50/50 (Update 9:00 AM)

Updated @ 9:00am

Sunday Evening UpdateJob is Cal’s if He Wants it

Sunday Afternoon UpdateWheels in Motion?

Today could be the day…or it might not be the day.

That is how good…and bad that we feel right now.

By now, it is no secret that NC State has engaged in significant talks with Memphis Head Coach John Calipari.

Although some reports indicate that a contract offer was not made and talks will continue, we can’t imagine a scenario where NC State loads up its Athletics Director and Chancellor to meet face to face with Calipari if an offer was not discussed; this opinion is underscored by Dave Glenn who shares more details than other sources and says that State’s $1.7 million offer “overwhelmed” Calipari.

* We think Memphis is working very hard behind the scenes to pull something together to appease Coach Cal. But, Glenn’s comments on compensation makes us feel a little better:

“He used the word ‘overwhelming,'” the source said. “He said, going into the meeting, he was just going to listen. He came out and said he doesn’t think there’s any way Memphis can afford to pay the kind of money N.C. State is offering.”

One possible explanation for Calipari’s apparent skepticism about Memphis’ ability to match NCSU’s offer is the stark contrast in the size of the schools’ athletic budgets. According to tax forms, NCAA-sponsored data and other resources, the Tigers’ athletic department spent about $24.3 million during the 2004-05 fiscal year, compared to more than $37 million for the Wolfpack.

* We think that the folks at NC State have more confidence about the Calipari situation than they are letting on. But, our sources tell us that Memphis is working hard behind the scenes. Since the job has not formally been accepted, then Memphis has a shot.

* Are we on the verge of greatness again or are we about to suffer a huge embarrassment? Fifteen years have ingrained in all of us to fear the “other shoe dropping”. SFN thinks the race is currently as too close to call. The rational side of the analysis really leans towards Calipari coming to State. But, one cannot look at this chain of events and not fear a Jim Valvano and UCLA scenario where we are suddenly UCLA.

* One notable difference between the Valvano/UCLA situation and the Cal/NCSU situation is that Valvano was more deeply rooted in Raleigh and at NC State than Calipari at Memphis. As we all know, Raleigh / NC State / ACC is a very unique situation and Valvano loved it here. In addition to being one of the most established coaches in the ACC, he was one of the biggest celebrities in the conference and the area, which he wouldn’t have been at UCLA.

* We think that any announcement today – the earlier the better – would be a positive thing for NC State. It would make sense that Memphis can’t just snap their fingers and make money appear. That takes time. If they could make the money appear so quickly, why haven’t they before today? The wild card in this is, of course, Fed Ex founder Fred Smith. He can snap his fingers and make money appear.

* If this became a financial pissing contest, we would expect it to go no higher than $2 million per year. At that point the difference is going to come down to the allure of the ACC vs Calipari’s established program (and personal life) in/at Memphis. The Tigers have a legitimate opportunity to make national noise next year on the court.

* We are on high alert expecting that an answer could literally come at any moment. The longer that this drags out past mid-day on Tuesday, the worse it is for NC State. We say Tuesday because if Memphis finds a way to match the offer today, then we wouldn’t be surprised to see NC State reach back into the vault and raise the stakes.

* By all accounts, Sunday’s flight and meeting with Calipari was not designed to be public. This is why SFN did not reference the flight until hours after message board posters all over the internet were tracking the plane. The last thing that we would want to do is negatively impact the search; which is also why most of what you have been reading here are comments after things have developed and analysis on the information.

* The public revelantion of the flight/meeting should not hurt us with Calipari. In fact, it may help us as it ultimately accelerates his timetable and puts Memphis under a tougher time contraint to move quickly. The shorter the time, the harder it is for Memphis to get their ducks in a row. All we do is counter with a higher number and they have to try to do it again.

* The public nature of the news WILL hurt NC State from a PR perspective if we miss on Calipari. That is why we are saying that we haven’t offered to anyone that will listen.

* 1090 AM in Raleigh is reporting that NC State spoke with Villanova Head Coach, Jay Wright on Saturday. This would help explain a comment that Wright (seemingly inadvertently) slipped into an interview over the weekend that referenced State and Calipari’s conversations. SFN has no confirmation on this and we don’t know if this contact was “official” (ie – made through Fowler or the Wolfpack Club).

* We think that the Wolfpack Club, Lee Fowler, and NC State have made their play and we are very appreciative for the effort. It sounds like State has done all that we can do at this point.

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General NCS Basketball

194 Responses to 50/50 (Update 9:00 AM)

  1. Fletch 04/10/2006 at 7:24 AM #

    Awesome entry, as always. I too, am worried about Calipari leaving memphis, and especially a team that has a chance to win it all next season. But, would our chancellor and AD and Faculty rep really fly to meet with him so “out in the open” if they already didn’t have an answer in hand, so to speak?

  2. class of 74 04/10/2006 at 7:31 AM #

    Memphis can match the money but they can not come close to equalling the stage we offer to Calipari. In the end does Cal want to be on the biggest stage in college basketball or does he prefer the “off broadway” venue he presently has? Therein lies the answer.

  3. Tired in Florida 04/10/2006 at 7:34 AM #

    …..IMHO the meeting wasn’t meant to be “in the open”….the fact that it became known may be to our advantage however becaue it will probably speed up the process a bit and first and “gut reactions” will be more in play……one thing you can be sure of is that N88MF will not be used for any more recruiting trips!!!

  4. Jamie 04/10/2006 at 7:34 AM #

    I’m going 75/25. Cautiously optimistic.

  5. CaptainCraptacular 04/10/2006 at 7:37 AM #

    If there’s one thing scares me about this report, its the size of the reported offer. Sure, Coach Cal reportedly said it was ‘overwhelming’, but if its significantly less than what was offered Barnes (2+ million and retention bonus) then to me 1.7 million would seem like a slap in the face to Cal.

    Perhaps it was a starting point with several other NCAA and ACC championship performance based bonuses built in, as well as a retention bonus. But I can’t help to think that it was a lowball offer after throwing everything but the kitchen sink at RB. Will his ego rest easy knowing that (which surely he does as its all but public knowledge what was offered Barnes).

    Hopefully I’m way off base and the news will be good today. Like the earlier analysis, I have to think that if Oblinger and Fowler were there to meet him then its all but signed sealed and delivered.

  6. motorhead 04/10/2006 at 7:40 AM #

    I hope I’m wrong but I’ve got a bad feeling.

  7. jbark 04/10/2006 at 7:45 AM #

    If he stays at UM with a new contract, he’d better be happy there for the next 5 years, since his buyout would likely make him untouchable. Would you rather spend the next 5 years in an eroding conference or 5 years in the ACC?


  8. Jason2413 04/10/2006 at 7:48 AM #

    I’m hoping the hesitancy is a smokescreen coming from the NC State side to conceal Calipari’s acceptance. If they thought the trip was clandestine then seeing reporters upon their arrival might prompt Fowler to release some slight disinformation to keep everything under control.

    We’ll see in the next day or two.

  9. StateFans 04/10/2006 at 8:07 AM #

    (1) Cal has NOT accepted. So, there is no ‘hiding’ it right now

    (2) If there’s one thing scares me about this report, its the size of the reported offer. Sure, Coach Cal reportedly said it was ‘overwhelming’, but if its significantly less than what was offered Barnes (2+ million and retention bonus) then to me 1.7 million would seem like a slap in the face to Cal.

    (a) It can’t be a slap in the face when it is so much more than he makes now.

    (b) We can always hide behind “false reports” regarding the size of the Barnes package.

    (c) The structure of contracts (incentives, annuities, retention bonuses) makes calculating “annual compensation” almost impossible. Barnes’ numbers reportedly included those items.

    (3) jbark makes a point that we’ve been discussing. If Calipari stays at Memphis, he better think that it is his long term home as it will be very hard for him to get away for quite a while (financially and reputationally) after this.

  10. class of 74 04/10/2006 at 8:12 AM #

    Being reported on WTSB 1090 right now Jay Wright is being talked to this weekend at the same time as the Calipari talks are going. So the intrigue continues. We supposedly contacted Wright on Saturday for the first time.

  11. GoldenChain 04/10/2006 at 8:23 AM #

    I wish someone would offer me $600K more per year than I am making!
    To me there are two issues: 1) if Memphis comes off the hip and ups him to $1.5mil then there is nowhere else to go. No incentives, bonuses etc. Memphis just doesn’t have the money. So if he stays then he better be happy with himself; 2) like mentioned above, if you want your name up in lights its a lot more likely to happen on tobacco road.

  12. StateFans 04/10/2006 at 8:28 AM #

    ‘Memphis’ doesn’t have the money. But, Fred Smith does. As one someone told us, “Fred Smith is the wild card”.

    One has to think that if a pissing match commenced, both schools would stop it around $2 million dollars.

    All else being equal – you have the allure of the ACC vs his established team (and personal life) in Memphis that has the opportunity to go to the Final Four next year.

  13. Tau837 04/10/2006 at 8:29 AM #

    Dave Glenn’s blog quotes Cal as having been “overwhelmed” by our offer amount. So I wouldn’t worry about the “slap in the face” factor of $1.7M. It also quotes a Calipari source as doubting Memphis will be able to match.

    I also spent some time on the Memphis boards yesterday. I wasn’t aware of it before, but apparently their facilities are as nice or nicer than ours. Big factor in their recruiting.

    Another factor that helps Memphis is its roster & incoming recruits, and the likelihood of Memphis being a title contender the next couple of seasons… not sure he can make State a true contender that quickly.

    I think the situations are similar enough that it simply comes down to this choice: big fish in small pond at Memphis, with better guarantee of great record and great NCAA tourney seed every year… or chance to run with the biggest dogs in the ACC on a regular basis.

    Great success at N.C. State = coaching legend and hero worship status… not quite the same as at Memphis. I think Cal is up to the challenge. But does he want the challenge?

  14. Mike 04/10/2006 at 8:36 AM #

    IMO no doubt Cal is up to the challenge. If he weren’t, he would not be in the coaching profession. Cal has always been about challenges, and this is one more challenge. Staying at Memphis and dominating a bad league is not a challenge. Coming to the ACC would be the next step of challenge for him.

  15. class of 74 04/10/2006 at 8:39 AM #

    Taylor Zarzour must be speaking with Wendell based on comments made this morning. He says no offer has been made just a face to face meeting in Memphis yesterday. The offer, if one is to be made, will come today due to some NCSU officials not being 100% convinced of Calipari’s past. They wanted the face to face to address these things yesterday and gain confidence in whatever the concerns were.

  16. Jason2413 04/10/2006 at 8:41 AM #

    Offer, no offer, he’s in the bag, he’s not in the bag. I’m just thoroughly confused. Maybe I’ll just go to sleep and wake up wednesday or something?

  17. Cardiff Giant 04/10/2006 at 8:55 AM #

    Taylor Zarzour is (a) an idiot, and (b) no friend of NC State. I don’t trust a word he says.

  18. class of 74 04/10/2006 at 9:08 AM #

    ^Could not disagree any more strongly. He really does have good insights and sources at NCSU. He’s more of a friend than you may think, IMHO.

  19. jncope 04/10/2006 at 9:13 AM #

    By all accounts, Calipari and Memphis’ AD do not like each other very much. Never underestimate that, regardless of the $ and everything else.

    My only concern is Calipari’s shadow. I fear that the media here will eat him alive. Never mind if he didn’t do anything wrong, it never stopped the media before.

    About Jay Wright, I am really surprised at his interest in the job. Based on his history with the school, its location, conference, tradition, etc… I am surprised he would leave that to come to State. State is a great school and a great job but so is Villanova. I wonder if he is just trying to get a better deal from Nova?

  20. Cardiff Giant 04/10/2006 at 9:22 AM #

    “^Could not disagree any more strongly. He really does have good insights and sources at NCSU. He’s more of a friend than you may think, IMHO.”

    I respect your views, so I will keep your comments in mind. At the same time, though, I have trouble taking seriously a radio flack who shares a first name with 39.7% of America’s exotic dancer population. 🙂

  21. db321 04/10/2006 at 9:25 AM #

    Inetersting that Calipari is leaking all the financial info to the press. That seems like he might be trying to put pressure on Memphis to step up. If no news in the next 24 hours, then it is definite bad news for State imo.

  22. Texpack 04/10/2006 at 9:29 AM #

    The only other potentially national program in C-USA is Houston. That is the real driver in all of this. When you go 30-3 or whatever and are questionable as a number one seed, you aren’t in a “major” conference anymore. Calipari knows he can compete for the National Championship at State, but not at Memphis.

  23. MadWolf92 04/10/2006 at 9:29 AM #

    Sure, but what are your views on Misty Champagne?

  24. Cardiff Giant 04/10/2006 at 9:31 AM #

    ^ Stone cold lock on reliability. Along with Amber Dawn.

  25. PittsburghPackFan 04/10/2006 at 9:31 AM #

    This is killing me! C’mon Calipari, you know you want to come here, we want you even more!

    I will die if we don’t know something by today…

    Nice work SFN, I eagerly await each update with ardent fervor.

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