Monday’s Coaching Update: Preparation Day

Wolfpackers were buzzing today about the opportunity to hire a new basketball coach for the first time in a decade. All that buzzing can work you into a frenzy if you are not careful. Relax everyone. Right now, things seem to be going pretty well.

Although we definitely enjoy sharing inside scoop, we want to be very careful not share anything that would be detrimental to NC State’s coaching search (or the athletics department, in general). Hopefully this ‘search’ won’t last very long, but we will probably be sharing some things after the fact to avoid even the slightest potential that any public disclosure could negatively impair the search.

===> Lee Fowler returned from Indianapolis on Sunday. Other members of the Wolfpack contingent returned on Monday.

===> We shared with you how coaches are paid earlier; and, our readership is intelligent enough to extrapolate these specifics of Herb Sendek’s pay package into our current situation.

===> A ‘name coach’ will command a total compensation package in excess of $1.5 million. Obviously, a name coach will immediately make more money than Sendek because of a more attractive shoe contract, but additional private funds will be needed to boost potential total compensation above the $1.5 million that will be needed to lure a high profile candidate.

===> There was only so much that could be done on a ‘day of travel’…so, today was generally spent getting prepared and getting the ducks in a row. Rumors have leaked from various sources that the Wolfpack is looking to offer in the neighborhood of $1.8 million for certain coaches. This sounds about right as we had been told it would be close to $2.0 million on the high end.

===> Even though Monday was “get ready day”, the administration is aiming to get this done very quickly. We don’t expect the big names that don’t need much evaluating from State’s perspective to take a lot of time considering the opportunity and serve to slow things down.

===> ^This risk is further mitigated by the buzz that we got from Indianapolis this weekend that some very recognizable and high profile coaches have found ways to express interest in the job. This is obviously very exciting and validating. (We will reserve comments here aimed at Lee Fowler, only to hope that he may be learning that he didn’t “know basketball” as much as he previously thought).

===> “The Wolfpack Club” (a broad term used for both leaders in the club and high ranking donors) have pushed for Fowler to land a big name and have obviously stepped up with the money needed to land certain big names. The ball is in Fowler’s court to execute.

===> Think about the flow of funds. Lee Fowler cannot run the process completely since he does not control all of the purse strings. If a group of donors offer a sum of $500k to supplement the pay of a coach, they are going to (a) dictate the names of the initial targets and/or (b) have to agree to any other name that Fowler may generate.

===> It does not take a rocket scientist to know that Rick Barnes is going to be State’s first target. No surprise. No big deal. It doesn’t matter what any yahoo in the national media says about Barnes’ interest. State must ask. Despite some scary rumors to the contrary today, State will ask in some form or another.

===> If you followed the Raleigh media today you noticed that many were significantly back-tracking on previous Andy-Katz-like comments that Barnes would never listen to State. It seems that they finally did some work and learned what many of us have known for a long time — Barnes has not dismissively shut the door on the idea of coaching in Raleigh like many arrogant media-types proclaim.

===> Monday evening, this news hit the Austin Statesman where Texas’ Athletics Director decided to speak for Rick Barnes. Just so you’ve got it straight and aren’t confused by who said what:

RICK BARNES “said Monday night that he has not received a job offer from North Carolina State.” That is true. We’ve told you that.

‘UT Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds said State has not formally requested permission to speak with Barnes and said “The bottom line is, he (Barnes) doesn’t want to go. He loves Texas.”

===> ^ Those comments don’t bother us in the least. If State was going to ask for permission to talk to Barnes today, we wouldn’t even be in a position to make the call until late in the evening. Additionally, we wouldn’t want to make the call until the evening when general business hours are ending (and reporters can’t reach anyone in the office) .

===> If you are State pursuing a candidate that isn’t pursuing you (like Herb pursuing ASU), you want to ask for permission because it insulates you from being turned down. If Barnes is truly not interested in the job, then Dodds will simply tell NC State that we can’t have permission to speak to him. Presto. We have been turned down without ever having to talk to Barnes and without having been officially turned down.

===> Of course, IF State asked for permission to speak to Barnes later in the day, and IF Barnes actually indicated an interest in speaking with State, then at least State will get a swing of the bat. 🙂

===> The risk that Barnes uses the State opportunity to solidify himself at Texas and get a nice raise in the process is very real. Who really cares if that happens? We ultimately did the absolute best that we could do — we set our sights on a goal and tried. Even further, the 15 years of rumors and flirtations and supposed interest that Barnes has in the job will be over.

Additionally, if Barnes chooses to remain at Texas, he can no longer voice his frustration with UT’s fanbase and region’s lack of appreciation for basketball with as much credibility as he had in the past since that problem would be solved at State before he can shake his first hand.

===> Realize that going after Rick Barnes is not ultimately about “the money”. State will never be able to pay more than Texas. But, you quickly get to a point where one can legitimately ask, “how much is enough”. So Texas may offer $2 million in response to a potential $1.8 million offer from State? Big deal. It took State coming after him to get that raise. Who values him more if we are willing to offer him that and he isn’t even our coach? Either Barnes wants the opportunity to coach in the ACC and forever be the “uniter” for State’s fan base or he doesn’t. Either way, it will no longer be an issue after the next 48 hours.

===> As much as Rick Barnes is the large majority of Wolfpackers candidate #1a…John Calipari is (a slightly smaller majority’s) candidate #1b. To be clear, we do NOT know how this majority translates itself onto Fowler/State’s target list.

===> A case can be made that Calipari may actually be a better coach than Barnes, but in our opinion Barnes’ cultural fit and familiarity with NC State is the initial divider separating the two. As a Hickory native with ACC ties and a long private and public history of coveting and complimenting the NC State position, Barnes gets the nod at the top of the list.

By contrast, along with about twenty other coaches who weren’t keen on working for Todd Turner, John Calipari reportedly turned down the State job ten years ago (when Barnes wanted it). Obviously, you can’t blame Calipari or the other coaches for not being attracted to someone like Turner. Heck, you have lived with the results of Turner’s inability to attract top talent for the last decade.

===> A lot of readers have asked us to share a hypthetical “list” of our preferences for potential candidates for the job. We hope that we never have to spend time on that. It is fun as a fan to try to match certain coaches with certain jobs – and we definitely have our eyes on some coaches that may fit the bill – but, we hope that we don’t have worry about anyone outside of the “top tier” of (1a) Rick Barnes, (1b) John Calipari, (2) Jay Wright.

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45 Responses to Monday’s Coaching Update: Preparation Day

  1. CaptainCraptacular 04/04/2006 at 8:38 AM #

    This is the most excited I have been as a wolfpack fan in at least 16 years. The smog cloud of doubt and negativity has been lifted and its like breathing fresh air for the first time in so long. Thank you guys for the extremely encouraging news and coverage.

  2. DavidThompson 04/04/2006 at 8:52 AM #

    Thanks for the great info. I just have a feeling it will be Callipari or Barnes.

  3. class of '85 04/04/2006 at 8:54 AM #

    Mr. O, My point was that they might say yes, not whether or not we are going for them.

  4. old13 04/04/2006 at 9:04 AM #

    1. Great info and posts! Raleigh IS back on the basketball world map! It will be fun to see the national media backpeddling after our hire is known (I ttust!)

    2. Roy’s situation at KU changed dramatically from his first-time turndown to his acceptance. When he turned down UNC the first time, he and the then KU AD were close friends. When he accepted the UNC offer, KU had another AD with whom Roy had many disagreements. He really agonized over the first decision. I think that when he did accept, it was basically a slam dunk.

  5. old13 04/04/2006 at 9:06 AM #

    novaboy, you obviously do not understand the situation. One game was/is not the issue. The determining factor had/has to do with trends.

  6. wopacker1980 04/04/2006 at 10:04 AM #

    “work in an environment where if you lose one game, all the fans are calling for your head on a platter”
    novaboy, let me clue you in: we have been patient for 15 season enduring 10+ loses every year.
    The idea that we would fire a good coach for losing one game is a lie propagated Hold and Duke friendly media that would like nothing more than to see us continue with our recent “success”.

  7. DavidThompson 04/04/2006 at 10:17 AM #

    Is’nt it funny how other “fans” and “herb lovers” seem to have the same view. We know what we did and we did it because we deserve better than we got. We can definatley make our basketball program what is once was with this hire. This has made the NCSU Fans happy and excited for our next basketball season once again.

    My favorite quote someone wrote…. RBC Center = Rick Barnes Center
    That is no coincidence…

  8. Jeff D(BostonWolf) 04/04/2006 at 10:17 AM #

    CG, St Peter’s is BIG (I was there this summer.) 🙂

    beo, I have to admit I had a little voice nagging at me that things would not unfold as you thought. I am VERY glad that events are proving that that voice was wrong.

    And one of my classmates here is a Texas alum. If we get Barnes she will never hear the end of it from me!

  9. WolfInVolCountry 04/04/2006 at 10:30 AM #

    Novaboy, you honestly think that Wright would not leave the old, cold NE for the sunny south, a 3 hour drive to great beaches, ACC hoops and $1.5M?

    Somebody please take away that boy’s bong!

  10. noskilz 04/04/2006 at 1:11 PM #

    Honestly I’m ambivalent on Barnes. He’s playing his game, whether it’s to up his stock with us or Texas is the question and I don’t think he’s such a great coach that he’s worth a supreme effort to land. Jay Wright is much more attractive to me for our situation and I keep thinking that if we can’t get him I want the best up&comer I’ve read about: Bobby Gonzalez. Cmon Fowler, hook us up!

  11. kwolf68 04/04/2006 at 2:16 PM #

    No to Gonzalez…he already ticked off the people at Seton Hall from what I hear.

  12. pack6125 04/04/2006 at 2:43 PM #

    Class of ’85 you are exactly right. Fowler must go for the big names or he will only serve to validate the national media opinion that we are somehow not in Duke/UNC’s class.
    There is no reason State can’t bring in an elite coach that will compete with Dean Jr. and Dr. Evil year in and year out, win championships, graduate players, and recruit in the top 10 nationally every year. We have all the resources to do so!
    Fowler! Present N.C. State in a credible manner! Don’t sell us short! Go after the ELITE coach! There are several out there and hearing a couple of ‘NO’ answers will not hurt the program. Getting another mediocre coach with low goals WOULD be devastating to those of us who cherish and long for the days of national prominence that we knew until 1990.
    I Love Wolfpack Basketball!!!!! Go State!!!!!!!!

  13. old13 04/04/2006 at 5:17 PM #

    Seems to me that there is enough info from those “in the know” to be sure all the top names who are interested are in the mix. The NCSU $$$ guys seems to be driving that. I would hope that, in the case we do not get a top name, Wolfpackers would realize where the journey took us, and whoever is hired will be the “best available” coach for NCSU. It appears that Foulup’s leash is very short!

  14. old13 04/04/2006 at 7:46 PM #

    Will there be a Tuesday update?

  15. Josh L. 04/05/2006 at 12:33 AM #

    “Heck, you have lived with the results of Turner’s inability to attract top talent for the last decade.”

    –C’mon, was that really necessary?

    That being said though…I do hope we’re able to lure Barnes here. What’s done is done, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited at the thought of bringing in someone who has such a strong background…

  16. brad nicholson 04/05/2006 at 3:43 AM #

    our father who are in heaven….

  17. KenMan 04/05/2006 at 8:20 AM #

    Rick Barnes already has tasted failure in the ACC, granted it was at one of the bottom-feeder schools, and he’s riding high in Texas. Aside from money why would he come to State? I’m amused by the “we’re sure to get a big name” attitude I’ve seen lurking. People moan about wanting a more likeable coach, but truth be told everyone really just wants to beat UNC and Duke every now and then. (Be honest, Wake is an afterthought any more.) It isn’t enough to merely win, Herb proved that, you have to beat the Evil Empires.

    So who is going to come in and risk their career in such a low reward, high risk environment? There’s already a precedent set for the next coach to be lambasted by the fans here if all he does is win 20 games and run a clean program. Face it, this job is not as alluring as many folks would like to believe.

    So a coach with major success at a minor school seems an OK idea, but the level of competition in the ACC almost assures a drop off in results. The guy this program needs already owns the red sweaters he’d need for the gig, Rick Majerus. His recruitment could be a two-word telegram: “Angus Barn STOP”

    In Majerus you get what the Pack Backers have been mewing for these last 10 years, a good ol’ boy that has a likeable personality. (A useful trait when being interviewed about another loss to a local rival.) He also brings big program success and name recognition.

    Of course ASU didn’t think much of him, and I doubt that USC would recommend him, but look on the bright side, when he keels over State fans can daydream about how the NEXT coach might be able to restore the glory days that were so unceremoniously squashed by Krzyzewski and then dealt another heavy blow by the successful hiring of Roy Williams. (Remember that fiasco? I think Carolina fans were pretty sure their first hire post-Deano would be smooth going, and we all know how that played out.)

  18. BleedRed 04/05/2006 at 10:45 AM #

    Wopacker1980says above: Duke and UNX fans everywhere are saying what a mistake we made letting Herb get away (when people that hate you tell you that you made a mistake, its a good thing!). That tells me that they actually know we can and will get someone better and it bothers them.
    This makes me think of how we wolfpackers felt when UNC-CH was running DOH out of town on a rail. Weren’t we all saying “you’re making a mistake. Give the guy a chance!”? What were we really thinking?

  19. morelike74 04/05/2006 at 4:01 PM #

    Interesting list of names – this isn’t the first time I’ve heard Majerus’ name come up either. I was hoping Nate McMillan would consider it or Lenny Wilkins, but given recent comments by both, we’re looking at more of the college talent in the pool. I think that Fowler has done a good job and let Sendek take the next step, for himself and for the program. It’s hard to be a coach when the administration doesn’t back you, and it can be distracting when the school/fans/media are criticizing the program with respect to predecessors (re: Mike Davis) Sendek was needed to restore the reputation of NCSU basketball, and like it or not, it took 10 years to repair. He leaves a legacy of athletes who a)graduate, b)manage not to get arrested on every break, c) have been #2 in the ACC 4 out of 6 seasons, d) gotten the Pack back to the NCAAs.
    Have the fans of the Pack forgotten that we were in the top-25 until the catclysmic decline of late January/early February?
    We are a top-ranked program in the toughest conference in the country (contrary to what pundits may say). We need a big name coach, not just to continue this success, but continue the progression of success. We need to be competitive recruiting with Duke and UNC, which in turn will leave us competitive nation-wide. I think Fowler will assemble a good list of candidates and help the Pack take the next step, leaving the fans to be patient (and probably sleepless) for at least another day or two.


  1. StateFans Nation » Blog Archive » One Year Ago Today- Sendek Bolts for ASU - 04/01/2007

    […] If you want to take a trip down memory lane. Go back and read the blog entries from April 2006. You will get a good laugh. SFN will gladly take gifts of “paper.” […]

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