Fowler Ignoring Calipari (Updated 11:15pm)

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 Syracuse’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.

Ironic Twist
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.

Parting Shot
Want to see something great? Go to

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!

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89 Responses to Fowler Ignoring Calipari (Updated 11:15pm)

  1. Justin 04/06/2006 at 6:00 PM #


  2. Tyler 04/06/2006 at 6:01 PM #

    oh shit, here we go

  3. KVegasWolf 04/06/2006 at 6:01 PM #

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Fowler

  4. Kingfish 04/06/2006 at 6:03 PM #

    Uncle JedLee is going to have some major explaining if we don’t have Barnes in the bag, and I seriously doubt we do! What is he thinking?

  5. Rick 04/06/2006 at 6:04 PM #

    I sure hope this is wrong but fear it is true.

    Could Lee screw us one more time?

  6. Pakkfan 04/06/2006 at 6:04 PM #

    Calipari wanted the job 10 years ago but told friends he felt he couldnt trust Todd Turner.

    OMG at least it shows he’s a good judge of character ?

  7. JimmyVguy 04/06/2006 at 6:05 PM #

    Fowler and the Wolfpack Club aren’t returning anyone’s phone calls. If they want to talk to you…you will be contacted. What I’m having a hard time understanding is why the only person everyone keeps talking about is Wendell Murphy. Why? Because his name is on a building or two? I know he’s the number one donor, but don’t ya’ll think that the number two donor who has been donating for longer and isn’t that far behind would be contacted in some way, shape, or form as well??? I dunno…just a thought.

  8. JimmyVguy 04/06/2006 at 6:07 PM #

    The number two whom happens to be from Rick Barnes’ hometown and donates money to Lenoir Rhyne College? Why wouldn’t they use all their chips?

  9. rick barnes 04/06/2006 at 6:07 PM #

    i’m in the bag.

  10. WTNY 04/06/2006 at 6:12 PM #

    *Additionally, we can’t imagine the hypocrisy if Lee Fowler would use Camby’s tangential indescretion over a decade ago against Calipari.*

    You jumping to some conclusions.

    Perhaps Fowler wants Calipari but has been instructed to skip to the next candidate.

    Perhaps Fowler recognizes the problems with his time at Memphis State and that the problems at UMass plus the history of NC State won’t mix.

  11. KVegasWolf 04/06/2006 at 6:12 PM #

    Rick you ass, why did you keep us waiting so long!!! 😉

  12. Gumbydammit 04/06/2006 at 6:13 PM #


    You had better be.

  13. JoeDog 04/06/2006 at 6:16 PM #

    I’m joking here and way off subject, but this shows how infatuated I am with this site during our wait for Christmas……. Can’t someone change the time stamps on this Message Board? Time changed last weekend.
    Just kidding…..
    Rick B or Caliparri are the ONLY two choices if the money being mentioned is accurate. Hard to imagine how that money and a committment in the form of a serious contract can’t be enough to get your man.

  14. Jason 04/06/2006 at 6:18 PM #

    I have wondered if there might be a conflict of interest with Lee in respect to Calipari. Lee is a Memphis alum I believe and we all know that he worked there. Having said that, I wonder how he would feel about going to Memphis and stealing their coach. I imagine he still has quite a few friends over there that he would be pissing off if he took Calipari.

    I personally would rather have Calipari over Barnes. He would undoubtedly have an immediate impact in recruiting. I think the jury would still be out as to whether or not Barnes could have a huge impact in recruting.

  15. JimmyVguy 04/06/2006 at 6:18 PM #

    “Dodds and Barnes had a meeting Monday afternoon at which they discussed a raise for Barnes and raises for his assistants, among other matters related to the basketball program. The coach has said that he’s overwhelmingly happy with the Longhorns, but he has complained about poor attendance at some important Big 12 home games.”

    Do we have poor attendance at important ACC games???

  16. will 04/06/2006 at 6:18 PM #

    I am PISSED right now! Leaveit up to Fowler to screw this up. Whatever happened to the earlier blog that said fowler was doing a good job of the balancing act

  17. JimmyVguy 04/06/2006 at 6:20 PM #

    Or do any of us remember important ACC games during the Sendek error?

  18. Jason2413 04/06/2006 at 6:21 PM #

    From what I’ve read, the reason Calipari is being given the cold shoulder is due to certain high end donors. Fowler’s hands may be tied in this matter, at least for now.

    That is a shame, because I really get the impression that we’d be announcing Calipari as coach tomorrow if we’d gone to him first instead of Barnes. Barnes would be such a much tougher sell, and I think Calipari is the better option than Barnes anyway.

    If we miss out on both Barnes and Calipari, I’ll probably scream.

  19. JimmyVguy 04/06/2006 at 6:23 PM #

    Yeah…don’t do anything that might be more difficult…it might end up being more rewarding if you succeed. Get a guy that’s easy to get…the easy route is always best…you shouldn’t have to work for what you want. John Calipari should have been hired from the getgo. Blah blah blah…way to go Lee Fowler…nothing but the best.

  20. JimmyVguy 04/06/2006 at 6:24 PM #

    We’re gettin’ Barnes and I’ll be glad we got him instead of the guy with the “cheater” label.

  21. Matt Doherty 04/06/2006 at 6:28 PM #

    Tarholes at work have said Barnes is only pulling a “Beamer” to pad his pockets. They’re just scared!! If Rick hates the holes as much as the WP Nation, he’s currently getting his bank accounts switched over to Raleigh before he signs, and once he gets here, he’ll be ready to kick Roy and his T’holes rear-ends (no pun intended)

  22. PackisRolling 04/06/2006 at 6:32 PM #

    Seems at best we’re at a 50/50 chance of landing Barnes. If we lose out on him what is Fowler’s plan (if not Calipari)? Haith? Laranaga? Tubby? Of those Tubby is the only homerun hire. This makes it that much more important to land Barnes.

  23. Wolf's Eye 04/06/2006 at 6:32 PM #

    At least Calipari could bring back the “Pasta Connection”. Are there any good Italian high school prospects out there? It would be a media frenzy — especially with Vitale — maybe he would quit praising Duke and UNC at every opportunity! I think either RB or Cali would be a good fit, but I think Calipari may be a better recruiter than Barnes — if that’s possible. Either way, they could give the blue bloods a run for their money.

  24. old13 04/06/2006 at 6:32 PM #

    Foulup is a Vanderbilt grad.

  25. 4NCST8 04/06/2006 at 6:38 PM #

    If State gets Barnes, great! I’m loving life finally again as a Wolfpack basketball fan after hating it for a long time! Two shots of good news over the last week: Herb gone and Rick here. I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was when I heard last Saturday night late that Sendek was leaving. It was super news for NC State basketball! Renewed hope! At one point, there was no hope (Read: Herb coming back to add on to his tenure of time.)

    Fowler better not mess up. He already fouled up five years ago when he didn’t make a change after five years of no NCAAs when it was clear a change was needed. If he makes a bad mistake here, he will be on the hotseat badly with State fans and rightfully so.

    I hope Fowler is not stupid enough (He might be stupid enough.) to lay all of his eggs in one basket. Fallback Plan B better sure as hell be John Calipari, who I’d take in a heartbeat if Barnes doesn’t want it. Calipari, Barnes, or Wright (who, from reports, is not even considering or the prime target) would be the home run! Picking Haith would be like taking Sendek ten years ago. I don’t think Haith will do any better than Sendek did.

    I wanted to see Calipari get the job badly in ’96, but we had a bozo named Toad Turner who had some power at the time. John Calipari would win big at NC State. No doubt in my mind. He would rise to the challenge bigtime.

    If Barnes is here, it’s “celebration time.” If not, and Fowler hasn’t given Calipari any contact, then he’s a truly incompetent athletics director.

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