After last season’s 5-13 conference record, the ACC media and fans of NC State were expecting this year’s team to compete in the top half of the ACC and at a minimum make the NCAA tournament. Some people(me) had even higher expectations like spending most of the season ranked in the top 25 and competing for a top 6 seed come Selection Sunday. Afterall, this was year 6. Gott has his assistant coaches in place and his roster stocked with his guys.
Unfortunately, the season hasn’t gone as expected. Heading into tonight’s game against FSU, the team sits at 3-8 in conference play. We have 7 games left on the schedule and we are likely underdogs in each game(Kenpom). There is a distinct possibility that we won’t see another win this regular season. There has been “hot seat” talk on various NC State message boards, but generally there hasn’t been much discussion of Gottfried’s future at State elsewhere. But having gone 8-21(.275) in conference play over the last two seasons it got me thinking how that compares to previous NC State coaches who were all under major pressure at similar stages of their tenure at NC State. Would the data suggest/justify discussion of whether Mark Gottfried should get a 7th season as the NC State head coach?
The following numbers are the conference records of Les Robinson, Sidney Lowe, Herb Sendek, and Mark Gottfried for what I consider comparable timeframes to Gott’s last two years:
-Les Robinson(Year 5 & 6): 7-25 (.219)
-Herb Sendek (Year 4 & 5): 11-21 (.344)
-Herb Sendek (Year 5 & 6): 14-18 (.438), 1 NCAA
-Sidney Lowe (Year 4 & 5): 10-22 (.313)
-M. Gottfried(Year 5 & 6): 8-21 (.275)
-I picked two different time frames for Sendek because everyone can remember the pressure he was under during year 4 & 5, but I also wanted to put his record up for year 5 & 6 to see how each coach compares after having 6 years to build the program.
-The good news for Mark Gottfried is that even if he loses the final 7 games this year, his 8-28 record and .222 winning percentage would surpass Les Robinson’s final two years. What a relief!
-If Gottfried goes 7-0 down the stretch, then his ACC record of 15-21(.417) will still be worse than Herb Sendek during his 5th and 6th season.
-Gottfried must go 4-3 the rest of the way to finish 12-24(.333) to exceed Sidney Lowe’s final two seasons. Is that going to happen?
-Gottfried needs 5 wins(13-23, .361) to do better than Herb Sendek’s 4th and 5th season. Remember how much pressure was on AD Lee Fowler to fire Herb Sendek? Only a 5 player recruiting class(with at least 4 of them committed in the Fall) that included a program changing recruit in Julius Hodge kept that from happening. How is Gottfried’s recruiting class looking?
Based on those numbers, I think it can be justified that Gottfried’s job is in serious jeopardy. But wait…what about Gottfried’s 1st 4 seasons? Should’t that buy him some more time?
-Sendek was 46-34(.575) over his final 5 seasons. Gottfried currently sits at 38-45(.457) over his last 5 seasons.
-Sendek had 5 NCAA bids and 1 Sweet 16 over his final five seasons. Gottfried has 3 NCAA bids currently(maybe a 4th this year) and 1 Sweet 16 over each coach’s last 5 seasons.
-Sendek finished T-3rd, 4th, 2nd, T-6th, and 4th in ACC play. Gottfried has finished T-4th, 7th, T-6th, 13th, and ? over his most recent 5 years.
For Sendek even with a better overall winning percentage than Gottfried, more NCAA bids, and better conference finishes the pressure continued to mount over his final 5 seasons in Raleigh. After spending much of his final season in the top 25(will Gott ever do that?) a late season collapse convinced Herb Sendek to reset his clock in the desert at Arizona St. It made sense for everyone involved. In my opinion, Sendek’s seat was justifiably hot after his 10th season despite better results than Mark Gottfried.
Now for those supporters of Coach Gottfried that are going to point out that I didn’t include Gott’s 1st year in the Sendek most recent 5 year comparison, I would argue that his first year results on the backs of multiple all-ACC players(3 to be exact) he inherited aren’t a great measure of whether Gottfried should continue as our head coach. But if you insist on including his 1st season, then let’s look at a comparison of overall records:
-Sendek’s overall ACC record was 72-88 (.450). Gottfried’s currently stands at 47-52 (.474). The two rosters the coaches inherited were nowhere close to equal however setting Sendek is a major hole his first 3 years.
-For Gottfried to finish his 6th season with a better conference record than Sendek, he must go at least 1-6 to finish 48-58(.453). In other words, Gottfried’s conference winning percentage is nearly identical to Sendek’s winning percentage that had him underfire for the most of the last 1/2 of his career at State.
But for both coaches…aren’t the more recent seasons more telling as far as determining whether or not each coach should have been fired?
-Sendek went 17-15 (.531) in ACC play, made the NCAA tournament twice winning 3 games, and reached 1 Sweet 16 in his final two seasons in Raleigh.
-Gottfried currently sits at 8-21(.276). At this point, it appears extremely unlikely he will have a single NCAA bid let alone advance in the NCAA tournament.
These numbers and comparisons suggest that Gottfried has a lot on the line over the final 7 games of the season. His horrible records over his final two seasons have overshadowed the success he had early in his tenure and in my opinion have Gottfried’s seat scorching hot. I didn’t want this to be an emotional entry after a devastating loss, but instead a look at the situation based on performance and how similar performances by previous coaches would have been viewed/handled by our fans and the leaders at NC State. Hopefully this puts the data from previous years into perspective and will add to the discussion of Mark Gottfried’s future at NC State beyond this season.