Lowe resigns from NC State
Posted March 15, 2011
Updated December 13, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — Sidney Lowe's career as the head men's basketball coach at North Carolina State University has come to an end.
NC State Director of Athletics Debbie Yow said in a press conference Tuesday evening that Lowe resigned on Tuesday afternoon and that associate head coach Monte Towe would assume head coaching duties in the interim.
"He's a good man, and I think a lot of him personally," Yow said of Lowe. "One thing I said to him, I always want him to be part of the Wolfpack family."
Lowe's Wolfpack finished the 2010-2011 season tied for 10th in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 5-11 record (15-16 overall). He held an 86-78 overall career record, including a 25-55 mark in the ACC. Lowe never topped the 20 wins mark and never earned more than six wins in the ACC or finished above ninth place in the league.
"It's a sad day," former NC State guard Chris Corchiani said Tuesday on 99.9 FM The Fan. "Sidney is a good friend of mine. He laid it on the line. He'll always be one of the greatest Wolfpackers, and it's just a shame it didn't work out for him."
Yow said he and Lowe met for about an hour Tuesday, and he decided to resign.
"After five years, wins and losses matter and they matter a lot," Yow said. "There are certain standards that have to be met."
Yow reiterated her respect for Lowe, even stating she hoped he would come back to NC State to speak to student-athletes and represent the school, if future employment opportunities allow him to do so.
"There was a point in the conversation where he was comforting me," said Yow.
Lowe spent five seasons as the head coach at NC State. His contract was set to expire on June 18, 2013.
"He'll be paid every penny that's owed to him," Yow said, estimating that number to be somewhere around $900,000. "The attorney for the university has talked to his agent and they're working that out right now."
In addition to Towe staying on as the interim head coach, Levi Watkins will remain in place as the Director of Basketball Operations.
The search begins
NC State's search for a new men's basketball coach will begin Wednesday, Yow said.
According to Yow, the first step in the hiring process is to select a search firm, a step she hopes to complete before the week is out. Once a firm is selected, Yow will put together a small search committee that will consist of university representatives.
Yow said she expects to approach coaches who are career college coaches, who have been successful at the college level, and some who may be coaching in the NCAA Tournament.
"We will be making some contacts, probably through the search firm, and we'll be very respectful of their time," said Yow. "There's going to be an element of patience required here, and I know that's going to be very tough on our fans."
In the press conference on Tuesday, Yow admitted that she has a short list of coaches that she would like to target. She did not give any specific names, but said the list includes a single-digit number of candidates.
"There are a number of traits that I'm looking for ... and I'm also very interested in the traits that the players are looking for," Yow said.
Yow said the first goal she has for the basketball program is to become competitive in the ACC, and that she believes that will translate into being competitive in the NCAA Tournament and against Duke and North Carolina.
There is no timeline for selecting a new coach. "I think it's foolish to establish a self-imposed deadline," Yow said.
Yow assured NC State fans that the school will be competitive in the amount of compensation it offers to prospective new coaches.
"We are going to be competitive nationally in compensation and in staffing, and in every way you can think of," she said.
No specific numbers were given as to how much NC State is willing to pay a new coach. Yow said there are things she would offer to some coaches that she would not offer to other coaches, based on the level of experience a coach has and how much success he has seen.
Lowe's basketball career
Lowe took over at NC State in the 2006-07 season after coach Herb Sendek left the program for Arizona State University. After considering high-profile coaches like Texas' Rick Barnes and John Calipari, then at Memphis, Yow's predecessor Lee Fowler extended the offer to Lowe, a guard from the 1983 national championship team and former NBA coach.
Between his stints as Wolfpack player and coach, Lowe bounced around the NBA for seven years, finishing with a .367 career field goal percentage, .133 3-point percentage, and an average of 1.7 rebounds per game.
After his playing days were over, Lowe began a 12-year coaching career where he was an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers, and a head coach in the Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies organizations. As an NBA head coach he was 79-228.
In his return to State, Lowe made headlines in his first season by posting wins against both in-state rivals UNC and Duke, a feat that Sendek rarely achieved. Sendek finished his 10-year career with a 3-20 record against Duke and went 5-17 against UNC. Four of those victories came against Matt Doherty's teams from 2001-2003.
But over time, Lowe struggled against his two main Triangle rivals. His teams posted a 2-6 record versus Duke and a 1-10 record against UNC. In postseason play, Lowe never measured up to the success of the two teams in blue. He failed to qualify for a single NCAA Tournament and sent two teams to the National Invitation Tournament, in 2010 and 2007.
In that same span, UNC's Roy Williams notched four NCAA Tournament bids, four regular-season ACC titles and won the 2009 national championship. In a year when Lowe finished in the NIT second round, Williams saw his 2010 team run to the finals of that postseason tournament.
Duke's Mike Krzyzewski has five NCAA Tournament appearances while Lowe has toiled at State and won the 2010 national championship. The Blue Devils won the ACC in 2010 en route to that title and finished second in 2008, 2009 and 2011.