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Profile of a Possible Savior REDUX: Chris Mooney

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Spring 2011, after years in the wilderness, NC State parted ways with Sidney Lowe and were in the business of finding someone to save us. The media portrayed State as being rejected numerous times, so eventually Mark Gottfried ended up answering the call and has experienced positive-to-mixed results over his 5 year tenure. This series will take a hop in the TARDIS and theorize whether or not we would have been better (or worse) with another candidate from Backing the Pack’s famed, award-winning* Profile Of A Possible Savior series or POAPS for short.

*validity of statement under review

(All stats & figures from Wikipedia, KenPom, & Scout.com)

Mark Gottfried’s tenure at NC State:

Layman Stats

Overall Record

108-69 (.610)

Conference Record

44-44 (.5)

NCAA Appearances

4 (2 Sweet Sixteens)

Conference Titles

0

4/5 Stars Signed

10

Geek Stats (KenPom)

Average National Rank Overall

48

Average Adj O / Avg National Rank

112.6 / 24

Average Adj D / Avg National Rank

100.1 / 115

First Up

Richmond Head Coach Chris Mooney

In The Beginning

After 6 years as a head coach at Richmond, Chris Mooney looked to be a star on the rise. His years at Richmond produced 2 NCAA tourney appearances, a conference title and a Sweet Sixteen in 2011.  POAPS highlighted his ability to build a program, success in-conference, plus the potential to be better than Herb and Sid. Mooney was criticized for his lack of career success in tournaments, inability to prove he could recruit high level players, and an inconclusive determination of how his defense would perform. In the final analysis, Mooney was assumed to be a solid, if unspectacular, hire with plenty of room to grow.

5 Years Later…

Layman Stats

Overall Record

126-40 (.760)

Conference Record

42-42 (.500)

NCAA Appearances

0

Conference Titles

0

4/5 Stars Signed

0

Geek Stats (KenPom)

Average Rank

91

Average Adj O / National Rank

106.9 / 94

Average Adj D / National Rank

100.2 / 126

Since their run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2011, Mooney has failed to return Richmond to the NCAA tourney, with one appearance in the NIT. During that time they have finished no higher than a tie for 4th in conference with no conference titles to speak of. The layman stats show that Mooney has won a higher percentage of his games at Richmond than Gottfried has at State and also ended the 2015-2016 season at .500 in conference over the same time span. While the overall record looks better for Mooney, Gottfried has had the advantage of coaching at a school and in a conference where he can sign high level talent and make the NCAAs as an at-large bid due to a stronger strength of schedule. In part due to those obvious assets, the advantage goes to Gottfried for his relative success in recruiting talent as well as the NCAA runs, while Mooney has nothing to show in any of those categories.

The geek stats show where the advantage really lies for our current head coach. Over the course of the 5 years that Gottfried has been here we have averaged in the top 50 nationally on the overall advanced metric, while Mooney has been in the rear view just cracking the top 100. As BTP has discussed before, Gottfried’s offenses have been very good, even ranking in the top 25 on average for Adj O which crushes Mooney’s average Adj O & average national rank. Interestingly enough, each have similar scores where it concerns average Adj D, but Mooney’s average national rank is weighed down by multiple years of supremely awful defensive basketball. Advantage here goes to Gottfried as he has kept us competitive nationally and has had relative success balancing some excellent offenses with his mediocre-to-bad defenses, something Mooney hasn’t done effectively over this 5 year span.

Conclusion

So here we are in the TARDIS and as we look at where we were in 2011 we could see why Chris Mooney would look like a solid option for our program. A conference title and two NCAA appearances automatically made him an upgrade from Sidney Lowe. Yet if anything is to be gleaned from this analysis, Chris Mooney would not have been a great hire for NC State in the long run. While Richmond isn’t a basketball haven, Mooney’s recruiting over these past 5 years shows nothing to prove he’d have gotten high-level ACC talent that could compete with the top of the conference. More notably, Richmond’s performance on both ends of the court as well as Mooney’s lack of post-season runs makes his possible hiring look like a potential disaster that may have dug NC State in a deeper hole. Ultimately, Mooney may have been welcomed with more initial hope and optimism than a somewhat controversial retread like Mark Gottfried was, but it’s clear that if Debbie Yow’s decision came between our current steward and Chris Mooney...she made the right choice.

Next Time

Brand spankin’ new Memphis Head Coach, Tubby Smith