Mr. King Speaks

Fans and alumni of most universities worry – in the sports context – about won-loss records and recruiting. Media gaffes aren’t really on the radar screen.

Not so NC State alumni, who endure a seemingly unending cascade of embarrassing press about their alma mater. Some of this press is reactive, such as the bumbling search for a basketball coach that caused nationwide media catcalls. Some of it is UNC-related bias, or outright hatred for NC State (such as that of the pestilential weasel Gregg Doyel).

Much of this bad press, though, comes from NC State representatives shooting themselves and the university in their metaphorical feet. Fact is, I don’t know of any major university with an institutional propensity for media bungling equivalent to NC State’s.

First, there was Chuck Amato and his comments about the mighty Akron Zips using non-qualifying players, akin to Custer complaining that the Indians “didn’t fight fair.” Then, following another embarrassing UNC loss, Sports Information Director Anabelle Myers (she of the gallant non-response to the absurd Chris Paul “chant” fiction last year) took the subject of Amato’s job status – pretty much the only relevant topic – off the table at a press conference in a manner making the school look both secretive and clumsy.

Naturally, Athletic Director Lee Fowler’s gift for foot-mouth copulation has produced a treasure trove of bad press during the current coaching search. Fowler outdid himself, and that’s saying something, with his public pining for the departed Herb Sendek, his depiction of “the Internet” as the biggest general challenge to NC State athletics, and his claim that Sendek departed because fan conduct affected “the security of [Sendek’s] family.” Well done, Mr. Fowler.

But with every cloud comes a silver lining. Here, it was that the usual suspects were either (a) gone, like Amato, or (b) in Fowler’s case, had probably reached their limit for media buffoonery and public relations damage (or, at least, we hope). Fans and alumni could breath easy and, at the church of their choice, pray that professionals were running the ball on the coaching search.

Enter Jim King.

Who, you ask, is Jim King? He’s a member of the Wolfpack Club Board of Directors. And in circumstances which (most would realize) call for some measure of public discretion, Mr. King decided to start talking. Talking to the Technician, in fact.

And boy howdy, did Mr. King talk. First, he issued comments that seem almost tailor-made to alienate the only head coach apparently involved in the coaching search, Navy’s Paul Johnson:

Paul Johnson’s a fine football coach. But the only thing I don’t like about him is that he has a specific type of offense which I think would be limiting to recruiting at a Division-I school like State. Eighty-five percent of what Navy runs are running plays. It’s a very specific, set offense and would be considered by recruits as boring. They don’t throw the ball very much. You have to have a balance between passing and running to be successful against great defenses at Division-I schools these days. I would not be in favor of him and it doesn’t have anything to do with his personality. I just don’t like the style of offense he runs.

But Mr. King, having blithely assumed that Johnson was incapable of adjusting his offense according to his personnel, wasn’t done. After telling Technician that State “ought to hire a guy who’s an existing head coach and not an assistant” (a comment with which, incidentally, I agree), King proved that he had absolutely no idea what he’s talking about by confessing that, well, he really couldn’t think of a head coach whom State might go after: “I really don’t know any specific names, but there are a lot of Division-I coaches who have good track records. I can’t name any off the top of my head that’s got the experience.”

King then finished up with a comment that was less than supportive of a certain student athlete, and son of a longtime (and non-embarassing) friend and supporter of NC State: “I don’t believe our current quarterback will be our starting quarterback next year, but we’re going to have a pretty good football team next year whoever comes in.”

Good God.

Memo to Mr. King: In a situation where even Lee Fowler knows to say, “no comment,” do you think that clearly uninformed speculation about coaching candidates (to say nothing of his simply classless comment about Daniel Evans) might have been, say, ill-advised? True, King made clear that all of this was his personal opinion, not the Wolfpack Club’s or that of the university. However, this statement ignores what would seem to be the obvious fact that Technician contacted him (assuming it wasn’t the other way around) because he is a member of the Wolfpack Club Board of Trustees, and for no other reason. Truly, King should have more sense than to run his mouth like this in a time when official (or officially connected) representatives of the school should speak with both a unified voice (if at all) and some measure of discretion. King’s comments violated both of those rather basic principles.

Some reading this might respond: if that is the case, smart guy, how is it that you feel free to point out Fowler’s gaffes at every opportunity? The answer is absurdly simple: For one, I’m not officially (or unofficially) connected with the school, its department of athletics, or the Wolfpack Club in any fashion other than my degree on the wall and a small Wolfpack Club donation. Lee Fowler and Jim King are a wholly different kettle of fish. Second, when I see representatives of my school acting in a manifestly foolish fashion, as again in the case of Lee Fowler and Jim King, I feel it appropriate to add even my own tiny voice to what’s hopefully a broad-based, if unpublicized, sentiment. Which is: for heaven’s sake, gentlemen. Shut up.


63 Responses to Mr. King Speaks

  1. Dan 12/05/2006 at 11:01 AM #

    The coaching search gaffe’s were bad enough.

    However, the unforgivable occurs when a fat cat board member throws Daniel Evans under the bus. Yeah, he had some mistakes this year. But the kid was solely responsible for giving us any reason to hope this year. Not to mention the kid’s character. If he said that about a troublemaker that is one thing.

    Without Daniel, the BC and FSU games probably do not happen, and most of the losses probably are beyond the 1 TD point differential.

  2. Cardiff Giant 12/05/2006 at 11:07 AM #

    The Evans comment was unbelievable.

  3. Dan 12/05/2006 at 11:18 AM #

    [email protected]

    The more I think on this the more I think Wolfpack Club members need to tell Mr. Purcell that this is NOT acceptable.

    I have emailed Mr. Purcell and demanded a public apology from Mr. King concerning his comments regarding Daniel Evans. It should not stop with an apology either, but his retraction should inlcude a glowing endorsement of Daniel. (Btw… My name is Dan, but I’m not Daniel Evans….)

  4. pack7483 12/05/2006 at 11:19 AM #

    why does Doyel hate NCSU?

  5. Cardiff Giant 12/05/2006 at 11:20 AM #

    ^ God knows. It’s obvious, though.

  6. highonlowe 12/05/2006 at 11:23 AM #

    Why is it so hard for these guys to not comment when we’re in these situations? At the beginning of the search there should be a clear and firm communication that no one speaks to the press. Then be unsupportive of Danial Evans like that? There is no excuse.
    Its a good thing NC State doesn’t have stock or market valuations to worry about. With representatives like this it’d be worthless.

    Do you have a link to the article?

  7. Lunatic Fringe 12/05/2006 at 11:23 AM #

    We have our AD and Board of Trustees speaking to the media as though they are kicking back at a local pub shooting the breeze. Let’s make sure we alienate a couple more candidates before we even get our interviews in full swing.

  8. Dexter 12/05/2006 at 11:30 AM #

    ^^ Because a Wolfpack fan either beat him up or took his woman while he was in Charlotte.

  9. wolpfack 12/05/2006 at 11:31 AM #

    King needs to be thrown under a bus…or at least someone needs to duct tape his mouth shut. What a buffoon.

  10. Running Wolf 12/05/2006 at 11:33 AM #

    It sure looks like we are a Big Pack of wolves running around scrapping with each other and the press…but regardless it has been pretty quiet with only David Glenn sharing some ideas. I kind of like the quiet and think…wow, how much quieter it would be if Fowler and King would keep their mouths shut…It would be PRICELESS. Go Pack!

  11. ncsumatman 12/05/2006 at 11:34 AM #

    Clearly, this is why the internet is the bane of NCSU athletics. Were it not for you crazy bloggers, this story would reach only a handful of people who actually read the Technician. Once again, the internet has been used to expose the buffoonery of those who pull the strings within NCSU athletics, and you all should be ashamed for reading, writing, and spreading such tripe.

    Can’t you just all understand, if you didn’t keep up with how dumb our Athletic Department and it’s support network are, no one would know except them, gah. That’s what’s causing our athletics so much problems, not incompetence, but exposure of that incompetence. Keep up the good work SFN, obviously you care about NCSU so much you require people who know how to do their job, good luck on that.

  12. Rick 12/05/2006 at 11:36 AM #

    I think the following has now become necessary.

    NCSU Official Policy regarding media interaction:
    “No NCSU employee or person associated with the university not named “sidney Lowe” will utter any words other than “no” followed by “comment”.

    Addendum to said NCSU media interaction policy:
    “Lee Fowler will not be allowed within 25 feet of either a microphone, camera or telephone (if said phone is connected to any media member).

    Addendum to the Addendum to said NCSU media interaction policy:
    Lee Fowler wil be forced to purchase a new closetful of clothes from a company that does not use polyester and shave off the hillbilly mustache.

    I think silence is better than the idiotic drivel spewing forth now.

  13. BobLee 12/05/2006 at 11:37 AM #

    GOOD LORD !!!! …. Granted, my interest is solely from the “somebody oughta write a book” angle, but to quote the bandit bard, Butch Cassidy … “WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE!”

    The “Paul Johnson offense” remark would be expected from a bozo loonie but not from a scarecrow with a brain. It makes as much sense as if he had said “NC State SHOULD hire Johnson cause he comes from Tommy Burleson’s home town.” …. tell Bobby P to cash this guy’s checks then hand him a ball of twine and lock him in a closet until this is over for you guys.

    Even our ever-quotable “Mo The Mouth” Koury (aka Donnan’s sugar daddy) doesn’t gaff this bad. As for the Daniel Evans remark … show it to Tank Tyler and give him Mr King’s home address.

    Hang in there guys … it could still all work out OK … ya gotta believe!


  14. test4eko 12/05/2006 at 11:40 AM #

    “That’s what’s causing our athletics so much problems, not incompetence, but exposure of that incompetence.”

    Yeah, because sweeping things under the rug will definitely make everything all better in the long run. We’d be bigger buffoons by turning a blind eye and letting incompetence run rampant. Good call.

  15. VaWolf82 12/05/2006 at 11:44 AM #

    why does Doyel hate NCSU?
    Because a Wolfpack fan either beat him up or took his woman while he was in Charlotte.

    It looks like someone remembered Doyel’s Complaint:

    My less humorous take on the idiot Doyel:

  16. Cardiff Giant 12/05/2006 at 11:45 AM #

    That’s exactly the reason I started writing these columns. I am sick to death of these dummies calling the shots at NC State, and I am equally sick of the consquences of that.

  17. Running Wolf 12/05/2006 at 11:48 AM #

    Test4eko…I agree…no point in sweeping anything under the rug…as for the “Crazy Blogers” comment from ncsumatman…get a life and stop participating in the very Blog you can’t stand unless you agree with the comments…how you say, Hypocrite. Cardiff Giant…keep the columns coming and could not agree more!

  18. Dan 12/05/2006 at 11:50 AM #

    This whole episode just reinforces the need for new leadership in the Athletics Department. I know this is not directly the fault of the AD. However, when the leader sets a media hungry example, those around him follow. Can you imagine Jed trying to correct this behavior? “Hey Pot! Its me kettle!”

    Its time for some fresh air in that office.

  19. Red_Terrors 12/05/2006 at 11:52 AM #

    This is off topic, but I couldn’t find a place for it. This being reported by ESPN:

    Johnson, who has guided the Midshipmen to an unprecedented four consecutive bowl games, has spoken with Wolfpack athletics director Lee Fowler and Chuck Neinas, the coach head-hunter hired by the school to help identify fired coach Chuck Amato’s successor, the source said.

    So is it official that Neinas is the search firm we went with?

  20. ncsumatman 12/05/2006 at 11:54 AM #

    People, I know that you can’t type tones and inflections, but the SARCASM of my post I thought was self-evident. Those of you who thought I was serious should consider sending your resume to NCSU, care of the Athletics Department, they may have a position for you.

  21. Running Wolf 12/05/2006 at 11:56 AM #

    ^^ Sounds like you already did

  22. ncsumatman 12/05/2006 at 11:57 AM #

    Ouch, witty retort.

  23. Running Wolf 12/05/2006 at 11:58 AM #

    ^^ Hey just a litte SARCASM

  24. partialqualifier 12/05/2006 at 11:59 AM #

    I actually have no problem with him making those comments about Johnson….primarily because I think he is partially right. The answer came to a direct question: “How would you feel about Paul Johnson at Navy?” Perhaps Mr. King should have had a little more class, but I will never criticize someone for saying what they believe to be the truth. I think it was worded in a manner that let the reader know that it was just Mr. King’s personal opinion. I think everyone knows by now that there are some people who like Johnson and there are some that dont. Of course he also took a shot at Jimbo Fisher and Chow because they are not head coaches. He was honest and offended everyone.

    I do however have a problem with him speaking about a current player on the team. It makes no difference that it is Daniel Evans, who is a bright kid with more character in his little finger than most of us have in our entire body. Mr. King is NOT a coach. There should NEVER be any negative comments about existing players on any team by anyone other than that teams coach. Period.

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