Would Herb have left NC State THIS month?

Playing the “what-if” game can sometimes be dangerous, but we’re a blog…so, why not play what-if sometimes?

SFN ran across a story today that made us ask “what-if?” in regards to Herb Sendek and his tenure at NC State. Nebraska’s Head Basketball Coach, Barry Collier, has accepted the Athletics Directorship position at his alma mater, Butler. (For a great related SFN entry, please click here.)

This is interesting because there was a lot of speculation that Coach Sendek was a top candidate for the Nebraska job 6 years ago when Collier was hired and when the pressure was (justifiably) mounting on Sendek after four consecutive seasons of failing to make an NCAA appearance at NC State. In fact, a friend of Sendek once shared with a member of SFN that when the pressure was frustrating Herb a couple of years ago (after a few NCAA Tourney appearances), Sendek had quipped, “I should have taken the Nebraska job”. So, legimitate reason exists for us to think that Sendek would have entertained thoughts of Lincoln, Nebraska again.

“What-if” Herb had not taken the Arizona State job? Would he have bitten at the Nebraska job this time around? Would it have been too close to the start of the 2006-2007 academic year? Certainly Nebraska would have had MORE interest in Herb in 2006, after 5 consecutive NCAA appearances, than they did in 2000 after 4 consecutive NIT appearances. Nebraska, from a basketball sense, is in no worse shape than Arizona State, and can at least boast about being the only game in town in the state of Nebraska.

How would Cedric Simmons’ departure and the likelihood that Andrew Brackman may give up basketball have impacted Sendek? NC State’s 06-07 roster would look exactly the same except for two freshmen (Dan Werner and Larry Davis), and Sendek was never one to rely on freshman for playing time.

How would this “what-if” have impacted Werner and Davis? Herb leaving in August would have not given those two much time to look for other programs. The scholarships they took at Florida and Seton Hall in May would surely not have been available in August.

And more importantly, how would Lee Fowler have conducted a coaching search in August? Would he just have promoted an assistant on an interim basis, or conducted a full blown search for a permanent replacment, knowing the start of the season is a mere 2 1/2 months away? Similarly, it will be interesting to see how Nebraska AD, Steve Peterson handles finding a replacement. Andy Katz has blogged about the situation at Nebraska for ESPN Premium members.

Nevada’s Mark Fox could have a major dilemma if a phone call comes from Nebraska about the Cornhuskers’ now-open men’s basketball job.

This isn’t a new dilemma for coaches like Fox. Do you go to a school that is one of the tougher jobs in the Big 12 that probably pays significantly more money in a conference that can put upwards of six teams in the NCAA Tournament in a given year? Or do you stay put where you know you have a great shot to make a run in the NCAAs?

If Herb had not taken the ASU job, it is SFN’s opinion that he would have seriously gone after this Big 12 position, even with the August timeframe. What do you think?

About StateFans

'StateFansNation' is the shared profile used by any/all of the dozen or so authors that contribute to the blog. You may not always agree with us, but you will have little doubt about where we stand on most issues. Please follow us on Twitter and FaceBook

General NCS Basketball

79 Responses to Would Herb have left NC State THIS month?

  1. Rick 08/03/2006 at 8:55 AM #

    I think he was itching to get out of here. He knew next year was going to be a tough year based on the talent.
    I am just glad to see the “turnover whisperer” gone.

  2. primacyone 08/03/2006 at 9:06 AM #

    What if Herb had not left and decided to stay here another ten years?

    Thank goodness he is gone. I don’t have to think about him or scenarios like the above anymore.

  3. Lock 08/03/2006 at 9:06 AM #

    While I lately read every article on SFN with the word ‘Herb’ in it with extreme trepidation, I have to say I’m glad to not see any undue or hidden digs at the man.

    That said, I’ve little doubt he would have left for it. I don’t see how things could have played out differently than they did…I think he was ready to go when he went and would have taken some other position as well. But if he had been around…the writing was on the wall. It was obvious to all in Wolfpack nation that he could not appeal to the mainstream Wolfpack fan. Though he had his supporters (and yes, I was obviously one of them), not only did he keep falling short of expectations, but he kept doing so IN THE SAME WAY, which basically meant he added fuel to the fire year in and year out.

    I still think we lost a good one, but it’s obvious he felt it was time for him to go. And…maybe it was.

  4. RickJ 08/03/2006 at 9:29 AM #

    I am not so sure he would have taken the Nebraska job at this time. By now, some of the raw emotion of the poor end-of-season would have faded. If Evan Turner and a quality big player had been added to Chris Wright’s commitment, his mood may have been different.

    I always thought the Missouri job was the perfect fit for Herb. After all the problems they have had in recent years, he just seemed like a good choice to solve their particular set of issues. I read somewhere that Herb didn’t have any interest in pursuing the Missouri position but it did not say why. For some reason, he saw something in Arizona State that was attractive. Something about a “blank canvas�. Certainly Missouri has way more history & expectations for the basketball program. Not sure how Nebraska would have played with Herb.

    Timing is everything in coaching moves.

  5. packbackr04 08/03/2006 at 9:32 AM #

    Herb saw the writing on the wall, he knew he didnt have any talent coming back this year and he jumped ship at the first chance. He knew if he stayed in Raleigh for a few more years(maybe even 1) and was fired he would never get another opportunity at a D-1 school and the paycheck that comes with it. He would have had to go coach at Binghamton with only Tony Kornheiser in the stands to watch him slowly drain the life out of that program and its fans. IMO, Herb leaving like he did really says alot about his character (or lack there of) and what a puss he really is.

  6. Rick 08/03/2006 at 9:49 AM #

    “I still think we lost a good one”

    You say he kept falling short of expectations but that he also was a good one. How can a good coach keep falling short of expectations? I think to like Herb you have to remove the part of your brain that uses logic and reasoning.

  7. BJD95 08/03/2006 at 9:57 AM #

    ^^ I don’t think it said anything about his character at all. He did the best thing for him and his family (IMHO, it was the best thing for EVERYBODY involved). I have given, and will continue to give him kudos for asking trusted people about his status with the rank and file.

    I had the same thought about the Nebraska job. I always thought it was the perfect job for Sendek – not much media attention, and at a football school (but still in a power conference) where his level of achievement would be sufficient forever. His floor would be acceptable to the fans there, and he’d basically be on a “free roll” for the rest of his coaching career. He always seemed like a Midwest kind of guy, too.

  8. BJD95 08/03/2006 at 9:59 AM #

    Also, thanks to ACC Basketblog for the links (yesterday and today).

  9. harrisek 08/03/2006 at 10:12 AM #

    Whatever else he may or may not be, Herb is an honorable man. I doubt that he would leave any school in the lurch this close to the start of the academic year.

  10. packbackr04 08/03/2006 at 10:23 AM #

    BJD^^ and statefans, i apologize for the pot shot at herbs character but he did leave the cupboard pretty bare and has done nothing to put out the media fire which is already all over NC State. If for nothing more than to say exactly what you just said. It would have meant alot to the university which has made him a very rich man by the way, to step up and say “NC state and Raleigh is a great place to live and work but i just felt like this was the best move for me, my family, and everyone involved”
    i think that is not too much to ask.
    as it stands now Sid is left to pick up the pieces of a shattered program

  11. RickJ 08/03/2006 at 10:30 AM #

    packbackr04 – Sid has been left with a difficult situation but it is light years better than the one Herb inheirted at NC State.

  12. packbackr04 08/03/2006 at 10:41 AM #

    Rickj^ agreed much better than herb inherited, but he still has alot of work to do, and in my opinion, Herb could have done a little more to repair the damage the media has done in saying things like “the fans ran Herb out of town” and “why would any player or coach go somewhere where expectations are so high.” If Herb had done one interview in which he said good things about State and Raleigh like i mentioned above. Hell dont even say anything about the fans if he is that bitter, just say what a great university it is and tell everyone what an unbeleivable arena we built him to play ball in, and then just end it with this was best for everyone. I just feel like State has taken a beating in the media and that i think Herb could have done more for the school that again made him a very rich man

  13. johnny 08/03/2006 at 10:54 AM #

    “I just feel like State has taken a beating in the media and that i think Herb could have done more for the school that again made him a very rich man”

    I agree.

    Hope we will all be patient with Sid and IMHO in a few yews Sid will have us back on track.

  14. Trout 08/03/2006 at 10:59 AM #

    “It would have meant alot to the university which has made him a very rich man by the way, to step up and say “NC state and Raleigh is a great place to live and work but i just felt like this was the best move for me, my family, and everyone involvedâ€?
    i think that is not too much to ask.”


    Herb Sendek’s ASU Press Conference:


    “”I’d like to begin by thanking so many wonderful people at North Carolina State. I was very blessed to have a remarkable chancellor, Dr. Jim Oblinger, a terrific athletics director, Lee Fowler, our chairman of the board, Wendell Murphy, as well as a great faculty and staff to work together with and a wonderful fan base who put us year in and year out among the leaders in the country in attendance.

    “Perhaps most significantly though, the opportunities that I continue to be blessed with are because of the wonderful young men who came to NC state to play for us. It is with a real sense of gratitude that I sit here today because of so many of those people and their efforts to help us along the way. “

  15. Lock 08/03/2006 at 11:00 AM #

    “How can a good coach keep falling short of expectations?”

    Depends on what expectations you set.

    This is the reason why I shudder every time Herb’s name gets mentioned in this blog nowadays. People think they have a right to trash the man for no good reason.

    I’m not going to get into why I liked him as a coach (I’ve talked of beating dead horses before, beating a meta-horse is just insane). But you can like someone and still realize they have flaws. I thought them solvable despite their reptitive nature; not all agreed with me and in fact far more disagreed.

    I assure you I’ve never tried self-lobotomy…forgive me for being able to see two sides of an issue?

    Also, regarding those who say it shows Sendek’s “true nature”: You’re the selfsame people who wanted him gone in the first place. Is that not enough? Must you also kick him in the ass as he’s walking past you out the door? Get over it already. He did what any wise man would do. We stopped supporting him; only a moron keeps faith in those that turn their backs on him.

  16. Cardiff Giant 08/03/2006 at 11:03 AM #

    I too thank ACC Basketblog for the link. My answer to the question is, probably not.

    Based on what I’ve read about Nebraska’s intentions, their goal is to become a TOP basketball program (was that the case in 2000? if so, I am not aware of it). Thus, Sendek would face a probably muted version of what he experienced here, and what he pretty clearly doesn’t like: top level expectations. Of course, he’d have at least a four year period to get it done, thus setting him up financially for life to the extent he’s already not (read: none).

    It is not nearly as golden an egg as the ASU job. He makes the dance at that place, and he’s God – at least until, as they inevitably do with success, expectations would arise. Even so, he’s set there forever in my view and isn’t going to coach anywhere again.

  17. packbackr04 08/03/2006 at 11:06 AM #

    Trout, thanks for the info. but dont coaches have to say that at their press conferences when going to a new school. i mean dont you think in the weeks following his departure he could have stuck up for NCSU instead of watching us flounder around like a fish out of water

  18. Trout 08/03/2006 at 11:16 AM #

    ^ Let me get this straight. You didnt like him, you wanted him gone – so he does leave, yet now you are mad at him because he didnt seek out interviews to tell the world what a great place NC State really is?

  19. Rick 08/03/2006 at 11:17 AM #

    “I assure you I’ve never tried self-lobotomy…forgive me for being able to see two sides of an issue?”
    If by “seeing both sides of an issue” you mean “contradicting myself”.
    To summarize you think
    1) He was a good coach but constantly fell short of expectations.
    2) He kept repeating the same mistakes but would eventually have stopped repeating these same mistakes (contrary to all available evidence).

  20. redfred2 08/03/2006 at 11:22 AM #

    ^Two radically different takes coming from Lock and packbackr04 this morning, just spotlighting the great divide that was created among the fans. Both opinions still containing some obvious truths though.

  21. Lock 08/03/2006 at 11:29 AM #

    ^Exactly. Either way, it’s been done, and we’ll be better off as a whole just letting the Sendek debate die and moving on…I think it the only way to reconcile the two opinions.

    ^^, no matter what I say that’s how you’ll interpret it. Suit yourself. But just because what I have to say doesn’t make sense to you does not make it illogical.

  22. frank 08/03/2006 at 11:38 AM #

    packbackr04, had it right, Herb knew that simmons was leaving for the nba and there was a good chance that brackman was not going to play basketball and instead concentrate on baseball (this was mentioned b4 last season started) and with graduation of 3 starters the 06-07 season was going to be difficult. Of the players that were coming in, none had impact talent, they just fit the system. he left when his value was at its highest point because next year it would fall and that is the bottom line in the coaching industry. Fans are fans everywhere and to blame fans was just a timely excuse. He saw the writing on the wall.

  23. Wulfpack 08/03/2006 at 11:41 AM #

    “He knew if he stayed in Raleigh for a few more years(maybe even 1) and was fired he would never get another opportunity at a D-1 school and the paycheck that comes with it.”

    I am growing so sick and tired of this blatantally thankless fan base. Did Herb have his problems? Yes, just as a vast majority of other D-I coaches also seem to have. The bottom line is Herb has succeeded (i.e. improved both programs) in two posts as head coach of D-1 programs. For anyone to suggest that his so called “miserable” tenure at NC State would have costed him other opportunities is insane. I have heard that Herb is a first class coach time and time again — both in the media AND in the coaching ranks. I don’t think there is a Herbert Sendek “bias” there. It is what it is. The simple point is that Herb was simply not good enough for many Wolfpack faithful. Unfortunately, as it seems, the underlying issue may prove to be that nearly NOBODY is good enough for this fan base. I am forever hopeful that this is not the case.

    If Herb was considering ASU he certainly would have considered Nebraska — though as it has been mentioned he’s an honorable man and the timing may have not been right. Luckily for him, as well as his family, he ended up at ASU.

    “Sid has been left with a difficult situation but it is light years better than the one Herb inherited at NC State.”

    Exactly Rick! People, show some class (and intelligence). Like him or not, Sendek put us back in the game.

  24. Rick 08/03/2006 at 11:46 AM #

    The fact you consider what he “accomplished” success is all I need to know about you.
    I am glad he is gone and I am even more glad I do not have to hear about how “bad” I am for not being happy with his meager accompishments.
    I am ready to see what Sidney can accomplish. I believe we will look back at the past ten years as the purgatory that is truly was.


  1. The ACC Basketblog - 08/03/2006

    The Daily Roundup

    The good folks at StateFansNation ask, “Would Herb have left NC State THIS month (To take the Nebraska job)? I tend to think that he was just waiting for the right opportunity to get out of Raleigh. With the heat rising on him and it becoming appare…

Leave a Reply