As I write this, Clemson is beating NC State and, as I’ve seen before, a few people on my Twitter feed are suggesting that it might be time to rethink Mark Gottfried’s position at NC State. Originally, I felt these people were being too reactionary and not appreciating the success that Gottfried has brought to Raleigh. However, after digging a bit deeper, it looks like these folks may be on to something. Maybe it really is time for the Wolfpack and Coach Gottfried to part ways.
But don’t take my word for it, the statistics back it up. As the popular saying goes, numbers aren’t liars. And these numbers make it clear that it’s time to ditch Gott and see what else is out there.
The Regular Season
Since Gottfried took over in 2011, NC State’s win percentage has been a paltry .649 (2011), .686 (2012), .611 (2013) and .619 so far this year. Not bad right? But check this out: Before Gottfried took over, NC State already had a win percentage of over .600—in fact, they did this a whopping 4 times in 20 years before Mr. Shiny Hair sauntered over to that bench. So why should we pay a guy to do something 4 times in 4 years if we know that with just a little effort we can do it 4 times in 20 years? Plus, don’t you think winning would feel better if we didn’t do it as regularly?
The NCAA Tournament
But let’s say you’re still not convinced it’s time to let go. In that case, let’s look at the NCAA Tournament, which is arguably how success (or failure) is truly measured. Gottfried has taken NC State to the NCAA Tournament 3 times in his first 3 years and is likely currently on the bubble for this year’s Tournament (ugh, coach much!?). Before that, State fans spent 5 blissful years not worrying about what to do in March because we could do whatever we wanted. We could enjoy the warming weather, or even watch other teams play in the NCAA Tournament.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s bad to go to the Tournament, of course it’s something everyone wants. But if you’re going to go, you need to win the whole thing. Otherwise, don’t waste our fucking time. The type of teasing and frustration that comes from getting in the Tournament and getting bounced out before the Final Four is exactly the type of tactic cults like Scientology use to keep their members in line. I don’t know about you, but I for one have no interest in keeping a coach who is most likely a Scientologist based on that thing I just said.
At this point, it’s pretty clear that Gottfried doesn’t have a chance of keeping his job based on his team’s on court performance. However, the coach has always gotten praise for his ability to recruit great players to his teams. But let’s examine this claim a bit more closely. Per ESPN, from 2007-2011, NC State had 3 total ESPN Top 100 commits. In the three years since Gottfried has been recruiting, there have been 9 total ESPN Top 100 commits. Pretty good, right? Wrong.
Think about what having so many more great players really gets you. Now, instead of having to be an okay team, you have to be a great team. Do we really want our players and fans having to deal with that kind of pressure? Of course not. Instead of recruiting all these great players and raising expectations, we need to sit back, take who we can get, and wait for the occasional great player who already lives in Raleigh and feels too much guilt to move away from his parents.
Overall, we need to really ask ourselves what we want from our coach and our basketball team. Do we want to be a team that has its share of ups and downs but generally enjoys great success, often on a national stage? I don’t think so. As I’ve clearly shown, this simply leads to too many problems. This is why I’ve decided to add my voice to the small but vocal group of fans that think it’s time for Mark Gottfried to move on.