The first day of this season’s ACC Tournament was also the last day of Mark Gottfried’s coaching tenure at North Carolina State. The university announced his firing in February, but allowed him to coach the team for the remainder of the season. The long campaign came to an end tonight in Brooklyn after a listless 75-61 loss to Clemson in Brooklyn.
Afterwards, Gottfried spoke about the disappointing season and reflected on his time in Raleigh.
“Well, it’s sad for me. I came to N.C. State hoping to be here the rest of my career. That was my goal, so I’m sad,” he admitted. “Obviously, this past year and this year has been hard, but I got all kind of thoughts, I got everything running through my mind. Deep down, just disappointed.”
Gottfried went on to talk about the success he enjoyed with the program, which belied the university’s decision.
“I think it’s been well-documented, all the amazing accomplishments that have happened at N.C. State,” he said. “When I took the job, I don’t know that anybody anticipated us going to the NCAA Tournament in our first year. Then turn around, do it for three more straight years, two sweet 16s, I can go on and on. Beating number one teams in the country, all those kind of things.”
All of those accomplishments proved not to be enough at N.C. State.
“N.C. State is a wonderful place, different from every other job in this league,” Gottfried explained. “Nobody else is compared daily, the way our guys and our program is to North Carolina and Duke, they’re just not. I’ve said it many times, it’s a tough neighborhood.”
Tough neighborhood indeed and Gottfried held his own in it. It will be interesting to see if his eventual successor will be able to say the same.