 03/23/2006 at 12:58 PM #

    I missed the comments that were added while I was typing my previous entry. Werner is coming in? See my freshman playing time rant. Werner has same credentials as Costner, Fells, and probably is “not ready” to play at the college level. Wright is coming in 2 years, (WTNY). BTW, for what it is worth, did anyone else hear Wright was suspended for the rest of the season? Not his fault probably, arguing with a ref in a game, then his dad and uncle came on the court and punched the ref.

  18. class of '74 03/23/2006 at 12:58 PM #

    The fact remains that no matter how good the recruits are they still must play for one Herb Sendek. Given equal talent Herb will finish behind: Roy, K, Hewitt, GW and maybe Prosser and Leitao. Now if this seems appealing to your sense of school pride well …. Let’s just say I think you have some self-esteem issues.

  19. ThePack 03/23/2006 at 1:04 PM #

    wasn’t Wright, that was Larry Davis

  20. VaWolf82 03/23/2006 at 1:07 PM #

    The available evidence with Al Skinner (1-3) is not positive either.

  21. class of '74 03/23/2006 at 1:08 PM #

    ^^It wasn’t Wright with the problems it was Larry Davis in the ’06 class.

  22. class of '74 03/23/2006 at 1:09 PM #

    Sorry VaWolf I should have included Coach Skinner in my post!

  23. Heelsfan 03/23/2006 at 1:38 PM #

    SFN is RIGHT that NC State can and should return it’s program to the top. It’s clear that Herb is not capable of establishing a consistent Top Ten program.

    Jeff, In regard to the “Carolina Example”, it must be made clear that of the FOUR coaches you mention, Coach Smith and Coach Guthridge retired. Coach Doherty lost control of his players and the program and that was the only “turmoil”. The situation with Roy and his decision to stay at Kansas in 2001 is well documented.

    Roy has certainly righted the ship, and I would think the right person could do the same at State.

  24. DCM 03/23/2006 at 1:47 PM #

    The Larry Davis sitaution has been well documented on NYCNJHOOPS.com (great site). There are two sides to this story. The ref in question made some ridiculous comments pre-game that made his calls appear to be in question. Regardless, Davis cant lower himself to approach him post game. That and he cant be blamed for his uncle.

    All year all that printed about Davis is that he is a model citizen to the point that some have said he needs to develop a mean streak.

    And Mike. Thanks for proving my point and posting those stats. Herb obviously plays freshman that play defense. Costner’s stats are meaningless. The kid had a broken leg. The fact is that if you are of the opinion that he wasnt ready for college, you find yourself at odds with every talent evaluator in the known world.

  25. Jeff 03/23/2006 at 1:50 PM #

    Heelsfan…understand that some of those guys retired. But, it still provided opportunity. In PARTICULAR because one of the primary HSSS (and MOC, & Les Robinson) talking points is that “change is bad” and “continuity is good”.

    By their very own standards…all of that change should have been GREAT for all of our continuity.

    Unfortunately, the absolute worst thing for a great theory is reality.

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