First of all, just how difficult of a decision was this for you? I mean giving obviously your connection with Mark Gottfried?
Well, I haven't had to fire too many people [that I've hired]. I would say that every time that happened it's been challenging. And it was particularly challenging today for a couple of reasons, I've known Mark since he was 18. I also consider him a friend, and I appreciate what all he did for us, especially the first four years.
It's started with the national media, referencing Mark's NCAA Tournament appearances when discussing his firing. Why is four tournaments in six years not good enough at NC State?
Well, it was the direction of the program.
Last year and this year we felt well short, in terms of getting into the NCAA Tournament. It's one thing to lose a game, it's another thing to lose it as badly as we've lost a number of our games. We weren't competitive, and I believe that's a different type of concern.
So it had more to do with the direction of the program than anything else.
Was the plan originally for him to continue coaching this season or did that come up after speaking with him?
We met this afternoon, and I told him that I thought it would be best that a change was made. We had some discussion about why, and obviously he disagreed with what I had to say.
Then he asked me to consider allowing him to finish the season... he said wanted to finish what he started. I hadn't anticipated he would want to do that. Once he made it clear that he did, I thought about it being the right thing to do... allowing him to complete the regular season and ACC Tournament.
Did getting an early start in the coaching search play a role in your decision or did you feel it was just the right time?
I don't think anyone on the front-side knows whether or not making a change near the end of the season vs. at the end of the season will benefit the school in the search.
I think that's something we'd need to look at on the back-side, whether or not it did.
Is a basketball search different than others?
A basketball search at NC State could be different from others given the passion our fans have for the sport.
I think a thing I'm very aware of at this point that perhaps I wasn't six years ago is the prevalence of social media, speculation, and all the things that can be said, whether it was true or not.
Like what was said on the ABC affiliate in Durham, saying that someone from NC State reached out to another coach. We told them that was not true, and they decided to go with their unnamed, anonymous sources anyways.
It's a different world and that will be a challenge. The challenge will be not responding to every new speculation related to the job.
How is the situation different this search for NC State?
We are better conditioned financially this time around for a hire. We worked hard on that the last six years.
We're a different program. We have 11 programs ranked in their respective Top 25. There's a lot of energy in the program, and I have a chancellor that is stable and will be here for many years.
I know it's still early, but do you have a broad idea of what you're looking for in a coaching candidate?
Well, I think what we have in mind is what any AD would have in mind in a Power 5 Conference.
We're not going to cheat. We're not going to find our way to the top by cheating. We're not interested in that. It's not who we are. We need someone who has been successful to some degree as a head coach and someone who has a stellar reputation from an integrity perspective.
After that... you don't want to close your mind to potential candidates.
You touched on it earlier, some of the positives related to the job. Can you expand on those more?
Well I think coach Gottfried would be the first to say that all of his needs have been met for the program, all of his desires. We have a very good operating budget, an extraordinary place to play games and practice... everything they need from a recruiting perspective in terms of travel.
Most recently we also had the decision to build Case Commons, the new dorms which will include both our men's and women's basketball teams.
Have you decided on if you will use a search firm?
We will definitely use a search firm. We haven't selected one yet, but we will be using a search firm.
What went into that decision?
They have the capability to do a different kind of background search. Because they do this for a living, they know things that are not in background checks, like if this coach has a drinking problem... those kinds of things that you really need to know if you can't necessarily found out any other way.