The below was submitted to CH as a Letter to the Editor:
News broke earlier this week that N.C. State has already been looking for a replacement for Head Coach Mark Gottfried and the knives have been out for quite awhile for Head Coach John Groce at Illinois.
Though both situations are unique, there are some significant similarities to the recent lack of success that Gottfried and Groce have had at N.C. State and Illinois respectively compared to how John Thompson III's Hoya teams have fared.
In his first four seasons at N.C. State, Gottfried's led the Wolfpack to two Sweet 16s, one of which came from upsetting Georgetown. Good times! In his last two seasons, Gottfriend’s record has dipped to 16-17 and currently 14-13 after last night’s destruction at the hands of UNC. This is the same record, in aggregate, as JT3 compared to this season and last. Gottfried’s teams have also been plagued by the perception that despite his team having more than enough talent to make the NCAA's they haven’t been able to do so, which one could argue is also the case at Georgetown.
John Groce wouldn’t even be the Head Coach at Illinois but for the fact that his Ohio team, as a 14 seed, defeated John Thompson III and the Hoyas in the 2010 Tournament. Good times again! Groce and the Illini are currently 14-12 this year, and, like JT3 and Gottfriend he also had a losing record last year. Like JT3 and Gottfried, Groce has brought in talent year after year, so recruiting doesn’t appear to be the problem. However, Illinois fans currently question why things will be different with next year's vaunted freshman class that is one of the best in the country as he has failed to elevate Illinois lately in what is a weak B1G Conference - despite his past recruiting successes.
It seems that Gottfried is on his way out at N.C. State, and whether or not Groce gets the boot at Illinois, or gets a chance to guide his talented 2017 class, remains to be seen. Nonetheless, there seem to be a lot of similarities - both quantitative and qualitative - between the N.C. State and Illinois situations and Georgetown’s. One key difference, of course, is the lack of public speculation by national sports sites that JT3 will, or should, be fired after this year. Given the remarkable similarity of these teams' performances in recent years, one can surmise that this may have something to do with JT3s last name.