RALEIGH NC State officially announced on Thursday afternoon it will part ways with men’s basketball head coach Mark Gottfried after the season. The decision comes after a 24-point loss to North Carolina on Wednesday, completing a six-game losing streak.”Mark and I met today to discuss the future direction of our program,” Athletics Director Debbie Yow said in a statement. “While it has long been my practice to evaluate the body of work at season’s end, in reviewing the overall direction of our program, we believe a change in leadership is necessary moving forward. Our focus now remains on supporting our student-athletes and staff over the final weeks of our season.” Yow said there will not be a press conference on Thursday regarding the decision.Gottfried has spent the last six seasons with the Wolfpack with mixed results. During his first four years, the former Alabama coach took NC State to the NCAA Tournament four times after the program failed to earn a bid during the previous five years. He also led the team to two Sweet 16 runs during that stretch, becoming the first coach since Herb Sendek to accomplish that feat.In the last two seasons, however, the program has taken a nose dive. NC State suffered its first losing season under Gottfried in 2015-16, but did so with a depleted roster. In 2016-17, the Wolfpack was headed down a similar path despite having a deep roster with Dennis Smith Jr. and Abdul-Malik Abu at the top of the lineup.”It has been a privilege to serve as head coach of NC State, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished during my time here,” said Gottfried. “NC State is a special place and I appreciate the opportunity to finish the remainder of the season.”Gottfried is still owed around $2.5 million as part of his buyout for the final two years of his contract. That extension was signed on Sept. 2015, prior to the 2015-16 season when he was coming off his second Sweet 16 appearance.As part of the contract, Gottfried is owed his base salary of $790,000 per year until the 2019-20 season along with the end of this season. The potential of a miraculous comeback with an ACC Tournament run or NCAA Tournament berth could also see Gottfried receive incentives at the end of the year.Not only has the Pack struggled in the ACC over the last two years, but it’s also been throttled by in-state opponents. State is 3-10 in the last two seasons against N.C. teams with a combined deficit of 142 points in the 13 games.Despite bringing in one of the most talented groups of players during his tenure, Gottfried was unable to continue his success from the first four years. The Pack dropped six straight in ACC play and four consecutive losses at home.
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