After we learned the news yesterday that Gregg Marshall was staying at Wichita State, we weren’t exactly sure who else was in the running for N.C. State’s head coaching vacancy.
Well, N.C. State found a man that no one even mentioned throughout this entire coaching search in Mark Gottfried, and there’s no doubt that this move had a few Wolfpack fans scratching their heads.
If you’ve watched a college basketball game on ESPN at it all the last few years, chances are you’ve heard Gottfried on the commentary. For those unfamiliar with his background, he was the head coach at Murray State from ’95-’98, and most notably, he coached his alma mater, Alabama, from ’98-’09.
Now, Gottfried did a pretty good job with the Crimson Tide. He had Alabama ranked number one in the land at one point, and even lead them to an Elite Eight.
This venture with N.C. State is gonna be a much tougher deal though.
The current state of the program isn’t great, and well, that’s not good news when you’re having to recruit against the likes of Duke and North Carolina, who are both absolutely loaded right now with talent.
Gottfried is not a bad recruiter. He was able to bring great talent in to Alabama, and was also a key recruiter on that 1995 UCLA national championship team. While he managed to make it work sometimes, the problem he had at Alabama was getting the talent that he recruited to live up to the expectations that most people had for the team.
If he can get the same type of talent to Raleigh, then he will at least give himself a chance in the battle with the other Carolina schools, and we all know that is just as important as anything. Gottfried’s ability to at least make the rivalries interesting again will go a long way in determining how successful he will be in this new spot.
It’s not going to happen right away though. If N.C. State fans are expecting a miracle overnight, it’s not gonna happen.
While this is an interesting hire to say the least, I don’t think this is an impossible task for Gottfried. He’s a good coach, and even though this hire may not make sense on the surface, the guy’s got the tools to be able to get this program heading in the right direction.
They aren’t gonna be competing for a national championship anytime soon, but given the fact that the Wolfpack haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2006, I think fans would be thrilled just to get back to the Big Dance.
I was completely surprised when I heard Gottfried was the hire, but as I’ve said in all these coaching searches over the last month or so, we have to give him time and see what he can do. Maybe it’s not a hire that makes sense right now.
But that doesn’t mean that it won’t make sense in the future.
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