Sidney Lowe

North Carolina State University Athletic Director Debbie Yow announced the resignation of Sidney Lowe Tuesday. Lowe had coached the men's basketball team for five seasons.

Lowe texted ESPN's Andy Katz earlier in the day, saying he was stepping down.

The move ended days of speculation about his future.

Yow discussed the future of the basketball program and the university's intention to begin searching for Lowe's replacement during a news conference Tuesday.

She said the decision for Lowe to step down was made Tuesday although she had been thinking about what would happen for some time.

“Coach Lowe is an important part of the Wolfpack family,” Yow said. “All of his efforts during the past five years are much appreciated. I personally have enjoyed our interaction during the year. We look forward to opportunities where Sidney can share his expertise on agent issues and other student welfare topics without interfering with his future career opportunities. He will always be part of the Wolfpack family.”

The school will begin its search for Lowe’s replacement immediately, but Yow stopped short of revealing who is on a list of potential candidates. She revealed possible candidates will be coaching during the NCAA tournament, but she will allow those candidates to focus on the tournament and not the NC State coaching position.

Associate Head Coach, Monte Towe, will continue in his current role and lead the program in the interim.

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“We will be competitive nationally in compensation and staffing,” she said.

There is no timeline or deadline for the search. Yow said she will not be commenting on candidates during the search process.

When asked about what traits she’s looking for in a coach, Yow said the ideal candidate will be a career college coach who is highly successful and has built a college program.

During Lowe's tenure at NC State, he had an 86-78 overall record, but just 25-55 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. He inherited a program coming off five straight NCAA tournament trips, but he never finished higher than ninth in the ACC despite twice being picked to finish in the top third of the 12-team league.

There had been a handful of exciting moments, from an upset of highly ranked rival North Carolina and a surprise run to the ACC tournament final in his first season to an upset of eventual national champion Duke and a run to the ACC tournament semifinals in 2010. But he failed to sustain any momentum from those big wins, never making it to the NCAAs and twice going to the NIT.

His resignation comes less than a week after N.C. State (15-16) closed its second losing season under the former point guard who led the Wolfpack to an improbable national championship in 1983.

This season, N.C. State was picked to finish fourth after bringing in one of the nation’s top recruiting classes to join an experienced group that included returning all-ACC big man Tracy Smith. But Smith sat out 10 games after knee surgery, while the rest of the team never seemed to come together.

Lowe had said he wasn’t focusing on his future. But the 75-67 loss to Maryland in the first round of the ACC tournament Thursday night felt like Lowe’s farewell.

“I love this school,” Lowe said. “I poured my sweat here for four years to give it my best, and it was my hope and dream to come back here and do something special again. So, yeah, it means a lot more to me than it might mean to another coach or something.

“It hurts me because I know what it’s about down here. I know what it’s like, and I know what it’s like to win here. I know how the people will get behind you and the true fans will stick with you and enjoy that thing some. Yeah, it means a lot more to me.”

Lowe was one of the most beloved figures in program history after being a part of the “Cardiac Pack” team that upset Houston on a last-play dunk to win the 1983 title under Jim Valvano. He arrived in 2006 after a messy month-long coaching search that missed on top targets -- including John Calipari and Rick Barnes. Lowe called his hiring a “dream come true” and embraced the program’s tradition while talking of building on the success of Herb Sendek before him.

But Lowe, an assistant with the NBA’s Detroit Pistons at the time, had no college coaching experience when he was hired.

N.C. State went 7-33 in ACC road games with 23 of those losses coming by double-digit margins under Lowe. The Wolfpack also lost 13 of 16 to Duke and North Carolina, including the past 10 meetings with the Tar Heels.

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(Copyright ©2014 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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