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. NCSU84 11/25/2012 at 3:24 PM #

    It occurred to me that TOB (and NCSU) drew a short straw in FB by being in the Atlantic Div. With FSU and Clemson, it is difficult to win the Atlantic.. I only say this because the next coach faces the same dilemma . I mean, the tarholes technically won the Coastal and they are not that great.

  2. Wufpacker 11/25/2012 at 3:34 PM #

    “It will take a great hire to overshadow this firing”

    In whose eyes exactly?

    “Look for a lackluster performance.”

    So….you mean like pretty much this whole season? And much of the past five before that?

  3. mrwufabc 11/25/2012 at 3:35 PM #

    “Coulda been worse…..Anybody remember that MAF canned MOC on Thanksgiving day?”
    yeah, fired him at his house if I remember right

  4. JohnGalt78 11/25/2012 at 3:35 PM #

    Many thanks TOB for raising the bar off the field and in the class room. You didn’t get the win totals but you have established a legacy of integrity for our university’s football program that we are obligated to build upon. Good luck to you!

  5. Dan Allen 11/25/2012 at 3:37 PM #

    I wonder if TOB was given the choice of hiring new assistants or stepping aside himself (and took the latter).

    BTW, to the earlier reference of another coach having an affair with a co-ed, that rumor is started every time a college coach leaves a job for any reason that isn’t completely obvious.

  6. Wufpacker 11/25/2012 at 3:48 PM #

    @mrwufabc…yes, that’s my recollection as well.

  7. Prowling Woofie 11/25/2012 at 3:54 PM #

    Dan Allen – my thoughts exactly. Wonder if DY gave him the option of making personnel changes and he refused ?

  8. RabidWolf 11/25/2012 at 3:58 PM #

    ” I mean, the tarholes technically won the Coastal and they are not that great.”
    Actually, by losing to GT, the holes wouldn’t have won the coastal even if they weren’t banned from postseason play. They had identical ACC records at 5-3, right?

  9. bigjohn 11/25/2012 at 4:09 PM #

    In my eyes, and a lot of others if we get a Randy Edsal, like MD did.

    We weren’t lackluster in the UNC, Miami and Clem U games. any of those could have swung the other way, just like Md. and FSU could have gone against us, but look for the team not to want to be in a bowl without their coach.

  10. graywolf 11/25/2012 at 4:18 PM #

    I have said many times that Dr. Yow was visibly angry after the UNC game as well as the UVA game. I think she had made up her mind at that time.
    I hope she has someone lined up and locked up very soon and this does not turn into a fiasco. In her defense she has proven very capable in hiring new staff.

  11. Gowolves 11/25/2012 at 4:21 PM #

    Reporting they have reached out to Leach. Do not want that guy!!!!

  12. wolfpack4ever 11/25/2012 at 4:24 PM #

    ^^^^If we have reached out to him, in Dr. Yow I trust,

    Go Pack!

  13. sholtzma 11/25/2012 at 4:42 PM #

    And so the revisionism begins immediately. No, most of us do not expect 10-win seasons. Many on here would have been happy with an 8 or 9 win regular season. Perhaps you remember the pre-season polls on this and TOS. We do expect a regularly competitive team, and we did not get that with TOB. Even if we had won 8 or 9 games in this regular season, the intangibles in our play were deeply troubling. That is, if we had managed to leak out a victory in the ignominious game with Miami, and say we had even managed to beat Chapel Hill because of their own ineptitude, our own failures are plenty evident. And they all point in the end to coaching. But luckily, it did not come down to that. In TOB’s best year (by his own admission, as well), the best we could do in a down conference was 7-5.

    What State fans expect is a well-coached, fundamentally sound, motivated team with sufficiently talented players. The wins will then take care of themselves. But go ahead and revise history to say that what we REALLY want is 10-win seasons. Next, you can channel the idiots on here who trot out strawmen regularly and say that what we REALLY want is to cheat and be the Alabama of NC. (Rolls eyes.)

  14. bigjohn 11/25/2012 at 4:54 PM #

    So James Franklin is not a candidate, per Yow’s statement in the press conf.

    Debbie Yow has 3 honorary doctorates, similar to most commencement speakers. Give up the Dr. Yow references.

  15. packalum44 11/25/2012 at 4:58 PM #

    Wow, I keep having to swallow throw up each time I read a sentimental statement about integrity of our program etc…

    TOB is NOT the only decent head coach out there. The players he recruited are not holier than thou. They’re just normal kids, that smoke dope, drink booze and raw dog chicks like any other college kids.

    Didn’t realize we had so many sentimental pussies on this blog.

  16. Wulfpack 11/25/2012 at 4:59 PM #

    No hint of improprieties equals no Petrino. And no Butch Davis (lol).

  17. sjmac11 11/25/2012 at 5:01 PM #

    Tom Obrien is a man of class rarely seen in this era of sports. I’m a bit disgusted Bible gets to coach the team at our bowl game. His offensive “genius” has been a bit of a mystery to me. The lack luster, momentum breaking unexplainable play calling I believe led to alot of TOB’s poor results on the field. Anyway, it’s over now….does this become our new excitement now that the boys on the hardwood have brought us back down to earth??? Nah, GOPACK! GO GOTT!!! AND GO DY!

  18. oceanman 11/25/2012 at 5:14 PM #

    Like most, I liked O”Brien. After Chucky Cheese Amato, it was good to see some discipline in the program. But, O”Brien has lost too many games that he should have won and seemed unable to motivate the players to consistently play at the level necessary to succeed at this level. His record clearly violates Yow’s objective of not tolerating the status quo or mediocrity in any form. I have never thought that talent was a problem. I sure would sleep good with Bill Cowher coaching the team. I am afraid that that is a long shot since he has a lucrative TV job without all the pressure of coaching at the college level. Franklin is impressive. I agree with whoever said that DY has something going behind the scenes. She pulled Gottfried out of her hat, expect the same again. Keller at Oregon is not a possibility but his style is turning the football world on its ear. A Keller clone would be great. Best Wishes to coach Tom and thanks for 5 in a row against the Holes. That legacy will be long remembered. See you on the golf course.

  19. Wufpacker 11/25/2012 at 5:16 PM #

    Citing Maryland (despite getting the win) and Miami games as pluses doesn’t help your case bigjohn…Sorry.

  20. Virginia Wolf 11/25/2012 at 5:28 PM #

    One comment regarding the presser! The decline in Season tickets can also be attributed to cost. It has gotten too expensive to take a family to 7 or 8 games a year. Reduce the price of season tickets and you’ll see a rise in the number of season tickets sold. I and some friends have been priced out of the market. Can keep my wpc membership but can’t afford the season tickets. I do believe that the product on the field is a large part of this as well. Also, the schedule plays a part. Who wants to pay $40/50 to see South Alabama, the Citadel, Presbyterian, and other such teams play. Upgrade the schedule and you’ll see the seats fill up as well. Just one opinion!

  21. BamaPack 11/25/2012 at 5:38 PM #

    When you sell yourself and your program on a “performance based organization” and then your self proclaimed best team goes 4-4 in arguable the weakest ACC in recent memory you don’t have much to fall back on.

    Not to mention the repeated clock management issues, contradictions in his own performance management mantra (Creecy constantly starting over Thornton), and the final nail against UVA, and the atrocious recruiting.

    I appreciate all TOB did for the program, but it was time to move on.

  22. WeAreCured 11/25/2012 at 5:41 PM #

    Dana Bible is awful. I can’t believe he wasn’t fired as well. I know the next coach will want to choose their own assistants, but he deserved to be fired just as much as TOB.

  23. BamaPack 11/25/2012 at 5:54 PM #

    Yow is keeping the assistants to coach the bowl and to work with the current players and recruits (which is smart). I think we all know why Archer and especially Bible were not replaced in a previous season like they should have been. Of course, people give Tenuta a pass but the next recruit he visits with would be the first (unless they enjoy deer hunting).

  24. ADVENTUROO 11/25/2012 at 6:21 PM #

    Just finished watching the online presser after WRAL truncated it. Wife commented that Debbie looked uptight – not at ease like the Sid presser. Maybe the TOB meeting was not as easy or the meetings with the coaches and team. Did anyone else notice that or are we off base.
    Franklin seems to be put to bed. Not gonna happen. Open and honest about that.
    TOB buyout less that I thought it would be. Contract clearly calls for $600K ($240 K + $360K times years left). Negotiated settlement.
    UVA was turning point. Emails about losing confidence and lack of fan support started then. Don’t know about after the UNC game, but first major volley was UVA.

    Ticket sales and support were major issues. The 1000 or so that had been lost would have been (IMO) drop in the bucket if TOB had stayed.

    Very professional explanation of why and handling. Lot of Debbie Yow bashing on N&O. Lots of misinformation about MD’s issues. DY DID expland Byrd during the peak and then the Economy Failed. Housing bubble protected by Messrs Dodd and Frank and Watters burst. Guess that Debbie should have been smarter than the economists. Fridge also demanded improvements. The WaPo writers do not fault her for MD issues and the bulk of the commentors (DC area) are positive about her and NOT the current AD and Dr. Loh.

  25. choppack1 11/25/2012 at 6:26 PM #

    You can’t fire an entire staff before your bowl game. ..

    Just some thoughts here…
    1) TOB inherited a program that had gone 3-5, 3-5 and 2-6 in the ACC the last 3 years. He’s leaving a program that has gone 5-3, 4-4 and 4-4 its last 3 years. (He clearly moved the bar forward here.)
    2) As I stated in another thread, he lost his job because of a few key road games that if won, would have really increased fan enthusiam. The ones that really stand out are 2010 Clemson and UMd, 2011 BC, and 2012 Miami and 2012 UNC. He wins just one of those games, and I think there’s a good chance you don’t see the change.
    3) TOB’s results weren’t too far off from what I expected. If you thought he’d knock the ball out of the park, you didn’t follow his career to closely.
    4) Again, from the other thread, I knew TOB was in really bad trouble leaving the game last night. Literally, no cars in the high dollar spots right behind the stadium where I left. I can’t recall seeing that for a game that didn’t involve a monsoon.
    5) The 2-6/3-9 record TOB inherited from Amato was worse than what Dick Sheridan inherited from Tom Reed.
    6) Hopefully, this search will go smoother than b’ball search. This ain’t like Sidney Lowe where almost anyone would have represented an upgrade.
    7) Just as TOB staked his career on the RW decision, Yow has staked her career on this one. See #6 – there is a significant chance at failure with this move. While you don’t want to be Lee Fowler, you don’t want to be Al Davis or Jerry Jones either.

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