Thursday, April 7, 2011

Oh Sweet Relief...Mark Gottfried?

My apologies on the late follow-up to the passion-inducing story of N.C. State's basketball coaching search.

It ended unexpectedly with ESPN analyst and former college coach Mark Gottfried being named the new head coach of the Wolfpack.

Gottfried posted a 277-152 record at Murray State and Alabama including five NCAA Tournament appearances for the Crimson Tide in 11 seasons.

His results were fairly consistent until the end of his tenure, when he was forced to resign mid-season during the 2008-09 campaign.

There have been rumblings about questionable recruiting practices under Gottfried. The most notable was when he contacted Wake Forest commitment Tony Woods to attempt to get him at Alabama the day after Demon Deacon coach Skip Prosser died unexpectedly of a heart attack.

It'll be interesting to see how it pans out with Gottfried and State. It's safe to say he's an upgrade over the dismissed Sydney Lowe, but many a warm-body with heartbeat can make that claim.

Interestingly enough, I insinuated in my last post on the matter that N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow was thought to be difficult to work for and part of the unusual succession of coaches in Raleigh.

During Mark Gottfried's introduction press conference, Yow, rather dramatically accused Maryland head coach Gary Williams of trying to sabotage the Wolfpack coaching search.

"I have a reputation of not getting along with Gary Williams, who has tried to sabotage the search. Come on, we all know that. OK, so whatever," Yow said.

Apparently, she and Williams have a long-standing feud dating back to Yow's time at Maryland. Williams is a prickly guy sometimes and Yow seems to be the same. I'm sure they're both lovely to work with.

I said the other day that this was an important hire, and it was. It certainly wasn't what N.C. State fans were looking for, but it was a decent choice after being spurned by State's top choices.

I'd give the hire a C+ at first glance. Gottfried will have more name recognition on the recruiting trail, but again that's where he likes to cause controversy.

Ultimately, don't expect a Steve Lavin type of charge put into the 'Pack next year with their new announcer-turned-coach, but they will be a bit better and that's a start.

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