John Delong Gets It Right

John Delong has penned the best article we have read on the Sendek Situation.

Frankly, I consider it all absurd, because unlike most, I don’t see this issue as being black and white. I see all kinds of shades of gray. I think it’s possible to praise Sendek and be critical of him, to like the program he runs and to cringe at the Princeton-style offense he tries to run.

For those of you who staunchly defend Sendek’s Xs and Os, grab the DVR and take another look at State’s first 12 possessions of the second half on Sunday. And for those of you who say anyone would be better for the program, get out your old VCR tapes of the Les Robinson years.

More than anything, I believe strongly that Sendek has brought this cloud of controversy on himself.

Anyone who ever takes a job coaching basketball on Tobacco Road has to understand first and foremost the lay of the land, then work within that framework as best he can to produce positive results.

Coaching at State is about Xs and Os and recruiting and emphasizing academics and dozens of other issues. It is also about giving the fan base a sense of hope, in good times and bad. It is also about putting your best foot forward at all times so that when there is adversity, the support, the hope, is intact.

It is not about being all things to all people, but it is about cultivating assets, especially when the biggest potential asset is a passionate support system of followers desperately wanting to feel good about the program.

Sendek has failed miserably on that front. It’s the biggest flaw on his resume. If he could project and instill a sense of hope, then a four-game losing streak wouldn’t drag the program down the way this one did. If he could instill a sense of hope, there wouldn’t be this uneasy truce that exists with an element of the fan base even when he’s winning.

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General NCS Basketball

83 Responses to John Delong Gets It Right

  1. DRO 03/21/2006 at 5:08 PM #

    I’ll concede that the Doh situation was different than with Herb. With Doherty there was internal strife that was leaking out into the public eye. At least Herb’s players seem to be supportive, or at least they are not publicly unsupportive. And that is what makes this situation even more difficult. Herb seems to be a nice guy that young men probably enjoy playing for, and it cannot be argued that he has had some level of success at State. Some folks would cringe at firing a coach who won 22 games and made the NCAAT, but I’d have to agree that he has taken State as far as he can.

    Herb is not an animated coach who inspires passion in his players from the bench. He doesn’t utilize a ‘run & gun’ style that fans (and most players) enjoy. He has vocal critics in the media, alumni, and fan base. And these are things that will never change. That doesn’t make him a bad guy, nor a bad coach. But it does not fit the mold of State basketball that was created in years past.

    I will admit that I don’t enjoy the prospect of being beaten by the Pack, but I’ll be honest, a stronger and nationally respected State team is better for everyone in the ACC (and in the state of NC). Some of my fondest memories growing up in the 80’s was watching State and UNC battle it out. There were some great games, and I even cried after a few losses to the Pack (that’s OK as a kid, right?). And even though we lost sometimes, I still loved to watch. The prospect of Roy’s continued dominance over the Pack would be great, but part of me wants the old State back! I could live with a few losses to the Pack now and again just to see that level of passion return.

    Now, Duke on the other hand, I could care less….. 🙂

  2. class of '85 03/21/2006 at 5:09 PM #

    “my point was he was successful at a mid major.”

    and not successful at a major (after 10 years) . no hard feelings just time to go!

  3. jesse 03/21/2006 at 5:20 PM #

    class of 85, we have different definitions of success. but that is not my point here, my point is that state fans should think twice before they bring in a coach from a mid major hoping that he “will inspire passion” because remember herb came from a mid major. i think if we replace herb someday (which i don’t support) it would have to be a proven guy like john calipari or someone like that.

  4. Dana'81 03/21/2006 at 6:17 PM #

    “… a passionate support system of followers desperately wanting to feel good about the program.”

    That pretty much describes me. I desparately want to feel good about the program. I was at State between the 2 championships and remember how good it was.

  5. Jeff 03/21/2006 at 6:21 PM #

    lass of 85, we have different definitions of success.

    LOL! Tell us something that we didn’t know.

  6. MurphNCSU 03/21/2006 at 6:43 PM #

    If you want to talk about unrest in the program leaking into the public eye, just look at all the transfers that Herb had in his first 5-6 years and especially the public scrutiny caused by Damien Wilkins transfer. Now I believe that Wilkins was a hack who had been hyped by the history of his father and uncle ( both of which were much better ) and at the time I was like, ” You know what, if you don’t want us then hit the fing road!” Its amazing how excited I was just to be a part of NCSU and how sad it has become. However, maybe we all should have lent some creedence to what the Wilkins clan had to say.

  7. TPack 03/21/2006 at 7:20 PM #

    “Had great opportunity to make Elite 8…lost”

    If my memory serves be correctly, didn’t we have a nice little lead in that game against Wisconsin?

    Herb’s gotta go. He does just enough to get by, and occasionally will get our hopes up, only to see them crushed the next week (see UConn games in the Tourney during first few years of College basketball, atleast according to Lee Fowler)

  8. Honest Abe 03/21/2006 at 7:32 PM #

    My Dad coached at NCSU in the early ’80s (non-revenue sport) and I knew Coach Valvano (even went to his camps), though not well. Coach Valvano arrived a year after my Dad did and had an infectious personality, one that captivated alums and recruits. Even though I ultimately went to Duke, my fondest childhood memories of NCAA hoops are from 1983 and, later, watching Spud Webb dunk in Reynolds. When my Dad was at NCSU, the school’s athletics grew by leaps and bounds in terms of funding and facilities, mostly due to the 1983 Championship and Coach Valvano’s efforts.

    I like Herb, he represents a lot of great things about NCAA athletics and is above reproach in terms of personal character. However, he has lost his base and the enthusiasm around the program is gone. It is time to reenergize. NCSU has a history of finding great young coaches and it is time to do it again.

  9. Wolfpack Willie 03/21/2006 at 8:03 PM #

    DRO & Honest Abe:
    For a TarHole and a Dukie, you guys have an excellent comprehension of the angst of many State alumni. You’re posts were right on the money. Thanks for the contribution.
    Just wish the media hacks understood as well!

  10. dan 03/21/2006 at 8:14 PM #

    For the first 9 years of Coach Sendek’s tenure, I was an unabashed supporter of his. I like his analytic style, and I like his personality. I like the character of the kids he brings in. In addition, for most of those nine years, the arguments for letting him go were, well, immature. For awhile, it was a witch-hunt, and alot of the criticism against the man was personal. It was very natural to back the guy because of the vehom his antagonizers used. And, like I said, I think Coach Sendek is quality.

    However, the arguments for him moving on have matured (as have those who make the arguments). His program has stabilized, and we’ve had several years of his players running his offense. I think the past is much more predictative of future results than it was several years ago (solid, but not spectactular). In short, I find some validity in the argument for letting Coach go.

    I mention this because I’m most likely not alone with these sentiments.

    However, that being said, if the administration wants Coach to stay, and he wants to stay, then I’m more than willing to support the team next year and the years after that. I still find NCSU basketball very entertaining, and a fun way to spend an evening. The program seems well respected in the community (see recent comments by K, Barnes and Vitale), and the recent numbers about the revenue generated by the program leaves no question about the business end of things.

    Again, I could be wrong, I don’t think I’m the only one that feels this way.

    One thing that bothers me to no end is when the work ethic of those who support Coach is criticized:

    “Would’nt you love to have Jesse as your boss. You could do just enough to get by and earn a killer salary.”

    Why in the world would anyone assume your professional work ethic carries over to the standard you hold for your entertainment? I watched the Sopranos on Sunday, yet I have no plans to shake down my co-workers on Monday. Shocking, huh?

    Please stop doing this. It makes you look dumb.

  11. dan 03/21/2006 at 8:18 PM #

    ^ I should add that this was in response to :

    In recent weeks not a single State fan who’s raised the issue with me wants Herb Sendek to remain as basketball coach at NC State. Not one.

    I just wanted to post a (hopefully) level-headed response from someone who likes the guy and NCSU. Take it for what it’s worth (about 2 cents).

  12. scott 03/21/2006 at 8:48 PM #

    Dan, your standard for enjoyable entertainment must not be very high. And, why is it that your opinion is the one that’s “level-headed”? You’re the one calling others dumb. From you or Lee Fowler, I would take that as a compliment.

  13. dan 03/21/2006 at 8:58 PM #

    ^ IMO “level-headed.” Your welcome to point out what wasn’t level-headed about what I said.

    Can you tell my why that isn’t dumb about that correlation? Or do you prefer to just take shots at people with different opinions than you?

  14. MrTnNC 03/21/2006 at 9:06 PM #

    My feeling is that there will be no statements from Fowler or Sendek. The lords of NCSU basketball will just “lay low” until the heat is off, and the business of business-as-usual will continue. And of course, we’ll get to do this all over again next year . . . and again . . . until we the “impudent and unclean” eventually give in or give up and go away. I already have one foot out the door.

  15. Cardiac95 03/21/2006 at 9:26 PM #

    Sorry to put this on this thread, but…

    Is there any update on Sendek’s job search? Over on PPride, they’re saying its over & he’s staying. Was the market really THAT unkind? What about the boosters with the $800k buyout? Did it have no impact on his criteria for “acceptable” coaching positions?

    Sorry again to take this off topic….but I’m looking for a ray of hope.

  16. wopacker1980 03/21/2006 at 9:28 PM #

    jesse, what we keep trying to tell you is that Les and herb are the exceptions rather than the rule.
    Everette Case came from a high school to coach State to 10, yes 10 straight basketball championships. Don’t think things were as competitive back then? Think again, the Southern Conference had 16 members then. And to top it off State had NO basketball tradition to speak of.
    Dean? Only head coach job he ever had was at ch. Coach K? Came from Army. Now that’s a basketball coaching machine.
    There are plenty of goo coaches out there (GW, GM, Winthrope, Davidson, NWSt, etc) that would die for the chance to come to an ACC school.
    Just face it, your chicken and you’d rather let fear of the unknown rule you that the excitement of what could be.

  17. charlottefan 03/21/2006 at 9:40 PM #

    I don’t see how anyone can say our basketball team is fun to watch. The second half of the Texas game was no different than Les’ teams that would jack 30 3 pointers a game.

  18. cardiacpack 03/21/2006 at 11:03 PM #

    It’s funny, I haven’t talked to one person that thinks Herb should be fired…not one. That is, of course, until I visit this site!

  19. MurphNCSU 03/21/2006 at 11:38 PM #

    I don’t think Herb should be fired. I think that he should resign. Then he could attempt to do better than 22.4%(regular season) and 33.3%(ACCT), against his top three rivals at what ever school he lands at.

  20. scott 03/22/2006 at 4:44 AM #

    I think (ACC Sports Journal) David Glenn’s piece on ACC coaches who’ve been in the league at least 10 years is insightful. I would also note that WTVD’s poll shows nearly 62% think Herb should resign or be fired, while RedandWhiteFromState’s poll show 69% think it’s time for him to leave. A lunatic “fringe”? I don’t think so. One ray of hope…Gregg Doyel of CBS Sportsline says Herb might be a candidate at Cincinnati. God, let’s hope so!

  21. class of '74 03/22/2006 at 6:42 AM #

    How long would you last at your job if your two closest competitors beat you on every sale, every deadline, every court case, every new product develop- ment for 5 years let alone the past 10?

    Cnances are good you would be unemployed unless you worked for Lee “Neville Chamberlain” Fowler. The man who has brought “mediocrity in our time” to NCSU athletics.

  22. class of '85 03/22/2006 at 8:15 AM #

    Class of ’74:
    I agree with that 100%. These guys that can settle for Herb’s record need to coach little league baseball. There philosphy holds true there but not in the ACC in BB country.

    It says a lot about one’s personality when they consider Herb’s record over 10 years a success.

  23. SaccoV 03/22/2006 at 8:42 AM #

    Supposedly, if Herb is so damn great, the offers should be rolling in considering the vacancies in college basketball. With the one exception of Indiana (because we know they want a winner), Iowa (Alford will probably leave for Indiana) Iowa State, Cincinnati, Michigan, are all schools who are in need of a new coach. Sendek can’t fit the bill there huh? Wouldn’t want a coach who graduates all his players? What a pile of garbage this whole situation is!! It stinks like rotten pigs’ feet. NC State Athletics should be redubbed Purgatory.

  24. GAWolf 03/22/2006 at 8:55 AM #

    Here’s what I don’t get… how does my inability to accept Herb Sendek as the best coach we can get after year five somehow develop from “Witch Hunt” to “reasoned decision” in year ten?

    Can some not just accept that they have been wrong for half a decade and the man should have been out the door five years ago when it would have been a lot easier than this? This inability to accept and announce that they have been “wrong” is so very Fowleristic. It reminds me of a similar reoccuring theme I see with my girlfriend.

    As an example, just a few weeks ago she says the state flag of S.C. is actually the flag signifying the area around Charleston and Isle of Palms solely. I’m all: “No baby, I’m pretty sure that blue flag with the half moon and palm tree is the state flag of S.C… not just Isle of Palms.” She’s all, “Whatever, you don’t know what you’re talking about because my friend from S.C. told me it was the flag for just Isle of Palms. See the palm tree?” I’m all: “Holy crap, are you arguing with me? I mean, I know I’m 100% right on this one.” ***pointless banter*** Eventually, she’s all (screaming at this point): Why do you always disagree with me? Why can’t you just accept my opinion? Why are you so judgmental and condescending?” I’m all (calmly): “Because you’re wrong and I’m right. I refuse to accept someone else’s opinion that is just flat out wrong.” We seriously argued about this for weeks until I finally got fed up with her inability to accept the truth. After doing a wee bit of internet research (much like you see on this website but to an -enth of a degree) I showed her a website of the State flags.

    Her only response: “Gosh. I can’t believe she misled me like that considering she didn’t know what she was talking about.”

    Jebus-almighty-Christmas… no apology? no “I was wrong?” no “You’ve been right all this time?” Like a stubborn woman, the Herb sympathizers have been getting the wool pulled over their eyes for way too long now. And unfortunately they’ve argued their completely unsupported “reality” so hard and diligently that like a woman they can’t personally afford to say “You know what… I’m sorry… I was wrong.”

  25. Mike 03/22/2006 at 9:02 AM #

    Sacco, Herb graduates (I think) most of his players, isn’t that what is important? Who cares about wins/losses, program is clean. Herb should be desried at any university wiht that kind of record, the presidents/chancellors should be beating his door down.

    What? They’re not? Why not? Oh yeah, I got it now. Anyone with a true understanding knows the truth, the fraudulent truth of our situation. Remember when Sheridan was at State? It was a fear every year that someone was coming knocking and was going to take him away for more money and a better program. Every year multiple schools were calling for permission to talk. A good coach will always have people asking…..why is this never a fear for NC State basketball?

    As for players graduating, K, Dean, Roy, Knight all make their players go to class. I was at State during the V years, and the players that were in my classes sometimes showed up, usually only on test days (and I wont comment further how they passed them), and I am glad to see players going to class now. I remember when Dook when the NCAA, K would not hang the banner in Cameron until Abdelnaaby came back and finished his degree. Kudos K!!!!! 4 of the most successful coaches in history (Wooden was a little before my time but my guess is he made them graduate too) have all had steller grad rates. We can find a coach who can coach AND make players go to class.

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