NC State: Cowher Not Interested
NC State fans have been buzzing about the possibility of Bill Cowher taking over their faltering program. The rumors centered on the poor season the Steelers were having and the fact that many believe this will be his last season in the Iron City. And of course, his being an NC State alum and building a brand new mansion in Raleigh fueled the fire of fantasy at North Carolina's land grant university.
Well, looks like those dreams of a savior for the program are short lived:
"I'm very flattered to hear some of the things that have been coming out, but I'm not a candidate," Cowher said after practice. "I have a job here, and my focus really is on this job right here, so you can take me off the list."
This really isn't a shock. After 15 years as an NFL head coach, the prospect of having to hit the recruiting trail can't be terribly appealing. And let's face it, Cowher's tough guy routine is not something that plays well to the young athlete these days. John Bunting over at UNC found that out. Talking to several UNC players, they made it clear that they felt a lot of potential recruits to the program were turned off by the tough guy disciplinarian style of Bunting.
Running the NC State program is not a plumb job, either. Amato's run peaked a few years ago with the win over Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl. After that it has been declining on a yearly basis. The most positive aspect of things over in Raleigh are the facility upgrades and stadium expansion that have taken place under Amato. On the downside, the natives have been restless. NC State has always had an inferiority complex due to the proximity to Carolina and Duke, the academic reputations of Carolina and Duke and of course hoops. NC State fans somehow have been convinced they can dominate those schools in football, be a power and get respect. But lack of success against their archrival (UNC, who has been atrocious the past few years) hasn't helped the situation and expectations in Raleigh. If they can't beat UNC while the 'Heels are at the bottom, well, that doesn't paint a rosey picture.
NC State is certainly hoping for at least a reasonably well known name to take the job. Competing with UNC bringing in Butch Davis down the road is tough. And speculation is already growing that Davis is going to be bringing in some high powered assistant coaches. Davis also said that he plans on focusing on making the state of North Carolina his primary recruiting grounds (UNC was very successful during the last several years of Mack Brown's reign, when they completely locked down NC). Add to the mix that Wake Forest is going to be higher on recruits' radar after the year they had, and ECU just beat NC State and is climbing back up the ladder.
It is clear: Whomever takes over at NC State will have a hell of a lot of work to do.