StateFansNation has confirmed through four different sources that Lee Fowler has chosen to ignore multiple overtures from representatives of John Calipari regarding the vacant NC State Head Coaching job since the position opened on Saturday night.
Various representatives of Calipari have attempted to contact Athletics Director Lee Fowler – both directly and through various highly-placed NC State contacts – since Saturday night. We have confirmed that multiple phone calls made directly to Fowler as well as other employees of NC State’s Athletics Department have gone unanswered and un-returned this week.
One source connected very closely with Calipari has expressed that “John wants the job very badly.”
People close to the NC State side of the equation speculate some of the following alternatives:
(1) Rick Barnes is in the bag and their is no reason to contact Calipari.
(2) Fowler has become obsessed with landing Barnes and is failing to manage other facets of the potential search.
(3) Fowler is trying to hide behind the fact that over a decade ago that UMass’ Marcus Camby admitted to accepting money from an agent.
We can’t imagine the outrage within the NC State community if Fowler ultimately CHOOSES to hire coach with less than Calipari now that Rick Barnes has spurned Fowler’s best pitch. By wins, Calipari has the fifth-best career start in NCAA history through nine, 11 in 12 seasons. Through 12 collegiate seasons, only North Carolina coach Roy Williams, former North Carolina State legend Everett Case, Louisville Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum, and Syracuseâ€™s Jim Boeheim have won more games than Calipari. And, he did it all while at lowly UMass and Confernce USA’s Memphis.
Additionally, we can’t imagine the hypocrisy if Lee Fowler would use Camby’s tangential indescretion over a decade ago against Calipari. This is the same Lee Fowler who was an assistant coach on a staff cited for multiple major NCAA infractions at Memphis State in 1980s. Ultimately, the Memphis State scandal led to mass forfeitures of games and the Tigers vacating their 1985 Final Four appearance. Later, Fowler’s former boss (Dana Kirk) was sent to prison for tax evasion.
Some NC State fans have pondered the question, “What if Fowler has been mandated from Oblinger/Board of Trustees that he cannot pursue Calipari?”
Our response to that also takes question form — In light of Lee Fowler’s more-checkered past with the NCAA, how can anyone at NC State veto Calipari on ethics while Lee Fowler runs the entire Athletics Department? The answer is either ignorance or hypocrisy. Either is unacceptable.
We will follow this very closely in the coming days. If Fowler finds a way to strike out without swining on someone like Calipari en route to landing a coach with less stature who cannot excite the NC State fan base, then he might want to consider packing his bags faster than he can sign long term extensions for Wolfpack Sports Marketing without sending them to public bid.
How is this for irony — Ten years ago, one of the cleanest, squarest Athletics Directors in the country offered John Calipari a job on which he ultimately passed.
The AD? NC State’s squeaky clean Todd Turner.
That’s right…Mr. Clean deemed Calipari clean enough to work at NC State…yet an Athletics Director with Lee Fowler’s history with the NCAA may not? For more on this stroll down memory lane you can click here.
“Talked to Todd twice,” Calipari said at the star-studded charity golf benefit at Prestonwood Country Club. “N.C. State was an interesting proposition. Great town. N.C. State has great tradition. They’re getting a new [arena]. Their fans want to win in the worst way. The ACC is such a great league.”
Ironic Twist, II
Ten years ago, one of our authors (Jeff) reported Turner’s conversations with John Calipari in his email newsletter, “The InfoPack”. Jeff was pushing Calipari for the State job before it ever opened. Jeff was criticized for not knowing what he was talking about until the original N&O article that we linked was published and corroborated his reporting. Kind of ironic in its own right considering some of the attacks that we’ve seen on some message board posts regarding our work here.
Want to see something great? Go to CoachCalipari.com.
Want to see something that you would never see in a Lee Fowler or Herb Sendek program? Go to the “Memphis Hoops” tab and scroll down to the Performance Pledge and then the “Committed to Winning a National Title”
To be a part of the University of Memphis Basketball team you must be committed to winning a national title. To wage that war, we must live together, eat together, study together, condition and play together.
No one can be held to a lower standard! We all must reach the same bar. The more we sacrifice for each other the harder it will be to surrender during the season!