Scoop & Analysis – How Fowler Flubbed Beilein

So, what happened yesterday to cause two coaches to back away from the NC State job at the same time?

Well, we don’t have a clue what happened to Steve Lavin. We know that Lavin had already commenced in detailed and significant discussions with three prominent assistant coaches from three different schools which would have comprised a very good staff. That is a lot of preparing to not be interested in the job.

Did Lavin feel like State would rather have had Beilein and wanted to bow out before he didn’t get the job? Did Fowler tell Lavin that we had a deal with Beilein and mistakenly let Lavin publicly withdraw his name?

^That speculation would not be beyond the realm of belief since NC State did have an agreement with John Beilein. As was previously rumored, NC State and John Beilein had agreed to split the cost of the $3 million buyout from West Virginia – 50% State and 50% Beilein. We don’t know if West Virginia wanted all of their money up front or were going to allow the parties to pay it off in installments as some had previously speculated.

But, this was one of the reasons that we really liked Beilein – he wanted to be here so badly that he was willing to give up $1.5 million to make it work. (That doesn’t stop the media from talking about

Evidently, Beilein didn’t want to be here bad enough to work for a notoriously cheap Athletics Director with a value structure that would allow him to try to change the deal on Beileien at the last moment.

StateFansNation has learned that Lee Fowler tried to change his previously agreed upon deal with John Beilein late yesterday. We don’t know the magnitude of the change, but late in the day Fowler sprung it upon Beilein that NC State would not pay the previously agreed upon $1.5 million portion of the buyout. Beilein, accordingly, said good-bye.

If you missed last night’s update then you may want to go take another look at what was written as this may have played a role in the switcheroo:

One potential reason that Beilein may have fallen through was the issue of taxes related to the proposed pay structure. As was widely reported, West Virginia’s professionally managed Athletics Department had installed a $3 million buyout in Beilein’s contract. It was rumored that NC State’s compensation package would pay Beilein more money to then pay West Virginia the buyout over time.

Nice idea, except the rocket scientists at NC State may have never considered the income tax consequences of the payment. As a hypothetical example – let’s say that NC State was going to pay Beilein $1.2 million per year and Beilien was going to pay WVU the $3 million buyout over six years in $500,000 annual increments.

In that scenario Beilein would still be responsible for income taxes on the $1.2 million compensation…meaning that the additional $500,000 would need to be grossed up to something like $750,000 per year to create a net neutral income situation for Beilein.

Our goal is NOT to criticize Lee Fowler. Our goal is to share with you what we know and analyze it accordingly and generate fan conversations.

This situation happened. Period.

Lee Fowler took on a tremendous risk at the beginning of this process when he chose to own complete control of the whole process. But, that is what he wanted; that is what he got. When someone with zero business acumen and no real-world corporate experience gets thrown into this kind of situation, they need to recognize that they need a team of very talented people around them to guide them through all of the complex and sophisticated issues. But, Lee Fowler wanted to be “the guy”. He is going to get his wish.

If Lee Fowler was more sophisticated, then throughout the last five years he would have realized that all of his criticisms of NC State’s fans would ultimately not serve him well when he needed to find a coach…and all of his attempts to defend Herb Sendek by de-valuing the NC State job wasn’t very strategic, either. But, Lee Fowler isn’t that sophisticated. He never has been. Why would anyone think that he could be sophisticated enough to handle the intricacies of a real-world situation like hiring a multi-million dollar employee?

The real story here is not that NC State has a bad job or that NC State fans mistreated Herb Sendek by allowing him to coach for 10 years despite assimilating the second worst record in this history of NC State Basketball, as some in the media keep trying to portray. How many of the four impressive candidates that have gotten all the way down the aisle have cared about these issues? If those issues were a problem, then the candidates would have never started conversations with State.

The processes with Barnes, Calipari, Beilein and Lavin have all broken down at the end. All broken down in the execution and negotiation stage. One man is responsible for that phase. That is the way he chose it.

John Beilein is breathing a sigh of relief this morning while NC State’s program wakes up to a very different reality that no one has mentioned yet — now that Fowler has all but insured that he won’t be NC State’s Athletics Director in the future, what coach is going to want to come to NC State when they don’t know for whom they will be working in the future? Additionally, in light of Fowler’s unethical move on Beilein, why would other coaches remotely consider talking to Lee Fowler? Who can trust the guy?

When State struggles to land the next guy, expect the media to focus on everything but the intricacies of what is really going on…just like every other day.