Seminole Slant: Evaluating Mark Gottfried to NC State

When Sidney Lowe "resigned" I made several snippy comments on Twitter and elsewhere predicting the mess which was about to unravel – but I was only kidding. I didn’t really expect the NC State administration to turn this hiring into anything resembling the circus that resulted in Sidney Lowe becoming the head coach. So I’ll give credit to Deborah Yow – the Wolfpack Athletic Director – for proving me right even when I didn’t even think I was.

First she cycled through several high profile coaches who had no interest in the position, then she went through the hot mid-major coaches, then she was turned down by a few people no one had heard of. This was followed by a release of a letter to Wolfpack fans urging them to keep the faith, when in fact the letter stunk of desperation and cued even the most hopeful NC State fans into the fact that they better let their expectations down a notch. The narrative in 2006 came to a conclusion when the university settled, which is exactly what is happening today. Then it was Sidney Lowe, today it’s Mark Gottfried.

If you know the name Mark Gottfried it’s likely from one of three places: ESPN, where he is an analyst; Alabama, where he recently coached and was fired mid-season in 2009; or Wake Forest – actually, player Tony Woods - who Gottfried called and tried to get him to switch his commitment to Alabama the day after Skip Prosser died. That’s NC State’s new guy.

But what does he do on the court? As I detailed when Georgia Tech hired Brian Gregory the ACC is in the process of slowing down the tempo, and at this pace will soon be battling the Big 10 for the honor of the slowest conference in the country. Well, guess what? Gottfried is yet another coach who plays low possession basketball. Here are his years from Bama (from which adjusted tempo data is available) charted against the ACC’s fastest, median and slowest teams, and as you can see he never reached the tempo of the middle of the ACC. If you like slow, clunky basketball, the ACC will soon be the place to see it.

Gottfried_temp_medium

How about his team’s performance? After all he did lead them to five NCAA Tournaments in 11 seasons. All five were in a row however, which makes it appear to be a case of synergy between personnel and coaches, especially considering the dump Alabama took in his final three seasons.

This chart shows his national offensive and defensive rankings, and I’ll give him credit – his offense, until his final year, was pretty good. His defense, however, wasn’t

Gottfried_off_def_medium

Conclusions? I think this is about a 3 on a scale of 1-10. He should be able to bring a product to NC State this is better than what they’ve seen for the past five years, but the rumor is that NC State has a lot of money with which to make this hire (Gottfried is getting 1.2 mil in base salary, though they likely had much more). Even striking out on the big names and the hot mid-majors, it seems they should have done better than a recycled guy with a questionable reputation. Then again, this is exactly what I predicted weeks ago, even it was only a joke.

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