When NC State announced that Mark Gottfried was going to be their next head basketball coach, a lot of the initial reaction was “Who”? Now we know a little more about him and his coaching past but we at Thee Sports Blog wanted to find out more.
Gottfried coached at Alabama for 11 years so we interviewed some Alabama basketball fans (yes they exist). Bobby and Mitchell, two Alabama fans, they run the site Alabama Basketball Blog, and they gave us some insight on their former coach. Their responses…in Crimson.
Interview after the jump…
TSB What was your reaction when you heard NC State hired Mark Gottfried?
ABB Shock. After that initial shock it went to… wow, NC State fans are not going to like this. He is, IMO an upgrade over Lowe so that’s something. This is a 50/50 type hire. When Mark was hired by Alabama, he was a rising star in the coaching ranks and most fans and media in the state of Alabama were excited about the hire.
TSB What type of offense should NC State fans expect from a Gottfried run team?
ABB High post offense. It’s what he does best. I don’t know the personnel at NC State, but he’ll need a couple of big men with good hands and a point guard that can get the ball to them. If you expect to see some defense played you are watching the wrong team.
TSB What was the fan base’s biggest complaint about Gottfried? About his coaching?
ABB For one thing, he had a terrible road record at Alabama (28-74, give or take a few) during his tenure…and that was in the SEC. His teams would start out strong and then the other team would make adjustments and the team would not react to it. If the crowd got going, his teams would become rattled. Offensively, his teams didn’t always play together, and in later years Bama was annually one of the worst defensive teams in the conference. 20+ point blowouts on the road. As a long time fan I knew the minute we got down double digits on the road, the team (and coaching staff) would quit. Gottfried is far and away our all-time leader in 20+ point road losses. When Gottfried surrounds himself with good assistants you’ll see a team that sits around 20 wins. When he is calling the shots, then its a problem (see last 3 years at Bama).
TSB Speaking about the last 2-3 years at Alabama, what happened?
ABB He rode the Ron Steele horse to death… just about. (Ron Steele, Alabama star PG who left the team right before Gottfried resigned) He relied on that poor kid ‘til his knees gave out. Then he used that excuse as to why we were no longer winning. He played favorites despite what they did on the court.The fanbase was not very supportive of him at that point. Attendance was really bad. There were rumors that his relationships with high school and AAU coaches had suffered. It was just time for a change. I think Mark needed a change as well as the program. I have no ill will towards the guy and hope he succeeds at NC State. He did some good things for Alabama basketball, but the program grew stagnant under his watch.
TSB Finally, just some overall thought on Mark Gottfried, at Alabama and moving forward?
ABB He ran a clean program. There was never any rumors of breaking the rules in regards to recruiting, players never got in trouble and he had a good graduation rate.
Mark has been away from the game for two seasons. If he’s taken stock of the mistakes he made at Alabama, he could emerge a stronger coach for it. I do think the selections he makes for his staff will be interesting because there are quite a few people who point to the relative strength of his staff in the early days of his tenure vs the later years. Ultimately, do I think he can go toe-to-toe with Coach K and Roy Williams? No. But you could say that for 99% of all coaches out there.
I do think he has a newfound energy to prove himself, which will help him. He will be able to recruit talent to NC State, but will he be able to develop it? I think it comes down to what the fans expect. I think he can make the program competitive and get the team back to the NCAA tournament, but I have my doubts if he can build and sustain a championship-caliber program in Raleigh.