Gottfried might be only familiar face for Pack next season
Posted March 28, 2013
When UCLA fired Ben Howland on Sunday, NC State's Mark Gottfried was inevitably going to pop on on the coaching search radar. He wasn't going to be a top-tier candidate, but his connections to the program and style of play desired by officials in Westwood made Gottfried a logical go-to if enough said no.
One such booster said as much to SNY reporter Adam Zagoria. “Mark said he wants it and the boosters want Mark Gottfried,” the source told Zagoria. UCLA beat writer Ryan Kartje essentially told Mike Maniscalco and Mark Thomas the same thing Wednesday morning on 620 AM The Buzz.
Gottfried ended the speculation later Wednesday night on Twitter, squeezing his commitment to NC State into 140 characters.
"#WPN I am committed to being at @NCState for a long time Still as dedicated to rebuilding the program as I was 2 yrs ago when I arrived," Gottfried tweeted.
The idea of potential "dream job" aside, Gottfried has it pretty good at NC State. His contract was reworked before the start of the season and extended through the 2017-18. Gottfried has a $3.75 million buyout and a lucrative bonus structure that pays out chunks of his base salary for certain achievements, including a $125,000 payout had the Wolfpack reached 12 conference wins this season.
Coaches like Mark Few at Gonzaga, Shaka Smart of VCU and Brad Stevens at Butler have also proven that college basketball sensibilities are vastly different than the world of college football. The right coach can win there, but jumping to UCLA just for the name brand is outweighed by already being well compensated and a sustainability of success.
And that's exactly what NC State can be for Gottfried. Even if Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo dubbed Wolfpack fans the "most delusional about its program's national prestige" on ESPN Radio on Wednesday, it's not like NC State fired a guy who went to three straight Final Four appearances. Despite a season that's justifiably labeled as an underachievement, most rational Wolfpack fans understand the program is in better shape today than it has been in a long time.
Now Gottfried has to keep it going in the right direction. He'll face a challenge next season with the possibility of severe roster turnover.
Most of it is expected. Seniors Scott Wood and Richard Howell are out of eligibility, while Lorenzo Brown informed the school he'll enter the NBA Draft. C.J. Leslie is also expected to go pro, so don't read into those vague tweets.
That leaves T.J. Warren, Rodney Purvis and Tyler Lewis as NC State's nucleus of experience. They'll be joined by freshman point guard Anthony Barber, center BeeJay Anya, forward Kyle Washington and LSU transfer Ralston Turner. Expectations next season will be properly adjusted with such a green group, but that's the nature of modern college basketball.
However, Joe Giglio of the News & Observer has dropped enough hints in print to fuel speculation some or all of the trio might not be back next season.
Warren's father told the N&O, "If he's a first-round pick, I think it would be a good decision." Meanwhile, Purvis and Lewis have been the subject of transfer speculation.
Never a dull moment in Raleigh.