Published November 20, 2014
The frosty relationship between North Carolina State athletic director Debbie Yow and Maryland's Gary Williams took a nasty turn during the introduction of the Wolfpack's new men's basketball coach.
Yow — who spent 16 years as Maryland's A.D. — called out the Terrapins coach who won the 2002 NCAA championship working under her of interfering with the search.
It happened during the introduction of Mark Gottfried. Yow responded to a reporter's question to Gottfried about whether she had a reputation as being difficult to work with.
"I don't have a reputation across all men's basketball of being difficult to work with," she said Tuesday. "I have a reputation of not getting along with Gary Williams, who has tried to sabotage the search. Come on, we all know that. OK, so whatever.
"It's not a reputation. It's Gary Williams out there doing his thing. Whatever."
When asked if she had specific examples of anything Williams had said or done, Yow replied, "There'll be somebody else writing about that nationally. I don't need to be doing that. That's not my job."
Doug Dull, a team spokesman at Maryland, did not immediately return a call or e-mail from The Associated Press for comment. But Williams did release a statement to the Baltimore Sun saying he hasn't talked to anyone, coach or athletic director, connected to the N.C. State search.
"I don't have any interest in the N.C. State search, since I'm coaching at Maryland and working hard to run our program," Williams said. "Anyone who says I've had contact with a prospective coach or athletic director regarding this search isn't being truthful."
Yow said she interviewed three other candidates in person and several others on the phone before hiring Gottfried, but declined to name them.
Gottfried's hiring came a day after N.C. State learned that VCU coach Shaka Smart — who had led the Rams to a surprising Final Four run and talked to N.C. State about its opening — would remain at VCU after receiving a new eight-year contract. Later Monday, Wichita State's Gregg Marshall — another name linked to the opening — announced on his radio show that he would remain with the Shockers.
The search earlier missed on apparent top target Arizona's Sean Miller, the former Xavier head coach who also worked as an assistant to Sendek with the Wolfpack for five seasons. His father, John, said his son had declined to be interviewed.
But in the end, Gottfried looked right at home. The former Alabama coach charged with rebuilding a program that struggled in five seasons under Sidney Lowe, sported a red N.C. State tie and lapel pin on his gray suit during his introduction.
Gottfried knows there's a lot of work to do. The list starts with avoiding repeatedly disappointing finishes in the Atlantic Coast Conference and beating highly ranked rivals Duke and North Carolina a little more often.
Yow said Gottfried will receive a five-year contract with a guarantee of $1.2 million annually, a deal that includes an automatic two-year extension if he leads N.C. State back to the NCAA tournament in either of the next two seasons.
Gottfried has a career coaching record of 278-155 in 14 seasons at Murray State and Alabama. He took seven teams to the NCAA tournament, including a run of five straight at Alabama from 2002-06 that also featured an appearance in the Phoenix Regional final in 2004. He also led the Crimson Tide to its first No. 1 ranking during the 2002-03 season.
"That ain't enough for me," Gottfried said, turning to face the current Wolfpack players attending the news conference. "I'm here today because I want to play for a championship. That's got to be your goal. You come to work every day, you come to practice, you better come with that in mind because that's what we want to do."
The hiring comes exactly three weeks after Lowe resigned from the program he led to a national championship as a player in 1983. He had an 86-78 overall record, but went just 25-55 in ACC play. He never finished higher than ninth in the league and managed a 3-16 record against Duke and North Carolina.
Gottfried was in his 11th season as head coach at Alabama when he resigned in January 2009 amid criticism of the team's performance and the departure of star guard Ronald Steele. He had worked as a college basketball analyst for ESPN since leaving Alabama.
His new players didn't know much about him yet.
"I mean, as much as people want to say you commit to a school, you really commit to the coaches," sophomore Scott Wood said. "It's definitely difficult, but at the same time Debbie Yow says that's what's best for the organization and we're going to move forward."