Of rivalry games and job security
Nov 7, 2011
The topic of job security quickly emerged from the aftermath of NC State's 5th straight win over North Carolina. The ongoing narrative is that interim coach Everett Withers lost his shot at getting the gig in Chapel Hill and Tom O'Brien secured another year on the Wolfpack sidelines.
Let's throw out a couple of questions and discuss, shall we? The first one being whether or not Withers was ever in the running for the North Carolina job.
From my perspective, the probability of Withers getting the head coach position permanently was low to nonexistent for a number of reasons. Those reasons were also largely out of his control. When you factor in a new athletics director and coaching staff that is a continuation of the Butch Davis era, the odds were already against him. Bubba Cunningham will not only want a clean slate after the NCAA investigation, but he'll also want a football program of his own design. It's not like Cunningham is the new AD at a turnkey operation, like North Carolina basketball, so changes are inevitable.
Withers has certainly made the decision easier. Giving the game ball to Davis after the first win of the season didn't endear himself to a faction that was more than happy to see coach of record for 9 NCAA violations ousted. Then there was the wondrous statements about academics leading up to the NC State game. If Withers was going to go there, he needed to back those statements up with a win. Withers didn't, and apparently didn't have his team focused based on comments from running back Giovanni Bernard after the loss.
As for O'Brien, there's a trickier question to ask. Does his domination of the Tar Heels cancel out all of the criticisms so many fans were throwing out there just a week prior?
If your answer is yes, then there's no conversation here. O'Brien is back in 2012 and will continue to keep his job as long as his program beats the Tar Heels.
If you paused to rationally ponder the question, congratulations. You are not prone to the emotional swings of a toddler. The assessment of a coach's program is not a week-to-week endeavor. Outside of disaster or scandal, athletic directors will base their decisions on the totality of the coach's tenure thus far and how they see their expectations being met in the future. And as the case with Withers at North Carolina, a new AD changes everything. Their own expectations will likely differ from the previous person in charge that was willing to offer a contract extension.
O'Brien makes all of this moot by finishing the year 7-5 and making back-to-back bowl appearances. If those minimum requirements are not met, asking honest questions about the future of NC State's program will continue.
Most Recent Comments
RE: Of rivalry games and job securityTOB won't be fired this year. I think if we don't make a bowl game next year he's done. I beleive in staying behing your coaches. Go Pack!!!!!
RE: Of rivalry games and job securityUNC needs o keep Withers or hire another black coach. They are the frontrunner in pushing racial equality. They talk the talk but they don't walk the walk. It's do as I say not as I do.
RE: Of rivalry games and job securityAnd judging by the last five years, and Carolina's pending sanctions, it appears that the overall series record is ALL Carolina has left to be happy about in football.
RE: Of rivalry games and job security
Interesting fact in the UNC vs NCS football "rivalry" -- UNC leads in wins with a record of 63-32-6 ... so that's about as much a rivalry as the Yankees and Red Sox in the world series .... and while State considers UNC their big rival, UNC's is really Duke .. sorry State. Withers had no business saying what he did - but truth be told , it academic restrictions getting into UNC are higher - just ask those who didn't get in. So State won 5 football games in a row - big deal ! UNC will have a new head coach and new coaching staff - then we'll see what happens. I think Ms. Yow has alot to say about TOB staying - she did such a great job on the basketball coach selection -- but that's another story - the basketball rivalry ... right?- Posted by laxmom
You have to realize that "overall series record" is VERY misleading and needs to be put into perspective.
From 1894-1955, Carolina TOTALLY dominated the series. For a good number of those years, State fielded football teams composed of ROTC students. And in times of war, ROTC was (understandably) depleted. Football was not the huge sport it is today.
Since 1955, the series record is still in Carolina's favor, but they only lead 29-27. That's 56 YEARS worth of games in which the series is basically a dead heat. They do not own State any more. They have not owned State since roughly 1955.
People that cling to that overall series record do not understand the history behind it. We have been neck-and-neck RIVALS for well over 50 years now, and it's about as even as it gets in that time.
It's disingenuous to take that overall series record and PRETEND that it has any bearing on what is really happening today, and well, since 1955.
You need to step back, read what I wrote, and think about it for a minute. That lopsided record is only meaningful in historical terms. It has no bearing, pretty much since they stopped wearing leather straps for helmets.