After a three week search, NC State has finally named Mark Gottfried the new head coach of the men’s basketball team. Gottfried is the former coach of Alabama. He was successful in taking the basketball team to the NCAA tournament five times, has 1 SEC championship, and holds a 210-132 overall record, but his last two years as head coach were dissappointing. Gottfried has not coached a team for the past two years and returns to the bench after a brief stint as an analyst for ESPN.
Athletic Director Debbie Yow and Chancellor Randy Woodward held a press conference at Vaughn Towers to announce the hiring.
The announcement comes days after several coaches from universities around the nation declined to take on the challenge of uplifting the Wolfpack basketball team from the slump it has been in for the last five plus years. Critics are speculating whether Gottfried was a last resort due to the fact that many other coaches did not want to accept what many see as a loss cause.
Earlier in the week, State fans received disappointing news after several of the top names on the list of potentials backed out of negotiations with the university including Shaka Smart of Virginia Commonwealth University. Smart signed a new eight year contract to remain at the University after leading a mid-major team who was not even “supposed” to be in the field of 68, all the way to the Final Four. Gregg Marshall of Wichita State followed suit and announced that he also does not plan on coming to the Wolfpack Nation. The two coaches joined what seem to be a growing list of coaches who appeared to feel the job was pointless. Others who told the University to look elsewhere were: Sean Miller of Arizona, Mark Turgeon of Texas A&M, Josh Pastner of Memphis, and Texas head coach Rick Barnes.
Following the declinations of Smart and Marshall, Athletic Director Debbie Yow wrote a letter to members of the Wolfpack Club to give fans and alumni insight on the current status of the search. In the letter she stated that there had been many conversations that had not transformed into meetings sometimes because they did not wish to pursue the coach further or the coach was happy to stay where he currently is. Furthermore, Yow stated that the Athletic department did not “sugarcoat” the fact that current program is in poor shape and that rebuilding the team will be a special challenge.
Many feel that coaches turned down the job, because they were to afraid to compete in the same conference with Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Roy Williams of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. There are also naysayers out there who believe that some coaches turned down the job, because in the past it has been said in some circles that Debbie Yow is difficult to work with. During the press conference, Yow took a shot at Gary Williams, the head coach of Maryland University, claiming that he tried to sabotage the search as the two have a less than pretty relationship.
Gottfried stated in the press conference that he is ready for the challenge and will not back down from anyone. He realizes that there will be challenges that he must overcome and is ready to win the fight in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Debbie Yow strategically outlined specific goals and objectives that she has for the next coach. The university can only hope that the next coach lives up to the promise set forth by Yow. The next task on the list for the Wolfpack Nation is to ensure that its current players stay on the team.