NC State hires Kevin Keatts of UNC Wilmington as new coach

NC State hires Kevin Keatts of UNC Wilmington as new coach

NC State reaches agreement to hire Kevin Keatts as basketball coach.

North Carolina State has found its next head basketball coach.

UNC Wilmington coach Kevin Keatts, who visited NC State on Friday, has been named the Wolfpack's next head coach. The school made the official announcement Friday night.

"When we set out to hire our next men's basketball coach, we wanted to identify someone with the pedigree, vision and plan to serve as the architect of NC State basketball," NC State athletic director Debbie Yow said in a release. "Kevin quickly emerged as the perfect fit in each of these areas. His history of success in building programs, of competing at a championship-level in every stop of his career, his commitment to player development and priority in academics make him a tremendous hire for us."

The Wolfpack fired Mark Gottfried in mid-February but let him finish out the season before finding a replacement.

Keatts led the Seahawks to the NCAA Tournament each of the last two seasons. They narrowly lost to Duke in the first round last year, and fell 76-71 against Virginia on Thursday as a No. 12 seed.

The 44-year-old former Louisville assistant will now have to battle against the likes of Duke and North Carolina on a consistent basis. 

NC State has made the NCAA Tournament 26 times. It last made the Sweet 16 in 2015, but the program felt Gottfried wasn't doing the most with the talent at his disposal.

Luckily for Keatts, five of the Wolfpack's top six scorers return next season. Unfortunately, leading scorer Dennis Smith Jr., a freshman, will likely bolt for the NBA Draft.


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