REPORT: Tom O’Brien Fired; [Update]5pm Presser Notes and Video

[Update 5pm Presser]

Here’s some quick notes regarding the highlights (paraphrased) from what AD Debbie Yow had to say during today’s press conference (link to full video at bottom of notes)….

  • Differences in philosophy on recruiting definitely an issue with the decision for change.
  • All assistants are currently retained and depending upon new hire for HC, will have the opportunity to stay if appropriate (impression is that this will be up to new hire, of course).
  • Search committee was formed today, will meet for the first time tonite.
  • Disappointing results based on this year’s expectations definitely a major factor.
  • Ideal candidate will “not have a hint” of improprieties in their past and this will remove several prospective candidates.  Will also have passion and vision, and have a plan to make NC State a consistent top 25 football program.
  • Head coaching experience/proven track record would be a plus, but no HC experience is NOT necessarily a deal breaker for the right candidate. (Mentioned that she does not consider that Vandy coach James Franklin is a candidate at this point)
  • Player’s reactions were generally “respectful and quiet”.
  • Another factor in the decision is the loss of over 1000 season ticket holders, and the resulting loss of over $1.4M in revenue to the athletics dept.
  • DY stated that when/if TOB feels appropriate, he would be welcome to be a part of the dept. in some capacity.
  • Declined to give specifics on the money that will be spent on new HC contract.
  • Timetable: ASAP, but will take the time to do it right.  Current recruits are a concern, but getting right person is more important.  Current recruits/commits will be honored.  Have already contacted search firm.
  • Did NOT ask TOB to make staff changes.  Buyout is approx. $1.2M over four years.

Debbie Yow Press Conference Re: The Firing of Head Football Coach Tom O’Brien (


[Update 2:05pm] TOB statement from press release:

“I appreciate the opportunity to have coached at North Carolina State University and I feel that the program is in a better place now than when I started,” O’Brien said in a statement released by the school. “I’m proud of the young men that I have coached here, for their accomplishments on the field and in the classroom. Wolfpack football is as sound academically as it’s ever been with a [single year] APR of 990 to be reported this spring.  I appreciate all of my coaches and wish them the best and I look forward to life after football.”


Kinda Sounds like a de facto retirement.

[Original Entry]

Information still coming in, but Jeff Gravely (WRAL) is reporting that TOB has been “released” and this has been confirmed through Debbie Yow herself.  It is further being reported that TOB will NOT coach the Wolfpack in whichever bowl game in which it plays, but rather that Dana Bible will serve as interim Head Coach.

A Press conference is reportedly scheduled for 5pm.

O’Brien era ends at NC State (

Raleigh, N.C. — Less than 24 hours after a 27-10 win over Boston College to finish the 2012 season, North Carolina State head coach Tom O’Brien has been “released” of his duties, athletics director Debbie Yow said Sunday.

O’Brien has guided the Wolfpack to three consecutive bowl games and four in the past five seasons. NC State finished this season 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the ACC.

In six seasons at NC State, O’Brien was 40-35 but failed to crack the .500 mark in conference play, posting a 22-26 record. He came to Raleigh from Boston College in Dec. 2006 and signed a 7-year deal that was to pay him $1.1 million annually.

A press conference has been called for 5 p.m. Sunday to formally announce the move. It is expected that the search for a replacement will begin immediately.


O’Brien out at N.C. State (N&O – ACCNow Blog)

RALEIGH — Tom O’Brien has led N.C. State to three straight bowl games, and four in five seasons, but it wasn’t enough to save his job. O’Brien will not return for a seventh season, the school announced on Sunday.

O’Brien compiled a 40-35 record in six seasons with a 22-26 mark in the ACC. O’Brien’s contract runs through Dec. 2015 and he will be paid at least $1.2 million over the next three years.

The Wolfpack completed a 7-5 regular season on Saturday with a home win over Boston College and will play in a bowl game with offensive coordinator Dana Bible as the interim coach.

This will be the sixth coaching hire, including both major revenue sports, for N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow, who was hired in July 2010.

The search for O’Brien’s replacement will begin immediately. Vanderbilt’s James Franklin is expected to be Yow’s top target. Yow once hired Franklin to succeed Ralph Friedgen at Maryland but that plan was scrapped when Yow left Maryland in 2010 and Friedgen was fired a year later.

We’ll continue to update this entry as more information becomes available.

For more discussion be sure to head here.

About Wufpacker

A 2nd generation alumnus and raised since birth to be irrationally dedicated to all things NC State. Class of '88 and '92.

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101 Responses to REPORT: Tom O’Brien Fired; [Update]5pm Presser Notes and Video

  1. JohnGalt78Jr 11/25/2012 at 2:13 PM #

    I respect and believe in DY, and I applaud her commitment to maintaining high expectations. Furthermore, I like the timing; there is no need to wait until all of the high calibre candidates have been hired elsewhere to make a move.

    Having said that, I have doubts about where we go next. TOB inherited a very undisciplined team with a terrible record. Since then he has had a number of winning seasons, guided NCSU to bowl births and victories, and maintained a winning record versus our rival. He has always produced a disciplined team, and from what I can tell, the student-athletes are staying out of trouble and our program is clean.

    Is there a coach out there who wants to come to a basketball school in a terrible football conference that can do better?

    I certainly hope so.

    Best wishes to TOB and his family; they have been great ambassadors of NC State.

  2. Wulfpack 11/25/2012 at 2:18 PM #

    I would really like to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation. My bet is it was pretty darn quick. Kind of like ripping a bandage off. Just get it over with.

  3. JSRy2k 11/25/2012 at 2:18 PM #

    I know what some of you with mixed feelings are saying, but an AD that waits until after the bowl game to fire the coach is …how to put this nicely…an idiot. Coach-getting season is now. Pickings will be slim after the bowl. Now let’s hope there are some quality candidates whom DY knows we have a legitimate shot at landing.

  4. NCSU84 11/25/2012 at 2:19 PM #

    Sholtzma, in theory what you state is correct. But in reality, in comes down to wins and losses. TOB got us into bowls most years, but that wasn’t good enough. Pubicly, most will not admit they want consistent 10 win. seasons. But deep inside, we do.

  5. ADVENTUROO 11/25/2012 at 2:20 PM #

    My wife said that Debbie Yow is one more tough cookie or some words to that effect. The attendance was lousy yesterday (looked like Byrd Stadium) and the enthusiasm was about 10% of what it should have been.

    Gutsy call….but she made it. No one, I think, has any harsh criticism for how he ran the program from a professional approach. Very solid and top drawer.

    Problem was from the W & L’s perspective. I think that he got a “GOOD” mark for the program (academically and morally) but got two “BAD” marks from “Fan Support” and “Top 25 Requirement”.

    Debbie added up the marks…2 to 1. Coach is out.

    New hire coming…..don’t know WHO? But it will be what she thinks will bring a top 25 (which we have never consistently been) program without sacrificing the reputation/academics.

    Wish Coach the best. Thank Debbie for the courage and leadership to do it. WPFB will be alive in 2013 and years to come….

    Little surprised that she did it today….thought the lack of Bowl Fan Support would be the final straw.

    Obvioiusly cutting her losses….without damaging the overall franchise. It DOES take several years to undo a BAD year.

  6. vtpackfan 11/25/2012 at 2:25 PM #

    Has to a guy with HC experience

    1) Franklin or Rocco

    Backup plan Petrino ( I know he is a shady sounding character but its not like Gott came in as a choir boy)

  7. PackFamily 11/25/2012 at 2:30 PM #

    “its not like Gott came in as a choir boy” where, besides internet message boards, are there any facts to back up that he is not in fact, of good character?

    I know the rumors he “banged a cheeleader”… according to same sources, so has:
    1. Dick Sheridan
    2. Rich Rodriguez
    3. Tommy Bowden
    4. A million others

  8. Wulfpack 11/25/2012 at 2:30 PM #

    No chance DY touches Petrino. No way Jose. Not happening.

  9. RabidWolf 11/25/2012 at 2:31 PM #

    James Franklin or Sonny Dykes

  10. Wufpacker 11/25/2012 at 2:36 PM #

    Or Butch Jones

  11. goodfellas 11/25/2012 at 2:38 PM #

    Just read Sonny Dykes bio, pretty impressive offensive coach.

  12. Virginia Wolf 11/25/2012 at 2:40 PM #

    I’m sorry it came to this. I wish TOB and his family the best and hope they will stay around Raleigh! I was opposed to all the Talk of firing him until I went to the Virginia game this year (the only game I was able to attend). It was the worst effort by the least prepared Wolfpack team I had ever seen and I’ve been going to games since 1972. So, I really like TOB and appreciate all he has done for N.C. State Football but I also support DY in her effort to take us to the next level. I would like to have seen TOB coach the bowl game but I do see the benefit of doing this now. Blessing to TOB and his family.

  13. MatSci94 11/25/2012 at 2:41 PM #

    I think the timing will be helpful. If we were doing it anyway, waiting till after the bowl game lets a bunch of other teams ahead of us.

  14. PackFamily 11/25/2012 at 2:43 PM #

    We are in much better shape for this football coaching earch than the last one.

  15. tuckerdorm1983 11/25/2012 at 2:49 PM #

    Keys to being a winning coach (TOB)

    1. game stategy/ x and os B- (too conservative)
    2.staff B (decent)
    3.facilities A (thanks chuck)
    4.motivation C+ (laconic)
    5.recruiting D- (best two star players)
    6.follow NCAA rules A+ (got rid of Greene)

    If you cannot recruit, then you are doomed.

  16. WuffDad 11/25/2012 at 2:52 PM #

    Best Wishes TOB. You have improved the program in many ways just not in on-field results.

    Your undoing was sealed by the 4th qtr decisions in Chapel Hill and the UVA disaster. I am afraid that the game is moving too quickly for you now in terms of game management. Just yesterday, you were going to try a 50+ yd Field Goal into that stiff wind until the stadium erupted (relative term based on the overall enthusiasm in the stadium yesterday) a timeout was called and low and behold you decide to go for it leading to a game changing TD. Those issues alone would not have been enough but we’ve seen this show repeated over and over and that’s what did you in. Your stoic persona prevented panic but also dulled the team and football has to be played with emotion.

    Hopefully those outstanding qualities you and your program have will be built upon as we move forward. Thank you for those.

  17. MARinRVA 11/25/2012 at 2:53 PM #

    Cowher. Good Lord, people. Do you have any idea how wide the chasm is between winning a Super Bowl with the most successful NFL franchise ever and… a college program whose last championship was in 1979? In THE ACC? Why would he possibly take this job?

    Y’all sound as delusional as y’all sounded two years ago when you assumed Billy Donovan was going to be our new basketball coach. Bring it down, fellas. Bring it WAY down.

  18. 61Packer 11/25/2012 at 2:55 PM #

    I wouldn’t call this football staff “decent”.

  19. tjfoose1 11/25/2012 at 3:04 PM #

    Without knowing too much, Dykes, Franklin, or Rocco.

    Or maybe she’ll pull a rabbit out of her hat like she did with Gott.

  20. WuffDad 11/25/2012 at 3:07 PM #

    Fired on Sunday morning – couldn’t wait to Monday morning? Sort of smells like DY has something brewing.

  21. bTHEredterror 11/25/2012 at 3:09 PM #

    “thought the lack of Bowl Fan Support would be the final straw.”

    Good point, Adventuroo. Was trying to decide how much I really want to spend on the bowl game. Now we all see the bigger picture, and that change is no longer on the horizon, it’s here. By the time we play our bowl game we will have met our new HC and hopefully a fresh optimism.

    I’m sad that it came to this, TOB is a solid man and deserved better in some respects. But then again, so do we. God bless and good luck Coach.

  22. bigjohn 11/25/2012 at 3:13 PM #

    It will take a great hire to overshadow this firing, very similar to the Ralph Friedgen move at MD.

  23. jljones 11/25/2012 at 3:13 PM #

    Finally an AD who has the guts to act immediately and treat the situation like any other business. If a manager is not performing, blowing smoke, refusing to address or update his suspect staff, not flexible and willing to stay abreast with modern technology—-then fire his ass. I have been calling for this for 3 years. Don’t worry about the new coach and the search process. If you are satisfied with the status quo then your competition will run over you. GREAT NEWS!!!!

  24. tuckerdorm1983 11/25/2012 at 3:17 PM #

    DY knows that if you want to get the good deals you gotta get to the store early. Tennessee has a jump on everyone and got started last weekend. Auburn and NC State started shopping probably last night. Knowing DY she probably put out feelers after the UNC defeat and got going in earnest in the 4th quarter of the UVA game. If you wait until the National Champion is announced the firing then the odds of getting a good buy goes down dramatically. Lets see if she can do it twice in a row.

  25. bigjohn 11/25/2012 at 3:22 PM #

    Oh, but the good thing is that the posters that were hoping we would lose to Clemson, BC, and the bowl game so TOB would be fired, can now pull for the pack in the bowl game. Look for a lackluster performance.

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