Gottfried Off To Busy Start

RALEIGH, N.C. - It's been just two months since Mark Gottfried was introduced as the new men's basketball coach at NC State - 62 days to be exact.

But if the hours of work that have been put in and the amount that's been accomplished in those two brief months is any indication of what's to come under his leadership, it's obvious that the Wolfpack is in good hands.

Gottfried hit the ground running following the press conference announcing his hiring on April 5. Within a week he had taken and passed the NCAA recruiting test, hired three assistant coaches, met with support staff, taken a couple of recruiting trips and even gone on a quick jaunt out to Stanford University to watch his son Brandon, a tight end for the Cardinal, play his spring game.

In the next few weeks he spoke at Wolfpack Club events, hired a Director of Operations and a Strength & Conditioning Coach, evaluated the facilities at the Dail Center and the RBC Center, signed a couple of players, attended an NABC function in New York City, the Dickie V Gala in Florida and ACC Meetings. In his spare time, he and his wife searched for and bought a house in Raleigh.

"It's definitely been a whirlwind," says Gottfried. "But I feel great about the staff we've put together and I know that all of us are working towards the same goals - graduating our players and winning games."

Although Gottfried says that there were many important things that needed to be done - and be done quickly - after he took the job, the number-one item on the agenda was to get to know and begin to develop relationships with the members of his team.

"I can watch film and see what kind of players they are," Gottfried continued. "And that's definitely important as we build our program. But what I've wanted to do is just get to know them as people - talk to them about their families, their goals. I really wanted to get their take on what they were feeling and talk to them about my vision for what we're going to build together here at State."

Senior C.J. Williams has been impressed. "The entire new coaching staff is very personable and outgoing. We are all very comfortable going to them and talking about anything. Coach Gottfried is very open, and learning from him has been such a positive in the short amount of time he has been here. The staff is constantly teaching us new things, and preparing us to become a better team."

Gottfried considers himself a players' coach, a description that Mo Williams, who played guard under his tutelege at Alabama from 2002-03 and now plays for the L.A. Clippers, agrees with. "He is a players' coach. He took a personal interest in all of us, both on and off the court," said Williams following Gottfried's hire. "He took us in as family, and put us in a position to succeed. This is a great hire for NC State, they got a great coach and a great recruiter. He has the ability to bring in top talent, and to get players to the next level. He had a great track record at Alabama, and got the most out of all of us."

Despite his busy schedule, Gottfried has tried to spend time with his players as much as possible, even if it's just yelling down into the gym to say hello when they're shooting around. On one recent afternoon, Gottfried, current players C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown and former players Levi Watkins, Tony Bethel, Julius Hodge and Chucky Brown, were in the practice gym together, exchanging jibes and telling stories about past games and experiences.

"That's what I love about being a basketball coach." Gottfried continued, "Getting to know players who helped build the program to what it is today and the ones who will carry on the tradition in the future. NC State has had a great basketball past and I know that our players are going to work hard to make the future bright as well."

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