by Bob Geary
No cool name like Shaka. But unless he's put on weight, he's got a wardrobe full of red (well, Crimson Tide) stuff from Alabama. He's Mark Gottfried, NCSU athletic director Debbie Yow's choice to replace Sidney Lowe. Thoughts?
(It occurs to me, after a moment's reflection, that Gottfried — mentioned by no one I know — was waiting in the wings, hoping Yow wouldn't land Shaka Smart, Brad Stevens or any of the other coaches she didn't land. At least she had MG as her hole card. But is he a king, a knave — or a deuce? He's no ace.)
This from Yow/State:
RALEIGH, N.C. — Former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried has accepted the position of head men’s basketball coach at NC State University. Experienced in rebuilding a men’s program, Gottfried competed in one of the nation’s toughest basketball conferences, the Southeastern Conference (SEC). He led the University of Alabama Crimson Tide to a No. 1 national ranking and has a record of outstanding success in the conference and in postseason play.
Director of Athletics Deborah A. Yow commented, “Our search has proceeded in an orderly manner and with excellent results. We are blessed to have hired a proven winner and an outstanding coach who is well prepared by experience and total commitment to lead in the rebuilding of Wolfpack men’s basketball. State is committed to having a consistently ranked Top 25 program and a successful NCAA postseason program, with student-athletes that are successful on the court and in the classroom. We have taken an important step in that direction with the hiring of Mark Gottfried as our leader of the program.”
"I am extremely excited about this opportunity and challenge," said Gottfried. "I have always had great respect for the tradition of excellence here at State and I look forward to helping build this basketball program into a national contender."
"I have known Debbie Yow for nearly 30 years and have admired her desire for greatness. After meeting with Randy Woodson, Debbie and the search committee, there is no question in my mind that we can achieve high levels of success here. That leadership combined with our world-class facilities and passionate fan base is a great foundation for building a championship program."
Prior to his stint at Alabama, Gottfried spent seven years as an assistant at UCLA and was on the staff when the Bruins won the 1995 national championship. He served as head coach at Murray State for three seasons, where he coached the Racers to three Ohio Valley Conference titles. His last squad at Murray State posted a 29-4 record.
Gottfried, 47, has served as an ESPN basketball analyst and is one of America’s most respected coaches. He brings a wealth of experience and achievement to the Wolfpack position.
He played basketball at Alabama and is the son of a basketball coach, Joe Gottfried, who served as athletic director at South Alabama for the last 28 years. His uncle, Mike Gottfried, was a longtime football coach and serves as an ESPN college football analyst. Mark was a freshman All-American and later led the Alabama team to three consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearances in the NCAA Tournament and was drafted by the Detroit Pistons.
Coach Gottfried’s Crimson Tide amassed over 210 wins during his 11 years as head coach. Gottfried led the program to two significant firsts by achieving a No. 1 ranking during the 2002-203 season and playing in the 2004 Elite Eight round of the NCAA tournament and five straight NCAA tournaments.
Coach Gottfried and his wife Elizabeth have five children, with the eldest son currently playing football at Stanford.