NC State is expected to hire on South Carolina assistant and longtime Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino to fill the vacancy on its coaching staff.
Bernardino spent 35 years as head coach at the University of Virginia, setting ACC records with 16 men’s team titles and 27 overall team titles. He “retired” from that role in 2013, but resurfaced less than a year later in South Carolina, where he was hired as associate head coach. His departure from UVA took many by surprise, prompting a flood of unanswered questions directed at administration.
Over the next few years, he’d help build South Carolina’s distance group into one of the nation’s best. That makes him an ideal fit for NC State’s opening, after associate head coach (and former director of the Wolfpack distance group) Gary Taylor left to take the head coaching role at Auburn.
As NC State has continued to rise into the NCAA’s elite tier on the men’s side, its coaching staff has seen significant shakeups. Virginia (Bernardino’s former coaching home) hired away former Wolfpack assistant Todd Desorbo to head its program last year, with great year-one results. Auburn followed that blueprint by hiring Taylor. Now it appears Bernardino will return to the ACC to coach against his former program of three-and-a-half decades.
Athletes on both teams were informed of the pending hire on Thursday.