Much longer than five names.
Have you been compiling and adding to this list lately?
I have today. I have lists on top of lists that get marked out and re-worked, but I have done some work on it this afternoon.
Is this an exciting process for you as with this hire you can put your stamp on the football program?
I'm not really interested in my stamp, but that will be one of the outcomes and I hope that impact is going to be positive.
Do you have an age profile or stage in the career of someone that you feel would make a candidate optimal?
I don't have a profile of that nature. There are people that are 60 who have the energy of a 42 year-old and people that are 50 that act like they're 80. It's really more about the spirit of the person and their energy level and their passion they have for the job ahead. This is a tough job.
Are you somebody that is more impressed about what a candidate has accomplished in their career or do you really have to meet them to be convinced?
I have a high regard for people who have achieved, because I know going in that they have done something special. That doesn't just happen. So it really starts for me with what they've achieved.
You stated that you don't want anybody with an NCAA (infraction filled) past, but what about some known personal flaws that they may have overcome? …Perhaps extra-marital issues?
It depends on how fatal those flaws might be. None of us are perfect. It's not a perfect world. I think it depends on all the circumstances of that individual. I don't think you can just draw a conclusion.
What are the biggest challenges about this job that you have to explain to a candidate that might be interested?
The person that takes this job has got to understand that finishing 5th through 8th in the league is not really what we're after. It's an interesting dynamic when you coach. You can actually survive quite nicely finishing 8th if it's coming after a year where you just won the ACC championship.
People just say "OK, we needed to reload." I think that ebb and flow is more natural and acceptable than the opposite which is just finishing 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th over and over and over again.
Is that also the case within one season? You can beat Florida State, but then you lose to Virginia. If you look at (O'Brien's) six year synopsis, there is a lot of that on a year to year basis.
I think that's always a challenge for fans because they lose a sense of security. They can't count on certain wins. There are some games where they'd like to come to games and tailgate... enjoy their family and friends and are not going to be stressed at the game. They'd rather just talk about how much we're going to beat someone by instead of worrying whether or not we'll win.
You spoke about season ticket sales, but what other types of ways do you gauge the fans' opinions?
It sounds very superficial but obviously mail does matter some. But you have to be careful about that because people get very emotional after a loss and then sometimes they just get over it.
So that matters some but that's not really the key. I think it's really more about the culture of the program and whether or not the fit works. Are we headed in the right direction? And when you start talking about the right direction, you have to look at wins and losses in the league.
And you look at ticket sales. Those are very objective ways to look at it. You also look at recruiting. How is your recruiting going year in and year out? How is attendance going year in and year out? Are we making significant progress within the ACC in terms of wins and losses?
How much has what UNC has done by bringing in a dynamic personality like Larry Fedora and the impact he's had on in-state recruits had an impact on you feeling like you need to go in a different direction?
I don't think it had a direct impact. I will say that I'm respectful of coach Fedora's passion for what he's doing, but I believe that can be matched.
College football has become a wide open offensive game with the prolific spread offenses being the current trend. There are a couple of teams within the ACC that play that way now, but that's not the personality your team has. Is that a factor?
My experience has been that if the coach wins, people are fine with the style of play. It's only when you start losing that people start picking at those kinds of things like "We don't score enough." So I'm not caught up in that as much as I am finding for us a person who is pure and simple a winner…a hardcore recruiter with a passion about what he does...and just leading. He's going to spend a lot of time with these kids. He's going to be in the training table. He's going to know a lot about what's going on in their lives. In this day and age, I can tell you in dealing with 18 to 22 year-olds... they need all of that of that type of support they can get. Their backgrounds are pretty complex sometimes.
You mentioned that you spoke to Coach O'Brien on Friday, did the game against Boston College and its result the following day make this decision any easier or more difficult?
It didn't make it any easier. I did think some more last night. I've been up since about 3:30am. So I was thinking about it at 3:30am. The gym finally opened so I went to work out. It weighs heavily on me. This is a serious decision.
Where are you with respect to an indoor practice facility? That could be attractive to a new coach.
The players told me today that they didn't know that we have had an indoor practice facility approved. It was approved about a year ago. The campus has already approved that. We asked for that when we asked for the renovation possibility of Reynolds… for the walk of fame and history and those kinds of things. They've both been approved and we have the go-ahead to start the fund raising this summer.
How do you feel about your offensive coordinator Dana Bible taking over as interim head coach? How prepared is he for this?
Dana is a pretty experienced coach. He's had a lot of stops and he's respected nationally. I think that with the support of John Tenuta and Mike Archer he's going to do fine. I think the players are good with this, and that's what matters to me most.
Do you have somebody now that would take this job?
I don't know. I haven't offered it to anyone. I have confidence in NC State and what we have here. I think we're the best kept secret as a football program; as a university; as an athletic program…by the way volleyball was selected this afternoon for the NCAA tournament.
So I think it's a matter of telling our story. For years, we haven't told our story very well. We're an interesting group. Our alums and our friends are very modest, actually. They almost see this as bragging. I don't see it as bragging.
I see it as telling our story. If we don't tell it, nobody else will. We have a lot to sell.