Is the Coaching Wave About to Crest? (1:00 am)


Oh yeah…Will Willis and Tripp Maddux are cool and owe us a lot of money for this.

This morning, Jeff asked you to hold off on the growing criticisms of Lee Fowler that were based largely on the fans frustration of having no apparent movement on the coaching search.

After a week+ of nothingness related to the NC State coaching search, we started experiencing a significant amount of “chatter” late yesterday afternoon that has continued into today. We have complimented Dave Glenn’s coverage of State’s search and our interest was sparked to see his update today included a very similar experience to ours:

If there was a machine that could measure the “activity” of a search, with “0” being the lowest score and “10” the highest, the first week and a half included a lot of “9” and “10” days. Ever since, there has been mostly “1” and “2” scores.

Late this afternoon (Tuesday), for the first time in a week, my personal “buzz” meter is up — and rising quickly. Coaches are calling. My own NCSU sources are calling. My phone won’t stop ringing. This pattern almost always is followed by interesting news. I’m not completely sure what it is yet, but stay tuned. …

We have a lot of thoughts about a lot of things right now. BUT, we believe it would be irresponsible and detrimental for us to share &/or speculate on some recent developments. We are not looking to “scoop” right now; our goal is to see what is best for NC State naturally evolve. We think that it is best for NC State for a lot of people to hold tight and be quiet.

5:00 PM Update
We understand the frustration from Wolfpackers who aren’t getting any specific information. The amount of false information out there is killing us too!!!

Dave Glenn, who has been the most credible of all media sources during this search, updated his blog late this afternoon with the following:

(1) The search has taken a dramatic new turn, and I will be writing about it at some point in the next 36 hours.

(2) Frank Haith and several others mentioned as targets haven’t been contacted by anyone from NCSU in the last two weeks. Like many others, they were contacted by intermediaries at the beginning of the search, but nothing of substance has happened with them since.

(3) Sean Miller, Bobby Lutz, Jeff Ruland, Mike Jarvis, Monte Towe, Kevin Stallings, Geno Auriemma and Bob Knight are not factors in this search right now, and I’ll be extremely surprised if they ever enter into the picture. I realize some of you were joking with these.

FWIW, we concur and re-emphasize Glenn’s comments.

12:20 am Update
What a day! It was easily the most frenzied day that we have experienced since Calipari’s “no” one week ago. That has got to mean something, doesn’t it?

A few breakdowns of what we see going on out there:

* We start with the “No” candidates and work ourselves bakwards. We start with the info behind the “no’s” that we have heard and hopefuly it gets us asking some relevant questions. This is where it gets interesting because after we discuss the candidates that have no’s attached to them, there isn’t much left!

* We always thought that Frank Haith was a legitimate fallback position for the Wolfpack. We were wrong. The Wolfpacker reported today that Frank Haith is not in the mix. From everything that we have heard, this is true. Don’t believe the talk that Frank didn’t get connected to some boosters close to the search, however. He did. But, it didn’t get any further than that. Haith has been out of pocket for almost the last couple of weeks and has been hard to reach. He returned to Miami, and his contract extension (thank you, NC State) and spoke with some very strong wording that he is NOT a candidate for the NC State coaching job.

* Lon Kruger wasn’t going to be the easiest sell in the world to Wolfpack fans. His $2.3 million buyout ultimately made him impossible to sell.

* We have it on what we think is pretty good authority that Gregg Marshall and Dereck Whittenburg are not on the Wolfpack’s list (we may live to eat these words).

* Some people have commented that the NBA regular season ended tonight. PJ Carlisemo (San Antonio Spurs) was discussed about a week ago. Additionally, we know that Lee Fowler was very high on Mike Montgomery (Golden State Warriors) at the very beginning of the search (and we about blew up the blog when we heard Montgomery’s name mentioned so early in the process). But, both PJ and Montgomery have gone on public record stating that they are not interested in any college coaching jobs since the speculation surfaced . Of course, we know how much to believe the “public record”…but, the lies feel different in the NBA. It doesn’t feel as though there is real juice behind these names.

* We’ve seen increased speculation on Carlisemo the last couple of days…but, Carlisemo’s Spurs are getting ready to defend their NBA Title and could be playing through June. If PJ wasn’t going to leave the team prior to the end of the regular season, he sure as hell isn’t suddenly leaving for the playoffs. What would be the value of staying an extra (worthless) week in the regular season?

* So, let’s look at this. Realistically, who are we left with? WHO? There doesn’t really seem to be a “B List” candidate on which we are hearing anything viable. Sure, there could be a candidate that rises out of nowhere – Dennis Felton? Kevin Stallings? John Pelphrey? – but we can’t imagine how there is a name in play out there that wouldn’t trip an alarm.

* Let’s look at Pack Pride for a second for some guidance. In our opinion, PP has had excellent coverage during this process. We know how this works and we know that the more connected NC State ‘media’ is a great gauge of where the wind may be blowing. Over the last week, PP has picked up on wind blowing in a different direction literally every single day. They have featured and “heard things” on Steve Lavin, John Brady, Billy Gillispie, Mike Brey, Lon Kruger, Chris Lowery, Gregg Marshall, and Dereck Whittenburg over the last week. This doesn’t make any sense. There is no way that this “search” has blown in that many directions…each conveniently on a new day.

* We aren’t saying that Pack Pride doesn’t make any sense. We are saying that all of these different names don’t make any sense – particularly since we have heard that the two most recent “hot names” are not true candidates. There has to be a reason behind all of the mixed signals?!

* So…here is our thought — there is something fishy going on (again). Gregg Marshall, Dereck Whittenburg, Frank Haith, and most of the other coaches in this tier could have been hired 5 minutes after Calipari said no. Every day that passes is an important day in the recruiting evaluation period that NC State needs a coach. There is NO WAY that Lee Fowler can waltz Whittenburg (et al) into a press conferece on day 20 of the search and introduce a guy that he could have had 11 days earlier and 2 minutes after Calipari said no. No way that this can happen.

* The alternatives are simple: (1) Lee Fowler is the most incompetent AD in America, or (2) there is something bigger and more complex going on here (and it has to break soon).

* Until we have final confirmation with the ultimate hire in this process, we refuse to believe that Fowler is as incomptent as some are labeling him in the middle of this unfinished process. Maybe we are being uber-optimistic…but, we have reason to believe that there is more than meets the eye. When you carve away all of the smoke, there is nothing left. Nothing. That doesn’t make any sense. In fact, it (oddly) makes us feel better about what it going on because State would have easily hired a “final stage” candidate by now if something bigger wasn’t going on.

* There have been a lot of other rumors rise in the last 48 hours; many of which we can rationalize and reason in ways that get us very excited (again) about what might happen in Raleigh. But, it is not prudent for us to speculate on them at this time. If they pan out…you will know it. If they don’t, we will debrief on it in the future.

* That is all we are going to say right now. In the end, it may end up being a “fallback type candidate”. But, right now, we think that there is reason to have more hope than most fans have had since the Calipari debacle.

* The Wolfpacker was reporting on their message boards today that a couple of coaches that had informal contact with NC State during this process have been told that State’s job is no longer vacant. When you add that to the intensification of “chatter” that we have experienced in the last 36 hours, we think that every reason in the world exists for the world to be introduced to NC State ‘s new basketball coach before the weekend rolls around. We hope that we are right.

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