‘Tremendous Interest in the Job’

Lots of personal responsibilities have been keeping us away from running down coaching scoop and blogging updates over the last couple of days, but nothing of real note has broken so we haven’t missed much. Regardless, this entry from Dave Glenn does a fantastic job of setting the table and is a must read for everyone.

A few notes:

* We were told earlier in the week that we would be “…shocked at some of the names that have expressed interest in the job. There is tremendous interest out there.” This is great to hear and is supported by many of the names that are starting to bubble to the surface from various reports on the internet.

* At the beginning of this week the news seemed pretty cut and dry – if Bill Cowher says no then Paul Johnson is probably the guy. Was this information correct? If so, then the (lack of) developments of this week will have made perfect sense and many of the names discussed on the internet may have just been plants to keep everyone occupied.

* The need to talk to Cowher and wait for Paul Johnson to finish his season today gave the search a week to ‘get prepared’ for the week as well as take stock in various candidates that deserve strong looks. The weeek was also good for State since Lee Fowler was (again) not prepared for a search based on The Sporting News comments:

I’m told N.C. State didn’t want to fire Chuck Amato. In fact, had he won — or split — the last two games, he likely would have been retained. What’s the point: N.C. State wasn’t prepared to can Amato, which means the search has gotten off to a scrambling start.

* We hear sporadic chatter that NC State and Bill Cowher continue to talk. Who knows? It is pretty clear to everyone that we can’t sit around after this weekend and wait for Cowher to make a decision. If NC State hasn’t hired someone within the next two weeks, then the world will be speculating that Cowher has committed to the Wolfpack and is trying to wait until the end of the season for an announcement. Don’t hold your breath. We are just throwing it out there.

* If Alabama has to go further down their list then expect Paul Johnson to be on their list and NC State will need to look elsewhere if the administration had deemed Johnson as their guy.

* On ESPN’s halftime show on Thursday night, former NC State Head Coach Lou Holtz proposed Norm Chow as the “best fit” for NC State’s job. Interestingly, Mark May then proposed Lou’s son, Skip Holtz, as the best fit for the job. We have already asked why we don’t hear more about Skip in this entry from earlier in the week.

* A lot of fans on the internet – including some authors on SFN – have made a big deal about the fact that NC State is not being contracted with with Chuck Neinas. If you remember Lee Fowler’s statement from Sunday night, he said that we were using a consulting firm; he never said it was Neinas. We were told on Monday that NC State was using a consulting firm based in Atlanta, not Neinas, but we don’t know if a contract exists with the Atlanta firm. Again, we are not saing that Neinas hasn’t been in contact with State.

* Regardless, something is going on behind the scenes related to the consulting firm. SFN has confirmed that this guy truly has a legitimate media source:

Media Source: Fowler disregards Murphy on Wednesday; will not hire Neinas and as of Friday, no firm had been hired…..reportedly, Murphy furious….Virtually no support in Pack nation for Fowler….stay tuned

* Someone asked a good question the other day – is Lee Fowler using the same search firm out of Atlanta that was partially responsible for placing him into his current job at NC State? When Mary Anne Fox hired Fowler on Les Robinson’s recommendation she used an independent search firm to basically validate the decision and serve as an independent ‘screening’ source.

* ESPN’s INsider shared a lot of coaching rumors in this entry yesterday.

Look for Jimbo Fisher, Paul Johnson, David Cutliffe and Larry Coker to get close looks at North Carolina State. UTEP coach Mike Price would be an excellent, excellent hire by either school. Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges should get a look from North Carolina State.

* Strip clubs be damned! If Mike Price is interested in our job then NC State would be well served to look much deeper into this proven winner with a vibrant personality.

* The previously linked TSN article also stated the following:

Expect N.C. State’s search to begin heating up. I heard that Minnesota’s Glen Mason and Vanderbilt’s Bobby Johnson have expressed interest in the N.C. State job. And, as I’ve said, former Georgia coach Jim Donnan will be a factor, along with LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and possibly Denver Broncos tight ends coach Tim Brewster, who knows the turf after spending several years on Mack Brown’s North Carolina staff. And don’t forget about East Carolina’s Skip Holtz, who left his calling card by whipping the Wolfpack last weekend. He seems perfect for this gig. Houston Texans assistant Mike Sherman is a wild card here and at Alabama.

* It is weird to see some of those names because seven years ago a hire of Glen Mason or Jim Donnan would have been widely veiwed as a home run.

More later…

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90 Responses to ‘Tremendous Interest in the Job’

  1. Lock 12/02/2006 at 9:48 AM #

    Re: the continuing(?) Cowher talks…

    …Wouldn’t it be a possibility that that’s just us getting some advice? Using him as a sounding board in our search?

  2. Lock 12/02/2006 at 9:50 AM #

    And uh, no to the ‘strip clubs be damned.’ Let’s not get too carried away. I’d like to continue to take pride in my school, if it’s all the same.

    Sorry for the double-post. Never expected to see something like that.

  3. partialqualifier 12/02/2006 at 9:57 AM #

    I would take a lot of pride knowing my football coach visited the same strip clubs as me!!!!

    Go Pack!

  4. partialqualifier 12/02/2006 at 10:12 AM #

    I have a feeling that it was: 1- Cowher, 2- Johnson.

    I think, because of PJ’s ties to some prominent Wolfpackers he was already known. And we all know that is the MOST important thing at NC State…it’s who you know. I think after the Army/Navy game you will something from Johnson…either a yes or no (IMO likely a yes). The reason it has been so quiet is exactly why SFN says it is: there are only 2 candidates. IF Johnson says no (or someone at State has soured on him in the last couple of days), then you will start to hear a lot fewer names…as only the serious names will remain in the hunt.

    I would just like to say (and I think SFN would whole-heartedly agree) that I am OK with whoever NC State gets as their next coach AS LONG AS a real search was conducted. By that I mean a thorough and NATIONAL job search for the right coach to lead NC State to the next level. Unfortunately, it looks as if Johnson has been the only guy considered after Cowher….which once again proves that NC State is not a NATIONAL program. It is a REGIONAL program at best. When was the last time NC State hired a football coach who was not an alum or from a state not bordering NC? Lou Holtz? And he was from West Va, I think. If we ever want to be a NATIONAL program at some point this “Goood ‘ol Boy” mentallity has got to be replaced with a little forward thinking and risk-taking.

  5. Slader4881 12/02/2006 at 10:21 AM #

    just curious – if PJ is #2 on our list and #3 on Alabama’s list and we both offer him at the same time, do we even stand a chance?

    No doubt our job would be easier, but even though the name is watered down some in the past 10 years bama is still bama.

    If he does indeed choose Bama over us – we have to go for Fisher

  6. Cali_Wolf 12/02/2006 at 10:22 AM #

    Good Article – I am glad others are interested. I am tired of all this Paul Johnson talk. Let him goto Alabama

  7. Great Dane Guy 12/02/2006 at 10:25 AM #

    Couple things:
    (1) Mike Price seems to be struggling at UTEP. It may be just normal growing pains.

    (2) What does SFN think of Bobby Johnson? Holy crap, Ted Cain as OC? I don’t think I could handle that. Caldwell and Logo would be OK. Interesting.

  8. MARIETTAWOLFPACK 12/02/2006 at 10:27 AM #

    What about Ty Willingham? Candidate last time. From NC. Successful everywhere he has been. Just a name that surprisingly to me has not come up.

  9. Running Wolf 12/02/2006 at 10:49 AM #

    I want to know why the N&O and WRAL TV-5 have been promoting Dick Sheridan…my only concern is the time out of coaching? Dick did a Fantastic job when he was the coach…what about Dick as HC and Jim Donnan as OC?

  10. Woof Wolf 12/02/2006 at 10:57 AM #

    Check out Willingham’s record. In the last ten years he has had only four winning seasons.

  11. JimValvano 12/02/2006 at 11:11 AM #

    Recent conversations with Wolfpack Club staff members have led me to believe that PJ is not the only option being considered. There are murmurings of much bigger names to which I cannot illude. I am just telling you guys that I doubt that if any of these names were released that you would feel like PJ is the man for the job. We have bigger, better, more accomplished names on the list and the Wolfpack Club staff has all but assured me that in the end all of the Wolfpack Nation…including us…the lunatic fringe…will be surprised and happy.
    I believe that N.C. State athletics are on the verge of a rebirth. A new direction will be taken in the near future that will lead us down a path we haven’t traveled in many years…the one toward success.
    Furthermore, I believe that Jed’s days are numbered. His comments in the Richmond Times have caused an uproar among many higher ups in the Wolfpack Club and complaints have been filed by these people. I’m not sure if a change is coming this time…or if it will be the next time he slips up. I will say that his comments were ambiguous in nature. Jed should have been smarter than to leave a comment so open-ended in nature and up for interpretation by the media and the public. Despite what was meant by Jed with his comment on Herb and his family…he should have been more clear with his comments. A man in his position should know better than to leave a comment so open to interpretation and his repremanding by the powers that be…might just cost him his job.

  12. partialqualifier 12/02/2006 at 11:23 AM #


    I will believe it when I see it.

  13. Buck 12/02/2006 at 11:31 AM #

    Why PJ?? and I know there are a couple of you who have been saying you are not sure about him. That’s based in what? Here are a few excerpts of a comment over at Dave Lenn’s blog that have me really salivating over hiring Johnson…

    “GSU was on the road when one of its backs was hit out of bounds. It was early in the first quarter, and there was no score. The players landed near Johnson and you could see in his face that he didn’t like the late hit. He walked over to the guilty player and said ‘you go tell your coach that I’m getting ready to light his scoreboard up.’ He did too.”

    And this…

    “My point here is that Paul Johnson’s offense will score points in bunches regardless of what league he’s coaching in. The offense is built on speed and deception. It forces the defense to be perfect on every play, and when they don’t they pay the price. He runs what his players are best suited for, so if he’s got a good throwing QB and WR, he’ll throw it more.

    This is PJ’s offense. He knows the nuances of that option scheme better than anyone. Perhaps that’s why many name coaches spent time in the off season at GSU learning the intricacies of the option from Johnson. I cannot tell you how many BCS coaches spent time with him, but I can tell you about one – he’s now the coach at Florida.

    If PJ had the same skill player speed at Navy that he had at GSU, you would not believe how many points they would score. He’ll find a QB that runs in the 4.4 range and can throw the ball if he comes to NCST. It’s really tough to get those kids at GSU or Navy, but he can attract them to State. He’ll find a 220 pound FB that can explode into the hole, and you can just watch him run. The FB dive in PJ’s option hits the line in less than a second, so the back is often at the LB level before the DL can recover.

    People have said that Spurrier’s success was more about his scheme than anything else. Johnson’s flexbone is the same. He can take decent players and make them stars. Imagine what he’d do with really good three, four and five star recruits.”


  14. RedTerror7483 12/02/2006 at 11:38 AM #

    JimValvano I hope your right. I hope PJ is not the only option, that would be a mistake.

  15. Dan 12/02/2006 at 11:44 AM #

    Glen Mason is a great coach. Minnesota has virtually zero facilities. They are forced to play football in the Metrodome which is quite the haul from campus and is yearly target from the local sports owners. Glen has commented in the past how hard it is to recruit when he takes a recruit to the Metrodome only for their to be a Monster Truck Show that weekend, “Here’s our fied. Uh. It cleans up nice?”

    Nevertheless, he’s put kids in the NFL. Especially at OL and RB. You look at this recruiting classes and you can see he has an eye for talent. Its not that he cant recruit the big boys, its the Monster Truck Shows.

    I’m not sure this rumors are valid though. The Minnesota State Legislature just approved new stadiums for both the Twins and Gophers. I just cant see Mason leaving after winning that fight.

    SFN: Is Mason going to have a say in the situation? By the timetable presented by some NC State fans, Mason will need a good decade to build a program after these facilities are finally built. He’ll never be retained that long to see their construction if Lee Fowler is not his AD. (See quotes below)

    I rarely agree with Dan, but I do agree that Mason is a super coach. Biggest mistake he ever made was not leaving Kansas for Georgia when he had a chance.

    Lee Fowler in February of 2004

    …We have to ask our coaches to take their programs toward those levels. But we also have to provide the facilities for them to at that level if we are going to demand those results. And I think that ‘t what we are doing.

    By the end of ‘05, we will have most of our programs in the types of facilities that coaches can be held accountable to. I don’t think that was the case when I first got here. I think we had teams competing against people with a lot more assets than we had.”

    ^ by Lee Fowler’s standards…unless/until a coach has the best facilities in America they should not be held accountable for results.

  16. Dan 12/02/2006 at 11:46 AM #

    “People have said that Spurrier’s success was more about his scheme than anything else. Johnson’s flexbone is the same. He can take decent players and make them stars. Imagine what he’d do with really good three, four and five star recruits”

    I’m not a fan of PJ, but that’s the best defense of the spread that I’ve seen.

  17. partialqualifier 12/02/2006 at 11:59 AM #

    Where does the current players and next year’s recruits come in to play when considering who the next coach should be? I am not asking this question with any particular answer in mind, but I am really curious to see what other think.

    I mean…if the coach is Johnson…Buck you mentioned a QB who runs a 4.4 would make his offense soar. Please tell me between Evans, Stone, & Burke who runs a 4.4. Or even a 5.4. We have slow QB’s who were recruited to run a drop back West Coast passing game. We have tall, athletic WR’s who were recruited for the same purpose. To run the spread option offense Johnson prefers you must have nimble O-Linemen who can pull and trap effectively. Did you guys see what our O-Linemen looked like everytime we pulled this year. Our O-Line is very slow. This is not a pulling line type of group. I know Johnson would recruit players to fit his scheme…and hell in time it might even work out great. But right now his offense would struggle mightily with the team in Raleigh right now.

  18. tractor57 12/02/2006 at 12:00 PM #

    I am glad there hasn’t been a lot of stuff in the media or on the ‘net. Much different from the BB coaching search. Of course, I’m anxious but I can wait a bit if it means a more reasonable search. I really don’t have an opinion on who the next FB coach should be and I’m hoping for a final result that matches the BB search ending (with a less rocky road during the search).

  19. Texpack 12/02/2006 at 12:04 PM #

    Art Briles. If we are going to take a chance on a coach from a smaller school, he deserves a look.

  20. StateFans 12/02/2006 at 12:16 PM #

    Briles is from Houston. He played at UH. Not saying that he wouldn’t look to leave for the right job, but his ‘fit’ there is nice.

    Additionally…Briles is reaping many rewards of Dana Dimel’s recruiting successes (like Kevin Kolb). Dimel was fired one year prematurely (imho) and Briles stepped into a better position than the Cougars record indicated.

  21. 98st8 12/02/2006 at 12:30 PM #

    ^^^ Buck, I am with you man. Paul Johnson is a GREAT choice! I think one of the reasons people are soft on him is because his name has been mentioned so much. and Partialqualifier, I understand your hesitation with PJ, I felt the same way at the beginning of the week and my attitude has changed completely after doing some research on him. By the way your argument holds no water when you say “we did not lead a national search when we hire a regional guy. ” or something close to that… If PJ is in the top 3 of coaches mentioned for Bama and we get him, I think we’re doing pretty damn good.

  22. one00_proof 12/02/2006 at 12:44 PM #

    Just to update you a little SFN, but the information I’ve heard, which is extremely credible, is that Neinas is in fact involved in our coaching search and he has already met with Fowler to gauge our coaching preferences. Just wanted to put that out there because there is a lot of scuffle going around about whether Neinas is involved or not.

  23. tooyoungtoremember 12/02/2006 at 1:12 PM #

    Buck, consider the source of that glowing review of PJ on Dave Glenn’s blog. IIRC PJ gave his son two championship rings at GA Soutern. He may be a little biased. It still doesn’t indicate that he can succeed at the next level.

    And 98st*, PJ wasn’t one of Bama’s top 3 candidates. He is 5th, 6th, or 7th after a long line of major names saying “I’m not interested” earlier this week.

  24. buttPACKer 12/02/2006 at 1:19 PM #

    it is nice to see, however, that we are not the only ones with public rejections–referring to bb search and not to the inevitable statement of BC

  25. tooyoungtoremember 12/02/2006 at 1:24 PM #

    Tell me about it. And ESPN’s Sportscenter was pretty harsh about Bama’s rejections.

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