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Debbie Yow & Going Against the Grain

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In 2009, Offensive Coordinator James Franklin was named Head Coach-In-Waiting at the University of Maryland under longtime steward of the program Ralph Friedgen. The move was seen as somewhat controversial due to Friedgen's lack of commitment to retiring soon and the rumored push by then-Athletic Director Debbie Yow to bring some new blood to the Terrapins stagnant football program. Ultimately, none of this mattered because Yow would soon leave for NC State and Franklin would move on to bring relevancy back (?) to Vanderbilt. Point is that Debbie Yow went against the grain to intelligently elevate James Franklin at Maryland. So as we fast forward to 2016 we see that Franklin's Penn State program has a chance to win the B1G and an outside shot at the College Football Playoff... success that Yow sought to bring to her previous school.

There is no doubt that Debbie Yow has improved the NC State athletic program across the board since the days of Lee Fowler. She has done that by being apt to quickly remove coaches who aren't improving the program over time (Kellie Harper, Sid Lowe, TOB) as well as hiring coaches with a track record of long-term success on the field & in recruiting. Just recently, Debbie hired a new Men's Soccer coach with an impressive resume and championship pedigree. Upon looking at this hire we see that Yow has a particular pattern in what coaches she looks for in her department...one that she noticeably deviated from when hiring for our most valuable program.

Let's take a look at few of her most recent/notable hires and their resumes prior to arriving at NC State:

MBB: Mark Gottfried- Head Coach for 14 years; 11 Postseason Appearances; 4 Conference Titles; Elite Eight

WBB: Wes Moore- Head Coach for 15 years (D1); 13 Postseason Appearances; 12 Conference Titles

Men's Soccer: George Kiefer- Head Coach for 15 years; 10 Postseason Appearances; 2 Conference Titles; 2 Elite Eights

Softball: Shawn Rychcik- Head Coach for 8 years; 3 Postseason Appearances; 3 Conference Titles; NCAA Regional Final

Wrestling: Pat Popolizio- Head Coach for 6 years; 2 Postseason Appearances, 1 Conference Title

What is most informative here is Dr. Yow seems to like coaches that have been around the block for a while. Particularly those who not only have experience but tangible, long-term success. Looking at the two basketball coaches listed, we see 2 guys who were familiar with the region & who have been around for over a decade; guys who have had their fair share of successes and failures in their lengthy careers. Also, a guy not listed here because he wasn't hired by Yow, Elliot Avant was retained by Yow as he stepped up his recruiting and postseason success since she has arrived. So for the most part Yow seems to prefer veterans who have the added motivation of something left to prove on a high level.

When going against the grain in pushing the promotion of James Franklin, Debbie had a clear path in giving Franklin experience in the program he would one day take over. Yet in relation to the previous list her hiring of Dave Doeren appears to have gone against the grain of what we have seen from her in the past. Only 2 years as a Head Coach and zero connections to the South, made Dave Doeren a deviation from Yow's previous formula. She took a major gamble and unlike Franklin there was no preparation or pampering of Doeren for this particular job beforehand. He never coached in the South and never served as a former assistant at NC State. Yow wasn't wrong in looking for a young, upstart coach who could be the foundation of the program long term but in stepping out of her comfort zone, she has NC State in a precarious position leading into the Carolina game and, considering our roster, the promising 2017 season.

So what happens next? I am in the camp that Debbie Yow is in the business of doing what's best for the program regardless of circumstance. If she does not see potential growth over time she will cut the cord as she has done before. And plainly, we don't know what will happen if we lose the Carolina game (or even get crushed in a bowl). It is very possible Doeren is guaranteed a 5th season with or without a win (I prefer a win). But if we do make a coaching change, I am confident Yow will go back to the formula that got her so much success in the first place. Who that coach could be is up for debate, but with South Carolina, Marshall, & ND on the nonconference schedule in 2017 plus the overall future of NC State Football at stake...we can't afford for her to go against the grain again.