Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mark Gottfried era begins at NC State

Former University of Alabama basketball coach Mark Gottfried was named as the head coach at NC State, two years after being fired at The Capstone and then moon lighting as a bitter ex-coach on ESPN and the SEC Network.

Gottfried's name had surfaced before with the Utah opening a few weeks ago until they went in a different direction in Salt Lake City. Now 3 weeks after firing Sidney Lowe, NCSU AD Debbie Yow has tagged Gottfried as her man to lead the Wolfpack through the rugged ACC.

Obviously, Gottfired's career at UA did not end well. I was a big supporter of his until the final years when he seemed lazy and blamed the programs problems on Ronald Steele's injury. Their were good, bad and ugly times under CMG, so let's examine them.

The Good:

Re-energized the program
the 2002 SEC Championship
5 consecutive NCAA Tournament Apperances
A near 100% graduation rate
The school's first ever # 1 ranking
2004 Elite 8
2 SEC West Titles
Played tough non-conference games home, away & at nuetral sites

When Gottfried took over for David Hobbs, the program was at a very low point. The youthful, Mobile product helped re-enegize the program as the team played hard in the first two years. A good decision of CMG was to build through the high school ranks bringing in players like Erwin Dudley, Rod Grizzard, Terrance Meade to help build his foundation. After being left out of the 2001 NCAA Tournament due to a weak non-conference schedule, the Tide scheduled up and won an SEC Title. Season Ticket sales reached an all time high prior to the 2007 season as Alabama began the season ranked in the top 5. Players graduated, were never in trouble with the law and geneally were good guys that the fans could be proud of. A good percentage of the players on the team were in-state high school stars, which brought some much needed pride into the program.

The Bad

Never developed players
Buried too many Freshman on the bench which resulted in transfers
His teams never played defense
Despite 5 NCAA appearances, only made it to the 2nd weekend once in 11 years
Never won an SEC Tournament
His teams were routinely blown out on the road
He never developed a bench
Ruined Ronald Steele's career
Mishandled Gerald Wallace
Badly outcoached by Jeff Lebo
Sweating out every selection Sunday

Gottfried had plenty of problems in T-Town. His teams were never mentally tough, although they were fairly talented. Defense was non-existent, as the Tide was never committed to stopping their opponents, which in turn led to numerous road blowouts. Only once and many say it was all due to Antoine Pettway's heroics, did CMG ever get out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournmaent. Twice as a higher seed, he was ripped apart by Kent St and UW Milwaukee, which led to Stan Heath and Bruce Pearl landing SEC coaching jobs. He rode Roanld Steele into the gorund playing him over 40 minutes a game and effectively ruining his career. Gerald Wallace never did anything while at Alabama, which was largely due to CMG playing him out of position. He never worked on developing a bench which led to his teams wearing down late in the year. Auburn was a nobody during the Tide's good runs, but CMG actully allowed Jeff Lebo to overtake him for a brief period. CMG's player never improved their skill level while at UA and in some cases seemed to regress. Players like Avery Jukes and Justin Tubbs tansferred out and the substitution patterns baffled even the causal observer.


The end of the Ronald Steele era
Lazy recruiting/coaching
Personal issues

For what seemed like 3 years, CMG blamed the program's problem on Ronald Steele's injury, which was just plain wrong. Instead of developing Mikhail Torrence who never got any playing time, CMG's final 3 years saw the program go for new heights to very low times. Fan support dwindled and CMG went Tommy Tubberville and became lazy in his recruiting. Things turned ugly due to personal issues and CMG was finally forced out. Even under Phillip Pearson, UA seemed to play harder then it did for Gottfried.


I was really a big fan of CMG when he started out. He did good things at UA, but it always seemed like we could have done more. Their was never any consistency in the program and things spiraled out of control. When it went bad, it went bad. There were definently good times, but one has to wonder what if Antoine Pettway didn't beat Southern Illinois at the buzzer in 2004 or Florida in 2002, just how long would have the Gottfried era lasted? Alabama easily could have never made that run to the Elite 8 or won an SEC Title. Some very talented squads barely qualified for the NCAA Tournament and 8-8 in the SEC was the norm.

What's going to happen at NC State? Seemed like a desperate move for an embattled AD and an ex-coach who was bitter about his dismissal at UA to the point that he went out of his way to criticize his ex-team despite the success they had in 2011. Do you really think that Gottfried can beat Krysweski, Williams, etc. in the basketball hotbed that is the ACC when he couldn't consistently beat Stansbury & Lebo in the SEC?

Hope it works out for ya'll in Raleigh, but I don't see it happening. Thank the Lord that we have Anthony Grant!

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