NC State got it right this time when they decided to fire Tom O’Brien from coaching their football team after finishing the season 7-5. The world outside Raleigh and the ACC will look at this with different perspectives and most will ask how you fire a quality person who has taken State to multiple bowl games and has beaten arch rival UNC five of six times. They are right about Tom O’Brien being a good person, and he did take NC State to some bowl games, but the fact is his record was 39-35 with eight of those wins coming from FBS team combined with a 22-26 record in ACC play.
Tom O’Brien had NFL quarterback Russell Wilson and future pro Mike Glennon in five of the six years he lead the North Carolina State Wolfpack. The problem in Raleigh was not a lack of winning some big games in the last six years because they beat Florida State just over a month ago. The issue Tom O’Brien’s teams had was losing games they had no business losing. The North Carolina game is game that can happen in college football, but coming home the next week getting drilled by Virginia when you have a senior quarterback is unacceptable.
From interviewing NC State fans, alumni I gathered they were not expecting a perfect season, but a chance to play for the Atlantic Division. They would even had settled for not making the ACC championship if the team played more consistent and there was some creativity with the play calling in Raleigh. This was supposed to be O’Brien’s best year and comments he made about having the best talent along with Mike Glennon put the hopes of Wolfpack nation pretty high. The loss to open the season versus Tennessee turned out to be a terrible loss as the Volunteers could not win more than a game in the SEC this season.
NC State has the facilities and a passionate fan base where they should be able to recruit players that can help reach their goals of an ACC championship. It will take a energetic coach to get things going again in Raleigh because the Wolfpack lose senior quarterback Mike Glennon and Tobias Palmer to the NFL. Starting all over with a brand new quarterback and a new coach is just what this fan base needs. The energy will be present in Carter Findley with the right coach.
Debbie Yow should follow Bubba Cunningham’s lead and look for a coach with a high energy offense that has head coaching experience. Sonny Dykes would be a perfect fit in Raleigh, and would make UNC and NC States games similar to Oklahoma and Oklahoma states have been recently. There is enough talent in North Carolina for both schools to be good, but each teams staffs have to lock down the state if we are ever going to see both UNC and NC State have good teams for a long period of time.