Herb-Encrusted Buckeye?

I’ve been ignoring all this Herb Sendek-to-Ohio State talk, because it didn’t seem reasonable. Yes, he coached in Ohio for a while (at Miami), but he’s not from there. Also, Ohio State is not a step up from State. Historically, it’s probably a step down and recently, it’s about an equal step. The only reason I could see him leaving is if he felt unsafe at State or if OSU threw a lot of money at him.
It would make some sense for Herb to feel insecure in his position at State. Fans have been calling for his head for years now and he knows it. The last two years though have gone well and the howling has mostly died down. Lots of State fans still don’t like him, but are no longer willing to fire him. One bad season (or half season) would immediately refreeze that detente.
I’m not so sure that OSU could win Herb with just money. They have a bigger athletic department, due largely to their monstrous football program, but could they really offer much more than State? Even if they did, State would probably try to match or come close. He doesn’t strike me as a guy who’d pull that sort of trick on State though. I don’t think Sendek is all about the Benjamins. Plus, I don’t know if he’s earned enough goodwill to survive a game of chicken with the AD and Wolfpack club.
So, if there doesn’t seem to be a good reason for Herb to leave the Red and Black for the Scarlet and Gray, why does the story persist? I can’t say for sure, but the fact that story has lingered, tells me something. Bobby Knight’s name also came up in connection to the opening, and Ohio State officially said he was out of the running. No such announcement has been made about Herb.
In yesterday’s new conference, Herb was asked about whether Ohio State had contacted him. Sendek’s response, “It’s obviously flattering anytime your name comes up.” He added, “It’s also flattering to be the coach at N.C. State.”
Not really a denial, is it? It’s the kind of thing that coaches say when they are thinking of leaving. I’m not saying that Herb has been talked to by the Buckeyes or that he’d listen if they called, but he didn’t say no either. It may just be that he’s avoiding being definitive as a hedge against the future. Maybe the OSU job doesn’t interest him, but some other job down the road might. If he clearly says he’s not interested now, but then doesn’t make the same declaration about that later job, he’d open himself for questioning.
Herb’s a smart guy. I think he’s just planning for the future. He knows that he’ll probably never be fully accepted by the Wolfpack fans. He may be thinking that if he has one more solid year, and all indications are that he will, that he can turn that into a more secure job at some other top program. Why close any doors now? I think he’s thinking that if he plays coy with Ohio State, other schools might see him as a guy who’s open to listening and also a guy who won’t blow the cover of a secretive job search.
So, I’m not ignoring this story anymore.

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