NC State Comments on Coaching Rumors

Several people in the national media have claimed that numerous basketball coaches have rejected offers from NC State.  However, NC State Senior Associated AD Chris Kingston has put those rumors to rest, explaining what has actually occured.  (Don't expect a retraction, Wolfpack fans.)

From Mark Armstrong at WTVD 11 via Twitter
"As Senior Associate Athletic Director at State and member of the head men's basketball coach search committee, I wanted to pass along the following about the process.
A number of talented Division I coaches have indicated strong interest in the NC State men’s basketball coach position. As those conversations have occurred, coaches have naturally inquired about the potential compensation commitment of State, as would occur in any type of job search. Responding to those compensation questions is not the equivalent of “offering the job” to anyone. Instead, it is simply sharing information that reflects the commitment of State to the men’s basketball program."

Sean Miller Is Not NC State's Next Coach

This is incredibly disappointing news, as well as frustrating after watching Sean Miller's Arizona Wildcats destroy the mighty Duke Blue Devils last night. Sean would have been the perfect coach for NC State and would have won big here. Perhaps its even more upsetting that State could have hired him 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago. Ugh. On the next one.

J.P. Giglio, ACCNow
Miller has declined to be interviewed for the Wolfpack's coaching vacancy, his father said Friday, and will remain at the University of Arizona.

State's Coaching Search Quiet, Positive

There is not much real news to report with respect to the NC State coaching search. Unlike her predecessor's debacle in 2006, Debbie Yow is handling this search in an incredibly discreet and professional manner. While rumors have circulated over the past week about who the likely targets are and about a possible meeting with long-time NC State dream hire Rick Barnes, no information is being leaked by those close to the search. I respect and appreciate AD Yow's and the search committee's efforts in that regard.

The only vibe around Raleigh is a positive one at this point. Even NC State's public enemy #1, Greg Doyel, has changed his tune, indicating his belief that NC State is a "sleeping giant" and that State is going to "shock the world" with this hire. In addition, credible information indicates that more than one big name coach has expressed interest in the job. Of course, whether that interest results in an A-list candidate taking the job obviously remains to be seen.

Will Sean Miller really leave Arizona for State, as some have suggested? Will State have to take a risk on a mid-major?

For at least a few more days, State fans are going to have to be patient while top targets are still involved in the NCAA Tournament. I believe Yow knows exactly who she wants and what it will take to get him. We'll find out soon enough whether she can close the deal.

Lowe Resigns, Yow Begins Search

Farewell to Sidney Lowe, a truly beloved NC State hero.  Lowe will always mean a great deal to Wolfpack fans and his place in State's history will remain.  AD Yow decided that it is time to move in a different direction, a decision that was in the works as early as January.

At this evening's press conference, Yow was genuine in her appreciation for Lowe's service and conveyed a strong, professional demeanor with respect to the upcoming coaching search.  There is no doubt that this search will be carried out in a competent, discreet manner.  (The entire press conference can be watched below.)

Expect NC State to hire a coach currently in the NCAA Tournament.  I believe Yow will bring in a proven winner, and perhaps a big name. 

My ACC Tourney Picks

Usually, the ACC Tournament is a big deal to me. I always look forward to it and am excited about this time of year.  This year, not so much. This is probably the least excited I've been for the tournament since before I started college in 1995.  In any event, I did muster enough interest to fill out a bracket:

Thursday:
Miami over UVA
BC over Wake
Maryland over NC State
Virginia Tech over Georgia Tech

Friday:
UNC over Miami
Clemson over BC
Duke over Maryland
FSU over Virginia Tech

Saturday:
UNC over Clemson
FSU over Duke

Sunday:
FSU over UNC

The Sidney Lowe Era's Top Ten Moments

Sunday is most likely Coach Sidney Lowe's last home game ast he head coach at NC State.  As he remains a legendary player in Wolfpack history, I hope that fans will come out and support him and the team against a solid Florida State team.  Let's not forget what he gave NC State as a player and the fact that he loves the university as much as we fans do.  Riddick and Reynolds blogged a good entry about this very topic that is worth reading.  In short, we should give Sidney a nice goodbye on Sunday for everything he has meant to NC State..

While the Lowe era of NC State basketball has been less than stellar, it has produced a few memorable moments.  Sadly, coming up with 10 was challenging and counting the "Notables," I think I listed every accomplishment worth noting.

1.  ACC Tournament Championship Run 2007:  Wins over #21 Duke, #24 Viriginia, Virginia Tech and a tough loss to #8 UNC.   In the ACC Championship game, State came back from about 20 points down in the second half and cut the lead to 3, before falling to UNC by 9.

2. Victory over #3 UNC 2007:  Atsur and McCauley ran the pick and roll to perfection.  The game was filled with highlight dunks and the RBC was as loud as it has ever been.  This is perhaps the best day in the RBC Center's basketball history.

3. Victory over Michigan 2006:  This is the first big game of the Lowe era.  The Pack fell behind by double digits early and lost Engin Atsur to injury when he slipped on the ACC-Big Ten Challenge logo.  State was down fourteen points when Atsur went out, and most of us surely thought the game was over.  With Gavin Grant running the point, State came roaring back, displaying an exciting style of basketball that gave Wolfpack fans hope that the Pack was back.

4. Victory over Duke 2010:  Coming off a close loss to Clemson (where State erased a 20-point Clemson lead), the Pack played a near-perfect game to upset #6 Duke.  Tracy Smith was unstoppable.  Coach K tried everything to slow Smith, but this was State's night.  After Javi Gonzalez drained a fade-away 25-footer to ice the game, the celebration was on.

5. Victory over #24 Miaimi: Trailing by two with just seconds remaining, Lowe effectively designed a play that resulted in a contested lay in. Then Gavin Grant stole the inbounds pass and scored just before the buzzer to beat the Hurricanes.

6. Old Spice Championship 2007:  State beat Rider, South Carolina and #19 Villanova, getting the Pack off to a solid start in Lowe's second season.  A foul on a 3-pointer in the last second gave Gavin Grant the chance to beat Nova at the line.  The Pack was well on its way to meeting expections that year... so we thought.

7. Signing of the 2010 recruting class:  This is the class that would return the Wolfpack to glory.  When C.J. Leslie joined Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown, NC State appeared to have the talent (and returning experience) necessary to compete in the ACC.

8.  Victory over Miaimi:  State blew a 20-point lead in this one and the game went into overtime.  Brandon Costner and Farnold Degand fouled out, leaving State at a disadvantage.  With the game tied at the end of overtime, Julius Mays drained a contested three-pointer at the buzzer to win it.

9. Victory at Marquette 2009:  State played an excellent second half both offensively and defensively and picked up a rare marquee non-conference road win.  Josh Davis keyed State's run with superb defense and energy.

10. Victory at #25 Florida State:  State faced the possibility of heading into the Duke game at 0-3 in the league.  Lowe's conference road record speaks for itself, but the Wolfpack played an excellent offensive game, thanks mostly to Scott Wood.  Scott looked like the second coming of J.J. Redick to lead the Pack to a win in Tallahassee.

Notable: Domination of Wake Forest during Lowe's tenure; 2007 NIT run; 2010 ACC Tournament; Domination of Virginia Tech early in Lowe's tenure; Buzzer-beating victory over South Florida in 2010 NIT.

State Needs a Home Run Hire

First off, I want to say that I appreciate Sidney Lowe and everything he has meant to NC State University.  Unfortunately, his coaching tenure did not work as planned, but that's okay.  He gave it everything he had, but he is just not the right guy for the job.  That in no way diminishes what he did for State from 1979-1983.  That said, Sidney Lowe should not, and most likely will not, be retained as NC State's basketball coach after this season.

NC State is facing a monumental moment in its basketball history.  The next coaching hire is perhaps the most important hire in Wolfpack athletics in the past 30 years, maybe ever.  State can not afford to make a bad hire, or even just an average one, if its dreams of once again becoming nationally relevant will be realized.  State must find the next Sloan or Valvano in the Spring of 2011 or I'm afraid it will be too late.