On N.C. State, Sendek, sanity and coaching searches


N.C. State throttled Wake Forest Sunday, but don’t expect it to take any heat off coach Sidney Lowe. That cooker just got started.

Thanks to a column by CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish, a host of ACC writers weighed in with stories of their own ranging from why ex-coach Herb Sendek’s departure was a good thing, to why Wolfpack fans should stop focusing on 1983 and why Lowe’s performance isn’t proof that fans misjudged Sendek.

All of ‘em were good reads. But my favorite was by Jim Young of ACCSports.com.

It featured the requisite history involved in Sendek’s departure, then does a fine job of dissecting just what’s at stake now. Parrish used an example of Pitt’s Jamie Dixon as a guy who probably wouldn’t take the N.C. State job because his own program is better, among other things.

Young’s response? To paraphrase:

Jamie Dixon has won from day one at Pitt. Herb Sendek’s run of NCAA appearances? That didn’t start until year No. 6 of his tenure in Raleigh. So by the time Sendek was making the tournament – and by the way, when did just making the field of 64 become the holy grail of coaching? – State fans were already losing patience.

Sendek’s a good guy and writers liked him, but he didn’t mesh with the fan base.

While it’s true that Dixon hasn’t won a Big East regular season title or gone to the Final Four in the past five years, it’s also worth acknowledging that Pitt won the Big East tournament title in 2008 (the ACC equivalent is pretty important, in case you hadn’t heard) and that he led the Panthers to the Big East regular season title in his first season, 2003. And while his average Big East finish over the past five seasons might be third, Dixon’s teams have finished second or better in four of his seven years at Pitt. Again, I’m pretty sure many State fans would take those results now. Heck, I’m pretty sure they would have taken them from Sendek, who finished as high as No. 2 in the ACC once in 10 years and never won an ACC regular season or tournament title.

Young does qualify himself as a non-N.C. State homer, but says he can’t begrudge fans for wanting something more than Sendek was providing. Fair enough.

On that note, Wolfpack fans are uber-serious about a new coach.

Ran across a detailed coaching candidate spreadsheet over at Riddick & Reynolds, and recognized it as a document worthy of something N.C. State athletic director Kay Debbie Yow could use this spring.

It lists 16 coaches as guys who might accept the position, including the following factors (deep breath): current position, age, style of play with current team, average tempo-free rank, average RPI finish, regular-season titles, conference tournament titles, NCAA tourney appearances, Sweet 16 appearances, Big Dance won-loss record, recruiting grades, salary, likely pricetag and likelihood they accept the job. To boot, there’s also a notes section on all those coaches.

To call it an exhaustive document would be an understatement. But I’d expect nothing less from a fan base eager to find its next coach.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.