Herb Sendek hamming it up at Arizona State

May, 19, 2010
5/19/10
6:52
PM ET
If Arizona State coach Herb Sendek ever decides to get on Facebook like all the cool kids are doing these days, this would make a good profile pic.

Herb Sendek
courtesy of ASU Media RelationsSendek led the Sun Devils to a 22 wins and a second-place finish in the Pac-10 last season.
Here's Sendek trying on former Sun Devil James Harden's designer glasses during lunch last week. I'm no fashion critic, but let's just say it doesn't appear he pulls off the Peter Parker look quite like Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins does. Call it the Six Flags commercial guy look?

Still, the point is that Sendek had enough of a sense of humor to try.

Appearances have rarely been a point of emphasis for Sendek over the years, as he's stuck to a grind-it-out system that isn't necessarily pretty to watch. That didn't win him any style points at North Carolina State and might have even cost him the occasional player at ASU, but it was good enough for a surprising second-place finish in the Pac-10 this season.

For three straight seasons, the Sun Devils have won at least 21 games. Sendek has only one NCAA tournament appearance during that time to show for it, but his team once again is expected to be in the hunt in the Pac-10 next year as the program looks to turn a corner.

And the recruits are coming to play for him. Last month, I spoke with Sendek's prized recruit, 6-foot-5 forward Keala King, who raved about his future coach's no-nonsense style.

"I've seen him when he's mad and when he's happy," King said, marveling at a practice he witnessed during which Sendek was especially hard on star guard Ty Abbott. "He doesn't take a day off."

Sendek, who's won coach of the year awards in three different conferences (including last season in the Pac-10), will never be a quote machine. But the wins are coming and maybe behind the scenes Sendek is more of a Mr. Personality type than people give him credit for. Maybe all you need is a new pair of glasses to see that.

Want some more surprising perspectives on Sendek? Check out the info in this Arizona State blog post:
After the 2005-2006 hoops season, there were 60 Division I coaching changes, including Coach Herb coming to Tempe. Guess how many of the 60 remain? If you guessed 35, you got it. So less than 60 percent of the coaches hired four years ago remain.

...

Sean Miller turns 42 this November and is the youngest of the Pac-10 coaches. Johnny Dawkins turns 47 on Sept. 28. Guess who is third and turns 48 in February? Yup, Coach Sendek hits 48 on Feb. 22, 2011.

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