Todd Turner: The very first person I called was Rick Barnes

Interesting article from Caulton Tudor.

Before Sendek, Turner said he made runs at Tubby Smith (then at Georgia), John Calipari (Massachusetts at the time), Mike Montgomery (Stanford) and Dave Odom (Wake Forest) after approaching Barnes.

“I learned then how really tough it is to get coaches to change schools if they’re comfortable with the situation they’re in,” Turner said. “That’s still the case. It’s something Debbie – or any other AD in her situation – has to deal with more than most fans may understand.

“If you’re looking for a new coach, odds are your program is struggling. And money, alone, isn’t always enough to make a coach move into a new situation and start over again from scratch.

“But as I said, State has so much in its favor – fans, tradition, location, conference. It’s all there.”

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42 Responses to Todd Turner: The very first person I called was Rick Barnes

  1. sautz 03/22/2011 at 10:26 AM #

    Very interesting. If true that was an impressive list save Sendek. Sigh. What could have been.

  2. tractor57 03/22/2011 at 10:29 AM #

    Maybe the problem was staring Turner in the mirror …

  3. packplantpath 03/22/2011 at 10:29 AM #

    Sendek wasn’t a bad candidate at the time. Hindsight changes things.

  4. IamGumbyDammit 03/22/2011 at 10:31 AM #

    This article is drivel. Todd Turner is a Tarhole and all major NCSU athletic programs went to hell in a handbasket under his reign. He may have called all those names, but I doubt seriously he tried hard to get any of them. His name is on my list of graves I hope to piss on one day.

  5. stejen 03/22/2011 at 10:56 AM #

    According to someone I know that used to work in the State AD dept. Todd Turner was a world class micro-manager that was all the time questioning everything you did. He was the start of everything going downhill for the Pack as I don’t think anybody (think Sheridan) wanted to coach for him.

  6. BureauOfMines 03/22/2011 at 10:58 AM #

    I never understood why Turner was hired at NC State. I suppose it was for the same reason Mary Easley was hired at NC State.

  7. ryebread 03/22/2011 at 11:06 AM #

    I never understood the Turner hire. I felt he was a horrible AD. I felt that his UNC crap should have been kept out of the office and felt like the fact that he didn’t understand that was amazing. That’d be like being employed at GM and having an office filled with Toyota swag.

    At the same time, I’m sure he tried to do his job well. Think about it. He was probably getting paid 150-200k at the time. There was no guarantee that he’d ever get another AD job at that level if he failed. His success and failure was directly tied to that basketball hire. We’d paid our penance with Les and it was time to win. I’m sure Turner knew that and made a hard push.

    Those names were the ones that I remember from that search. We struck out on the big names and ended up with the hot mid-major candidate who didn’t have a ton of coaching experience but seemed to come from good pedigree. That choice reminds me an awful lot of Shaka Smart and Chris Mack, but I’d argue that HWSNBN was probably a less risky hire than Smart or Mack.

    If we miss on the big names, then I think we need a much less risky floor. We can’t have another coach learning on the job.

  8. wolflance 03/22/2011 at 11:10 AM #

    Many rumors swirled during that time that the reason that Barnes was passed over at the time was either Clemson would not allow him out of his contract to go to another ACC school, or the league stepped in and pushed the door closed. At the time, I remember his departure to Texas was somewhat related that he knew he had to get out of the ACC to get back into the job that he ultimately wanted.

    The Texas basketball program back in the 90’s was a step up, but many probably viewed it as an almost lateral move, compared to an ACC job. A lot of people dismissed his move as he figured he couldn’t succeed at Clemson, competing against UNC and Duke. He had some really good teams there at the time, made the Sweet 16 in 97, and made the tourney his last year (as well as 96) at Clemson with a team that went 7-9 in the league.

    I’ve looked back over that decade, and Barnes departure, coinciding with DSmith’s retirement at the same time, led to a shift in the style of play in the ACC. The past 10 years, I’ve seen more old-ACC style play in the Big 12 vs. the current ACC. The ACC has become more of a pro-style league at times, and with the exception of the superior talent teams at UNC/Duke/Maryland during their championship years, the play has not been exciting. Yes, my opinions are probably tinted with the wolfblood that has streamed down my forehead from the number of brick walls that I hit it against over the past 20 years.

  9. theghost 03/22/2011 at 11:14 AM #

    I don’t care how hard he tried, he was a screw up hired in the wake of the Valvano fiasco by the very people who held athletics in contempt. The emphasis at that point was academics at the expense of athletics, and the mentality was the two were mutually exclusive. In that environment, it’s no surprise anybody who makes a living by winning would want nothing to do with State, even if Turner was great – which he clearly wasn’t.

    That’s also why Sendek was such a great fit for these people. Because winning wasn’t important.

    Hopefully Woodson and Yow are about to expose this 20 years of nonsense and BS.

  10. newt 03/22/2011 at 11:18 AM #

    Barnes leaving for Texas was the beginning of the decline of the ACC against other conferences. I remember when he left, it was like WTF?!, Why is he leaving an ACC job for Texas?!? And Clempson was competing at a high level. It wasn’t like he was leaving the basement.

  11. rtpack24 03/22/2011 at 11:37 AM #

    Turner was the second worst AD we have had in the last twenty years. After he was run off at Vanderbilt, they did away with their athletic dept. and did not even hire another AD. Then he went to Wash. where he was fired. So how why would anyone care to hear his comments on our coaching situation now?

  12. wolfpackdawg 03/22/2011 at 11:45 AM #

    I don’t understand why Buzz Peterson was ever hired either. Disgusting.

  13. OldWuf 03/22/2011 at 11:49 AM #

    Turner was so bad, I think we thought Jed was an improvement at the time.

  14. wolf_at_my_door 03/22/2011 at 12:01 PM #

    Thanks Toddy for confirming your incompetence. He could tell me the sun sets in the west and I wouldn’t believe him. Zero credibility in my world.

  15. whalepack1 03/22/2011 at 12:18 PM #

    He is a tar hole. Do you believe everything he says? If so, please get in touch with me. i have a couple of tall buildings and famous bridges for sale.(Cheap)

  16. TOBtime 03/22/2011 at 12:18 PM #

    The entire list was/is fairly successful in college basketball. Are we really stupid enough to believe ANY of those guys on the list prior to Herb was dumb enough to work for Turner? Wasn’t this the genius who wouldn’t put lights at Doak for Ray Tanner? The guy let Ray Tanner leave over LIGHTS?
    If there is any doubt concerning the incompetence of Todd Turner please examine his body of work since leaving NC State. The path of Todd never varied.

  17. ADS95 03/22/2011 at 1:09 PM #

    I doubt that Turner was offering anywhere near the kind of money it would have taken to lure a high-level hire at that time. Don’t overlook the fact that this was before the ESA (now RBC Center) was even under construction, and in fact may not have even been a formally approved project at the time. We were not in the same place, revenue wise, as we are today.

  18. Wulfpack 03/22/2011 at 1:21 PM #

    We’ll know soon enough is Turner’s words hold true. If Debbie can’t lure a big fish here, I doubt anyone can. I don’t think it will be a problem this time around, but who knows.

  19. hball57 03/22/2011 at 1:26 PM #

    I don;t think you should ignore the message because you don’t like the messenger. I find the names interesting. Sure there were other circumstances that I am sure were factors, but there might be some truth in his words.

  20. Wufpacker 03/22/2011 at 1:39 PM #

    If Turner called and struck out with this list of names he claims to have contacted, I strongly suspect that their lack of interest had more to do with him than NCSU, although one cannot discount the possibility that the NCSU administration’s (at that time) new priorities had as much to do with it. Either way, it’s a different situation this time around.

    How hilarious would it be if Barnes, whether he eventually ends up now being hired or not, was to come out publicly and make a statement that he has no clue what Turner is talking about and that he was never contacted.

    Also, “calling” Barnes and/or the rest of the list is not necessarily the same as making a hard run at him/them. I doubt any of the folks on that list wanted to work for Turner (perhaps they spoke to Sheridan just to get a feel for the situation?), but it’s also possible that he didn’t make much of an effort to being with.

    As far as the hire of HWSNBN, at the time it looked like a pretty good hire all things considered. Only in hindsight does it become obvious that he wasn’t the guy for the job. The only way to blame Turner for that is if he didn’t make an honest effort at the A-list guys.

  21. wolfie91 03/22/2011 at 2:12 PM #

    I am missing the point of running an interview with Todd Turner about our current coaching search. That was 15 long years ago.

  22. novawolf 03/22/2011 at 2:35 PM #

    I’m with hball57. I don’t believe you should ignore the message because you don’t like the messenger. I remember emailing Todd while he was in the job and as Les was let go. He was interesting and provided good information. He also seemed to handle the search really well at the time. That Herb didn’t work out is not a reflection of the search. This type of search involves risk. Those who think that either Tubby or Barnes are hired without risk…well, I wish you luck.

  23. gospelman 03/22/2011 at 3:08 PM #

    I wonder if they are going to interview Fowler next?

  24. Howler 03/22/2011 at 4:10 PM #

    I’m with you 91. What do Todd Turner’s actions 15 years ago have to do with squat? Maybe Tudor will give us insight from Les Robinson and Uncle Jed in upcoming columns.

  25. LRM 03/22/2011 at 4:22 PM #

    I think it’s a very pertinent column. When you consider that for the past decade this fan base has suffered an incessant media barrage for being an impossible, unrealistic fan base, it’s important to see what mistakes were previously made because, above all, it shows that we’ve become irrelevant primarily due to the past two decades of incompetent leadership.

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