TOB – Winning Respect of Local Media?

Perhaps the one thing that really divided Wolfpack fans about Chuck Amato was his relationship with the media. Chuck was often brash, arrogant, and rude. Many Wolfpackers saw this as a source of great pride – taking justified potshots at a hostile, pro-UNC media. Others saw this as foolish, silly, and ultimately harmful behavior (whether or not the media was fair to begin with). As you probably know, I was and am solidly in the second camp.

If Caulton Tudor’s Saturday article is any indication, Coach O’Brien is striking the right chords so far:

It wasn’t long before the question-and-answer session turned into a discussion about what the coach did on his summer vacation. In a word, it was moving.

Along with seven of his classmates from their days at the Naval Academy, O’Brien took a week off in May to attend a guys-only golf trip in Portugal. It was the group’s third such outing, following trips to Ireland in 2003 and 2005. But the vacation wasn’t so much about playing golf as male bonding in the memory of another Midshipman — Charles “Chic” Burlingame III.

Burlingame, then 51, was a pilot on the Sept. 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 77 that slammed into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. after being hijacked.

O’Brien, who was 52 at the time of the terrorist attacks, said he didn’t really know Burlingame. But the nature of the Naval Academy is such that all Middies are linked one to another. At a reunion the following weekend, O’Brien and some of his friends decided that life is too short for good friends to become disconnected by professional obligations, be they Xs and Os or corporate board meetings. They vowed to get together for something special every other year thereafter.

You can just feel the respect dripping from Tudor’s pen – and it’s not the kind of respect that is easily lost. On a similar note, I have at least anecdotal evidence that Coach O’Brien is having a similar impact on high school coaches. Through work, my father knows one of the high school coaches in Summerville, SC. The coach talked about meeting TOB, and it was “night and day” different from Amato. O’Brien talked almost exclusively about academics and honor – a good strategy since his record of winning speaks for itself. Again, Coach O’Brien is earning respect that is built on a very solid foundation. Expect it to pay off in spades.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

'07 Football General NCS Football Tom O'Brien

54 Responses to TOB – Winning Respect of Local Media?

  1. primacyone 06/18/2007 at 10:24 AM #

    He’s got my respect!

    I have a 4 year old son. If he was 18 and capable of playing 1A college football, I’d be working my tail off to get him on Tom O’Brien’s team. Considering the same hypothetical scenerio a year ago, I would have been doing everything I could to get him to Wake Forest.

    I’d wouldn’t let Butch Davis in the door, and it has nothing to do with the color blue.

  2. whitefang 06/18/2007 at 11:34 AM #

    I seem to remember when Dick Crum left UNC that he made a statement that said something like: if someone has a kid who was a div 1 prospect he would strongly consider NC State due to Sheridan’s character and his respect for him (If my memory serves me correctly it really pissed off the UNC group at the time)
    I think O’Brien garners the same kind of respect that should pay off in the coming years.
    I also remember a friend who was a NC hs coach and then a Div 1AA assistant during the Amato tenure telling me how much hs coaches disliked Amato (which was a surprise to me). Seems there may have been a lot of truth to that.

  3. RAWFS 06/18/2007 at 11:36 AM #

    O’Brien is a man who is in charge and most importantly, in control. He has his way of doing things, and his charges are going to do it his way. He does not need to resort to tricks or hype. That’s the Marine way, and you can tell that Coach O’Brien is the product of that system.

    In short, O’Brien is what he says he is, and he doesn’t even bother owning a horn to toot.

  4. legacyman 06/18/2007 at 11:54 AM #

    I think we need to give TOB several years before praising or criticizing him. We have nothing on which to grade him at this moment and he does deserve a breakin period.

  5. gopack968 06/18/2007 at 12:19 PM #

    Great TOB interview on David Glenn’s Saturday morning 850 show.

    When asked what his priorities were for recruits TOB said:

    1. Good scholars capable of doing the work at NC State
    2. Good citizens
    3. Champions

    He had the list correct and the order of importance perfect.

    What a wonderful change.

  6. Sixpackfan 06/18/2007 at 1:39 PM #

    SFN I was solidly in the second camp also. TOB earns respect because he gives respect. Sadly something the former coach didn’t understand until it was too late. A number of people from the state employees, ground crews, to high school coaches didn’t like the arrogance and rudeness of our former coach, it was not just the media. The media knew that about him which only fueled their desire to attack him and made things worse for Amato. But I do wish Amato well, he had good intentions, cared deeply for NCSU, and certainly upgraded the expectations of our program. Before Chuck how many would have thought we could take OSU into OT and be inches away from beating OSU away? So Thanks to Chuck and welcome TOB! I think Chuck taught his players to play with an arrogance about them (not totally a bad thing worked for years at FSU). I think TOB will teach his players to play with a certain pride about themselves and the team. I look forward to watching the difference on the field.

  7. Pack92 06/18/2007 at 2:34 PM #

    There are those of us, as mentioned, who were endeared to Chuck simply because he did not give a rats a$$ about the pro-UNx media and went out of his way to make it known. I do wish Chuck would have reached out more to the semi-NCSU friendly media types so the true story could have been broadcast. I finally got the chance to meet TOB in Greensboro at the Wolfpack club meeting in May. The comments he made about Coach Yow certainly gave me hope for his coaching tenure. The man knows what it takes to be a champion. He also knows there is a difference between a football player and an athlete. I very much see a Dick Sheridan -type coach, with much better talent than Coach Sheridan ever had, and much better facilities. I would not underestimate this quiet unassuming man.

  8. noah 06/18/2007 at 2:53 PM #

    It wasn’t that Amato didn’t like the media…it’s that he was so OPEN in his hostility to them.

    Yes, it mattered a great deal.

  9. RabidWolf 06/18/2007 at 4:19 PM #

    I predict that FSU will be strong on defense once again, but suffer greatly due to stupid penaties and the arrogance that will bleed from Amato. We should all hope and pray that Bowden retires soon and CTC takes the HC job at FSU!!! I’ll take a team of lesser atheletes with a high regard for sportsmanship and teamwork over a team of “superstar” attitudes anyday!

    Good luck to T’Ob and GO WOLFPACK!!!
    September can’t come soon enough!!

  10. pakfanistan 06/18/2007 at 6:46 PM #

    ^Yeah, cause that’s totally what happened last time Chuck was at FSU….

  11. RabidWolf 06/18/2007 at 8:13 PM #

    ^MOC beat ’em!

  12. beowolf 06/18/2007 at 8:15 PM #

    Some people, through no fault of their own, are not management material. Some people are specialists while others are leaders. Chuck will do a solid job at FSU. He is a specialist, and he is good at what he does. When he had surrounded himself with a staff of specialists, he fielded very good football teams. He could not manage them, and eventually, he fielded very bad football teams.

    Chuck did a lot of good at NC State, and for that I am grateful.

  13. RabidWolf 06/18/2007 at 8:16 PM #

    …..And I’m fairly certain that, if he hadn’t gotten ill, Sheridan probably would have beaten FSU at least a couple of times.

  14. choppack1 06/18/2007 at 8:19 PM #

    Legacy – I agree that it’s foolish to make any kind of judgements about TOB until at least year 3.

    However, what I like about TOB is he is methodically executing a plan. Everything is charted – and he knows exactly what he is looking for in his players.

    I’m not sure that Chuck had the same type of plan. We all know that Chuck had a problem in keeping a large % fo the staff. He had an excellent eye for talent and he knew where he wanted to end up. He definitely had the passion. But when you’re the head coach – passion and hard work isn’t enough.

    TOB’s doing it his way – and he is following a very specific road map. Hopefully, we’ll have even better results than he had at BC. He seems to think this is likely.

  15. RabidWolf 06/18/2007 at 8:22 PM #

    I agree with you, beowolf. CTC was a good manager of players and a great recruiter, but when it came to managing his staff and building relationships with the hs coaches he had to deal with….he kinda ummm…sucked.

  16. RabidWolf 06/18/2007 at 8:23 PM #

    I’m just sayin’

  17. beowolf 06/18/2007 at 8:39 PM #

    About Sheridan — I agree. The first year FSU joined the conference, Sheridan “won” the old ACC. We would have been ACC champs that year were it not for FSU. Sheridan was steadily improving the program.

    TOB’s record at BC seems similar. Slowly, surely posting better records and better results. Even his biggest criticism, his record vs. ranked teams, when viewed annually, showed steady improvement.

  18. RabidWolf 06/18/2007 at 8:52 PM #

    I have no doubt that with the facilities at NC State, and the no bullshit approach TOB seems to be taking, it will not take nearly as long for him to have a decent, if not astounding, record versus the ACC and ranked opponents outside the conference. (I’m fairly certain he will encourage the scheduling of such opponents instead of frosted cupcakes with sprinkles) 😛

  19. Big Worm 06/18/2007 at 9:34 PM #

    We’re very fortunate that Chuck left the football program so ready to be propelled to the next level.

    Largely due to him we’ve got energized fans, incredible (sold out) facilities and very solid talent. Now we add a no-nonsense coach with a demonstrable ability to get the most out of his players on and off the field.

    Fantastic situation for NC State.

  20. formerpackplayer 06/18/2007 at 11:10 PM #

    As a former player under Sheridan and who does now coach, I’m hesitant to say anything harsh about Amato. I’ve never met him and he’s a fellow alum. I’m also hesitant to anoint TOB other than a very good hire. However, having said that, I think he’ll do fine. Coach Sheridan was a different kind of dude. Don’t kid yourselves, DS, just like Amato, was incredibly confident but understood how to manage games. If TOB is half the coach DS was, we have as good a shot as we’ve ever had to be successful. But I want to caution everyone; this isn’t a quick fix. Anytime there’s a transition, it never goes completely seamlessly. There will be some players that will miss Amato’s bluster. I have to say, when he first came in it was fascinating to see b/c DS and O’Cain were as buttoned down as one could get. Anyway, we have to be patient. After 3-4 years, we’ll know what kind of program we’ve got and in what direction we’re headed. But Big Worm’s right. The fans, facilities, and new coach are certainly a fantastic situation for us. GO STATE!!

  21. BJD95 06/19/2007 at 7:13 AM #

    If you ever wanted the perfect illustration of the difference between “cocky” and “confident” – it’s Amato v. O’Brien.

  22. RAWFS 06/19/2007 at 7:43 AM #

    ^ Or for that matter, Amato vs. Sheridan.

  23. RickJ 06/19/2007 at 7:45 AM #

    It pretty much comes down to wins & losses. Amato treated the press the same his first three years and most State fans loved it.

    UCLA’s basketball coach, Ben Howland is a current example. He is a jerk with the press and is loved by Bruin fans as being in total control of the program.

    I love the TOB hire but if puts up three straight losing seasons he will start to sound like Tom Reed to fans.

  24. haze 06/19/2007 at 8:16 AM #

    Caution is warranted with any new hire, so let’s enjoy the ride and see what TOB can do. I agree that 3yrs is a good time to start judging the new guy.

    The comments on the state of the program post-Amato are generally true. The facilities and fan support are simply off the charts by traditional NC State standards. The Carter is now a truly awesome place to spend a Saturday.

    Personally, I’m not as sold on the talent in the program or, at least, not as sold on the breadth of the talent. Yes, we’re reasonably strong at RB and WR and maybe at DB. However, we appear mediocre at best at QB (there is potential), OL and LB and our traditional (under Amato, at least) strength at DL is OK but fading. Put simply, you’re going nowhere without strength at OL and QB, so TOB has work to do before this club is going to really shine.

    As for this year, we could win 3-4 or 7-8. I’m simply clueless as to how this going to play out. The good feeling, to me anyway, is the similarity of this year to Sheridan’s 1st year in ’86. Duplicating the ’86 performance would be nothing short of huge.

  25. noah 06/19/2007 at 8:43 AM #

    “Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You’ll never get to the Show with fungus on your shower shoes.

    Think classy and you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the Show you can llet the fungus grow back on your shower shoes and the press’ll think you’re colorful.

    Until you win twenty in the Show, it means you’re a slob.”

    Amato never won 20 in the Show.

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