NC State fires Tom O’Brien

After finishing up the regular season with a 27-10 win over Boston College, NC State fired head coach Tom O’Brien.  Here is the official statement from

NC State Athletic Director Debbie Yow stated: Coach O’Brien’s service to NC State over the last six years has been sincerely appreciated by Wolfpack Nation.”  “We especially appreciate his attention toward NCAA rules compliance, a value that will continue to be held by NC State. We wish him well in future pursuits.

O’Brien was 40-35 in his six seasons with the program, but just 22-26 in ACC play. O’Brien’s contract runs through December 2015, and the school will owe him roughly $1.2 million spread over the next three years. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible will serve as interim coach.

Debbie Yow also said that “Coach O’Brien and I agree on the goal of becoming a Top 25 program, we just don’t agree on what it takes to get there,”  A decline in ticket sales was also a factor in NC State deciding to go in a different direction with the football program.

“We’ve lost over 1,000 season ticket holders in the last year, I have to say that matters some in the direction of the program.”


So who will be next for NC State? Any thoughts, gut feelings, dream list of coaches.  Also, Boston College fired Frank Spaziani and Auburn fired head coach Gene Chizik, just two years after winning a national championship.

36 thoughts on “NC State fires Tom O’Brien”

  1. I hate it for the man and some of his assistants, but it was time. 1-14 on the road and some terrible losses when so much was on the line was too much to overcome.

  2. I thought for sure at the beginning of the year that there was no way he’d be fired at the end of this year, despite whatever record he had.

    Debbie doesn’t fool around.

    Now she just needs to make sure ncstateshit doesn’t blow up in her face.

  3. So Yow told the players she wants a coach who will recruit “Alabama” type talent. Bet that makes the current players feel good right now.

  4. I don’t want to sound like I’m just plain dissing NC State, but please think honestly … who can they get that would be able to recruit “Alabama type talent”?

    In order to do that at NC State, one would have to be able to recruit nationally. There is not enough “Alabama type talent” in the state, and I don’t see NC State making a lot of headway into the 757 (VT/UVA territory) or South Carolina (Clemson/USC territory) without being able to recruit nationally.

    I can only think of a small handful of coaches that could come to NC State and recruit nationally … Saban, Urban, maybe Les Miles? They all seem to have pretty good gigs at the moment. Outside of those guys, maybe Gruden or Cowher or someone else from the NFL ranks, but I would consider those type of guys unlikely to come to State.

    I think Debbie can do better than TOB, but I don’t think she can do that much better.

  5. RIP TOB. NCSU could do a lot worse. I see the possible downside of the change being bigger than the possible upside. But who knows, without the change they would be middle of the pack for the foreseeable future.

  6. “I think Debbie can do better than TOB, but I don’t think she can do that much better.”

    Yes, good thought to set the bar high, but you have to be willing to pay some serious cash too. Sounds like Yow and TOB didnt see eye to eye when it came to recruiting.

    Cautionary tale down the road though about trying to go after an aggressive recruiter, big-time football coach.

  7. I liked TOB, but he has under-performed in certain areas. He had a terrible opening game record and lots of bad losses that tempered the good wins.

    I don’t know what to think…the team had serious flaws this year and I don’t know if that was on the coaching (the 4-5 star recruiting has been off, but TOB has a knack for making 2-3 star recruits excel).

    I guess I’ll reserve my judgment to this…if Yow has a damn good coaching prospect lined up and this is part of a thought out plan, then I’m okay with it. If yow has just fired TOB without a plan or at least one good prospect, then it’s just the same old Stateshit as Tacos puts it. Pretty soon, NCSU will scare off any coaching prospect with our tendency to fire them left and right.

    We’ll see how it goes…sigh. this and the prospect of the ACC blowing has me a bit down on college sports right now.

  8. I hope they have someone exceptional lined up. If not, this looks like overkill. 24-14 over the last three years ain’t bad. Pretty bad coaching in the UNC game was all on him, and the loss to UVA hurt, but damn.

  9. Wilf, that’s one of the few stats that has me somewhat concerned. That’s a good trend … points to consistency and better than stated recruiting.

    However, I think it just gets out-weighed by the road record and bed shitting when the doors of opportunity opened up.

    I think “Alabama talent” was more of a euphemism than a hard statement mandating State beat out Bama for a few kids. At the very least, get someone like Keith Marshall to “consider” the local school.

    This can make or break Yow’s legacy as AD, that’s for sure.

  10. I’m hopeful that the “Alabama talent” comment was a tipped-hand that Alabama’s DC has already agreed to take the job and that it will be announced next Monday.

    I don’t think that’s the case, but I’d be happy if it was.

    TOB made Todd Gurley’s final list, so I don’t hold Marshall against him. I don’t know much about Marshall’s family, but a recruiting story about him said that he grew up a UGa fan, and was going to UGa as long as Richt didn’t get fired.

  11. I really hope Yow already has a good idea of who she’s hiring. This isn’t meant to be a slight to NC State but the State job already ranks behind a number of schools looking for coaches.

    Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee are all looking for coaches and are a lot more attractive than NCSU right now. Cal and Purdue have openings as well that are on par with State, maybe slightly better. To bring in the coach Yow is wanting, she’s going to have to seriously break open the checkbook.

  12. I don’t think one job is more attractive to another in the eyes of a coach. So many factors are involved. For example, would you rather jump into a program with a solid foundation that will give you five-six years to install your system, while asking for at least one trip to the league championship in that time or leap into a school that demands you compete for SEC rings in year two?

    Now, of course, pay is a factor.

  13. Craig, your last sentence summed it up, and I think one job would be more attractive to another. There are going to be 4 SEC jobs opening and except for maybe Kentucky, I’m sure a coach would love to compete in the best football conference in the country instead of the ACC that might not even be around.

    Vandy’s coach is getting $3 million a year.

  14. Yeh I think the position matters too. Especially if the coach knows that he can get fired at any time by a rabid fanbase.

    Also I think the position matters based on the school. Some schools aren’t going to attract talent like others. They are going to be harder to recruit to.

  15. I think the right coach can get talent to any school. LA Tech? Boise St.? Rutgers?

    Think about it, there are four spots open in the SEC. What does that tell the coaches out there?

    Auburn is only two years from a national championship. Two years.

  16. Yes a coah can get talent to any school. TOB brought in talent. there is a difference from Boise St. LA Tech and Rutgers when the AD says she wants Alabama talent.

    Why would you not want a shot in the SEC? If the coach is afraid of the rabid fanbase he doesnt need to be coaching there anyway.

  17. Boise State LA Tech and Rutgers aren’t Alabama…by any stretch. BSU and LA Tech aren’t/weren’t in big time conferences playing flagship school on the regular. Sure Boise State had upsets but couldn’t get by Nevada when it counted. Having an upstart program here and there is one thing, but a dynasty? All the big dogs in the polls are historic programs that have been doing it for ages. The others are programs that have a few good years and they’re done.

    As much as I hate to say it…to get Alabama talent on a regular basis…you gotta have Alabama reputation. Now a coach can take a school to a high level but even then, they will get snatched up…so its like a catch 22. Maybe I’m just disillusioned by it all lately.

  18. LOL Mike…I sense some sarcasm…of course I’m full of cynicism.

    I just don’t know…it just seems futile to try and become a football powerhouse…

    Between this and wondering if the ACC will even be around…I’m broken down.

  19. The ACC will be around. Stop it with that nonsense already.

    UCONN will be coming on board, and Notre Dame will be a football member too. Watch and see.

    No reason the Pack can’t expect to get a great coach and compete with everyone. Did you think Oregon could five years ago?

  20. Nino,

    I don’t know that Smart would just turn his nose up at NCSU if he was approached. I don’t think he’s a higher-profile guy than Charlie Strong was, and Strong went to Louisville.

    Rumor has it that Kentucky has locked in on someone, and UT is likely going after a bigger name after the Dooley experiment failed.

    Auburn and Arkansas are both in Alabama’s division, and I doubt that Smart would want to leave Alabama to jump straight into having to play Saban every year.

    I don’t buy the “Get me in the SEC or no dice” idea when it comes to coordinators looking to move up. Kentucky certainly isn’t a better job than NCSU just because it’s in the SEC, unless you go strictly by the fact that they have SEC TV money that they may be willing to spend.

    Plus, if Smart would really rather be head coach, eventually, at either Georgia or Alabama, it’s probably best for him if he isn’t coaching at a different SEC school when those jobs become available.

    As far as actual ability to win and go to a big bowl, NCSU is probably better.

    Honestly, I don’t care who it is…I just hope the BOT meeting Wednesday is to approve a contract for a coach and that NCSU avoids another 2 month search.

  21. Dan,
    I’m sure Smart will listen if NCSU approaches him, I just dont see him taking the job in Raleigh. Just my opinion. He probably has looked at what Muschamp has done in Florida already and thinks he can do the same in the SEC. Smart would be a bigger name than Dooley at UT. And again, NCSU will have to open up the wallet.

  22. Speaking of ESPN, on the ACC blog for potential coaches for NC State…

    Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris
    Kent State coach Darrell Hazell
    Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren
    Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco

  23. Bobby Petrino.

    perfect stepping stone job for him to rehabilitate his image. and have you seen the ACC defenses? he’d light them up.

    what the hell does NCSU have to lose?

    besides, they are used to NCAA probation….

  24. #1. I don’t think it’s going to be him.
    #2. If he’s going to be a head coach, I think there are currently 7 SEC jobs he’d consider, only 4 of those are really good SEC jobs, and all 4 have coaches who are likely to be around a while.
    #3. He was quoted saying he was ready to be a HC, so unless he’s willing to wait for a big SEC East job to open or for Saban to retire, he has to be open to the idea of taking a non-SEC job.


    I don’t think the school gets probation because the coach cheats on his wife.

  25. Last time it was Shaka, now Kirby, will they make the Smart choice. Hi-ooo.

    NCSU BOT has an emergency meeting on Wednesday. Sounds like they are going to decide how much money Yow can spend.

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