Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wolfpack Coaching Search-All Bark and No Bite

You know, I hate it when I'm right. The CourtMrs thinks it's fortunate I don't have to worry about it too often, but that's another issue.

A few weeks ago, I wrote that NC State fans who were lusting after the demise of then head basketball coach Herb Sendek were overestimating how attractive that job would be when it came open. So far, Texas' Rick Barnes, Memphis' John Calipari, West Virginia's John Beilein, and ESPN's Steve Lavin agree with me. The three current head coaches and one broadcaster have reportedly rejected ovetures, if not formal offers, from NC State.

According to this report in the Raliegh News & Observer, the leading candidates are now Phil Ford and Dereck Whittenberg. Ford, the greatest college point guard I've ever seen when he played at North Carolina in the mid-1970's, was an assistant coach there for several years but left when he had to deal with alcohol abuse. Ford is now on Larry Brown's staff with the New York Knicks.

Whittenburg, a former Wolfpack player, is best known for throwing up the air ball that Lorenzo Charles put in for the game winning shot in the 1983 National Championship game. He has enjoyed success as the head coach at Wagner College and is currently at Fordham University.

I don't think either of those coaches would cause North Carolina's Roy Williams or Duke's Coach K to lose any sleep, and therein lies the problem for Lee Fowler, NC State's athletic director.

Until either Williams or Coach K retire, the Wolffpack basketball program is destined to be the third best in the Triangle area. It is frustration with that fact along with the total lack of charisma former coach Herb Sendek displayed that fed the open revolt among State fans this spring.

The fans' attitude along with the competitive challenges at the program have contributed to the lack of interest in this job. The second thoughts of top Wolfpack recruit Larry Davis, a 6'2" guard from New York, also doesn't help matters

State is willing to pony up big bucks; reports indicated the offer on the table for Calipari approached $2 million annually. That kind of money, however, is available in enough other places that don't have two national champion coaches up the road to severly thin out the pool of realistic candidates.

Barring an amazing turn around in fortune or the uncovering of a diamond in the rough, the phrase "the good old days" and the name of Herb Sendek could be joinded together for Wolfpack fans in the near future.

The lesson here is to be careful what you wish for.


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