Findley comes to NC State following his fourth straight winning season at Butler. More specifically, his 2010 Butler squad entered the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 5 nationally and was one of only two unbeaten teams in the nation. He led Butler to the national stage with top 25 rankings, league championships and NCAA Tournament appearances. His overall record as head coach at Butler was an impressive 59-25-15, and the club's 16 wins this season ranked among the best in team history.
After Butler repeated as league champions in 2010, Findley was named Horizon League coach of the year for the second straight season. He also mentored the league player of the year and Herman Trophy semifinalist Ben Sippola.
How is North Carolina viewed nationally when it comes to producing soccer talent? Is it a state known for having a surplus of talent?
I would say so. North Carolina has a rich tradition. The weather is conducive for being able to play outside. The state has large cities and the caliber of coaches necessary to develop talent with the local clubs... not only in Raleigh but places like Charlotte, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem.
I think their investment in their local communities has made the talent level very strong, not only on the east coast but also nationally.
How familiar re you with the talent in the triangle area?
Very familiar. I know a lot of coaches from the area and call a lot of those guys my friends. It's always interesting to see kids you coach a few years ago when they are really young come through and be successful... guys like Cody Arnoux, and Zack Schilawski, guys who have starred that I coached when they were 14 years-old on the ODP teams. Those two went to Wake Forest. Cody Arnoux is playing with Everton now in the EPL, and Zack is in the MLS.
There are a lot of guys who ended up playing for ACC schools that are from North Carolina that I coached when they were younger.
I feel very familiar with the area, the coaches, and even the style of play and quality of talent in the area.
Talk a little more about your background with coaching state club teams.
I started as an assistant in North Carolina with the '87 group [players born in 1987], and moved my way up. I was the '88 state team coach that had those guys on like Cody Arnoux... some quality guys. Some very, very good players from the local area.
We were able to win the regional ODP camp and go on to nationals where we tied for the national championship right when I moved to Butler.
So I've been associated with that program as an assistant and I helped with some coach education pieces when I was at Charlotte and Mars Hill. Even in Indiana, I did ODP up there and we actually won an ODP national championship with the '92 team in Indiana.
What exactly is ODP?
ODP is a national identification program, and it stands for Olympic Development Program. Basically, they take the top 18-20 players from every state and you go to regional events and compete there with the top players from all the other states.
It used to be the vehicle for national team identification. It still is a vehicle, but now the US Soccer Development Academy is another vehicle.
How important is in-state recruiting?
I think it's vital. There is so much talent in the state of North Carolina that it is always the starting point.
My goal is to have a strong base of North Carolina players. I do think it's going to take some time for them to buy into our program, just like anything else, we're going to have to re-invent the culture a little bit, but my goal is to have a fine base of quality North Carolina players and go from there.
How familiar are you with the returning roster at NC State? Is there still time to recruit for next season?
There is time on that. Our signing date is the first Wednesday in February, and that's coming up pretty quick. That's the first day you can sign, and you can sign up until the first day they report to school.
This is a hot time right now. At Butler we've been done since July 1st of this current year for 2011, so we're a little bit behind at NC State, as far as with the 2011 class, but I know Dan and George did a good job of bringing in talent and there are two guys who are already verbally committed that we are excited about.
We'll be able to manage all that whether it's through transfers, foreign players, the current guys, and the commitments... I think we're in pretty good shape overall.
What I know about the team, looking at the results and the little bit of video I've seen, there is a good group of talent there. I'm excited about that. It's always difficult to go into a situation where you basically have to recruit a whole new team, and I don't see that being the situation at NC State.
I think there is a good talent pool. There are some young guys who certainly have ability. With some organization, discipline, and drive, we'll be able to get an ACC championship in hopefully the next couple of years.