Former Alabama basketball coach Mark Gottfried wakes up today amazed that he's coaching again.

Neil Diamond sang about it. So did James Brown. Mark Twain wrote about it, as have countless others.

America is the land of opportunity, where a little hard work can send you well on your way to a better life.

In the case of Mark Gottfried, however, you can drive a basketball program into the ground and find yourself the head man in the ACC a few years later…to the tune of a cool $1 Million+ per year.

In their quest to achieve the unachievable, N.C. State named Gottfried their head coach on Tuesday. The Wolfpack’s relentless pursuit of Duke, North Carolina and, well, everybody else in the ACC landed them with who some say was their fifth choice for the job.

If the Wolfpack wanted to make sure they’d never be able to apply or break the press, or adjust to something unexpected that the opposition throws at them, they’ve got their man.

At Alabama Gottfried was a respectable 216-138, just shy of a 64% winning percentage. His highlight at Bama was the ’03-’04 season, where the #8 seed Tide got on a roll into the Elite 8 before losing to eventual tournament champion UCONN.

But the more familiar scenario under Gottfried was doing barely enough to get into the big dance before being ousted by somebody like Kent State.

It was his ’00-’01 team where he learned the art of fattening up his RPI with “good non-conference losses” to do just enough to get in the tournament. That team finished 21-10 (8-8 in the conference) but was shut out by the selection committee. Gottfried would respond in the following seasons by beefing up Bama’s non-conference schedule, making selection Sunday more palatable for the next few years.

Alabama would go on to make it into the NCAA Tournament each of the next five years…

A No. 2 seed in 2002, beating FAU before falling to No. 10 seed Kent State in the second round.
A No. 10 seed in 2003, falling to No. 7 Indiana in the first round.
A No. 8 seed in 2004, defeating No. 9 seed Southern Illinois, No. 1 seed Stanford and No. 5 seed Syracuse before falling to No. 2 UCONN.
A No. 5 seed in 2005, falling to No. 12 seed Milwaukee in the first round.
A No. 10 seed in 2006, defeating No. 7 seed Marquette before falling to #2 seed UCLA.

And that would end Bama’s run in the tournament under Gottfried. Bama would be ousted by UMASS in the first round of the NIT the following year, and would decline an invitation to the also-ran tournament in his final year following his mid-season resignation.

Not only did Bama really never put a dent in the Tournament, it really never did so in its own conference under Gottfried. In 2001-2002 Alabama finished with the best record in the SEC (12-4) and reached the conference title game in Atlanta, losing a close one to Mississippi State. That would be the Tide’s lone trip to the big game in Gottfried’s eleven seasons at Alabama.

In March, when tournament season is all that matters, Gottfried just never really delivered. You know who did? Billy Donovan. Donovan became Gottfried’s daddy, beating Mark’s teams ten times in fourteen tries, winning the conference tournament three times and winning the regular season title four times….not to mention making it to the Final Four three times and winning it all twice.

Alleged off-the-court issues didn’t help his cause, as whispers about inappropriate contact with a co-ed could be heard. Any “affair” that took place was never admitted nor accused in public forum, but in the media cesspool called Alabama, an allegation was all that it took to heat up airwaves and blogs. And the now famous court side confrontation between Elizabeth Gottfried and radio mogul Paul Finebaum didn’t help either.

Coach Gottfried can also be credited in some way of ending the Alabama careers of two of Bama’s most talented players. Gerald Wallace wanted no more after one season, and Ronald Steele’s bewildering knee injuries led him on a painful journey into the shadows.

Still, Gottfried took Alabama deeper into the NCAA Tournament than any other coach in Alabama’s limited basketball history. He learned the RPI game that current coach Anthony Grant will likely be employing next season.

Gottfried kept Alabama competitive through the “meat” of his tenure, but never really got the Tide to the place where they were a force in the conference, or beyond.

So with that, we wish Mark Gottfried good luck in the ACC. And thank you for restoring hope to the rest of us, that you can accomplish a little, ride that for a while, just get by, get canned, and still land somewhere else. In this economy, that’s encouragement we can all use.

(Follow me a Twitter for news, commentary and smack.)

27 thoughts on “Gottfried proves American dream still alive”

  1. Well Now. UA has been cutting him a check for 75 thousand dollars a Month. This should had never happened and now we are hearing Pauly talk about – well ” he really should had said something ” They could had Fired him for due cause – they just did not have the Pictures of him screwing the Girl. This is a complete Failure of the Alabama Family . They just did not want any bad Publicity. So – they cut him a check for 75 thousand Dollars a Month. Does that Piss you off ? Is this all just a Fantasy World where People like Mark can get away with this Shit and they just shovel 75 thousand Dollars a Month to Him ?

  2. I will add that if this does not make you sick of Mal and the whole Operation – you really must Be Nuts.
    75 thousand a Dollars a Month Cut to this Disgrace. Think about that when you look at your weekly paycheck cuz.

  3. Gottfried should have stayed at ESPN because he is going
    against the BIG boys in Duke and NC!! Btuce Pearl would
    be a good hire for ESPN to replace Gottfried.

  4. Get off it Plutonium. You think Bama is the only school tied up in absurd agreements with x-coaches? The numbers would astound you, and you don’t have to even look outside the State boundaries. Just be happy we didn’t have to pay Tubberville 5 million to phuck off like the stupid Barnturds did. Besides Mal and the gang got us Anthony Grant, and they got us Nick Saban who has put the football program in such a financial windfall that we can afford to pay for all other athletic teams losses and still smell like a rose. RTR!

  5. Auburn is still cutting Wayne Hall checks and he hasn’t coached at Auburn for over 20 years. And the issues going on at Auburn with boosters and FBI investigations, well the ‘Auburn Fambly’ is showing us what ‘failure to monitor’ is all about.

  6. Terrible article. It seems like an emotional response from someone who has a grudge against Mark G.

    What’s with the comparison to Billy D?

    And do you seriously think Mark Gottfried is the reason for Steele’s injuries and G. Wallace’s declaration to the NBA? He didnt really want to go to college in the first place.

  7. You had better watch out. NC State has become the whipping post of the national media. The reason? Having the same exact sentiments about Herb Sendek…

  8. And I will add that we are criticized when Sendek had 1/2 the success of Gottfried. Just saying….

  9. Boom (comment #6), why compare Gottfried to Donovan? To quote Charlie Sheen….Duh!

    Donovan = success
    Gottfried = lacky

    I have no emotional ax to grind with Coach Gottfried, other than he really never accomplished much of anything at my University.

    One SECCG appearance in eleven years?? Seriously?

    Now Elizabeth, quit posting under the name “Boom” and take care of all those kids.

  10. Mark Gottfried is a terrible coach and a very bitter man. His affair was the worst kept secret in T-town, and he’s continued to criticize The U of A ever since he was fired. He’s continued to criticize UA even recently, clearly enjoying the fact that Anthony Grant’s team was spurned by the NCAA tourney. He should’ve been canned 3 years earlier than he was. All you need to know about Mark Gottfried is this: Gerald Wallace refuses to even admit that Gottfried was his coach in college. NCST fans, I feel sorry for you.

  11. Sour grapes…Coach Gott leads Alabama to more consistent success than any point in it’s history and you want to trash him.

  12. Sour grapes? What in the hell?

    Gottfried did a good job rebuilding the Alabama program from the disaster of the David Hobbs era; however, Wimp Sanderson led Alabama to far more consistent and impressive success than Gottfried.

    The problem was that Gottfried never got over the hump. Was it a coaching problem? Personal problem? Something else?

    I don’t know.

    I do know that Alabama’s current coach has a team that plays defense and the coach won’t accept 50%.

    This guy is much more like Wimp Sanderson than Gottfried. And that is probably a better fit for Alabama basketball.

  13. And CM did far more as well. Bama dominated the SEC under CM. The only thing that kept the ’76 team from winning the NC was a bogus call against undefeated Indiana.

  14. Only crazed non graduate Alabama fans would take an article about an ex Alabama basketball coach and try to find ways to insult Auburn with it. Yall are jokes i bet you are all those factory bamers that work for Auburn graduates and claim not to have any Auburn friend because you are that twisted and crazy. Cough cough Crimsonite

  15. Hey High School, we know you’re on break at the local choke and puke. Go flip that hamburger before it burns. By the way, you need to quit posting on this site, this site is reserved for fans of the 13-time NC Alabama Crimson Tide. 2 tainted NC’s don’t quality. By the way, enjoy your every 53 years NC before it’s taken away.

  16. Hey High school…I know a good joke…
    Q: There is an Auburn lineman, defensive back, reciever, and safety riding in a car, who is driving?
    A: A cop.

  17. First let me congratulate Alabama on your great football success. Your football program is what others wish to emulate. Having said that, we do hope Mark Gottfried can do the job at N.C. State, as we’ve been in a slump ever since the Jim Valvano days. One thing N.C. State does have that a lot of schools don’t is 2 national titles and 10 ACC Championships to our credit and the hope of the “Pack” fans is that this will resume. A lot of coaches do not wish to step up to the challenge of playing on tobacco road where 2 of the best teams in the nation are located. He took this challenge. There used to be 3 and hopefully there will be again. Hopefully a chance of scenery is what Mark Gottfried needed. We’ll see. Good Luck ‘Bama fans.

  18. What fair and balanced writing on line writer. Bravo!

    Any genius knows the only thing wrong with Mark Gottfried at Bama was he was not head coach of their prized football team. The truth hurts…

    Had that been the case, he could have grabbed any ass on campus he liked and had the full backing of the administration while doing so.

    Bunch of backward stick chewing bozos. What a wasted 2 minutes of my life.

  19. Otter, your envy of The U of A’s elite football program is funny and sad at the same time. Enjoy your tainted NC before it’s taken away. And thanks for bringing your Bama obsession to this site. Cap appreciates the hits on his website.

  20. Why I heard a tornado went through Bama recently and did a couple million dollars worth of improvement.

    I can truly understand why football is so so important to you all…it’s really all you got. Tell Cap “your welcome” from the Otter.

  21. This article is garbage and should be canned along with any other material you may have put out

Comments are closed.