In a way, one of the toughest jobs in college basketball is at NC State. Some people will scream that it is a plum job in a phenomenal conference with great exposure and visibility.
The problem is, when you look on either side, there is Duke and North Carolina. They are staring you in the face.
The one thing I love about new coach Mark Gottfried is he will embrace the challenge in a positive way. Gottfried will only care about what is going on in Raleigh and not worry about things in Durham or Chapel Hill.
That was certainly the philosophy of the late Jim Valvano when he coached the Wolfpack. Jimmy V knew that Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith would have their share of success, so he only cared about being as successful as he could be. He went out and recruited big time!
That is what impresses me about Gottfried as he will work so hard, pounding the pavement to build the NC State program. Sure, it is beautiful that he will get attention by jumping out of a plane with a parachute and delivering a football at an NC State football game. That is big time, similar to what Nick Bollettierri did for his 80th birthday, jumping out of a plane with the Golden Knights up at West Point.
The best way to get notoriety in basketball, especially down at The Triangle, is win, win, win, baby! That all starts in a simple way.
1. Have the ability to recruit. It is all about the talent level, baby! You need good players to win!
2. Have the ability to communicate with your players, alumni, fans, media and administration. It comes down to teamwork to be successful, and everyone has to be on the same page.
3. You have to handle the pressure of game situations. There is so much scrutiny today with local talk radio, the Internet and newspapers responding to your every move. Everything you do is analyzed and evaluated.
My friends, winning solves a lot of the problems.
It all starts by getting blue-chip athletes. Gottfried has a verbal commitment for 2012 from Oak Hill (N.C.) point guard Tyler Lewis, a top-70 player. You know Gottfried will add more names in the near future.
NC State will step it up. Gottfried has fought hard all his life. He fought hard as a player at Alabama on NCAA tournament teams. He was a guy who battled when he was on the staff at UCLA, when the Bruins won a national championship.
I feel the Wolfpack have the right leader in place for the future. They're not leaping out of this plane without a parachute.