While the rest of the ACC is having a ridiculous 2016-17 campaign, N.C. State has taken a major step back this season. Last night, Mark Armstrong of ABC 11 in Raleigh was the first to report Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried will be fired at the conclusion of the season.
Here is my 6pm Gottfried report: pic.twitter.com/QpIVEppC9B
— Mark Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) February 13, 2017
North Carolina State adamantly denied the report despite other media outlets confirming Armstrong's report.
At this point, you don't have to look much further than the Wolfpack's current streak of games to connect the dots. N.C. State has dropped their last five-consecutive games and many of those losses haven't been remotely competitive.
Right now there's a bunch of smoke and mirrors, but it'll be interesting to see the details when this thing pans out. Gottfried has an impressive resume, leading his squad to the NCAA tournament four out of his five years in Raleigh. There was a time roughly a month ago where N.C. State was competitive in almost every game, knocking off Duke and Virginia Tech along the way. It's been a drastic turn in the wrong direction.
Did something happen behind closed doors? Are the players giving Gottfried their best effort? Those are the answers I'm searching for.
At this point, it would be hard to see Gottfried on the sidelines next season. Who could take his place?
Archie Miller, Dayton
Dayton basketball head coach Archie Miller shouts a call during a game earlier this season. (Dayton Athletics)
Some of yesterday's reports actually said the N.C. State brass is already gaging interest from Miller, who is widely regarded as a coach on the rise. In his 6 years at Dayton, Miller has led the Flyers to three NCAA tournament appearances and with a 19-5 record so far this season. it looks like it will happen again. He's a 2003 graduate of N.C. State, so it certainly makes sense.
Chris Collins, Northwestern
Collins has had an up and down tenure at Northwestern, but his teams have rarely sat at the bottom of the conference. This year's Wildcats squad is catching eyes with a 19-6 record that includes wins over Ohio State, Indiana and Wisconsin. I'm not convinced N.C. State is a big enough draw to sway Collins out of the Big Ten, especially considering the recent spike in ACC competition across the board. The N.C. State brass understands the tradition surrounding Wolfpack hoops, and might take any steps necessary to get the right guy.
Will Wade, VCU
Will Wade addresses the media during his introductory press conference at VCU. (A-10 media relations).
Will Wade has brought his own touch to the VCU program and picked up right where Shaka Smart left off. I actually think Wade's current group is playing better than the teams during Smart's latter years. Before the season tipped off, Bleacher Report called Wade the No. 1 up and coming college basketball coach to keep an eye on. With a 20-5 record and a legitimate run in the NCAA tournament looking like a possibility, Wade will be a hot name for any big head coaching vacancy. N.C. State could be an attractive option.
Niko Medved, Furman
This is a name most casual basketball fans probably aren't familiar with. Furman is a program that hasn't reached the NCAA tournament in decades, but Medved has worked wonders in a short period of time. After finishing 9-21 in his first season in 2013-14, Furman has steadily improved under Medved. Right now, the Paladins boast a 19-8 record and have a real shot to reach the NCAA tournament. Is N.C. State too big of a jump for Medved? Maybe. With Furman sitting in Greenville, S.C. just four hours south of Raleigh, the Wolfpack decision makers have certainly heard the hype surrounding Medved.