Breaking: NC State fires head coach Tom O’Brien

The day after the regular season has ended for many schools around the country has proven to be a day of reckoning for several coaches throughout the nation.

North Carolina State has announced that now-former head coach Tom O’Brien has been fired following a disappointing 7-5 season.

“I appreciate the opportunity to have coached at North Carolina State University and I feel that the program is in a better place now than when I started,” O’Brien said in a statement released by the school. “I’m proud of the young men that I have coached here, for their accomplishments on the field and in the classroom. Wolfpack football is as sound academically as it’s ever been with a [single year] APR of 990 to be reported this spring.  I appreciate all of my coaches and wish them the best and I look forward to life after football.”

O’Brien had led the Wolfpack to three straight bowl games and four in the last five years, but with expectations as high as they were entering the 2012 campaign, such results were not good enough to save his job six years into his tenure.

O’Brien’s contract runs through the 2015 season, and thus he is now owed a $1.2 million dollar buyout, which will be paid out in installments over the next three seasons. He had compiled a 40-35 record overall, but his 22-26 mark in the ACC was undoubtedly far below the level of expectations the school’s brass had for him and his program.

Offensive coordinator Dana Bible will serve as the team’s coach in the interim, including whichever bowl game the school should earn an invite to.

Yes, O’Brien’s record overall was sound, and his repeated appearances in bowl games is something every program strives for. However, an opening weekend loss to a terrible Tennessee squad and then upsetting ACC frontrunner Florida State provides the perfect example of the type of roller coaster ride of inconsistency NC State’s athletic department is trying to remove from the program.

“Coach O’Brien’s service to NC State over the last six years has been sincerely appreciated by Wolfpack Nation,” athletic director Debbie Yow said in a statement. “We especially appreciate his attention toward NCAA rules compliance, a value that will continue to be held by NC State. We wish him well in future pursuits.”

What Yow said was true: While several ACC teams found themselves embroiled in NCAA investigations, including hated in-state rival North Carolina, who was banned from postseason play this year, O’Brien had a stellar graduation rate and never got into trouble with the NCAA.

However, at the end of the day the name of the game is winning. Against the ACC Coastal division, the Wolfpack was only 11-19 in O’Brien’s tenure, including a putrid 1-14 mark on the road against divisional opponents.

Quotes from ACC Now and ESPN were used in this report

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