"Herb Sendek never goes into anything unprepared." -- John Feinstein in a March to Madness, page 50
"(Herb) Sendek always has been one of the most respected coaches in the business. No one doubts his intellect or ability to adjust. But Sendek might have done his best coaching job in his lengthy career this season after losing James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph to the NBA. -- Andy Katz, ESPN.com
--Check out Coach Sendek on Twitter
Point Person--a feature on Carnegie Mellon graduate Coach Sendek (Carnegie Mellon Today, July, 2009)
Pac-10 title no longer a pipe dream as Sendek rises to the challenge at ASU (ESPN.com, Feb. 25, 2009)
Branching Out--Herb Sendek's Growing Coaching Tree Puts Him In An Elite Class (Maroon and Gold Illustrated/January, 2009)
THE SENDEK FILE
Born: February 22, 1963 in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Family: Married to the former Melanie Scheuer; the couple has three daughters: Kristin (19), Catherine (16), Kelly (14)
High School: Penn Hills High School, Pittsburgh, Pa., Valedictorian of Class of 1981, 4.0 GPA
College: B.A. in industrial management from Carnegie-Mellon University, 1985; 3.95 grade point average, graduated summa cum laude and earned Carnegie Merit Scholarship
Three-year letterman, Carnegie-Mellon, 1981-84
Two-year captain at Penn Hills High School
2006-Present: Head Coach, Arizona State University
1996-06: Head Coach, North Carolina State University
1994-96: Head Coach, Miami University (Ohio)
1989-93: Assistant Coach, University of Kentucky
1987-89: Assistant Coach, Providence College
1985-86: Graduate Asst. Coach, Providence College
1984-85: Assistant Coach, Central Catholic High School (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
1994-95: Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year
1994-95: Ohio Coach of the Year
2001-02: Naismith National Coach of the Year Finalist
2001-02: NABC District 5 Coach of the Year
2003-04: Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year
2003-04: NABC District 5 Coach of the Year
2007-08: USBWA District IX Coach of the Year
2009-10: Pac-10 Coach of the Year; USBWA District IX Coach of the Year
Sendek's Year-by-Year Results:
||NCAA Second Round
||NCAA Second Round
||NCAA First Round
||NCAA Second Round
||NCAA Sweet 16
||NCAA Second Round
COACH SENDEK'S WINS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS (36)
Jan. 8, 2010 ~ Arizona State 68, #24 Washington 51
Mar. 13, 2009 ~ Arizona State 75, #13 Washington 65 (Pac-10 Tournament at Los Angeles)
Feb. 12, 2009 ~ Arizona State 74, #11 UCLA 67
Jan. 17, 2009 ~ Arizona State 61, @#9 UCLA 59 (OT)
Feb. 14, 2008 ~ Arizona State 72, #7 Stanford 68 (OT)
Dec. 15, 2007 ~ Arizona State 77, #17 Xavier 55
Feb. 18, 2007 ~ Arizona State 68, #22 USC 58
Jan. 10, 2006 ~ NC State 78, @#15 Boston College 60
Dec. 30, 2005 ~NC State 79, #12 George Washington 58
Mar. 20, 2005 ~ NC State 65, #13 UCONN 62 (NCAA Tournament at Worcester, Mass.)
Mar. 11, 2005 ~ NC State 81, #3 Wake Forest 65 (ACC Tournament at Greensboro)
Feb. 16, 2005 ~ NC State 82, #22 Maryland 63
Jan. 16, 2005 ~ NC State 76, #8 Georgia Tech 68
Mar. 6, 2004 ~ NC State 81, @#11 Wake Forest 70
Feb. 25, 2004 ~ NC State 79, @#18 Georgia Tech 69
Feb. 15, 2004 ~ NC State 78, #1 Duke 74
Feb. 4, 2004 ~ NC State 73, #16 Wake Forest 68
Jan. 24, 2004 ~ NC State 76, #11 Georgia Tech 72
Mar. 15, 2003 ~ NC State 87, #9 Wake Forest 83 (ACC Tournament at Greensboro)
Jan. 22, 2003 ~ NC State 80, #3 Duke 71
Mar. 9, 2002 ~ NC State 86, #2 Maryland 82 (ACC Tournament at Charlotte)
Feb. 6, 2002 ~ NC State 85, #8 Virginia 68
Jan. 5, 2002 ~ NC State 81, @#4 Virginia 74
Dec. 8, 2001 ~ NC State 82, @#9 Syracuse 68
Feb. 7, 2001 ~ NC State 90, #6 Virginia 80
Jan. 6, 2000 ~ NC State 68, #12 Maryland 66
Dec. 1, 1999 ~ NC State 61, @#19 Purdue 59
Dec. 23, 1998 ~ NC State 62, #23 Oklahoma 58 (San Juan, P.R.)
Feb. 21, 1998 ~ NC State 86, @#1 North Carolina 72
Dec. 4, 1997 ~ NC State 71, @#22 Georgia Tech 69 (OT)
Nov. 11, 1997 ~ NC State 47, #19 Georgia 45 (Meadowlands)
Mar. 8, 1997 ~ NC State 65, #22 Maryland 58 (ACC Tournament at Greensboro)
Mar. 7, 1997 ~ NC State 66, #7 Duke 60 (ACC Tournament at Greensboro)
Feb. 17, 1997 ~ NC State 60, @#4 Wake Forest 59 (OT)
Feb. 1, 1997 ~ NC State 58, #7 Clemson 54
Mar. 16, 1995 ~ Miami (Ohio) 71, #15 Arizona 62 (NCAA Tournament @Dayton)
THE FAMOUS COACHING TREE
Herb Sendek has eight former assistants who are D-I coaches as Archie Miller, who was with him as player and assistant coach at NC state and at Arizona State (2006-07), earned the Dayton gig in spring of 2011 and 12-year sidekick Mark Phelps earned the Drake spot in the spring of 2008 after serving for 10 years on the staff at NC State and for two years at ASU. Former NC State sidekick John Groce also earned the Ohio University position in the spring of 2008 and moved onto Illinois in spring of 2012. The others are Jim Christian, formerly at Kent State and TCU and now at Kent (Miami assistant from 1994-96), Larry Hunter at Western Carolina (NC State assistant from 2001-05), Ron Hunter of Georgia State and formerly head coach at IUPUI (Miami assistant from 1993-94), Ohio State's Thad Matta (Miami assistant in 1994-95) and Arizona's Sean Miller (assistant at both Miami from 1993-95 and at NC State from 1996-2000). Charlie Coles, a Coach Sendek assittant at Miami of Ohio from 1994-96, retired as Miami's coach after the 2011-12 season.
ASSISTANTS UNDER COACH SENDEK
1993-1994: Ron Hunter, Dave Manzer, Sean Miller
1994-1995: Charlie Coles, Thad Matta, Sean Miller
1995-1996: Brian Blaney, Jim Christian, Charlie Coles
1996-1997: John Groce, Larry Harris, Sean Miller
1997-1998: John Groce, Larry Harris, Sean Miller
1998-1999: John Groce, Larry Harris, Sean Miller
1999-2000: John Groce, Larry Harris, Sean Miller
2000-2001: Larry Harris, Sean Miller, Mark Phelps
2001-2002: Larry Harris, Larry Hunter, Mark Phelps
2002-2003: Larry Harris, Larry Hunter, Mark Phelps
2003-2004: Larry Harris, Larry Hunter, Mark Phelps
2004-2005: Larry Harris, Larry Hunter, Mark Phelps
2005-2006: Larry Harris, Mark Phelps, Archie Miller
2006-2007: Mark Phelps, Archie Miller, Dedrique Taylor
2007-2008: Mark Phelps, Dedrique Taylor, Scott Pera
2008-2009: Dedrique Taylor, Scott Pera, Lamont Smith
2009-2010: Dedrique Taylor, Scott Pera, Lamont Smith
2010-2011: Dedrique Taylor, Scott Pera, Lamont Smith
2011-2012: Dedrique Taylor, Larry Greer, Eric Musselman
Flashback to the fall of 2007 and the ASU basketball program and where 2009-10 Pac-10 Coach of the Year Herb Sendek and his staff were in the building process of the ASU program.
ASU went 2-16 in the league the previous year (2006-07), including a 15-game losing streak. It was in the process of incorporating four freshmen, three of them that would start on a regular basis, into a league that would have seven first-round draft picks and 12 total players drafted (both were the most in league history). Those seven first-round picks were from five schools, meaning no one school was dominant. Seven teams had at least one player drafted, ASU was not one of them. The Sun Devil had freshmen make a league-leading and school-record 96 starts and did not have a senior play significant minutes. So really, how many wins could one expect in the next three years?
Stand up if you were one that expected 68 total wins, a school record 15 home wins in 2007-08, seven wins over teams ranked teams, three straight 20-win seasons for the first time since JFK was President, five straight wins against Arizona and six of seven overall including three straight in Tucson, a sweep of UCLA in 2008-09, a victory over its highest ranked opponent since 1998, the largest margin of victory every against a ranked team, two players drafted for the first time since 1983...yeah, you get the point. It was impressive.
Think about this..ASU posted three straight 20-win seasons in 2007-08 (21-13), 2008-09 (25-10) and 2009-10 (22-11). That had not happened since 1961-63. Prior to those three 20-win seasons, ASU had just three 20-win seasons in the previous 26 years.
He already had his ACC success on his resume and now has a consensus first-team All-American and the third-overall pick in the NBA Draft to add to his checklist. And you can also add James Harden to the ASU Pac-10 Player of the Year list, as in the past 12 seasons the Sun Devils have had three earn the honor, more than any other program.
MOST PAC-10 PLAYERS OF THE YEAR (1999-2000 TO PRESENT/PAST 32 SEASONS)
Arizona State (3): Eddie House (1999-2000); Ike Diogu (2004-05); James Harden (2009-10)
California (3): Sean Lampley (2000-01); Jerome Randle (2009-10); Jorge Gutierrez (2011-12)
UCLA (2): Arron Afflalo (2006-07); Kevin Love (2007-08)
And don't forget about the Weatherup Center, a basketball facility that was completed in just over a year. Coach Sendek has a diverse plan for a winning program that is constantly being updated with fresh ideas, evidenced by a perplexing zone defense he used for his first six season, an incredible ability to score directly off of inbounds plays and an alumni locker room in the new basketball facility to make sure former Sun Devils have a chance to compete with the current ones.
This is what the Sun Devil family had in mind when Arizona State began its search for a head basketball coach in the spring of 2006. The administration received plenty of suggestions from friends, donors, media, students, staff and fans on what it would take for the ASU program to become a consistent challenger in the Pac-10 and eventual Pac-12. Everyone had an opinion and a thought.
Get a proven winner...one segment of the population wanted an experienced head coach, someone with a proven track record in a major conference with NCAA Tournament wins. After all, there were 60 Division I coaching changes among 325 teams in the spring of 2006. A lot of shuffling. A lot of moving. A lot of resumes and fact-checking. ASU got a winner who notched his 300th career win in 2008-09. And for the first time in ASU history, the Sun Devils that season stayed in the Associated Press rankings from the first ranking in November to the last one in March.
Find someone with NCAA Tournament experience...ASU wants to be in postseason play. Find a coach who can show the Sun Devil administration and fans the path. ASU was "this" close in 2007-2008 with 19 wins during the regular season, including six over top-60 RPI teams, and then made the next step in 2008-2009 with its 25 wins, tied for second-most in school history. In 2009-10 it found itself on the bubble with 22 wins and a second-place Pac-10 finish. And don't forget that his preparation obviously pays off once his teams are in the dance, as he is 6-1 in NCAA Tournament first-round games.
Make sure he's a great recruiter. Get a veteran. Get someone young. Get someone hungry. No checkered past though. Needs to be a good family guy.
ASU found all that and more in Herb Sendek. He has proven to be a good recruiter, is a veteran in games coached (the UCLA victory in Tempe on Feb. 12, 2009, was his 500th on the sideline as main man in charge) and remains the fourth-youngest coach in the Pac-12.
Some other facts...
*Coach Sendek enters 2012-13 352-254 in 19 seasons as head coach at Miami (Ohio), North Carolina State and Arizona State, and has earned league Coach of the Year honors in the Mid-American (1994-95), Atlantic Coast (2003-04) and Pac-10 (2009-10). He has averaged 19.0 wins per year, but when you toss in some history it becomes more impressive. NC State averaged just 11.6 wins in the five years prior to his arrival, while Miami had averaged less than 15 wins in the six years before him. ASU's 21 wins in 2007-2008 was just its fourth 20-win season in the previous 27 years and he followed that up with 25 wins in 2008-09, tied for second-most in school history and the most since 1974-75. ASU registered its third straight 20-win season for the first time since 1961-63 with its 22 wins in 2009-10.
*His teams have been in postseason play 15 of his 19 seasons, including a streak of five straight NCAA Tournaments at NC State from 2002-2006. How does that compare in the Pac-12? Think about this...only three SCHOOLS can match that in the 33 seasons since ASU joined the loop in 1978-79. Three other schools made it three straight times, but the mini-streaks stopped at four.
*He was selected as one of the Top 10 recruiters in the nation in a Sports Illustrated poll as an assistant, and it rolled into a top-20 recruiting class that was unveiled in the fall of 2007. In 2007-08 and 2008-09 ASU had two McDonald's All-Americans on the roster, a first in Sun Devil history.
*He was one of only three coaches who had NBA first-round picks in both the 2005 and 2006 drafts and then followed that up with a first-round pick in 2009 (James Harden at No. 3) along with the first pick of the second round (Jeff Pendergraph).
*He has been on the coaching staff of two programs that reached the Final Four, as both Providence (1987) and Kentucky (1993) notched the feat.
*He is only 49 years old, fourth-youngest in the Pac-10, yet as stated earlier, has coached in 606 games, third-most in the Pac-10.
*He quickly identified the needs of the Sun Devil program and helped land significant donations towards the practice facility, which was completed in May of 2009.
*Of the 60 coaching changes in 2005-2006, only four coaches had more D-I wins than ASU's new man in charge. Want some more stability numbers? Only three of the 14 major conference hires that year remain.
MAJOR CONFERENCE COACHING CHANGES AFTER 2005-2006 (3 STILL WITH PROGRAM)
Herb Sendek, Arizona State
Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
Andy Kennedy, Mississippi
MAJOR CONFERENCE COACHING CHANGES AFTER 2005-2006 SEASON (DEPARTURES)
Kelvin Sampson, Indiana (fired during 2007-08)
Greg McDermott, Iowa State (left for Creighton after 2009-10)
Bob Huggins, Kansas State (left for WVU after 2006-07)
Mike Anderson, Missouri (left for Arkansas after 2010-11)
Sidney Lowe, NC State (resigned after 2010-11)
Doc Sadler, Nebraska (fired after 2011-12)
Jeff Capel, Oklahoma (fired after 2010-11)
Sean Sutton, Oklahoma State (fired after 2007-08)
Fred Hill, Rutgers (fired after 2009-10)
Bobby Gonzalez, Seton Hall (fired after 2009-10)
Tony Bennett, Washington State (left for UVA after 2008-09)
*And, most importantly, he is still "hungry" which was evident in his first year when despite losing the top returning scorers from the previous summer in late July, he figured out a way to keep a young team that played three freshmen incredible amounts of minutes close in every game despite a string of agonizing close losses. In the final nine games of the regular season, ASU was outscored by just 22 points, and 14 of its final 15 games were decided by six points or less. All that worked one year later, when ASU went 4-0 in overtime games in 2007-08 won several close games throughout the year. ASU then showed some grit in 2008-09 with back-to-back one-point wins (a first in school history) and was 5-4 when trailing at the half after going 10-29 the first two years. And all those close losses in the first year, when ASU was 4-17 in games of 10 points or less? ASU was 27-18 (.600) the next three seasons.
Coach Sendek took the ASU post at a time when he was ready for a new challenge. He had successfully rebuilt NC State after the program had suffered five straight losing seasons. In 10 seasons, he took the Wolfpack to nine tournaments, including the NCAA tourney his final five years. In those five seasons (2002-2006), only Duke had more ACC wins.
But through his 18-year head-coaching career, one that started at just 30 years young, the number the ASU fan started to comprehend and understand that is most important to the success of the Sun Devil program is very small.
As in one heartbeat.
As in five players working as one on the court.
As in a community, university, student section, alumni, band...if it is part of the program, you are on the team...becoming one and working towards the goal of having a program that has the opportunity to succeed at the highest level on the court, in the classroom and in the community.
He took over a mid-major team in 1993-94 at the age of 30 and promptly led Miami (Ohio) to a 63-26 (.708) mark, including its first NCAA victory since 1978 with the upset of No. 15 and fifth-seeded Arizona 71-62.
Next stop was Tobacco Road, home of some of college basketball's top traditions. A rebuilding project was in order, as the 1974 and 1983 national champion NC State Wolfpack had five consecutive losing seasons. One decade later, NC State made five straight NCAA Tournaments, one of just 15 schools to do so in that time. Simply stated, after taking over a program that had not been to the postseason in six years, he led NC State to postseason appearances in nine of ten seasons.
So what is next?
Arizona State followers are intrigued and excited to find out after getting a taste of his system, attitude and no-excuses drive that existed in year one, and then getting ASU to the NCAA bubble despite in 2007-2008 being picked for ninth as it engineered several big wins, including a sweep of rival Arizona and wins over No. 17 Xavier and seventh-ranked Stanford. The 2008-09 season became a list of "first time since" as the program took off. In 2009-10, many folks predicted doomday, including The Sporting News that pegged ASU tenth. Not so fast as the Sun Devils finished second, its best loop finish since 1980-81.
His staff has tweaked and redesigned his signature offense (which produced the third-highest scoring team in the ACC in 2005-2006 during conference play) to work with two powerful offensive NBA-ready weapons and then changed the offense completely after the first week of the Pac-10 season in 2009-10. His trademark, well-prepared defense that was man-to-man through his career changed in his first season when he went zone and gave up the fewest points by a Sun Devil team in more than 40 seasons. His team followed that up the past four years giving up almost the same average.
His staff has shown the ability to adapt at both ends of the floor, noted by his teams leading the ACC in scoring defense four times and holding opponent's to an ACC record 54.7 points per game in 1996-97. Yet in his final year, its 75.8 points per game mark in the ACC would translate into a second-place offensive ranking among Pac-10 teams that year behind only Washington.
The Sun Devil family is excited by the youth of the new coach, who is just 48 years old, knowing he is a relentless worker who spends time in airports with his magnetic white board drawing up plays that got Jeff Pendergraph open looks off the inbounds play under the hoop that helped him lead the nation in field goal percentage, then helped Eric Boateng lead the Pac-10 in the same category in 2009-10.
From 2,227 miles away, ASU got its man in Herb Sendek.
The Pittsburgh native has won 352 games in 19 seasons and has been a part of a Final Four coaching staff at two schools with major basketball traditions. He was named the 13th men's basketball coach at Arizona State on April 3, 2006.
A 1985 graduate of Carnegie-Mellon (Pa.), Coach Sendek is 342-233 (.595) in his 18 seasons as a head coach and was 191-132 (.591) at North Carolina State in 10 seasons. He earned Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 2003-04 and has taken 15 teams to the postseason. While competing in one of the nation's most intense conferences, he posted five 20-win seasons, including his final three. He also was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year in 1994-95. So yes, that is perfect in three coaching jobs on getting a Coach of the Year Award when you add the 2009-10 Pac-10 hardware.
Yet some folks, when ASU made the hire, couldn't quite grasp all the facts. One national recruiting service, when talking about the hire, said ASU did a great job because it took into account all the wins, years as head coach and NCAA appearances but questioned the "youth" of Sendek when it mentioned three other Pac-10 coaches who were "young coaches that might have more upside."
One small problem.
No one checked his birthdate of February 22, 1963.
He was younger than two of the three coaches mentioned. And none of those coaches mentioned are in the Pac-10 any longer, so the upside wasn't really up at all.
No worries, that all was taken care of as the league became familiar with not only the coach, but the man and his background. Like how his team went to the Sweet 16 in 2004, but more importantly, how all five starters earned their degrees. He lets his players take the credit and the accolades. He has a meticulous eye for detail from the commas in a story to the heights of his players. Just ask the NBA folks out there, who gave a thumbs up for having James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph with proper heights and weights all season long so when it came time for the combines there were no question marks.
Just imagine what that is like in the video room or on the recruiting trail. The best out-of-bounds play on the planet probably is in his travel bag. So was the blueprint for the now-completed practice facility, academic plan, honoring former players, etc.
No detail is too small and nothing gets overlooked. While always looking to the future, he understands the importance of pausing to reflect and honor the past. His office walls at NC State were lined with photos of former Wolfpack coaches who helped build the foundation. He will want to honor "jerseys" and have them hang in the rafters. Joe Caldwell, Byron Scott and Lionel Hollins became the first Sun Devil to have their numbers honored this year, and it was a plan hatched by Coach Sendek.
How did he get this way? Where did he learn all this? When it is in your blood, some of it is simply hereditary.
As the son of a coach, Sendek constantly tagged along with Herb, a teacher and coach at both the high school and junior college levels. His dad always made time for him, no meeting was too important or no practice was too stressful to take the little one along.
Grab the apple and peanut butter sandwich and the Sendek duo was off to practice.
Shoot free throws on the side. Dribble between the legs.
Figure Eights. Butterfly drill.
Keep statistics. Collect the basketballs.
Legendary junior college coach Bill Shay became another role model.
A gym rat was born.
The younger Herb became a solid guard and team captain at Penn Hills High School, earning All-East Suburban honors. And he practiced then what he preaches now, as he posted a 4.0 grade-point average. Growing up in that area, he developed the "work hard now, results come later" philosophy of the steel workers and coal miners with the tough hands and sack lunches. Western Pennsylvania understands that, as he is a member of the Penn Hills Hall of Fame, the East Boros Chapter of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame, the Five-Star Basketball Camp Hall of Fame and the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame. From there, he opted to attend Carnegie-Mellon University, earning a prestigious Carnegie Merit Scholarship and the opportunity to play for coach Dave Maloney.
One week into practice prior to his senior season, his playing career ended unexpectedly when a new coach cut him and two other players were recruited by Maloney. What seemed like a disastrous event for the future coach, however, turned out to have a silver lining. Chuck Crummie, the head coach at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, gave Sendek the opportunity to serve as a volunteer assistant coach.
After graduating from Carnegie-Mellon with a 3.95 GPA in 1985, he launched his coaching career. He joined Rick Pitino's staff at Providence College that fall, serving as an assistant coach with the Friars until 1989, and working on a Final Four staff in 1987 that coached Billy Donovan. He was now part of one of the biggest and best coaching fraternities in the game. The upbringing and lessons taught from those days of being on the same staff with the likes of Jeff Van Gundy, Stu Jackson, Billy Donovan, Tubby Smith and Gordon Chiseas helped him become one of the best coaches in the nation, not only on the court but in every facet of a player's life.
His favorite sports moments are the Immaculate Reception and watching his dad's team play in the National Junior College Athletic Association. Anyone can appreciate a person who remembers the local sports history of where they grew up and who taught them how to play the game at such a young age.
On the court, Coach Sendek has built an impressive list of solid seasons, especially in his final five seasons at NC State. Not bad for a guy who when hired on April 17, 1996, at one of the most high-profile jobs in one of the most high-profile conferences, was the youngest coach in the ACC at just 33.
His final Wolfpack squad went 22-10 (his third straight 20-win season), and topped Pac-10 foe California in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Great numbers, but think about this...none of NC State's returning players averaged more than 10.0 points per game the prior season. The returning starters averaged 27.2 points the previous year. In one summer, Cedric Simmons went from 3.5 points per game and 1.8 rebounds per game to a NBA first-round pick.
That can make a potential recruit interested pretty fast.
His 2004-05 squad advanced to the regional semifinal led by Julius Hodge and beat defending NCAA champion and 13th-ranked UCONN in the second round, which gave Sendek's staff another win over a recent national champion.
In 2003-04, the Wolfpack won 11 regular-season league games for the first time since 1974, including five on the road. NC State was in the top-20 for the final six weeks and defeated five ranked teams, including top-ranked Duke. Sendek was named the ACC's Coach of the Year and was the NABC District 5 Coach of the Year. The Duke win marked his second over the top-ranked team in the nation.
Two wins over the nation's top-ranked team. Is that something that happens often?
The answer is no. As a matter of fact, five Pac-10 schools have topped the number one team in the nation. ASU has done it once. That is over the history of the program. Sendek did it twice in seven years. In 2002-03, Sendek took his sixth Wolfpack squad to postseason play and became just the seventh coach in the storied history of the ACC to take three of his first seven teams to the ACC Tournament championship. He tacked on a little bit of ACC history as well. His team became the first team to knock off the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament in consecutive years with the win over ninth-ranked Wake Forest.
The 2002 season may have been Sendek's most challenging, yet most rewarding. He took a team with just two seniors and five freshmen and won 23 games (nine in the ACC) for the first time in over a decade. The Pack posted a third-place ACC finish (after being picked seventh) and advanced to the ACC Tournament finals and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Sendek won his 100th game at NC State in 2002, was the NABC District 5 Coach of the Year and a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award. The Sporting News selected him as the ACC Coach of the Year.
Injuries were a big factor in the Wolfpack's fortunes in 2000-01, but the season was highlighted by a victory over sixth-ranked Virginia, the fourth over a top-10 team by a Wolfpack squad under Sendek. The four seniors from that 2001 squad -- Kenny Inge, Damon Thornton, Ron Kelley and Cornelius Williams -- all graduated.
In 1999-2000, NC State began the year 15-3 before injuries to its top two reserves took their toll. Still, the Pack was able to finish the season strong with its first 20-win season since 1990-91, and advanced to the ACC Tournament semifinals for the third time in four seasons. NC State made its fourth straight trip to the postseason (and his seventh postseason appearance in seven years as a head coach), advancing to the NIT semifinals in New York, and beat Eddie House-led Arizona State twice in Raleigh.
The Wolfpack continued its climb in 1998-99, finishing the year with a 19-14 mark. NC State also finished fifth in the tightly contested ACC and advanced to the postseason for the third straight season. Coach Sendek joined Everett Case as the only coaches in school history to lead each of their first three teams to the postseason.
In 1997-98, NC State made its second-straight postseason appearance despite battling injuries throughout the year. Reduced to eight healthy players at one point, the Pack rallied together to defeat No. 1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill and once again advanced to the second round of the NIT.
In his first season (1996-97), the Pack won 17 games, the program's first winning record in six years, advanced to the championship of the ACC Tournament and earned a NIT berth, its first postseason appearance since 1991. The Wolfpack won eight of their final 11 games. The improbable ACC run had college basketball fans around the nation buzzing about the progress and potential of the Wolfpack. Sendek's team relied on just six players throughout the tournament, but pulled off upsets of top-seeded Duke (66-60), fifth-ranked Maryland (65-58) but fell to North Carolina.
Not bad for a guy who got started as a graduate assistant for Coach Rick Pitino less than two decades before at Providence. Eventually that position at Providence led to another job at one of the nation's top basketball schools.
He rejoined Coach Pitino, who has had numerous former assistant coaches advance to the head coaching ranks, in 1989 at the University of Kentucky. He served as an assistant (1989-91) and then associate head coach (1991-93) for the Wildcats, earning a national reputation as a standout recruiter. Sports Illustrated named him one of the nation's top 10 recruiters in its 1992-93 College Basketball Preview.
His best recruit in his history was at Lexington as he met his wife, the former Melanie Scheuer of Danville, Ky., in Lexington and the couple married nearly two years later and has three daughters, Kristin (18), Catherine (15) and Kelly (13).
After eight years as an assistant, including Final Four appearances in 1987 with Providence and 1993 with Kentucky, 30-year old Herb Sendek took over the Oxford-based program at Miami (Ohio). There, in his first venture as a head coach, he led the Redskins to three consecutive postseason appearances and the 1995 Mid-American Conference regular-season championship. His three-year record at Miami was 63-26, giving him the highest winning percentage (.708) in school history.
And through all this, he has been a mentor to many. Eight of his former assistants are currently Division I coaches. Many of his former players remain close and have great things to say. Many of the players he worked with are also coaches. As a matter of fact, one of them had nothing but great things to say in early April of 2006 during Final Four weekend.
It always helps to have a two-time national champion in your corner.
"Herb is awesome," says Billy Donovan. "I hope Arizona State understands what just happened."
Not only does it understand what happened, it is excited to see what will happen.
PAC-10 VICTORIES OVER AP NO. 1:Twice Herb Sendek's NC State teams have topped the nation's top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll. On Feb. 21, 1998, NC State topped North Carolina in Chapel Hill 86-72. On Feb. 15, 2004, NC State topped Duke 78-74 in Raleigh. Beating the No. 1 team within six seasons is not something that happens all the time. ASU has beaten the top-ranked team once in its history (1981), while Pac-10 schools USC, Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, California also have topped the number one team twice -- in each school's history. Sendek has beaten the top team in the nation more recently than nine of the Pac-12 schools with his February of 2004 victory over Duke in Raleigh.
||March 13, 2003 (UCLA 96, Arizona 89/Pac-10 Tournament)
||March 8, 2001 (Arizona 76, @Stanford 75)
||Jan. 30, 2003 (Stanford 82, Arizona 77)
||Feb. 15, 2004 (NC State 78, Duke 74)
||Jan. 30, 1994 (Cal 85, UCLA 70 @Oakland)
||Feb. 16, 1974 (Oregon 56, UCLA 51)
||Feb. 15, 1974 (Oregon State 61, UCLA 57)
||March 6, 1970 (USC 87, @UCLA 86)
||March 6, 2004 (Washington 75, Stanford 62)
||March 7, 1981 (ASU 87, @Oregon State 67)
NO. 5 OF 61: The NCAA had 60 coaching changes after the 2005-2006 season, the most since the beginning of the 1998-99 season when there were 63 and the second-most in the previous 19 seasons. Herb Sendek was fifth on the list in terms of Division I wins with 254. Here's a look at the top five in terms of wins for coaching changes that season, and note that three of the five have moved on from the school they signed with:
||D-I Schools Coached
|Bob Huggins, Kansas State
||Sept. 21, 1953
|Kelvin Sampson, Indiana
||Oct. 5, 1955
||Washington St., Oklahoma
|Bobby Cremins, Coll. Of Charleston
||July 4, 1947
||Georgia Tech, Appalachian St.
|Fran Dunphy, Temple
||Oct. 5, 1948
|Herb Sendek, ASU
||Feb. 22, 1963
||Miami (Ohio), NC State, Arizona State
BEATING THOSE AT THE TOP OF THE LIST: In his career, Herb Sendek's teams have won eight games coached by six members of the distinguished 700-win club, including two wins in NCAA Tournament action. On March 20, 2005, NC State topped defending champion UCONN and Jim Calhoun 65-62 for the latest victory over a 700-win club member. A look at those eight wins:
|Lute Olson, Arizona
||March 16, 1995
||Miami (Ohio) 71, #15 Arizona 62
|Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
||March 7, 1997
||NC State 66, #7 Duke 60
|Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
||Dec. 8, 2001
||NC State 82, #9 Syracuse 68
|John Chaney, Temple
||Jan. 26, 2002
||NC State 80, Temple 61
|Jim Phelan, Mt. St. Mary's
||Nov. 22, 2002
||NC State 84, Mt. St. Mary's 60
|Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
||Jan. 22, 2003
||NC State 80, #3 Duke 71
|Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
||Feb. 15, 2004
||NC State 78, #1 Duke 74
|Jim Calhoun, UCONN
||March 20, 2005
||NC State 65, #13 UCONN