Lessons from the NC State search
I could rehash all of my criticisms of Gene Defilippo without much prompting, but honestly he handles himself much better than many of his peers. Take NC State's Debbie Yow for instance. Monday -- after getting publicly snubbed by Shaka Smart -- she sent out a letter to NC State fans explaining the Wolfpack's troubles in finding a coach. After lowering expectations with the letter, she left ACC followers scratching their heads by hiring Mark Gottfried on Tuesday. Just when you think she couldn't handle this even worse, Yow used Gottfried's press conference to attack Gary Williams!
Let's recap where she went wrong and how it compares to Gene.
1. Firing a coach without a solid list of replacements. NC State wanted an A-list coach. That is their prerogative. But if you are following that path you need to make sure your A listers will take the job if offered. Nothing looks worse than getting ignored by other coaches. Contrasts that with Gene. In his two football searches and one basketball search he always interviewed some candidates that would take the job. When you are snubbed by a candidate it hurts recruiting and usually ends with the school overpaying for a candidate they don't want.
2. Admitting the struggle to fans. Many ADs lower expectations but doing it in your own email looks bad. She devalued her own program and made the open position less desirable. Gene is king of sending messages, but he is pretty careful about what he says as on the record.
3. Airing grudges publicly. Yow's spat with Williams makes her look petty and it also ruined Gottfried's introduction to the Wolfpack fans. Gene certainly can get in pissing matches. But he is smart enough to limit what he says on record. One less headache and one more chance to improve productivity.