Towe Official; Sidney’s Staff Complete

Sidney Lowe has completed his staff with the official hiring of University of New Orleans Head Coach and former Wolfpack great, Monte Towe. (Link at Pack Pride)

Lowe’s staff has ultimately taken the exact form that we reported as ‘rumors’ on May 5th. You can click on this link to see our comments on May 5th. Additionally, this link from May 18th brings together a lot of our coverage on the basketball staff and also includes some good conversation from the community.

Towe & Pete Strickland met with the media on Friday and created some media coverage.

* This link will take you to Pack Pride who has posted audio of their comments on the internet. The comments are definitely worth a listen.

* State has a pillar in Towe from the News & Observer

With plenty of college coaching experience, Towe can help in multiple areas, but he made it clear “this is Sidney’s gig.” The assistants talk regularly via phone with Lowe, who is expected to get here in early July.

Although the staff hasn’t settled on a system for next year’s team, there has been talk of fast-breaking and offensive freedom in the halfcourt. That was the tempo and style Towe, David Thompson and Tommy Burleson flourished in under former Wolfpack coach Norm Sloan in the halcyon years.

* You can click here for Greensboro’s News & Record coverage:

While Towe serves as a connection to State’s glory days of the ’70s, Strickland is a bridge between State’s past and present. He finished DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., four years ahead of Lowe and would return home from Pittsburgh to coach Lowe on DeMatha’s summer league teams. While Strickland was playing at Pitt, he was a friend and teammate of Larry Harris. Their relationship was one thing Strickland brought up to Lowe when he was making his pitch to join Lowe’s staff.

Improved Staff
Edited from the comments section in a previous entry:

There is NO DOUBT in my mind that our new staff is a significant upgrade from the one that is leaving.

Archie may have some nice family ties in the sport, and he may have ton of upside…but, he is still quite inexperienced and perspective/experience of the college game has been exculsively shaped by Herb Sendek. There has to be some discount there, doesn’t there?

Archie was also young and still maturing. I once heard him take some cracks at Coach Amato and the football program. I don’t care about your personal opinion on the different coaches — if you are a coach employed at NC State then you DO NOT criticize other coaches of other sports at NC State. I lost a lot of respect for him on that.

Never cared or respected Mark Phelps as a coach (or as a human being). What a lucky guy to parlay a high school gig of coaching Kenny Inge and Damon Thornton into a college job for so long!

I don’t know the answer…so I am legitimately asking who Phelps ever recruited to State other than Engin Atsur (a unique situation coming from Turkey) and Mike O’Donnell. I am sure some others, but it didn’t seem like talented kids out there who weren’t coached by Phelps in high school were lining up to play for him at State. Behind the scenes, I heard stories that he often was focused on reasons to blame for their lack of success – excuses and ancillary things to blame.

I am sure that he did as good of a job as he could for us. But, is Phelps’ “good job” comparable to the job from experienced head coaches like Monte Towe or Pete Strickland?

Similar to Archie’s limited exposure to other college coaches, Phelps was a high school coach who only has worked for Herb Sendek. That didn’t seem to be a great fit for NC State.

Assistant 1 – Harris = Harris

Assistant 2 – Strickland > Phelps (100 out of 100 times)

Assistant 3 – Towe > Archie (an experience mis-match. A Point guard on an NC State team that won a National Title that is one of the greatest teams in the history of college basketball who also 30 years of coaching experience inlcuding stints as a head coach…or a point guard on string of NC State teams that never made an NCAA Tournament and has been an assistant for a couple of years?)

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11 Responses to Towe Official; Sidney’s Staff Complete

  1. doug74 05/27/2006 at 1:06 PM #

    I agree. Am very excited about the future. As for the immediate situation, I hope Grant and Fells are working on their ballhandling. They likely will be facing backcourt pressure often.

  2. whitefang 05/27/2006 at 2:17 PM #

    We certainly seem to have put together a “first class” coaching staff with an incredible amount of college coaching experience to help balance out Lowe’s lack of it. Almost unbelievable since we were told State wasn’t that good of a place to coach and our expectations were unrealistic.

    I am disappointed that it seems we have missed out on a lot of recruiting opportunities for the coming season including “re-recruiting” our signees. I guess it was unavoidable due to the circumstances of the hire and Lowe’s NBA commitment. But it seems to me it is going to add an additional year of time to the job of elevating the program into what we hope is elite status again someday soon.

  3. StateFans 05/27/2006 at 2:37 PM #

    ^ What recruiting opportunities existed for the coming season that we have missed? Typically, there is very little to no recruiting for the next season that takes place at this point in the year.

  4. WolfRed 05/27/2006 at 5:07 PM #

    I believe we have coaches who are winners.

  5. vtpackfan 05/27/2006 at 7:04 PM #

    I was very impressed with the way Monte handled himself and his team considering the dire circumstances. He gets alot of pub for his high energy but not enough emphasis on his outlook. His possitve attitude blended with his work ethic really made a mark in New Orleans in a time when it seemed so easy to feel down and out. With this hire I think Lowe has something in his first year of coaching college basketball that some never get.

  6. cornellpackfan 05/27/2006 at 7:15 PM #

    I beg to differ with you a little StateFans, we are missing out on the major AAU tournaments that happen this early in the year and depending on when Lowe gets all of his personal details worked out he might not be on the recruiting trail for a while. Many high school prospects are signing in the early period now, and the ground that we are losing by not getting our name out there early may set us back with some of the top talent (ex. Chris Wright). “whitefang” is rushing to judgment by claiming that we have to wait an additional year to begin passing judgment on Lowe’s performance. We have to evaluate the talent that he is able to bring in his first class as we would any other recruiting class. We may give him a little slack when it comes to the fact that this year’s class may not be as good as it would have been had we a coaching staff in place for the entire recruiting year. Yet, we have to judge him for not only the talent that he convinces to come to state but also what he achieves with that talent. Our team’s performance ultimately comes on the basketball court, and any extrapolation from small indicators this early on in his career to determine 5-10 years down the road is absurd. He has managed to assemble a great staff of not only talent evaluators but also basketball minds. I know that this staff is driven by a goal of reaching national prominence; it is already evident in their rhetoric. Yet, there is no denying that our prolonged coaching search may set us back a little bit in the early recruiting period and mean that some of the top talent is already off the table later on when our commitments happen, but at this point it is too hard to project what this staff will accomplish. I think we have to take confidence in their passion for their goals, their hard work, and their personal sacrifices to be a part of something that they want to make great again.

  7. vtpackfan 05/27/2006 at 7:54 PM #

    “we are missing out on the major AAU tournaments that happen this early in the year ”

    Nc State may not have been a presence at these tourney’s, but Monte was. As head couch of UNO he brings knowledge of how he judged these kids using his system and contibute it to what vision Sid will be applying.

  8. mattbarker 05/27/2006 at 9:14 PM #

    Just to update one of your links that run along the right-hand side of your blog, Buckeye Sports Blitz is now called “Buckeye Banter” and the new URL is


    SFN: Updated! Thanks!

  9. travelwolf 05/27/2006 at 10:44 PM #

    i don’t know how much Lowe is getting paid, but my guess is that it’s alot less than the previously considered options. i believe that the administration is trying out another strategy – hire a head coach with an unestablished track record for less, but surround him with experienced assistance coaches (which cost more than assistance usually cost). with this new strategy work? has any other school tried this? if this works, other schools may follow. at least it’s worth a try.

    by the way, thanks for the great, sensible web site – my favorite!

  10. redfred2 05/27/2006 at 11:24 PM #


    The circumstances that you mentioned are simply the facts of the matter. All of the aspects simply fell into place and are continuing to do so, nicely I might add, to this very day.

    But believe you me, there was never any overall strategy involved in this coaching hire.

  11. doug74 05/27/2006 at 11:57 PM #

    I think this group will get top recruits eventually, but you know, I’m going to get excited about games anyway. When we were all pumped about Calapari, etc., I didn’t forsee how events would lead to the family thing being recreated. I had forgotten what that was like for many years. I hope it will then lead to a kind of a retro branding that will get the Wall Mart fans again. There actually was a time when we had them too.

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