The phone calls came and then the text messages.
All of them were wrong. NC State coach Sidney Lowe is not getting fired Friday. There is no truth to the rumor among college coaches being spread over the last 24 hours.
And if it was getting to the media, you can only imagine how much it was hitting at NC State.
"It started in the coaching circles," NC State athletic director Lee Fowler said. "I’ve had to tell [signee] Ryan Harrow's mother three times this year that there is nothing to worry about."
If you don’t think this kind of negative recruiting goes on every day in college basketball then you’re being naive. Lowe has had to deal with this for the past two years and he’s hardly alone. And yet credible head coaches believed it to be true Thursday and Friday and were calling each other and media members on the subject.
"They’ve had me fired about seven times, too," Fowler said. "I put my house on the market because our house is 4200 square feet and our kids are out of the house. That created a firestorm and yet we have a new chancellor here on Monday and there’s been no discussion about me. There was no discussion ever about Sidney not being the coach.’’
Fowler said he has three years left on his contract, which runs through 2013 just like Lowe.
Harrow is one of the top point guards in the country out of George Walton Comprehensive High School in Marietta, Ga. He signed with the Wolfpack in November, choosing NC State over Auburn, Florida and Wake Forest, according to ESPN’s Scouts Inc.
Harrow and fellow Georgia-based guard Lorenzo Brown out of Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) give NC State a coveted incoming backcourt.
NC State will have leading scorer Tracy Smith and sharp-shooter Scott Wood back. The Wolfpack won six of their last nine games to finish 5-11 in the ACC, 20-16 overall. NC State beat NCAA tournament-bound Clemson and Florida State and knocked off South Florida in the first round of the NIT in Tampa before losing at UAB.
Lowe won 20 games in his first season after replacing Herb Sendek to get to the NIT quarterfinals and then faded with 15 and 16 wins the next two seasons before winning 20 this past season.
“All of the trustees have said he deserves another year with the kids he has coming in," Fowler said.
“I don’t know where they get this stuff from," Lowe said. “Maybe it’s posturing or recruiting ploys. I don’t what it is but it’s messed up. There hasn’t been any discussion about it and the board members all say we’re headed in the right direction."
Lowe and top assistant Monte Towe said they’ve been deflecting the rumors for days.
“I’m feeling good and feeling as well as I’ve felt in a while and to hear this stuff is just disappointing," Lowe said. “Credible coaches are saying it’s out there. We’re returning a lot, have won 20 games for the second time here and finished strong. We’re looking pretty good.’’
The timing for NC State is good too with the situations at Wake Forest, Clemson and Boston College in flux after all three had coaching changes.
“We feel like we have a chance to move up," Lowe said. “We’re feeling really good about our situation."