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Gottfried won’t return as men’s basketball coach

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State says men’s basketball coach Mark Gottfried won’t return for a seventh season but will coach the remainder of this season.

The school announced the decision Thursday, less than a day after the Wolfpack fell by 24 points to 10th-ranked rival North Carolina in the team’s sixth straight loss as a once-promising season continues to unravel. N.C. State hosts No. 25 Notre Dame on Saturday.

“Mark and I met today to discuss the future direction of our program,” athletic 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.”

Gottfried had a 122-82 record with the Wolfpack, including NCAA Tournament trips in his first four years that included two Sweet 16 appearances.

But N.C. State has slid to 30-30 over the past two seasons — including 8-24 in Atlantic Coast Conference play — and struggled to maintain continuity amid transfers, players leaving early to pursue professional playing careers, and staff turnover.

Gottfried had declined to talk about his future after Wednesday’s 97-73 loss to the Tar Heels.

“It has been a privilege to serve as head coach of N.C. State, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished during my time here,” Gottfried said in a statement Thursday. “N.C. State is a special place and I appreciate the opportunity to finish the remainder of the season.”

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25



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