State Swings Lowe

The NC State coaching search is (apparently) over! The NC State coaching search is (apparently) over! Send the white (or is it black?) smoke up the big smokestack!
After a long and painful search, State has finally found their man – former Wolfpack point guard and current Detroit Pistons assistant Sidney Lowe.
Lowe seems to be good choice at this point for beleaguered AD Lee Fowler. Lowe, as the starting point guard on State’s 1983 championship team, already has the love of the Wolfpack faithful. I think it’s fair to say that Lowe is already more popular than Herb Sendek ever was. And that’s a critical factor for the Pack. They are a fanbase that’s just dying for some success. You saw the way they latched onto Chuck Amato from the second he stepped on campus and said that they were going to win. If Lowe can get off to a good start next year, two decades of repressed optimism will explode all over the Triangle.

But there’s a catch (well, two, if you count his lack of a college degree). Sidney Lowe has never been a college coach of any sort and his two stints as an NBA head man were both abject failures. Clearly, he knows the game well enough to have won two pro coaching searches, but his records in his time in Minnesota and Memphis are worrisome. In fairness to Lowe, he took over some pretty bad teams each time, but he failed to improve them much. When he was ousted eight games (and eight losses) into the season with the Grizzlies in 2002, Hubie Brown came in and improved the team immediately.
So, does the fact that Lowe has been a head man at the game’s highest levels mean he can be a great college coach? Well, is Leonard Hamilton tearing up the college ranks? Did John MacLeod succeed at Notre Dame?
Does the fact that Lowe sucked as an NBA coach mean that he won’t succeed in college? Rick Pitino and John Calipari also failed in the NBA, but have been very successful both before and after their NBA experiments.
The bottom line is that no one really knows. What we do know is that as a former point guard and a guy who’s spent the past fifteen years on NBA benches, the guy knows basketball. And, as StateFans Nation pointed out, he’s a guy who hasn’t just known success, he’s known it at NC State. He beat Carolina and Duke (granted, beating Duke in his years didn’t mean much). He won an ACC title. He won a national title. Sidney Lowe will not come in to the job thinking that he can’t compete with the local bullies. In Lowe’s mind and in his memory, NC State is a national power that can play with anyone. If nothing else, that belief alone can take him – and the Wolfpack fans – far.

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