For Herb & Meezie – It’s 3:00

January17/ 2000

… Mother Swagger wore a girdle.  She said that around 3 o’clock it would start to pinch and the only thing to do was take it off.  For Herb Sendek and James Moeser, the clock has struck 3.  Lots of rhetoric has been expended by lots of folks on both subjects … but not quite like “SwaggerSays” it. ….. but first, we gotta talk some fellow Heel friends off the ledge.

      One year ago Carolina lost the semi-final game of the ACC Tournament to GaTech.  Ol’ Roy regrouped’em and finished the season pretty well!  Don’t call Larry Brown or George Karl just yet.  TRUST THE BLUE MESSIAH!

   Congrats to Duke … so much for JJ’s “fatique factor”, huh!  Sure didn’t take BC long to make their presence felt in the “new ACC”.


    So where were we?  Herb or Meezie which one do we discuss first?  

Eenie meenie meine mo, catch a Chancellor by the toe.  

If he has no gravitas let him go … Eenie meenie meine mo … 

   We’ll discuss Herb first:

The rules for this say we HAVE to mention all the following very true statements:

  •    Herb is a very nice man … aka like Mike O’Cain”
  •    Herb is very intelligent … graduated w/ honors from Carneige Mellon
  •    Herb runs a clean program … aka “like Les did”.
  •    Herb is going into his 5th straight “dance”
  •    Herb came to State highly recommended by Rick Pitino
  •    Herb’s offense is “not the Princeton offense” (nor is it very offensive)

Also, we must note the following:

No matter who State’s next coach is, he will not be as excellent a Big Time College Coach as Roy Williams or Mike Krzyzewski.  That list of “will nots” includes, but not limited to, the following … Rick Barnes, Nate McMillan, Bob Huggins (YIKES!), Tubby Smith, Derek Whittenburg, John Calipari, Monte Towe, Eddie Biedenbach, Sidney Lowe, Tom Abatemarco, Phil Jackson, Gene Hackman, Dr Jack Ramsey, or the composite “Everett Sloan Valvano” (who according to Lupine legend is sleeping in a sarcophagus buried deep beneath the exact center of The Brickyard … to be awakened on “Dirty Dan” Wells birthday by a kiss from Cozell McQueen).

All the above yadda yadda accepted, simply see the photo on page 5CC of Saturday’s N&O.  It may be THE finest example of effective photo journalism I have ever seen.  It needs no caption but let’s give it one … “Wolfpack Basketball 2006 – Feel The Excitement”.  The picture shows a very mournful Herb and behind him sit 20+ Wolfpack faithful all looking equally mournful.  The demographics of the Wuff-fans covers the spectrum of age, gender, race.  It was taken in the final 10 minutes of the most recent loss to Wake Forest. See it, feel it, deal with it.

   It appears to us that NC State BB has lost the enthusiasm and “hope” among the mainstream fans.  What once was a battle of the extreme wings of WuffNation – “Howler monkeys” vs “Pollyannas” … has now engaged “the mainstream” which is always the majority. It’s one thing to be “mad” or the lovable (??) “conspiracy nuts” but it now seems to be a sad, forlorn, “no hope” mode … that’s says “change for the sake of change” trumps status quo.

Lee Fowler is in a real pickle.  He will be second guessed regardless of what he does or does not do.  The one rule Lee MUST NOT break … DO NOT pay any attention whatsoever to the Wuff Howler Monkeys.  They, to a monkey, want Herb beheaded RIGHT NOW.  “They” always want the bloodiest option available and demand it RIGHT NOW.  Howler monkeys should never have a vote in anything … including whether Herb needs to “move on”.  Which, by the way, he does.

Lee should call a meeting of “the adults” … Smedes, Dr. Jimmy, Wendell, Larry, JDan, TP, Bo, Ray, Jon, General Hugh … have sandwiches brought in (Pastor Leon will say the blessing) and do NOT record anything that’s said.  Lay out the facts and all the options, give everyone a chance to say their piece, reach a decision.  Call in Herb, explain “the deal” in less than five minutes, hand him the buy-out deal along with the first installment.  Have Cindy Lou Whatshername the SIDette write a press release, let Herb approve it.  Adjourn the meeting.

Trust me.  These “adults” know what it’s like to terminate “good, intelligent executive staff members” who simply aren’t the right guy for the job any more.  They’ve all done it and understand the process.  The “buy-out” numbers don’t frighten these guys and they know how to negotiate a harmonious parting of the ways.  

I am a helluva good guy.  I am smart.  I run a clean program.  In three of my jobs I “wasn’t the right guy for that job” … in two of those instances my employer eventually shared that opinion.  (OK, I’m also a terminal smart-ass, which Herb is not) THE most successful guy I know has been “let go” 6 times.  Herb will survive, trust me. 

A quick look-back at how things might have been different.  Imagine a Wolfpack team this season composed of Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker, Eric Williams, Shavlick Randolph, and Reyshawn Terry.  All pretty good local NC kids from within 75 miles of The RBC and not one of’em played for Herb … how come?

Roy and Mike can walk unannounced into the living room of every Top 100 Blue Chipper on Earth … walk in and help themselves to a biscuit and a slice of pie from the fridge and put their feet on the furniture.  They are Roy and Mike.  Whoever replaces Herb cannot be remotely successful finishing 2nd, 3rd, or 10th to Roy and Mike in Blue Chip Poker.  Adjust their aim.  Stay out of the high stakes recruiting game.  Finishing 2nd in recruiting is the first loser.  

NC State can be very competitive, win a lot and even occasionally upset Roy and Mike with the proper group of good kids led by a savy and enthusiastic head coach.  That coach is “out there”.

OK … time to revisit RULE #1.  Ignore the howler monkeys!  The howler monkeys DEMAND a “big name” coach. Howler monkeys pick their noses in public, are not permitted to play with pointed scissors, and are very angry at the world.  Not the prototype you want with their finger on the nuclear trigger or selecting a head basketball coach.

    Roy and Mike will rule for the next 6-10 years … get an up and comer who will be reaching his coaching peak as Roy and Mike get too old to climb ladders and cut down nets.  Trust me, that era will come.  Someday it could be Jared Haase and Wojo piloting the respective juggernauts!  Is BobLee a rare visionary OR WHAT!  No dynasty lasts forever … ask the Greeks, the Romans, and the Boston Celtics.

The next Wuff Head BB Coach does not have to have a name ending in a vowel, do magic tricks or wear a plaid sports coat or be a odd old curmudgeon from Indiana.  Herb had the coaching pedigree but lacked the sideline, and WPC meeting, gravitas (remember that word, it comes up again later on).  Put Herb in a plaid sport coat, teach Melanie to sing, and/or have him memorize a “never give up” speech and he’s still Herb.  Roy does not have a big nose or wear his politics on his sleeve … be yourself.  In the end, that’s all anyone has going for themselves.

There are not 10 Wuff howler monkeys that had ever heard of Dave Leitao this time a year ago.  If State keeps Herb, UVa will be beating him regularly within a year.  Find the next Dave Laito.  Mike was hiding at West Point … Roy was 2nd Asst to YOL.  The next generation of Roys and Mikes is hiding out there.

Oh … one final warning!  Avoid the “Thug-collectors” … aka Huggy Bear and his ilk.  Again, if Lee simply ignores the howler monkeys he’s safe on this one.  “Thug collector coaches” are like marrying a hooker … the honeymoon might be a helluva party but six months later you’re just “married to a hooker” and you gotta run DNA test every time you have a kid.


    Saturday morning I went for a walk around Lake Lynn.  There was this semi-submerged log that had 19 turtles sitting on it sunning … 19.  That’s a lot of turtles.  Mother Nature does some quite cool stuff.


 … oops … I’ve run out of room.  I got 100 words to get rid of Meezie. 

Very much like w/ Herb … we’ve seen Meezie’s “best” and it’s simply not good enough.  Moeser was hired when the Diversity Overloaded Selection Committee couldn’t find anyone else and their contract with the headhunter firm was up for renewal.  Not the best of reasons to hire “the next semi-warm body we interview”.  

    Moeser isn’t a “bad guy” either, just waaay out of his league at UNC.  Faber College, maybe … Converse? … Randolph Macon? … somewhere waaaay under the radar.

Moeser has never been anything but “a place holder” Chancellor … whats that BobLee?  You know like if you’re standing in line to buy tickets for a Jimmy Buffet concert and you pay some homeless guy $10 to stand in line for you.  That’s Meezie … just filling the spot until a for–real President like Erskine can bring in some one who at least has positive “gravitas”.  

What about all the $$$ UNC has raised lately.  PUHLEEEZE … Matt Kupec handing out autographed vials of Ol’ Roy’s bathwater and leather bound copies of Look Homeward Angel raised those $$$.  It just happened on Meezie’s watch.  Meezie’s fan club in Chapel Hill might be three transsexual dwarfs greater than the We Want Herb To Stay Club in Raleigh.  Both clubs together wouldn’t fill a phone booth.

It’s not his latest limp-wristed handling of “Mo The Not-A-Terrorist” … it’s not the book snafus … its not giving the academic freakshow all the front row seats … its not the really stoopid “pep talks” to the team or the fact that he claps like a seal … it’s all of the above and 100s of other ways he simply ain’t the man for the job … never has been … never will be.  

Yo Meezie, here’s a plaque, an honorary degree and a funny hat … 

Go Away.

    The duffus duo of “Molly and Moeser” was Two Academic Nomads From Nowhere.  UNC got what UNC settled for.  One gone … one to go. 

 Time’s up … it’s 3:00 … the girdle’s pinching.


 Swagger’s Stumper

 Who preceded Norm Sloan as Wolfpack BB Coach?


   Hit the scoreboard occured in 1975 between UNC & Wake.  The call went in favor of Dean (duh!).  Deacs will stop scratching that itch the same day Wuffs get over “Dudley steals the ball“.

    Lightning struck Swagger’s World on Friday.  Ten minutes after we posted the “nice guy named Jim” column we got another kick in the teeth.  “Coach Tony”, one of our very most favorite BobLee Buddies EVER died last Tuesday – massive heart attack.  He died in his “pussycat’s” arms.  “Pussycat” (aka Wanda) was Tony’s first love but Tar Heel Football was a solid #2.  Tony and I exchanged 100 e-mails if we exchanged one.  Damn … I’m going to miss Tony.  Jim and Tony in the same week … I hope “nice guys” don’t die in 3s too.

   If you missed the “Nice Guy Named Jim” column, you should go back one column and catch up.  If you’re a SSays newbee it’ll help you understand BobLee.

    USA Baseball wallops “South Africa” … Whoopdeefreakindo … what’s next? Fiji Islander finishes last in Iditarod?

    Bernie Geoffrion died … leaving Fred Couples as world’s most famous “Boom Boom”.

    Bobby Knight finished his season at 15-17 with 869 Ws … 10 short of YOL.  Sometime next December he will play Corpus Christi Community College in Lubbock before 3,000 or so fans and break the record.  And he will STILL be mostly remembered for “throwing the chair” and “strangling his player”.  History judges us all in its own way.

   Want to e-mail BobLee?

[email protected]

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