Media Paints Dim Picture of State Under Sendek

It has definitely been a tough week in the media for Herb Sendek and his very disappointing NC State Basketball program.

But, things have gotten a lot worse for Herb in the last few days as the media has gotten into the full swing of the act to the point that even others have noticed.

Take Duke Basketball Report’s entry today on “Anger Building in Raleigh”. I think that some of DBR’s comments completely miss the mark, but I find it interesting that are highlighting the situation:

Things may be about to get a bit ugly in Raleigh, as anger towards Herb Sendek’s program is gearing back up again, and this time, it’s hit the media as well. In the Greensboro paper, Ed Hardin launched a nasty salvo Saturday, basically urging Sendek to stick it to State before State stuck it to him. State A.D. Lee Fowler has said repeatedly that Sendek is his coach, but he wouldn’t be human if the constant attacks didn’t get to him. He told Chip Alexander that “I don’t think Mike Krzyzewski is liked by all Duke fans. I don’t know anything that would get everybody off [Sendek].”

Now he may be right, there are probably a handful of Duke fans who don’t like Coach K for whatever reason. There are people who hate Santa Clause and Kermit the Frog, too. But what’s happening at State, what’s happened during Sendek’s entire tenure, after his first year, is just bizarre.

We’ve run hot and cold on Sendek. His biggest problems are pretty basic. His teams go through a terrible time at least once a season, and his personality, his public personality anyway, isn’t strong enough to deflect the tough times.

To make sure that we have them all chronicled, the following are some more recent media comments of interest:

Wife & Cronies Herb’s Only Fans

Cheerless Scene for State

Picture this: Ten or so minutes left. No. 12-seeded Wake Forest is up by 18 points against No. 4 N.C. State in the second quarterfinal game on Friday at the Greensboro Coliseum.

In the Wolfpack seating section, Melanie Sendek, wife of head coach Herb Sendek, attempted to start a cheer. “Let’s Go, Wolfpack! Let’s Go, Wolfpack!”

Fans to her left and right picked up on the chant, and far below at courtside, so did the State cheerleaders. Few other fans did, however, and the cheer ended after Wake’s Kyle Visser made a layup, extending the lead to 58-38.

Am I the only one that remembers the comments from LAST YEAR’S ACC Tournament regarding the “excitement” in NC State’s section?

I guess as long as Wendell and his crew have great parking spaces to have their afternoon parties (like they did after State’s first round exit on Friday afternoon) then all is well with the world. How many of you had the stomach to gather and party after Friday’s embarassment to Wake Forest?

You guys just wait til next year!!

N&O’s Foul Shots criticize strategy and coaching

Bravo. Really, just an absolutely fabulous ruse by the Wolfpack to lose these past four games. By plunging so far in the tank, State has thrown everyone — from fans to ESPN and Billy Packer — off the scent of their impending NCAA Tournament run.

Wouldn’t it be typical of the Herb Sendek Era for the Wolfpack to pull out a March miracle just when everyone loses all hope?

Add bonus points for losing twice to the last-place team in the ACC. That was a brilliant touch. You almost even fooled us.

We are touched that Wake Forest posted Thursday’s “Foul Shots” column in their locker room before their big win Friday over N.C. State. Let’s just say the Deacs didn’t like being called “Weak Forest.”

Now, we respectfully offer our services to N.C. State for the NCAA Tournament.

Actually, if Herb Sendek would have borrowed a page from the handbooks of Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski, the Wake game might have been closer.

For instance, look at what K did at Georgia Tech, firing up his team by working the refs — oh, we mean engaging the officials in a meaningful dialogue — and getting slapped with a technical foul. Or study how Ol’ Roy, in the first Duke-Carolina game, trotted out the “Blue” team until his starters got the message.

Lastly, and this one we came up with on our own, when you’re down 23 in the second half, go to the full-court press before the 5-minute mark.

Again, all merely humble suggestions. But if you’re looking for references, call the Deacs.

Friedlander in Fayetteville
Brett Friedlander continues to redeem himself to the folks at StateFansNation. After penning an excellent piece a couple of weeks ago, he comes back with “State’s collapse hard to explain”

The air of inevitability that has enshrouded State has become so heavy it could be seen Friday in the slumped shoulders of coach Herb Sendek as he waited to address his players during a late timeout.

By the time he met with the media after the game, it sounded as though he was ready to raise the white flag. “Our guys obviously have had a tough patch here at the end of the year and a lot of attention has been drawn to that part of the season,� Sendek said. “I don’t want that to take away from the fact that this team has played outstanding basketball and really enjoyed a heck of a season.�

If you’re Campbell or East Carolina or UNC-Greensboro, maybe.

But when you’re N.C. State, with Duke and Carolina playing for and winning national championships every year right down the road, 21 wins and a nice NCAA tournament watch aren’t enough. The fact that the Wolfpack seemed on the verge of rubbing elbows with the nation’s elite just three short weeks ago makes its collapse even worse.

Think about it.

On Feb. 15, 20 days earlier, State was 21-5, solidly in second place in the ACC and realistically looking at the possibility of a No. 3 NCAA seeding. Now it will be lucky just to be seeded eighth or better.

Not even President Bush’s approval rating has dropped that drastically. At least Bush doesn’t have to run for re-election again. Sendek doesn’t have that kind of luxury.

He’s got to come back next season and face an increasingly restless fan base that even after 10 seasons, still hasn’t completely embraced him. And he’ll have to do it without three of his most important players — seniors Cameron Bennerman, Ilian Evtimov and Tony Bethel.

It’s a prospect that could possibly lead Sendek — whose degree from Carnegie Mellon should enable him to read the handwriting on the wall — to seriously consider getting out while the getting is good.

Unless you enjoy coaching at Florida Atlantic or Coastal Carolina, getting fired is never a good career path. Just ask Matt Doherty and Buzz Peterson. And all it will take is one bad season to put Sendek right there with them.

With attractive openings likely to be available at Missouri, Cincinnati, Indiana and Oregon State to name a few, now might be a good time for Sendek and the Wolfpack to think about making a fresh start.

From their performances and body language at the ACC tournament on Friday, everyone looks as though they could use it.

Sendek Takes on a Fan
Dave Glenn’s ACC Journal Blog has been sharing sights and sounds of the Tourney from an up front perspective. His Day Three entry included the following account:

As the Wolfpack coaches and players were walking off the court after the traditional handshake with Wake Forest’s personnel, a handful of fans wearing NCSU gear vented their frustration at Sendek. At one point, Sendek directly yelled back at one of the hecklers, and the coach appeared to invite the fan to join him court-side for a more intimate discussion. Pack assistant Larry Harris eventually grabbed Sendek and ushered him into the tunnel and away from the fray.

Wow. Now if only Coach could get as mad at the officials as he does other Wolfpackers.

Drought getting longer
Sunday’s N&O included an article titled, “Pack’s drought long”. Ya think? Hell, we’ve been telling you that since last year.

I couldn’t grasp what direction Chip Alexander was trying to go with his piece. It was pretty much focused on “stating the obvious and give some people a chance to provide some soundbites”

Vinny Del Negro played a starring role when N.C. State last won the ACC championship. Del Negro is 39. A lengthy NBA career over, he now scouts for the Phoenix Suns. That Wolfpack championship? It came in 1987. “It’s hard to believe it has been that long, with State’s basketball tradition, but it has,” Del Negro said Saturday. “State has been in the championship game a few times since then. Getting there is great but you have to win it.”

During halftime breaks and between the two games, some Wolfpack supporters huddled in small groups, talking about the team with frowns and much head-shaking.

Bobby Purcell, executive director of the Wolfpack Club, would only say he had been “busy” talking with members since the disturbing loss to the Deacons. Most State supporters noted there still was the NCAA Tournament to be played, that much could change in a week or two, that everyone had to remain optimistic.

But there was a pessimistic undercurrent in the chatter, even though State has 21 wins and is on the brink of a fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Opinions varied on whether Pack coach Herb Sendek might be tempted to leave after the season for another job. Sendek, under contract through June 30, 2010, has said his “total focus” is on the State program.

Asked if he thought Sendek might decide to leave, Wendell Murphy, a major Wolfpack Club contributor, said, “I wouldn’t think so. Herb is stubborn. He doesn’t back away from the challenge.”

From the Blogosphere
I thought that this entry at the Red & White From State does a super job of articulating the same frustration and feelings that 99% of NC State fans and compliments Cardiff Giant’s comments on SFN a couple of days ago.

Some within NC State’s fanbase have equally given up, resigned to the university’s lack of leadership in showing that it desires anything more than to make money. Certainly, Lee Fowler’s only public appearances are either for self aggrandizement or to promote how much money the Wolfpack Club has brought in for him. Ed Hardin of the Greensboro News & Record commented after NC State’s loss to Wake that nary a peep was heard from NC State’s fans at the game, “who simply walked away.”

Four straight losses have Wolfpack Nation in a state of apoplexy. Fans no longer care. The players have nothing left to give. The family has turned on him.

Others, however, still care about the program, and a chasm now exists between proponents for King Herb and those who desire more for NC State’s basketball program (Check out Fayetteville Observer’s Brett Friedlander’s blog for clear evidence). An internet petition, circulated during the 2005 season and whose text still appears in the downloads section of this site, belies the anger and frustration that exists among a large contingent of Wolfpackers. NC State’s aristocracy and intransigent administration cannot hold back the demands of tens of 1000’s of loyal Wolfpackers, whose patience has now exhausted.

No media blitz will save King Herb. No emails from Lee Fowler will save King Herb. No cute pictures of King Herb’s family will save King Herb. No rhetoric from NC State’s Sports Information Department will save King Herb. Friday’s loss is but the last straw in a grave series of offenses to Wolfpack Nation’s sensibilities.

Herb Sendek must go. Whether he leaves of his own accord or is forced out, King Herb must not return to NC State as its head coach for men’s basketball. A decade-long struggle appears to have reached its logical conclusion. It’s not time for State to fire Sendek. It’s time for Sendek to fire State [and walk away].

According to Ilian Evtimov after his team’s beatdown, ““It’s a new season starting next week. Everyone is going to be 0 and 0. It’s one and done and if we have the right mindset, we’re going to advance.â€? Ironically, Evtimov echoed the same sentiments after Wake crushed NC State to finish the regular season.

Sendek needs a vote of confidence. He doesn’t need a win, he needs six. There aren’t six more wins in this team, and there aren’t six more wins at State in Sendek. That reality was on the face of the program as it walked away from a demoralizing loss in the tournament he’d used as a springboard for nine seasons before this one.

It is time for a new direction for NC State’s men’s basketball program. IT IS TIME FOR HERB SENDEK TO GO.

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General Media NCS Basketball Quotes of Note

12 Responses to Media Paints Dim Picture of State Under Sendek

  1. class of '74 03/12/2006 at 12:17 PM #

    I honestly thought the scene at the Clemson home football game this past season was the ugliest I’ve witnessed in my years as a State fan. That is until the past couple of weeks of this basketball season. People who until now have blindly supported Herb are falling off the wagon left and right. Some fans are fighting mad and others have fallen into a loathing of all things connected to NCSU athletics. Apathy which is the final measure a fan takes is not far behind and that is the true death knell of a program. Whether Lee Fowler realizes it or not this thing could spiral into a complete wipeout of the athletics department under his leadership. At some point this is bigger than just Herb and his hide.

  2. J.R. 03/12/2006 at 12:54 PM #

    I’m glad that the media is finally taking a more serious tone when discussing nc state fans. I have gotten used to us being dismissed as whiny, fatalistic, and harsh. It is nice to see our complaints being taken more seriously. If the athletic dept., or any authority figure for that matter, won’t listen, then you make them listen. NCSU needs a revolution in the athletic dept., and maybe we’re the ones to start it.

  3. BJD95 03/12/2006 at 1:01 PM #

    I must say that I am very surprised (in a good way) at the media coverage of our collapse. Part of it is surely wishful thinking, but the cumulative effect seems like the building of an aura of inevitability re Sendek’s departure. And the exchange with the heckling fans is most definitely a sign that the pressure is getting to him. Why not get out, if and when he can?

  4. Jeff 03/12/2006 at 1:19 PM #

    “IF” he can. That, I fear, is the problem.

  5. Wolfpack Willie 03/12/2006 at 1:22 PM #

    Fellow Wolfpackers:
    This info has been posted previously, but will re-post here in case anybody wants to take mouse in hand and fire off an e-mail (please make sure it’s respectful).
    Here is some e-mail information which may prove useful to those of you who are as disappointed in the direction of NCSU athletics as I am:
    NCSU Chancellor:Dr. James L. Oblinger – [email protected]

    Ath. Dir. Lee Fowler: [email protected]

    Board of Trustees -go to this Web address to identify trustees – you’ll have to wing it from there:

    It took Marye Ann Fox to get rid of Les. Who knows what it will take to get rid of Fowler/Sendek.

  6. lumberpack 03/12/2006 at 4:08 PM #

    I tired to tell people 6 years ago. No one wanted to listen. I have been banned at all the happy horse crap sites trying to get people to listen. Hopefully the end is near, and hopefully it will take Fowler as well. Purcell and Ponder need to run the show.

  7. Daniel 03/12/2006 at 4:10 PM #

    In my opinion, this is a much, much worse situation than in 2005. I actually expect an announcement early this week that Herb has stepped down (perhaps for another position) ala Michigan in 1989.

    If only Archie, or whomever the interim coach would be could lead us to glory as Steve Fisher did.

  8. LKP 03/12/2006 at 5:52 PM #

    This has been building and building for YEARS from those who can objectively see what is going on with State basketball. There have been enough excuses:

    a) State can’t recruit talented players like Duke or UNC
    b) State hasn’t the tradition to be a national contendor
    c) Herb inherited a program in complete and utter disarray, you can’t expect a winning program anytime soon
    d) Statistics don’t lie… Herb is right up there w/ Valvano and Case
    e) State couldn’t attract a big name coach anyway
    f) State will never do as well as its neighbors

    Those who have supported Sendek say the “Herb Haters” are pessimists. These excuses belie the truth – that excuses mitigating failure or making mediocrity acceptable is inherently as negative as it gets. After a decade of mediocrity and nearly a generation since the last ACC title for this school, excuses no longer fly. There is no rational reason for this team to suddenly crash and burn each and every year – despite the talent level, despite the circumstances.
    This is not necessarily about national titles or hanging ACC banners. This is NOT about infectuous personalities or passion on the sideline. This program is no longer at rock bottom as it once was, but despite its arguably best collection of talent in this regime it is now going nowhere.

    Herb may not be a bad coach, State may not be a bad program. But this is a bad relationship anymore and it’s time for a divorce.

  9. Fletch 03/13/2006 at 12:37 PM #

    I know how I feel. I have never had such apathy in my life towards any sport at State. My question is how many others besides the few hundred or so who post on internet message boards are there? Does anyone really have any idea? Lee always downplays the “fringe”, but are we really the fringe? I really would like to know some answers. How many actually signed the petition? All I know is that I’m on the hook for 2 seats at the RBC, regardless of who coaches, and right now that depresses the hell out of me.

  10. 89'er 03/13/2006 at 1:17 PM #

    Herb is by far the “BEST” assistant coach in the country…. Problem is we’ve got him in the wrong position. No one can argue his recruiting stats, his X’s and O’s strategy, but he will never lead a team to over achieve!!! Great winners are built by knowing they can achieve success greater than their abilities. I envision Herb eyeball-to-eyeball with his players and the best he can come up with is, “Please Try!!’ Please do your best! If Lee F. can’t make this decision, mediocrity will remain the by line of NCSU basketball for many years to come…

  11. GM 03/17/2006 at 2:55 PM #

    I don’t think for one minute that Herb will be fired or that he will leave. The State Admin staff seems prefectly content with average seasons and early exits from the NCAA

  12. GM 03/17/2006 at 3:22 PM #

    I cut myself off before i was finished!!! No one can say Herb is not a good recruiter like 89″er says or that he is a fine man but that don’t win conference titles or NCAA titles. The State Athlectic staff is just fine with average seasons and it seems they don’t want nothing more. I recently wrote a message to a State staff member asking if Herb had seen his last days on the sideline and was told i was “crazy” “how can you fire someone that has taken the team to 5 straight NCAA berths” my response was “shouldn’t their be more to it than just getting to the tournament” “shouldn’t we want to win a few” then i was told the same old thing “its injuries” the bottom line is Herb has reached his limit and he has had plenty of time to make things happen, but i would bet money Herb is back again next year, he would have to have several 2-14 ACC seasons and the media flying all over him before Herb would ever leave. Herb says he loves a challenge, their is no challenge his team has enough talent to win NOW, the challenge is finally getting Herb to leave Raleigh and letting someone else take State where it should be AT THE TOP.

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