NC State fires head coach Mark Gottfried.
It's about time.
Athletics Director Debbie Yow tried her hardest to keep the program together, but Gottfried's continued disappointment as a coach just wouldn't allow it. When Wolfpack Nation hit panic mode after the 51-point loss at UNC, Yow refused to comment. When they hit rock bottom after a loss to Boston College, she said she'll evaluate after the season. And that record skipped every loss thereafter.
Gottfried's only success this season came against Duke, in Cameron Indoor Stadium, January 23rd. That was the last time the Wolfpack tasted victory.
Since then, the Wolfpack lost by 25 at Louisville, blew a 16-point lead at home vs Syracuse, and in the last three games has gotten waxed each time out. They lost by 24 at Florida State, 30 at Wake Forest, and 24 at home against UNC.
If I had told you at the beginning of the season that UNC was 75 points better than NC State, you would've laughed in my face and called me a homer. This was a team with two potential NBA lottery picks (Dennis Smith, Jr., Omer Yurtseven), two guys who had considered jumping to the NBA (Adbul-Malik Abu, BeeJay Anya), and several really good role players (Maverick Rowan, Terry Henderson, Torin Dorn, etc.). How did they wind up where they are now? Three ACC wins, with four to go is horrible. There is no excuse other than "our coach sucks."
There were experts predicting NC State as a dark horse contender for the ACC title in the preseason. One preseason ranking even had them as the #6 team in the country at season's end. You can't have a season like this, with those expectations, and keep your job.
Just hours prior to the announcement that Gottfried "Gott-fired" (sorry), I couldn't help but comment on a story by the Raleigh News and Observer that called on NC State fans to remember better days under their coach. I was blown away by the continued excuses by some of the faithful.
How horrible is the defense under Gottfried? Even I was gobsmacked...
NC State's "Defensive Efficiency Ranking," according to TeamRankings.com is #296. There are 351 teams in NCAA Division 1. By comparison, UNC Asheville's ranking in that category is 82nd and UNC is 59th.
The laugher in all of this is that Gott will still be the head coach until the end of the season. He has four more regular season games and at least one game in the ACC tournament before getting his gig as an analyst for ESPN. I've heard that he requested to stay on as coach until the end of the season "to complete his commitment to the team." While that is admirable, what boss agrees to such a deal? Normally when you are fired, security escorts you to the door so you can't sabotage things on the way out the door. I can only guess that Debbie Yow and company feel things can't get any worse, which is a sad statement for the state of the program.