Lowe’s Rumored Staff (Updated 11:15am)

The Sidney Lowe era will begin soon and substantial rumors are circulating focused on the potential make-up of Lowe’s first staff in Raleigh. The composition of Lowe’s staff is going to be of the most extreme importance due to his lack of experience of collegiate coaching experience. We are NOT confirming these names as definite assistants of Lowe’s; we are just passing along what seems to be the direction in which the momentum and chatter is headed:

* Larry Harris is well known to Wolfpackers and would be a super addition to the staff. He provides and immediate bridge of credibility to the existing players on the team as well as key recruits that the Wolfpack has signed for next season and from whom we have earned verbal commitments in future years. Harris was the lead recruiter on most of Herb Sendek’s top commitments. Sendek was not adept at dealing with off-the-court personnel issues with his players and would almost exculsively turn to Harris to take care of the “softer stuff”. This led to Harris’ reputation as the most popular coach on Sendek’s past staffs.

* Pete Strickland has ties to both Lowe and Harris as he is a DeMatha High School alum and a Pitt undergraduate (like Harris). Strickland was the head coach at Coastal Carolina for seven years before being relieved of his duties prior to last season when former NC State assistant Buzz Peterson took over. We are still doing some digging on Strickland, who also coached Ravenscroft High School in Raleigh for one year. He is being billed as an excellent x-and-o coach. This link will take you to one of his last biographies at CCU.

* Monte Towe would be able to balance Sidney Lowe’s National Championship ring with one of his own after playing the same position as Lowe for the 1974 Wolfpack. Towe has been the Head Coach at the University of New Orleans for the last five years, but the toll of Hurricane Katrina may play a compelling role in incenting him to return to an assistant’s position at a top program (like he held under Norm Sloan at Florida). Towe has to have some decent experiences and perspectives after his years as a Head Coach. You can see Towe’s biography by clicking here.

* Quentin Jackson has been rumored as Lowe’s potential Director of Basketball Operations. Jackson shares DeMatha roots with Lowe and actually followed Lowe to Raleigh as a point guard for the Wolfpack in the mid 1980s. He played a key role in NC State’s last ACC Championship in 1987 and then played for the Harlem Globetrotters. Jackson currently owns a company that is featured in this article.

All-in-all, the potential staff seems to be very good. It may end up a home run, but feels more like a double being stretched into triple right now.

We feel super about Harris and Strickland. Monte Towe is a little bit of a mystery in light of the magnitude of the NCAA problems that he and Norm Sloan left in Gainesville when they exited the University of Florida program. But, the most perplexing issue of the names is that of Quentin Jackson.

The Director of Basketball Operations position is usually reserved for young coaches that are trying to break into the business with experience. Jackson is almost 40 years old and has no college basketball experience. In our opinion, Coach Lowe’s lack of collegiate experience does not afford him any wiggle room on his hires. He needs to be phenomenally strategic with every hire in order to build the most connected, diverse, and talented staff possible.

The Operations job is an opportunity for a head coach to draw from a different well of talent and diversify the perspectives of the staff – like someone from a Bob Knight or Tom Izzo or Rick Pitino lineage. Jackson may offer some unique perspectives built on a background of running his own business, but this currently feels like Lowe is hiring an old buddy into a situation where Lowe has a lot more to offer Jackson than Jackson offers NC State.

These are just initial thoughts that we may learn to be off base when we learn more specifics around the names and situations.

10:10 UPDATE We’ve been told from multiple sources that Larry Harris and Pete Strickland will be on staff at NC State. In our opinion, this is fantastic news. Harris is getting a very nice pay day with Coach Sendek in Arizona, but his family loves Raleigh. We are still tracking down some information on Strickland from some folks in Myrtle Beach, but our initial indications are that he has a good reputation related to recruiting, strong AAU ties, and a good bench tactician that Coach Lowe is going to need.

No word on how the national media is going to explain Larry Harris’ desire to come back to NC State after (supposedly) being treated so poorly by the NC State fan base.

10:20 UPDATE Monte Towe is still not confirmed for the staff. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported this morning that:

One stumbling point in Towe leaving would be the buyout clause in his contract. When Towe was given a three-year contract extension through 2009 two years ago, it included a buyout equal to Towe’s remaining annual salary, which would be $450,000.

Honestly – we just don’t know that much about Monte Towe’s x-and-o abilities or much about in what roles he would excel as an assistant at State. If Towe doesn’t work out, SFN would love to see a senior assistant with past head coaching experience riding shotgun with Coach Lowe; something similar to a Larry Shyatt at Florida or Jerry Dunn at West Virginia (thanks goes to a friend for those examples). Perhaps a Rob Evans or a Louis Orr? Perhaps our readers would have some other suggestions?

11:15 UPDATE Pack Pride has put together a little more biographical information on these projected assistant coaching names for premium subscribers. Link here.

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41 Responses to Lowe’s Rumored Staff (Updated 11:15am)

  1. c c harrison 05/05/2006 at 2:04 AM #

    I think that this possible staff would be a solid crew. The N&O will probably suggest that Phil Ford is a canidate for Lowe’s staff…

  2. Gene 05/05/2006 at 6:20 AM #

    Anybody know what happened to Levi Watkins. He was an Admin Assistant in the Director of Operations office last year (Intern I think). Wanted a graduate coaching assistant ship with Sendek, but Sendek didn’t have a position open on the bench. He might be a good fit for director of basketball operations. Has a year of experience under his belt, in the job and I’d like to see an NCSU alum, who is trying to break into coaching succeed. This would be a good step up for a young alumnus trying to get into coaching.
    Also heard, in other places (nothing more than idle speculation at this point), Chucky Brown coming in as an assistant. He does have coaching experience in the NBDL, World Basketball Association, and has coached AAU teams. He also worked with Ced Simmons last summer, helping Ced improve his offensive game.
    Chucky Brown would be a great addition, if Lowe can land him as an assistant.

  3. hoop 05/05/2006 at 6:22 AM #

    I think Harris would be an excellent choice given his ties to current players.

    Towe gives us more Wolfpack blood and knows how to win. Oh, and he played baseball for the pack which hopefully gives him some influence with Brackman. “Hey Andy, I played both baseball and basketball. You can too!”

    Jackson could be a representative that connects strongly with potential players but other than that I’m a bit confused by this choice.

    Don’t know much about Strickland.

    Lastly, which guy will be whispering in Lowe’s ear come crunch time? I’m a little concerned that there is no X and O guy who has coaching experience at the collegiate top 20 level.

  4. hoop 05/05/2006 at 6:25 AM #

    Yeah, Chucky would be great! He’s a great guy that players could connect with. His 13 or whatever years in the NBA would definitely impress potential candidates. He lives in the area currently too.

  5. class of 74 05/05/2006 at 6:40 AM #

    Our bench is shaping up to look amazingly similar to the rafters with these names being tossed.

    But it sure is nice to wake up this morning and feel like we have a chance to win something meaningful once again. It’s been 15+ years since I felt this way about our program. I have all of the confidence in the world in Coach Lowe because I know his background has prepared him as a tactician, he has people skills for recruiting success and he has experienced what success at NCSU is all about. I feel so blessed to have 4 christmas days this year: April 1, May 6, October 15 and December 25.

  6. StewMan07 05/05/2006 at 7:34 AM #

    agreed, not crazy about jackson, however Coach Lowe maybe looking at Jackson because he has a lot of marketing experience and he may not trust the media relations department to market the team well. Lowe maybe hiring Jackson to help improve the image of the program nationally.

  7. RAWFS 05/05/2006 at 8:00 AM #


    State’s Media Relations Department SUCKS.

    I got more help from Georgia Tech’s last year on a single contact that NC State ever has offered.

    Quite frankly, if it were not for the fact that State was my school, the MRD and the SID would go far to making me seriously dislike NC State and I think it is they, not the fans or past transgressions that are at the root of the media’s disdain for NC State University.

    Were I the AD, I would have all of them clean their desks out on my first day on the job.

  8. choppack1 05/05/2006 at 8:01 AM #

    We shouldn’t lose any sleep when it comes to X and O’s w/ Sidney. He’s been coaching in the NBA for over 10 years. He should be adept at strategy and reviewing tape. It’s worth noting that the NBA is closer to the college game than it was a decade or two ago. They’ve allowed zone Defenses and brought in the 3 point line a little. The bad news is that – unlike the NFL – the rules differences are pretty significant – but like the NFL, the player relationship/responsibility angle is a whole different banana.

    Chucky Brown brought up an excellent point: Lowe will need to structure these kids’ lives. I’m sure they’ve gotten out of a pattern and it wouldn’t surprise that w/out the previous structure – and the break in their pattern that occurred, we’ve got a couple of kids who are “out of shape” academically or physically or both.

  9. RickJ 05/05/2006 at 8:21 AM #

    I had forgotton that Towe actually coached Lowe during his freshman year at State. The following quote from Towe in this morning’s front page N&O story is pretty amazing:

    “Sid took over that club as a freshman. He’s a winner,” Towe said. “Sid cried like a baby when we left for Florida after his freshman year. He loved Norm and wanted to go with him. But Norm said, ‘No, you belong at NC State.’ He did belong at State, then and now.”

  10. BillyTheKid 05/05/2006 at 8:26 AM #


    Towe played Baseball at State? I knew he played Football in High School, but didn’t know he played Baseball.

    I’m very happy with the Lowe hire. I believe that with the right staff he will do really great things. I like the fact that he is talking to State people. I think that one of Matt D. problems at UNX was that he didn’t have anything to do with the “family”. When he kick Phil Ford out and moved Dean out of his office the hand writing was on the wall from Day One. I only bring up the Matt D. thing because a lot of UNX fans are saying that now we have our own Matt D.

    GOOD LUCK SID, We lov Ya!!

  11. NCSU84 05/05/2006 at 8:35 AM #

    I think we all should rally behind coach Lowe as he has a difficult challenge facing him. Everyone seems to have advice, but ultimately it will be his decision to make. Whether we agree with his selections or not, we MUST stand behind him if our program is to move forward. Does anyone know if there is going to be some type of “Welcoming” for him? I know there is a press conference scheduled for Saturday, but I suspect it will not be open to the public. It sure would be nice if we could all somehow show our support.

  12. WearRed92 05/05/2006 at 8:37 AM #

    Was glad to hear Sid’s name as semi-official yesterday but not as pumped as I am today with the mention of his possible assistants! If all goes as discussed, he’s putting together a solid team to build our future. Coach Sid may be considering Jackson & his business/PR background after his experience in the NBA… which is more like a business anyway. Congrats Coach Sid and thank the Lord this is all over!!!!!!!!

  13. choppack1 05/05/2006 at 8:48 AM #

    wearred – I think Sidney’s biggest challenge will be the monstrosity that is the NCAA rulebook. As a result, he should probably fill his staff w/ as many people who know the rulebook as possible.

  14. Migjen Bakalli 05/05/2006 at 9:00 AM #

    Quentin Jackson – understand the concerns, but he is one of my all-time favs from the Pack. For sentimental reasons, I love it!!!!

  15. vtpackfan 05/05/2006 at 9:27 AM #

    “They’ve allowed zone Defenses and brought in the 3 point line a little.”

    Good point choppack, and to go further the NCAA is still working on puching back the arc. Spacing on the court has to be the key. Sendek’s team was too far apart IMO last year, trying desperately to get open 3’s (backdoor cuts?). Watching the Pistons, you see a team with floor spacing that doesn’t allow the defense to take time off thinking the ball can’t be coming to the guy their guarding. Plus, get some loose ball’s, tip out an offensive rebound, do the stuff that keeps you in games when your cold from the field.

  16. wingatewolf 05/05/2006 at 9:27 AM #

    Please correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Chucky Brown work as an assistant with the Roanoke NBDL team?

    If so, he’s looking for a job. Roanoke and Fayetteville have shut down their teams.

    Would not be suprised at all if Chucky is on the list. Does he have a college degree?

  17. vtpackfan 05/05/2006 at 9:37 AM #

    One thing is for sure though. It seems the one way to really get under the skin of a head coach is to be critical of his bench. I’m not saying that would/could happen in this situation, but once it happens the damage is done. Head Coaches seem overprotective of their asst. as if they were his kids. Heck, even Bobby Bowden last year got pissed when fans started getting after the Offensive Cord. Oh wait, that was his kid, but I thought the man had no soul, who knew.

  18. tractor57 05/05/2006 at 10:07 AM #

    I’m not a D1 coach (and I didn’t stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night) so my method of measuring success will be simple – wins (not just UNC and Duke) with good ethics. What I’ve read about the possible coaching staff sounds like Lowe is well on the way. It’s been a LONG 15 years since I could truthfully say State BB was at the top and maybe it is on the way back there.
    “The sun doesn’t shine on the same dog all the time”

  19. whatmeworry 05/05/2006 at 10:35 AM #

    Towe was a 2nd baseman.

  20. whatmeworry 05/05/2006 at 10:39 AM #

    If you don’t believe me take a visit to DH Hill library soon. They have a photo exibit running right now dedicated to NC State baseball. You can see pictures of Towe in uniform.

  21. BillyTheKid 05/05/2006 at 10:41 AM #

    WOW, Towe really played Baseball. I did learn something new today.

    I don’t think it will be a problem getting him back here (buyout?!?!?) if that is what everyone (Sid & Towe) really wants.

  22. primacyone 05/05/2006 at 10:43 AM #

    For some reason I am thinking Towe is the keep them straight in classroom/administration guy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he would bring the fire and passion as well, but I can see him being the guy making sure we stay in track administrativly and academically. Just a thought. Either way, today has been like a breath of the freshest air I have breathed in a long time.

  23. Chief93 05/05/2006 at 10:52 AM #

    “No word on how the national media is going to explain Larry Harris’ desire to come back to NC State after (supposedly) being treated so poorly by the NC State fan base.”

    I expect it’s enough of a non-story that they won’t bother. Besides, I don’t know that Larry himself was treated particularly poorly other than the occassional misguided attempts to pin our supposed “big man problems” on him.

  24. GAWolf 05/05/2006 at 10:56 AM #

    Yeah. Tommy. I was kidding.

    I talked to a guy today who knows Larry Harris very well. He said that Harris always wanted to run. He had as tough a time coaching Herb’s offense as we had watching it apparently. Hearing that makes me happy.

  25. reanalyst 05/05/2006 at 11:00 AM #

    SFN wrote: “If Towe doesn’t work out, SFN would love to see a senior assistant with past head coaching experience riding shotgun with Coach Lowe; something similar to a Larry Shyatt at Florida or Jerry Dunn at West Virginia (thanks goes to a friend for those examples). Perhaps a Rob Evans or a Louis Orr? Perhaps our readers would have some other suggestions?”

    I like the idea of Louis Orr. He seemed to do a pretty good job at Seton Hall. Just brainstorming here for guys with head coaching experience: Bobby Cremins, Ricky Stokes (assistant at South Carolina), Perry Clark, David Henderson, Wayne Morgan, Tim Buckley.

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