NC State athletic director Debbie Yow announced on Sunday that Wolfpack head coach Tom O’Brien was fired, effective immediately.
O’Brien, who came to NC State after the 2006 season following a ten year run at Boston College, posted a 40-35 record as Wolfpack head coach, including a 7-5 mark this season. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible has been tapped as the team’s interim coach.
Tom O’Brien had a fine run as NC State head coach, but the team’s lack of great success in the ACC (never won more than five conference games in a season) and on a national level ultimately did him in.
The move by NC State to fire a coach that was five games over .500 tells me one thing: they are all in when it comes to hiring the next head coach. Here are five coaches that I think the Wolfpack may see on their sideline come 2013:
Chad Morris, Clemson OC – Make no mistake about it: Chad Morris has to be the top guy on the Wolfpack’s list. A former Texas high school coach, Morris made the jump to Tulsa in 2010 before leaving for the offensive coordinator position at Clemson, where he is one of the highest paid assistants at approximately $1.3 million per year. The Tigers had another great season on offense under Morris’ tutelage, finishing the year with an average of 42 points per game; will Morris now jump ship for the chance to run his own ACC team?
Bud Foster, Virginia Tech DC – Foster, who many believe will replace Frank Beamer as Hokies head coach once he decides to hang it up, has been one of the top assistants in FBS football for the last ten years, and while this year’s squad was disappointing at 6-6, it shouldn’t take away from the fact that Foster is a great assistant. Now in his eighteenth season as Hokies’ defensive coordinator, Foster has interviewed for several head coaching jobs before, including at Clemson in 2008 and at Pitt last year. While Foster will more than likely keep put in Blacksburg, NC State definitely need s to give him a call.
Mark Stoops, Florida State DC – It’s just a matter of time before Mark becomes the third Stoops’ brother to hold an FBS head coaching job. The youngest of the four brothers, Mark has done a great job in his four years as Seminoles’ defensive coordinator, and as a result is up for the Broyles Award for the top assistant coach. Stoops has the kind of name recognition that any school would love to have for their football coach; the only question is which school will be the first to hand him the keys to their program.
Mike MacIntyre, San Jose State HC – MacIntyre will more than likely be a candidate for the Home Depot Coach of the Year for the performance of his Spartans, which are 10-2 for the first time since 1987, when the team was in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association. While MacIntyre leaving California for North Carolina may seem like a fish out of water, it is important to remember that MacIntyre has ties to the Southeast, as he played at Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech and served as an assistant coach at Georgia, Davidson, UT-Martin, Ole Miss, and Duke.
Tommy Bowden, former Clemson HC – Bowden would only come into play if the other coaches on NC State’s wish list shot them down, which isn’t entirely out of the question. Bowden definitely knows how to win in the ACC made apparent by his run as Tigers head coach, where he went 72-45 in ten seasons as head coach. While some of the Wolfpack fans may be disgruntled about it, Bowden is a solid head coach and would probably do a good job in Raleigh if given the opportunity.