Gottfried burned by too much success too early

Here’s a friendly piece of advice for the coach who succeeds Mark Gottfried at North Carolina State: Just take it easy for a while. That way, when you start to show some progress, you’ll be cheered as the next John Wooden.

If you have success right out of the gate, you can expected to be fired like Gottfried or on the hot seat like Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn.

Gottfried inherited a program that was coming off 15-16 season and had not been to the NCAA tournament in five years. In his first year, Gottfried won 24 games and reached the Sweet 16. He followed that with seasons of 24, 22 and 22 game. In those first four years, the team won six NCAA tournament games.

But last season the Wolfpack slipped to 16 wins, and they have hovered around .500 this season. So he’s out.

A similar story can be told about Malzahn. He inherited a team coming off a 3-9 season. He immediately won 12 games and reached the national title game. In the three seasons since he has won 8, 7 and 8 games. If somehow we could magically change the order of those season, Malzahn would be considered the next Knute Rockne.

The point is that maybe N.C. State will be better off with another coach. But to call Gottfried’s tenure in Raleigh anything other than a success is to forget what the standards for success were five years ago.

For Threaded Fasteners, I’m Randy Kennedy with Nuts and Bolts of the Game.

Stephen Root