More Coaching Search De-Brief

Link to David Glenn’s first coaching de-brief and our comments

Link to some of our information related to Larry Brown (May 14th)

Link to the second installment of David Glenn’s coaching de-brief posted today

Rick Barnes

The Barnes chapter will be told in more detail at some point in the future, when the parties involved can speak freely without jeopardizing their duties in their current jobs, but several sources close to the coach said that at one point — and only one point — in his discussions with the Wolfpack he was leaning toward making the jump. That point came just as his “final no” to NCSU appeared in most newspaper reports.

“I talked with (Barnes) every day for a week, at least once a day,” one source said. “All along, he said great things about N.C. State, but he just couldn’t get past the idea of leaving behind all the great things he has at Texas. On that last day, though, they made him an even better offer than the one he thought was their ‘final’ offer. It was so amazing, so creative, and there was so much passion behind it, for one day he said he didn’t know what he was going to do. He stayed, obviously, but they pushed him to the edge.”

The Barnes ship has sailed and we are all looking forward to our future with Sidney Lowe…so there is not much use in re-hashing a lot of stuff. But, I have been personally criticized (in 2006) by idiots on message boards for comments that I made in 2000-2005 that stated the following: “Every day that Lee Fowler retains Herb Sendek, he is effectively choosing Herb Sendek over Rick Barnes.”

If the intimate nature of the NC State-Rick Barnes courtship in 2006 didn’t underscore my point in the last five years, then Glenn’s comments help do so. This is why schools should hire fantastic leaders for leadership positions and not cowardly, mono-dimensional reactive thinkers who spend more time looking for excuses and rationalizations than looking for innovative and proactive ways to improve. One can only scratch their head in wonder on where Rick Barnes would be coaching today had Lee Fowler and NC State not allowed him so damn long to build “all the great things he has at Texas”.

Again, it doesn’t matter any more.

Mike Montgomery
One item of the search which SFN never disclosed more was regarding the topic of Mike Montgomery. Glenn is handcuffed by what his sources tell him on some topics, and the Montgomery topic is one of them.

The Wolfpack never did get “close” with any other candidates, including Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, Golden State Warriors coach Mike Montgomery, Kentucky coach Tubby Smith and Villanova coach Jay Wright, although all of those men (and many others) were contacted about the vacancy in some fashion. …

You may want to go back to our April 20th coaching update for a moment. (Taking a look at April 19th wouldn’t hurt either)

What we were unable to share with you at the time (and did not learn more about until days later), was that Mike Montgomery and NC State were MUCH closer than anyone in the media ever learned. Montgomery gets paid $2.5 million a year and has 2 years remaining on an original 4-year/$10 million deal with the Golden State Warriors. Therefore, the Warriors would owe MM at least $5 million to fire him. Some rumors claim there is additional money embedded in the contract for a potential buyout, and therefore would create a larger number.

It was a foregone conclusion to most in the NBA during this season that Montgomery was going to be relieved of his duties as the Warriors Head Coach until the last week of the season when General Manager Chris Mullin publicly proclaimed Monty’s job was safe. He can’t simply quit and walk away from over $5 million of a lump sum payment that he will receive when/if he is fired.

The NBA is different than college. NBA coaches don’t recruit; their off-season duties are spent working with the front office on the draft, but the front-office can easily conduct a draft without a coach. ZERO incentive existed for the Warriors to fire Montgomery at the end of the season with the NC State job (and others) on the horizon. If the Warriors organization had the slightest thought that Montgomery would take another job then they had NO REASON to fire him and pay him a large buyout. Why not fire him during the summer? Why not give him 15 games to start next season and see how he does? If you are the Warriors, why fire a guy at the end of the season who MAY take another job and save you $5+ million?

Montgomery and NC State are linked by his personal relationship with Les Robinson. Since the relationship and communication flowed exclusively through these two parties, there was really no chance for a media leak. I even remember quotes by Robinson in the media downplaying MM; similar to his wife’s comments to WTVD-11.

Some morons on the message boards took these comments at 100% face value and used them to criticize some Wolfpackers who were logically discussing Montgomery as a potential candidate based on some of these public comments. What the hell were they supposed to say? “Yes, Monty is very interested in the job but we can’t talk about it in public for fear that the Warriors will find out and not pay us our big paycheck?”

If you go back and review the timeline of the coaching search, you start to get a better feel for just how close State/Les and Montgomery were –

* The Calipari rejection happened on Tuesday, April 11th. (Link)

* The “Beilein/Lavin” situation tanked on Wednesday, April 26th. (Link)

So, what was happening in the middle of those TWO FULL WEEKS? Think about it!? There was NOTHING about Steve Lavin OR John Beilein that precluded either one of them from being the “next step” after Calipari on April 11th. So why did their courtship not come to a crescendo until April 26th?

What DID exist to impede their candidacy earlier was a hope that the Golden State Warriors would fire Mike Montgomery around April 20th. That hope did not materialize as planned/hoped and the search went in other directions. Why else would I have written MULTIPLE entries at the time supporting Lee Fowler and urging fans NOT TO CRITICIZE like this one on April 19th.

More to Come
We still have a little more commentary to come on the search and on Coach Lowe. We’ll take advantage of the slow nature of the next month to wrap it all up.

General NCS Basketball

43 Responses to More Coaching Search De-Brief

  1. old13 05/22/2006 at 6:43 PM #

    Re: The Beilein fiasco: “That deal, of course, ultimately broke down over the coach’s huge (about $3 million) buyout, a bizarre development because all parties were well aware of that factor from the start.”

    Need I say more about Foulup! He needs to be gone NOW!!

  2. Broncommish 05/22/2006 at 7:49 PM #

    One of the tid-bits I hope to learn is the standing of Fowler after all this. With the administration, WPC, and the major players in the system.

  3. whitefang 05/22/2006 at 7:56 PM #

    I too, want to learn what Fowler’s “standing” is. He is obviously a PR disaster even though he landed a bball coach that nobody from State can complain about – yet. He still has not proved to be what I would hope we should have as and AD at State.

  4. redfred2 05/22/2006 at 11:10 PM #

    From what you are speculation, it sounds like at least there was some real effort being put forth during that time period. Maybe Lee deserves…


  5. StateFans 05/23/2006 at 7:18 AM #

    It is more than speculation regarding Montgomery. We are just limited on being able to reveal sources on the matter.

  6. Wulfpack 05/23/2006 at 8:44 AM #

    Please do not take this in any way as a knock on Lowe, but for NCSU to consider him as a more worthy candidate over Whittenburg for the reasons implied is wrong. Why are we alienating one of our own — a guy who is having some success at the college level? I’m not saying he should have been hired…but he should have at least been spoken to as the potential candidates began falling like dominoes. His Wolfpack family did not treat him very well and you can tell he’s irritated. Again, no knock on Lowe. He’s had a wonderful career in the NBA and is deserving of his success.

    My second point is that it sounds as if Lavin has a very sweet gig, paying him more than enough for working a few nights during the CB season and providing the funds to keep his hair greased to oblivion — it’s a good thing we had little chance.

  7. vtpackfan 05/23/2006 at 9:45 AM #

    Les Robinson has lead NC State in the past and is certainly a close member of the family. I am a bit concerned that during this time frain when SFN was warning the masses to keep a lid on it, that the current leadership was effectively taking a backseat. I am glad there was an effort put forth by different members of the Wolfpack family to form a unofficial search committe. It concerns me that Fowler seems not to have been the right guy to consolidate these different opinions, and the more info thats pushed to the forefront on this issue makes me more certain of this. How could they work on landing the homerun hire in Barnes, then take an offer of interest from Calipari, only to have a contingency plan of “well Les has someone in mind”. We love Les, he’s a jolly fellow, but let’s not hand over the reigns halfway along the trail. Nobody, including myself, are perfect and the process has a way of taking a life of it’s own once in awhile. My thoughts a mostly dictated by the wake created by the final result. I am inspired by the change in direction Sidney Lowe can take this program, but in getting to this point we tarnished a great guy in Belien in front of another passionate fanbase. In accord with Wulfpack, State acted poorly towards Derek Whittenburg. While some may say that he was only mentioned because of his history as a player, he has taken the process seriously and made the steps in his career to earn atleast the recognition by the powers that be.

  8. cfpack03 05/23/2006 at 9:47 AM #

    The smoke is beginning to clear and we fans, on the outside, can finally start to understand what was going on behind the scenes of our almost 2 month coaching search. I applaude Lee Fowler for swinging for the fences. Of course, there were several missteps taken that can mostly be summed up by the phrase ‘PR disaster’, and, 1 huge mistake made everyday over the course of the last 5 years (not ousting Sendek sooner). But in the end, NC State is coming out ahead. Without a doubt, we will be in a better place with brighter opportunities at the start of the 06-07 season.

  9. JTO 05/23/2006 at 10:01 AM #

    Great insite on the coaching search SFN. This helps tie up some loose ends that drove us all wacko during the painful coaching search.

    Also, I can’t help but note that it seems you are attempting to create an uprising against Fowler. The truth of the matter is that at this point we are a family on the rocks that just had a child – Lowe. Fowler’s success as well as our own will depend on how well Lowe performs. If he doesn’t get it done, we need to make sure he is out prior to going through this process again. Until that point, we need to all pull together as a family to support each other.

    That is what will make us stronger – not creating tension by stirring the pot when nothing can be done. If Lowe is successful then Fowler isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Let’s just hope that’s the case.

  10. tractor57 05/23/2006 at 10:20 AM #

    I don’t know that I would consider StateFans as formenting an uprising against Fowler. Yes, there are some strong opinions on the subject and I happen to agree that there have been several areas where I think Fowler has not performed as well as he should have but to equate airing these deficits as “attempting to create an uprising” seems to me to be a little strong.
    I personally can only assume that the lack of contact with Whittenburg relates to his being an assistant under Valvano and although I disagree with the lack of contact I must admit I am far out of the loop on the subject. I don’t have any negative comments regarding the hire of Lowe – under the circumstances I think it was a great move.

  11. class of 74 05/23/2006 at 10:33 AM #

    We have a reactive not a proactive AD, this has been and continues to be a problem with our athletics in general. If he sought out problems, identified them as such and put into place corrections we would be far ahead of our present position in all sports.

  12. Mike 05/23/2006 at 11:01 AM #

    No one is making a campaign against Fowler. SFN is fair and reports it like it is. There are opinions on here from certain people who will say what they want, but it does not necessarily reflect SFN. We all have opinions, and are entitled to our opinions. I was not a Fowler basher, nor was I a Fowler supporter. Howver, some events recently have influenced my views, and I am glad I had SFN to REPORT what was happening so I could make up my own mind.

  13. Mike 05/23/2006 at 11:03 AM #

    And I hope I am not off topic here, but with regards to Barnes. Read where another player is transferring out, making it 5 of his top 7 will be gone next year. One other player, a sophomore guard, was thinking of leaving also, which would be 6 out 7.

    Glad Sid is here, GO PACK! Just wondering what Ricky is thinking now.

  14. cfpack03 05/23/2006 at 11:21 AM #

    Read where another player is transferring out, making it 5 of his top 7 will be gone next year. One other player, a sophomore guard, was thinking of leaving also, which would be 6 out 7.


  15. redfred2 05/23/2006 at 11:37 AM #

    SFN- Question? How can I be logged in to comment on some threads, and can’t get a reply box to come up up on others?

    SFN: Because we close the comments box on a lot of entries.

  16. choppack1 05/23/2006 at 11:55 AM #

    Regarding Fowler and his role – I didn’t have a problem w/ him keeping Sendek around after years 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. I thought that business cases could be made for doing so. I think his communications skills were terribly lacking and poured fuel onto the fire.

    Regarding pro-active ADs – several years back UT fired a b’ball coach who had taken them to 3 straight tourneys and hired a young up and comer hotshot – Buzz Peterson. They never went to the tourney under Buzz – so sometimes these things can explode in your face.

    Timing is everything – Fowler probably could have fired Herb after year 5 and the media wouldn’t have said zip/nada and the wolfpack nation wouldn’t have been torn to shreads. A similar situation happened w/ MOC. The administration would have been totally justified firing him after his second consecutive 3-8 year. Instead, they waited – and the atmosphere around our football program was effectively poisoned. It will be interesting to watch what happens in football this year. If we go 3-5 in conference again, things will get pretty ugly.

  17. pacNWPackfan 05/23/2006 at 12:07 PM #

    I can’t help but chime in here. I just can’t believe that Fowler’s performance on this coaching search will be linked to how Lowe and the Pack perform in next couple of years. To link those two things so directly and say that they, at this point, run parallel is gross oversimplification and simply does not take into account the process that occurred. I just don’t have time, nor do I think most readers would want, to explain why these two things should not be so directly linked.

    How WolfPack fans can support Lee Fowler is beyond me. Kudos to all who can be civil towards the man and hold their tongue, I on the other hand will be glad to be an internet rager and say I think he should have been fired 5 years ago, last week and tommorrow. He made a prolonged mistake (5 years) only to followed by what was a completely unecessary embarassment for the NC State. David Glen’s piece/s does a great job in very fairly pointing out what a moron Lee Fowler is, without ever saying “hey Fowler is a complete moron”.

  18. JTO 05/23/2006 at 12:08 PM #

    I will be the first one to say Fowler needs to go if this search turns out to be unsuccessful. However, I do think he deserves a chance to see if such a bold move proves to be the answer we all were looking for but couldn’t visualize. It certainly wasn’t an obvious choice but the positive vibe that it has created within the program has been magnificant. Let’s hope it lasts….I know Fowler does.

  19. Hawkeye Whitney 05/23/2006 at 12:26 PM #

    “I do think he deserves a chance to see if such a bold move proves to be the answer we all were looking for but couldn’t visualize”

    JTO, I don’t know if the Lowe hire can be characterized as a bold move. Maybe if he had been hired shortly after Rick Barnes made his decision. I think that Fowler sort of backed into this one, and if Coach Lowe is successful, (which I think he will be), then Fowler may just prove the old adage, “it is better to be lucky than good.”

  20. WTNY 05/23/2006 at 12:28 PM #

    SFN- Question? How can I be logged in to comment on some threads, and can’t get a reply box to come up up on others?

    redfred2 — SFN’s unique algorithms know when it is best that you not comment. 😉

    Seriously, SFN closes comments on some items at their discretion.

  21. redfred2 05/23/2006 at 12:36 PM #

    I am happy with Lee Fowler’s end result, but I also understand some of the reservations. Maybe doing things on the QT was the only way. My problems are the names like Phil Ford being bantered around on no less than ESPN, for everyone to see and chuckle about, then never a single rebuttal every coming out of Raleigh at any time. It was embarrassing. It had me thinking that Lee Fowler had finally gone over the edge with a finger on the big button, ready and willing to annihilate the whole athletics program without hesitation.

    The Lavin situation was not at all a pleasant in that regard either. If those were all well thought out smoke screens, some brain cells are still smoking up that way, and there shouldn’t be any need for sunscreen in the triangle this summer.

  22. Wulfpack 05/23/2006 at 12:39 PM #

    “However, I do think he deserves a chance to see if such a bold move proves to be the answer we all were looking for but couldn’t visualize. It certainly wasn’t an obvious choice but the positive vibe that it has created within the program has been magnificant.”

    This was not a “bold” move…this was the only move. Lee had to have a taker. It wasn’t obvious b/c Lowe wasn’t even on the radar. It took four “no’s” to get to this one “yes”. Lee had absolutely no intention of even talking to Sid until he was rejected four times over. Sid simply fell into his lap…I don’t see why Lee deserves any credit for this. Furthermore, nothings happened yet. He’s not even on campus!

  23. redfred2 05/23/2006 at 12:59 PM #


    Do you read my last reply on the “Delong’s Delights” thread.

  24. vtpackfan 05/23/2006 at 1:01 PM #

    “It was so amazing, so creative, and there was so much passion behind it,”

    This caught my eye from the Dave Glenn piece. What did they do, get a taxadermist to stuff a gray wolf with hundred dollar bills?

  25. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 05/23/2006 at 1:19 PM #

    The most frustrating thing about the search and Fowler is the way they let the student body be dragged through the mud without saying a word. Hell Fowler called students ‘lunatics’ and nothing happened to him. Current students, alumni, employees, supporters and fans where dragged through the mud daily by the national media without so much as a word from Oblinger or Fowler to the press saying that NC State has the best students and alumni in the country.

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