Calipari Down, Fans Cold on Brady (10pm Update)

John Calipari is staying at Memphis.

With that comes the conclusion of the John Calipari 2006 Contract Renegotiation Tour Ultimately, the guy ended up being the slimeball that so many people warned us that he was.

We don’t express these sentiments out of frustration for Calipari’s rejection of NC State. We say this because of they way that all of this went down. We also hope that our leaders at NC State take advantage of the opportunity to publicly call out Calipari for his behavior during the conversations – what the hell do you have to lose?

We aren’t going too much of our breath on the media whore, but we are going to do some re-capping for you so that you know the truth:

* Last week as NC State was engaged in legitimate conversations with Rick Barnes, John Calipari had multiple “friends” contact various NC State people expressing Calipari’s significant interest in the NC State job.

* As we reported, the NC State search committee doesn’t seem to multi-task and explore conversations with more than one coach at a time and was therefore ignoring Calipari’s overtures This only served to raise the chatter on Calipari’s interest and the intensity in which his representatives were pushing Wolfpackers.

* After Barnes and State parted ways, the conversations finally turned to Calipari heading into the weekend at the urging of many people who were assured by “Cal’s people” that Calipari was chomping at the bit for the job.

* You know most of the developments by following our reports here. What you don’t know is how “committed” Calipari indicated that he was to the NC State search committee. From every source with whom we have spoken, Calipari talked the talk and to walked the walk that (paraphrased) “money was not an issue as he was attracted to the sleeping giant at NC State and wanted to compete in the ACC against the best”.

* Unfortunately, Calipari’s destructive wake also includes the carcasses of many prominent and valuable Wolfpack Club members who stuck their neck out for him in the process.

* Confirmation is blurry on a report that a verbal agreement was reached with Calipari during Sunday’s meeting. The plan was for Calipari to visit Raleigh on Monday night (as he did) and at that point he would be presented a formal offer which he indicated that he would accept. Obviously, Calipari had engaged in such detailed negotiations that the offer was able to be drawn.

* We started smelling a rat yesterday afternoon. Here is why — nobody from NC State leaked Calipari’s visit to the media. When Andy Katz reported Calipari was going to visit Raleigh in the middle of Monday afternoon, we started being very concerned. Calipari’s only reason to leak the news (which is what we presume happened) was to keep Memphis’ wheels rolling.

* If what Calipari had been telling NC State was true…then it wasn’t going to matter what Memphis ultimately counter-offered. This is why the leak was concerning. There was a reason for it. Now, we know the reason for it.

* You have to realize, John Calipari initiated contact with NC State. John Calipari pursued NC State. John Calipari verbally committed to NC State. John Calipari lied to everyone.

* Many fans are trying to blame this on Lee Fowler. We don’t think that is fair. The search committee swung for the fences, and lost. It sucks. John Calipari lied, and lied, and lied some more. Maybe you can criticize Fowler for the manner in which the conversations were executed (is – waiting until late in the week, getting caught by the media, etc), but you cannot criticize Fowler for trying.

* Additionally, you can’t criticize any Wolfpackers for getting caught in Calipari’s trap. Where we come from, people don’t behave this way.

* Dave Glenn’s blog has an evening update which includes an interesting tidbit:

A league source with knowledge of the situation told at 3 p.m. that ACC associate commissioner Fred Barakat, who has been assisting the Wolfpack with its search, sounded “angry” and “upset” when he reported his findings that Memphis and Calipari appeared to be on the verge of a new agreement. The league source said Barakat and “everyone” at State had been extremely optimistic about landing Calipari when the day began

Looking Ahead

* Now comes the part of the search that scares the hell out of us. The part where Lee Fowler as opposed to the Wolfpack Club gets to drive more and the need for thought exists.

* Pack Pride’s previously linked article went on to say:

NC State athletics director Lee Fowler and his search committee will now resume their quest to hire a men’s basketball coach. Potential candidates include Jay Wright (Villanova), John Brady (LSU), Billy Gillispie (Texas A&M), Frank Haith (Miami), and Gregg Marshall (Winthrop).

* Of course, Jay Wright has to be the next name on the list. But we have heard little chatter on Wright other than he would be interested in talking (Jesus, have we heard that before)?

* Therein lies our problem with the way that Lee Fowler seems to be conducting this search – it appears that State seems to truly be going down a list one name at a time. How did we not have more intense conversations going with Calipari while we had the cover produced by the media’s attention on Rick Barnes?

* Have we behaved in the exact same way when Calipari was providing us cover? Taylor Zarzour’s report on Monday that State made contact with Jay Wright over the weekend is our only indication that NC State has been working some other names in parallel during the process.

* ^The Calipari thing may work against the fanbase that wants a more recognizable name. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility to somewhat of an over-reaction by NC State at this point in the game. With the public humiliation of these two misses, it wouldn’t surprise us to see the Pack stop pursuing conversations with more established names to move to the safer bets. (We define ‘safer bets’ as coaches that we should easily be able to land, not ‘safer bets’ of success.

John Brady

* On Pack Pride’s Premium Forum tonight, editor James Henderson floated the idea that he thinks that LSU’s John Brady is next on Lee Fowler’s list. We say “floated” because that is truly what we think was happening. It just felt too weird. It didn’t seem like it fit. Could some people close to the search have been trying to get Brady’s name in front of the fan base to gauage reaction? The reaction is an overwhelming, HELL NO.

* Given the choice between Brady and an “up and comer”, SFN believes that an up-and-comer (like Billy Gillispie of Texas A&M, Greg Marshall of Winthrop or Frank Haith of Miami) would serve to energize Wolfpackers a helluva lot more than John Brady while also offering a helluva lot more ultimate upside. A Wolfpacker whom we respect a lot said it this way:

I would rather have Frank Haith 100x over John Brady. Screw John Brady. The fan base would much easier rally around a NC native, with POTENTIAL, then a guy the LSU fans dont even like. Barring a big name like Wright, go after a smaller name that will at least “heal” the fan base and offer the “hope” of something better in a few years. Brady is not that person.

* We may not love this piece from Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News, but we definitely agree with this perspective:

NC State probably can get LSU’s John Brady if it wants, but it’s hard to see how he would improve the coaching situation in any area. Brady is more quotable than Sendek but also prickly and difficult. Brady is a solid strategic coach, whereas most of their colleagues would deem Sendek to be gifted in this area. As recruiters, both have been extremely effective.

* John Brady has been at LSU for nine years and you have probably never heard his name until this year. As much as Billy Gillispie is Texas-centric, John Brady is equally Louisiana-centric and has no history of ACC connections.

* As luck would have it, one of StateFansNation’s contributors is a huge LSU fan. So, TigerFan weighed in on the topic of John Brady for us last week.

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