NC State Beat: The Tough, but Right, Decision

The past two weeks have been hectic for NC State, to say the least. A lot has happened very quickly for State, but for the most part it has been for the better. State fans are mixed on everything going on right now, but almost everyone is excited about what the future holds for the Pack.

Here’s a recap of what the Pack have been up to the past few weeks.

Tom O’Brien Out 

Almost two weeks ago, NC State athletic director Debbie Yow made what some have called a ‘controversial’ decision. Yow, who is no stranger to stirring the pot, decided to part ways with head coach Tom O’Brien. It all boiled down to TOB taking an approach to winning football games, and more importantly championships, that Yow believes is outdated. And she couldn’t be more right.

O’Brien was never going to go into the home of a high school All-American and humble himself by selling the recruit on how much he wanted the player to play at State. No, TOB was more of the “It’s my way or no way, and if you don’t come I don’t really care” kind of guy. TOB’s approach is obviously linked to his military background, and would certainly work at one of the service academies. But at an ACC school, with an athletic director and fan base who are tired of being average, it’s just not going to fly.

Debbie Yow made the tough, but ultimately right decision. It is no secret that whether TOB stuck around or not, next season is going to be somewhat of a rebuilding year for State. So why wait and prolong the inevitable?

Tom O’Brien did great things at State. He took a dysfunctional program, and restored discipline and order, all while running a completely clean program. He also leaves behind a solid foundation for the next NC State coach to build on. The facts still remain that when it came to winning games that mattered TOB didn’t get it done. He only won one division road game, had a losing ACC record, and only had a winning record when games against FCS opponents were counted. Call it what you may, but the only way to describe it is pathetic.

Dave Doeren In

When Debbie Yow announced that Tom O’Brien would not return to NC State, she promised a quick search. She knew, as most everyone else did, that the competition was going to be fierce for head coaches this off-season.

Despite jobs like Auburn, Tennessee and California being available, Yow delivered, as she promised. Exactly one week after firing TOB, Yow announced the hiring of Northern Illinois head coach, Dave Doeren. Doeren was Yow’s “first choice” and actually turned down interest from Auburn and Cal, because NC State was his “first choice.”

Doeren led Northern Illinois to the Orange Bowl this season, though he will not coach them there, and had a 23-4 record at NIU in his two seasons there, including two MAC championships.

Of course, there are going to be those not sold on a guy who only has two years of FBS head coaching experience, but 23-4 and two conference championships is 23-4 and two conference championships no matter where it happens. As is the case with most every coach in college athletics, his success will ultimately come down to how good of a staff he can assemble. See Mark Gottfried’s first year success at State as an example.

No one knows right now what Doeren’s time at State will hold. Many great coaches have come from the MAC, but there have also been a few flops. The only thing that is certain is that NC State was able to secure a highly respected young coach who many schools would have loved to have had running their football program. Now, all we can do is support him, the staff, and the team, as they attempt to elevate the NC State football program.

Basketball Coming Along

First and foremost, NC State was overrated to begin the season. Myself, along with many others, said that from the beginning. However, the Pack can still be the top-10 team they were projected to be, as long as they continue to progress.

Oklahoma State and Michigan, brought the Pack down to earth. Their weaknesses were evident, and their flaws were exploited. But those games could have been the best thing to happen to State. Those games woke up veteran players who seemed to sleep walk through the first few games, and opened the eyes of a group of freshman who still have a long way to go.

Richard Howell has stepped up as the much needed leader for the group, and Lorenzo Brown and Calvin Leslie have begun to play with the desire that can be expected from potential lottery picks. State’s freshmen continue to show that they are very talented, and are slowly but surely becoming comfortable within the offense.

This team has a long way to go, but fans can still expect a potentially great year from this group.


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NC State blogger Spencer HardisonSpencer Hardison has been writing about NC State athletics for over a year for various web sites, and has been talking about and passionately pulling for the Pack since the day he was born. He lives by the idea that numbers never lie, and firmly believes that defense wins championships. Spencer is one of the more opinionated and passionate people you will ever meet. Basically, he’ll argue with a wall, if said wall doesn’t agree with him. All in all, Spencer loves to be opinionated, make bold statements, and prove to everyone that he is right and they are wrong. Oh, and Taylor Swift has written three songs about him. You can find Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerHardison.

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