The Less Interesting But More Important Coaching Carousel: The Assistants

The annual shuffling of coaches is well underway, of course, with coaches moving up, others moving on and schools scrambling to fill empty slots while their is time to save their recruiting efforts for the year.

We aren’t making any changes here at NC State, of course, but the one thing that we as fans should certainly watch closely is the quieter but nearly equally import matter: where the new coaches get their assistants from, and where incumbent coaches fill slots that are open for one reason or another.  Here, State can be affected greatly.

What happens in the staff of different programs may well change the trajectory of a given program for better or for worse.  The end of the Amato era here probably began when The Chest lost assistant coach and uber-recruiter Doc Holliday to Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators.  Not only did Amato lose Holliday’s reruiting ability, he also lost any chance with a number of blue-chippers that Holliday had established rapport with.  When Doc moved to Gainesville, a few recruits immediately crossed NC State off of their list. Snowball effect being what it is, it only got worse from there for Amato, leading to his eventual dismissal.  One thing leads to another, never forget.

Current NC State Linebackes coach Andy McCollum, is ostensibly being courted by both Georgia Tech and Georgia, for example, and should he take one of those jobs, it could adversely affect NC State’s recruiting efforts in his area  – the football rich state of Georgia.  Keeping McCollum should be a high priority for Tom O’Brien, a head coach known for stability on his staff.

John Blake, one of UNC’s main recruiters is also mentioned for other John Blake – their highly effective and often controversial recruiter.  Keep an eye on him, for example, if Oklahoma loses a coordinator or other key staff member to one of the new coaches.

Other examples are legion, and one thing you can count on is that if NC State or any other area school is going to lose an assistant to another school, it will be one of the successful ones doing a good job.  It will almost certainly not be a coach who is struggling.

While some folks might be saying that they hope someone – anyone – gives Mike Archer an offer he cannot refuse, don’t bet on it happening. Coaches building staffs more often than not are going to look for new employees coming off of a string of successes that they can point to their new booster clubs as being the kind of guy that will help carry their school to the top.  Archer, for better or for worse, won’t be one of those names in my opinion.

Bottom line is watch closely over the next month.

ACC Teams AD & Department NC State NCS Football Tom O'Brien

16 Responses to The Less Interesting But More Important Coaching Carousel: The Assistants

  1. 61Packer 12/11/2009 at 12:42 PM #

    Of course we aren’t making any changes at NC State.

    Pain has become a Wolfpack sports tradition. Honor it well.

  2. wolfbuff 12/11/2009 at 2:38 PM #

    I was hoping Tom O’Brien would have evaluated his assistant coaches’ performance and proactively made his own staffing moves before others made them for him. He very well may have done the evaluation. But since Archer is still here, he either ignored the performance or sees something the other 50K people in the stands didn’t. Stability or not, it’s time to cut Archer loose which could open up a promotion slot for one of the other assistants he wants to lock up.

    I imagine he’s more focused on whether he has to fill an offensive coordinator position. Either way, one thing (action or inaction) does indeed lead to another.

  3. ruffles31 12/11/2009 at 3:55 PM #

    I am really concerned about losing McCollum. He is an excellent recruiter and that’s something we can’t afford to lose, seeing our piddly recruiting budget compared to other schools. They say a coach is only as good as his players allow him to be. Ya think it is coincidence that Phil Jackson has had Jordan, Pippen, Shaq, and Kobe on his teams. He would never take say the LA Clippers job. He isn’t dumb.

    Who knows if Archer will still be here next year. But with him or without him, we HAVE to still have McCollum. I know we struggled at LB this year but we had 2 first year starters and Michel was hurt for a part of the year.

    We just didn’t generally the youth and mistakes of the LB corp with the secondary issues more glaring, but it appeared that near the end of the year, Manning was seeming to make a much bigger mark on the game. It will be very good IMO next year to have him and Irving in at the same time.

  4. wolfmanmat 12/11/2009 at 5:49 PM #

    Who cares if any of the defensive guys are back next year? That was the worst defense I’ve ever seen at NC State. Poor talent and poor scheme. IMO, if TOB doesn’t make some changes soon, he is going to take the hit for poor performances. Eventually, all paths lead to the head coach. It’s okay to be loyal, but you got to know that puts your job at risk too.

  5. FunPack 12/11/2009 at 7:19 PM #

    I would be stunned if Blake ever sets foot in Oklahoma again. My Sooner friends consider him an absolute pariah. Him and Schnellenberger both, in fact they won’t even say their names. They are sort of the HWSNBN’s of Oklahoma except with much more vitriol. I know Blake is considered a great recruiter, and may well be, but the OU fans would be up in arms if he came back. I went to a game in Norman back in the late 90’s and it was insane: 80,000 butts in seats 30 minutes before kickoff (I was amazed at that alone), and most of them screaming their crimson heads off. Then Oklahoma proceeded to get plastered by Colorado, who was not great that year. They take their foobawl seriously up there.

    As for McCollum or any of our other defensive assistants…. meh. I’m all for staff loyalty but it’s pretty hard to defend anyone involved with our defense this year.

  6. PackerInRussia 12/11/2009 at 8:53 PM #

    McCollum has experience at higher coaching positions. Is he someone that could be promoted to DC should a need arise in that area or is he considered to be at about the level he should be at a BCS school?

  7. Wulfpack 12/11/2009 at 9:33 PM #

    Stoops (Zona) is headed to FSU as D Coordinator.

  8. papackman 12/12/2009 at 7:09 AM #

    The time has come and gone to relieve assistants of their duties. We’ll have Archer next year and possibly a new OC. TOB doesn’t have the talent or the gonads to take this program to national prominence. We’ll see his departure in two or three years and then we’ll start over again!

  9. Afterglow 12/12/2009 at 2:45 PM #

    I think you are being a little harsh papackman. This football team was riddled with injuries this year. Who knows what other internal stuff was going on with the news on Bible. It’s funny how some people are ready to throw TOB under the bus now where as at the beginning of the year the mood was much different. He has a proven track record at a school that was limited in both: their place in sports and recruiting. I think it’s fair to give things a chance (especially with our injury situation) and with TOB’s past success at BC.

  10. Primewolf 12/12/2009 at 3:37 PM #

    I think TOB has missed a major opportunity to get a new DC. Sure we had injuries and a young secondary, BUT I saw predictable schemes, poor fundamentals, lack of agression, nothing innovative, and highly predictable sets. It is not like Archer really proved himself at Kentucky. He was/is not a rising start that has ever made something from nothing. I just don’t see how we could go wrong without a new DC.

    Instead TOB has opening up the whole program to second guessing next year if our D is just as bad. The fan support will wane and there will be likely boo birds in the stands if we are again 12/12 in the conference.

    It shows a lack of leadership on TOB’s part, IMO. He made a weak decision and now is sticking with his friend.

    I hope it turns out good, but I think unless we have some good seasons in the next few, TOB has laid an egg. Let’s face it, if he hadn’t lucked into Russell Wilson, TOB would not have won 11 games in the past 2 years, he would have won perhaps 5-6 games. That is what Russell has done for this program.

    If you follow that logic and let’s say TOB is 5-20 the past years instead of 11-14, where would we be. I’d say he would be quite as patient. Of course Lee would be worried, since we got the fuhcilities to improve.

  11. Wulfpack 12/12/2009 at 4:43 PM #

    I haven’t given up on TOB but I also don’t have a whole lot of expectations for next year. And that’s, well, pretty damning now 3 years into his tenure. I hope he can surprise us all next year, but don’t count on it.

  12. rtpack24 12/12/2009 at 6:10 PM #

    Hard to believe that no change will be made with our DC or special teams coach. Poor coaching and play in the two areas the entire year.

  13. 61Packer 12/13/2009 at 1:44 PM #

    If TOB wanted to let any of his assistants go, would he have to get Jed’s or the administration’s permission to do so?

    I’ve still got some degree of confidence in TOB, but I damned sure don’t have any confidence in this school’s administration, from the AD’s office to the top of the Ivory Tower.

  14. papackman 12/13/2009 at 4:25 PM #

    Hey After, Hope you’re not insinuating I’m a post season TOB turncoat. Never been a TOB fan. Never bought the hype. To me he has always been a guy that NC State provided a place to retire. TOB himself talked about being closer to his retirement home at Sunset Beach. Hope I’m wrong. We’ll have to wait another year to find out!!

  15. 61Packer 12/13/2009 at 4:43 PM #

    I thought TOB’s retirement home was in Charleston, SC.

  16. ldr of the pk 75 12/14/2009 at 11:31 AM #

    Thought the coaching developments at Illinois over the weekenend were interesting. Surely, nothing we’d ever think of. There just has to be major, major improvement next year. Just winning an extra game or two ain’t gonna do it.

    State is becoming the model for mediocrity around the league and country. Jobs within this Atheletic Administration must be coveted by the wannabees, hasbeens, and average joe coaches of the world. You come here, make big money, have little to no expectation of success put on you, let alone any oversight, and then you drift off into the sunset.

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