Barnes & Texas “Playing Well at Right Time”

Two of my favorite college basketball coaches – Rick Barnes and Billie Gillispie – split in their regular season match-ups this year. You can surf this link to a few other historical entries which may be of interest to you.

Today, Barnes and the Texas Longhorns won the rubber match against the Aggies in the Big 12 Semi-Finals and will advance to tomorrow’s Big 12 Championship. The Longhorns will be making their 8th consecutive appearance (probably as a #1 seed) in this year’s NCAA Tournament appearance — an appearance for EACH of Rick Barnes’ seasons in Austin. (Which is amazing when you consider he walked into a scandal-ridden program that contained only 7 scholarship players due to problems under previous coach, Tom Penders).

The Longhorns are looking for a sweep of the titles after Barnes’ 2nd Regular Season Championship this year, and they are currently playing well enough to make it happen despite an injury to their star, Daniel Gibson. Ohhh, imagine a team and a group of leaders that don’t doesn’t make excuses about injuries to their (ever-changing) “best” players every single season. I turn your attention to this insightful entry about Barnes and the winning culture that he instills that was written LAST YEAR when UT was battling a rash of injuries.

Texas has been on fire as of late, having crushed their rival and Top 20 ranked Oklahoma 72-48 last week. (Could you imagine? I mean, how has Barnes been able to succeed after walking into the shadow of Kansas and Oklahoma and now having to battle Bobby Knight?)

Earlier in the week (before the Big 12 Tournament began) ESPN’s Steve Lavin said:

“Texas playing well at the right time of year. 8 out of 10 wins. Their tough non-conference schedule has led to a level of confidence. They had injuries early in some of those blowout losses. They are at full strength playing well at the right time.”

It is public knowledge that Barnes, a native of North Carolina and graduate of Lenior-Rhyne, has coveted the NC State coaching job in the past. Because of the current environment around the Wolfpack program and embattled coach Herb Sendek, it is only natural that Barnes’ name is on the front of many Wolfpackers minds on various internet message boards.

A few people question why Barnes would leave his $1.4MM a year position for any school…let alone NC State? I am going to refrain from jumping too deep into what I know to be true about that thought right now. If you choose to base any of your conclusions on your own uneducated presumptions about someone that you do not know and an industry that you do not know, then there is not much that many people can do to open your mind.

What I will do is share with you that Barnes has made no secret of his frustration of Texas’ fans apathy towards basketball from the outset of his tenure in Austin. Texas is a different world and if you haven’t ever left North Carolina or spent significant time in the Lone Star state then it is just going to be tough to grasp. But, I will give you illustration number 5,024 of what I am talking about —

About 90 minutes ago, The Big 12 Regular Season Champion, Texas Longhorn Basketball Team has just advanced to the Tournament Championship. I am writing this piece on an independent fan site for a school located 1,200 miles away and if you were to visit the UT Blog named Bevo Beat at the Austin American Statesman (similar to the News & Observer) RIGHT NOW, the lead story on the blog was posted yesterday and is titled, “How did Vince’s (Young’s) test score get out? Here’s one explanation.”

The entry before that (from Thursday)? How about,“Columnist rips on Vince; what do you think?”

In fact, the front page of the Blog doesn’t have a single entry related to basketball that isn’t in just press release form – like “PJ Tucker named POY”. Additionally, there are more football related entries currently on the blog (in the middle of MARCH) than there are basketball entries. Review the left side of the blog and you will see links to “other recent entries” which are as follows:

Ramonce Taylor to miss spring drills (Football)
Osterman picks up another honor (Womens’ Softball)
Jamaal Charles plans to sprint for track team (Track)
Texas secondary mixes it up this spring (Football)
Atchley, Williams make Big 12 academic team

In review….I think that I need to ask the idiot naysayers out there that don’t understand how WINNERS & COMPETITORS view the world the same thing that they ask …“why would a basketball coach want to come to NC State and have to compete in the nation’s top conference in an arena that sells out for every game (when fans are energized) against the likes of Roy and K?”

If you don’t already inherently know the answer, you still aren’t going to get it.

General Media NCS Basketball

43 Responses to Barnes & Texas “Playing Well at Right Time”

  1. newswolf 03/11/2006 at 5:39 PM #

    paging 85 grad, paging 85 grad

  2. Jeff 03/11/2006 at 5:54 PM #

    Isn’t it weird how 85 grad just seems to have a personal hatred for Barnes?

    It’s more scary that he allows it to skew any ability to objectively analyze performance.

  3. ADS95 03/11/2006 at 6:56 PM #

    I’m presuming we would offer Barnes the equivalent of Roy’s contract – $17 million for 8 years, about a 50% raise over what he’s making now. And for anyone who wants to know how we’d afford it, I recommend going to one of our non-conference games, where we can’t come close to selling out the $10 sections in the end zones of the RBC center.

  4. ADS95 03/11/2006 at 6:58 PM #

    (sorry, hit submit too fast). I firmly believe those empty seats would get filled if a new coach with an up-tempo game came to town.

  5. dan 03/11/2006 at 7:01 PM #

    Can you provide some hard proof of this?

    What I will do is share with you that Barnes has made no secret of his frustration of Texas’ fans apathy towards basketball from the outset of his tenure in Austin.

    Link? Quote? Apologies if this is posted elsewhere.


  6. Jeff 03/11/2006 at 7:12 PM #

    Dan, there are many old articles on the topic — you can search for them if you would like. On the Barnes topic (for now), I will post exactly what I posted on Pack Pride this afternoon.

    I will share the following but I refuse to be sucked into a big conversation / argument by some of the usual suspects on the topic. I’m not going to argue on my “sources” and all that crazy crap, either. If I have never given you reason to trust my info, then don’t choose to trust it.

    (1) The question about the contract clause (that Barnes has an exit clause for Big Four Schools) is true. It should tell you something since we all know that Carolina & Duke were never going to hire him.

    (2) Barnes makes $1.4MM per year. Herb makes approximately $900k. Not a lot of difference in the true scheme of things.

    (3) NC State has the 4th most profitable BB program in the country. We pay Herb almost exactly what we paid him PRIOR to moving into the RBC and boosting our profits by OVER $2MM+ per year. (How is there NOT money available for a big coach?)

    (4) When Barnes was @ Clemson (and Dave Odom @ Wake Forest) it became public that they were both interested in the State job when Herb was hired by Todd Turner.

    (5) During certain years that Herb has been struggling and while Barnes has been at Texas, Barnes has shared with some key members of the NC State community that he continues to be interested in the job. He has called it his “dream job” on multiple occassions with his staff, friends and family.

    (6) Barnes’ wife is from NC and they bought a beach house in De Bordieu, SC last year. Shortly after the purchase, they tested the waters on the open UVa job. (If you remember, this was before State was able to squeak into the NCAA and make the Sweet 16 and Herb was on a serious hot seat. IMHO, this chatter was intended to “signal” to certain people NC State people who continue to be too stupid to pick up on it).

    Thank you.

  7. dan 03/11/2006 at 7:37 PM #

    Thanks Jeff. My question wasn’t posed to provoke a big discussion/arguement either.

    Is it fair to say that, to an objective observer, the evidence to support your claim is circumstancial? I understand that’s all we’d get on the subject. No one expects Barnes to go on the record about something like this.

    And it’s not that I don’t trust your info. It’s just that you have strong opinions, and sometimes let your opinions seep into your facts. I was just looking for some clarification.

    Thanks again.

  8. Jeff 03/11/2006 at 8:09 PM #

    Dan, I don’t think that have made any claims requiring evidence for support. Almost everything that I have shared related to this topic is not based on circumstantial presumptions…it is based on things that I know to be true.

  9. ushum 03/11/2006 at 8:12 PM #

    keep preaching JB, hopefully one day our admin will wake up…

  10. dan 03/11/2006 at 8:29 PM #

    Jeff, look at your list of evidence. None of them directly address Barnes unhappiness w/ UT hoops atmosphere. I’m not trying to argue it ain’t true, but it seems like my options are to “trust you”, or make an indirect conclusion based on Barnes vacationing in the Carolinas, and a blase attitude of the local blogs.

    I just wanted to know if there’s more. Thanks one more time.

  11. Uncle Pack 03/11/2006 at 9:21 PM #

    The subject that I haven’t seen mentioned in discussing Rick Barnes as a possible N.C. State coach is his academic record at Texas. In the recently released NCAA Academic Progress Rate report, Texas men’s basketball had a score of 861, in the 10th to 20th percentile among all Division I men’s basketball programs. The NCAA minimum score to avoid the possible loss of scholarships is 925.
    I am not sure how Texas avoided losing scholarships for basketball. The school lost 1.17 scholarships for baseball, which scored an 888. Texas may have gotten a small squad sample exception for basketball, but it’s not noted on the NCAA report. Still the score is terrible, even worse than Cincinnati’s (872) and UConn (889).
    For those of you who don’t know, NCSU got a 922 but avoided scholarship reductions on a small squad sample size exception.
    As for graduation rates, in the 2005 numbers released by the NCAA, Texas had no one from its 1998-99 incoming freshman class graduate in six years. For the past four freshman classes, only 10 percent graduated in six years. The program’s graduation success rate – which counts players who transfer in and ignores players who transfer out – was 25 percent.

    N.C. State, in comparison, also had no one from the 1998 freshman class graduate in six years, but the four class total was 54 percent and the graduation success rate was 78 percent.

    I, for one, do not want N.C. State basketball to again become the academic embarrasment that it was under Jim Valvano. We were a national laughing stock (thanks, Chris Washburn and Charles Shackelford) and the basketball program was the reason NCSU could not get Phi Beta Kappa until after Valvano left the program and State instituted academic reforms.

    I, too, would like to have an basketball program with a 26-5 record, a top-10 ranking, a regular season conference championship and a date in the conference championship game tomorrow. But, as an N.C. State graduate, I do not want to do that by sacrificing academic standards. Because of that, I am not sure Rick Barnes would be the right choice for N.C. State. I’m also not overly enamored with Barnes as a coach, but that’s enough story.

    Am I happy with what Herb Sendek has accomplished in 10 years at N.C. State. No. One Sweet Sixteen is not good enough, especially not in this basketball neighborhood. But I’m not as convinced as some others that Rick Barnes is the answer.

  12. BJD95 03/11/2006 at 9:35 PM #

    Oh, what I would give to have Crazy Rick come home and be our coach. He’d take Roy and K head-on, no doubt. Ruffle quite a few feathers in the old boys club.

  13. choppack 03/11/2006 at 10:29 PM #

    Interesting info uncle pack. If Rick really wants this job bad enough, certain things can be tied to graduation rates. You’ll always have a cadre of defenders w/ flawed results if you do 2 things:
    1) Win w/ questionable tactics
    2) Lose w/ a lilly white rep.

    I don’t want one or two. However, I’d like to think that Barnes could improve upon that. It could be a Big 12 thing – I know Kelvin Sampson has struggled at OU. How did Barnes do at Clemson?

  14. Gumbydammit 03/11/2006 at 10:41 PM #

    Quote from the David Glenn’s ACC Journal (linked from

    >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.

  15. Gumbydammit 03/11/2006 at 10:42 PM #

    Let’s all hope Herb finally got the message.

    And as for anyone saying we can’t get Barnes or any other coach, thanks for contributing to the current mediocrity with your loser attitudes.

  16. lumberpack 03/11/2006 at 11:15 PM #

    Uncle Pack, are you on the faculty senate?

    The better question is why was State turned down for Phi Beta Kappa in the 1970’s and the early 1980’s prior to Valvano stepping foot on campus.

  17. lumberpack 03/11/2006 at 11:21 PM #

    The main problem is with a subset of the faculty senate – the College of Humanities and Social Sciences – that is where the problem has always been because that group is envious of every other ACC School’s academic programs.

    NCSU has always had a very weak liberal arts program, much weaker than Clemson’s, FSU’s or Virginia Tech’s. The problem senators have never come from PAMs, Engineering, Pulp & Paper, etc. – always from H&SS.

  18. Wolfpack Willie 03/11/2006 at 11:25 PM #

    Google “John Calipari”.

  19. Soomer Among The Pack 03/11/2006 at 11:26 PM #

    Quote: Could you imagine? I mean, how has Barnes been able to succeed after walking into the shadow of Kansas and Oklahoma and now having to battle Bobby Knight?

    Success must be a relative term. Barnes has zero conference tourney titles (though he’ll play for one tomorrow) and he hasn’t dominated his Big XII coaching foes either. I might be a bit biased, but I’d like to point out that Barnes is 7-13 vs. Kelvin Sampson at Oklahoma. He’s a bit below .500 (33-37) against Top 25 teams during his tenure at Texas.

    He’s only coached against Kansas seven times (eight tomorrow), but does have a 5-2 record against Rock Chalk.

    Personally, I don’t want to see him here in Raleigh.

  20. SaccoV 03/11/2006 at 11:59 PM #

    Although it’s quite clear that Barnes wants to coach again in the ACC, I don’t think that he will come here, unless the money is there. I do think that the athletics administration (who we all have less confidence in that in Herb) needs honestly to begin looking at another top coach who is doing well at a big school. Billy Gillespie is the best one I have found, although another coach a smaller school with a great record is Gregg Marshall from Winthrop. I would prefer Gillespie over Marshall, even though the dream candidates are Barnes and Sampson. Hard to believe that the Big 12 is hording so many great coaches!!!!

  21. SaccoV 03/12/2006 at 12:05 AM #

    Ignoring typos in previous post. Jeff — Is there any print verification of the Big Four clause? I heard it for the first time the other day on Mark Packer’s show and I wanted to find any news sources who will back that one up.

  22. packbackers 03/12/2006 at 1:09 AM #

    Sounds like Rick Barnes = fan division… same old same old.

  23. Jeff 03/12/2006 at 8:40 AM #

    A few comments–

    Academic Issue —

    I don’t know enough to try to base any potential conclusions on NCAA metrics that never make any sense. But, just as uncle said (and as ever HSSSer can attest) — there are ‘reasons’ & excuses for everything.

    I think that people that try to attach the academic performance of players to the coach prove that they don’t understand how college basketball generally operates. I am not the least bit concerned with the academic side of the equation because of the controls and support system that institutionally exist at NC STATE regardless of who the coach is.

    OF COURSE you need/want a coach that values academics. But too many people think that coaches are more involved than they are in this and forget that coaches don’t admit players to school.

    NC State, like most schools, have fantastic controls, systems, and infrastructre in place that did not exist TWENTY years ago (I’m trying to get people to live in the present). The problem in the 1980s were far deeper than Jim Valvano recruiting the same dumb kids that everyone else in the country recruited. How did all of these dumb kids not cause problems at other schools but caused V’s downfall? Answer: because other schools took the time to shepard these kids through the college experience and NC State did not. Valvano’s biggest mistake was his expectation that these dumb 18-22 year olds had enough responsibility to look after themselves. NC State failed miserably in creating an infrastructure to help baby these athletes like other schools had.

    All of that has changed now. NC State has an infrastructure and a system of checks and balances to support all of its student-athletes. Heck…Herb Sendek doesn’t walk around campus making sure that kids are in class (Heck, he barely talks to the kids – laying everything off on Larry Harris – once they get to campus and we have fans who dream of Herb running around checking test scores?)

    IMHO, it is hypocritical for people to talk about not wanting to be embarassed by these issues because most of these people are amongst the largest Herb Sendek supporters. Sendek’s officially calculated graduation rates are amongst the absolute worst in the ACC over the last decade. This is because he has led the conference in premature defections from his program (over 20) in the last 10 years because he has misled kids in the recruiting process and because he is completely different on campus than he is in the living room. How is that not embarassing to these same people?

    Folks, the University of Texas is one of the PREMIERE athletics and academic universities in the country. Their rankings and the national respect that they garner across the whole gambit of athletics and academics significantly overshadow NC State. No offense…but there is very little that UT does that NC State should not try to emulate and I find it a hilarious that we have people who are haughty enough to think that something that works at UT (with no embarassment or problem) may not be good enough for us.

    As it relates to Barnes — he has coached at Providence (the same program has Herb Sendek) in the Big East, Clemson in the ACC, and Texas in the Big 12. His academics and program have been more than acceptable for three programs in three premiere conferences in the country. But, we have jokers “concerned”?

    Some people from NC State expect us to compete in a market with non-market-based parameters and criteria and then wonder why we can’t compete?

    Lastly, Rick Barnes has been coaching for over 20 years and has never had a remote sniff of an NCAA impropriety.

    But, as you can see from some of this dialogue already…there are always some people that will find a way to try to fuck up any opportunity.

  24. Jeff 03/12/2006 at 9:00 AM #

    Jeff, look at your list of evidence. None of them directly address Barnes unhappiness w/ UT hoops atmosphere. I’m not trying to argue it ain’t true, but it seems like my options are to “trust you�, or make an indirect conclusion based on Barnes vacationing in the Carolinas, and a blase attitude of the local blogs.

    Dan, I appreciate your comments. I am not asking you to trust me based on those things. I am also not providing those references as “evidence” You can choose to believe or not.

    As many people here know, I have been selectively sharing inside information on State & ACC athletics in some capacity or another for over 12 years on the internet. I have multiple friends and contacts who are players in college athletics. I am very proud of the historical accuracy of what I have chosen to publicly share in conversations; and people whom have been following my scoop for the last decade+ know whether they want to “believe” me or not.

    packbackers – sounds like Rick Barnes = fan division… same old same old

    There is NO COACH or human being in the world that will satisfy 100% of any fan base. And, no offense, but the idiots who have supported Les Robinson, Mike O’Cain, and Herb Sendek until their dying breath have more than had their chance to prove their inadequacy and inability to succeed in such opinions.

    I could give a shit about making such losers happy for whatever reason. Many of them have trashed Barnes in the past simply as a defensive gesture for their boy Herb. They have not been able to admit that their choice/selection/support has failed us to this point…I don’t care that their own selfishness can’t allow them to accept coaches like Rick Barnes as potential candidates now.

    State’s success would be much better off without looking to make these types of people happy.

  25. RickJ 03/12/2006 at 9:07 AM #

    In Norm Sloan’s book, “Confessions of a Coachâ€?, Chapter 3 – Fighting for Respect in the Bigs, provides amazing insight at how an ambitious basketball coach is perceived at a football coach first school (in this case, Florida). Below is a short excerpt that occurred at Sloan’s first Gator club meeting in Vero Beach when he returned to Florida in 1980:

    “Gene Ellerson, a former football assistant who went into alumni fund-raising, was our traveling MC. He was a good speaker and did an excellent job. He gave me a nice little introduction, and I said a few words. Then Gene rose again to introduce Charley Pell, the football coach. “And NOW….,� he bellowed grandly, “the Bull Gator himself!�

    “Pissed me off. He didn’t mean any harm, but it was clear how he felt. Okay, we’ve humored the basketball coach a little, and now we can get onto what is really important.�

    I am sure this kind of slight happens all the time to Barnes at Texas.

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