North Carolina State Coach Mark Gottfried was fired Thursday -- kind of.

After a week filled with speculation, reports that NC State already had begun its search for a successor, and a 24-point home loss to North Carolina, the Wolfpack program announced Gottfried would not be retained for a seventh season.

But he wasn't immediately let go. Athletic Director Debbie Yow is allowing Gottfried to coach the rest of the season -- four regular-season games, plus the ACC Tournament.

Gottfried coached the first of those four games Saturday at home against Notre Dame, and North Carolina State allowed ESPN cameras inside its locker room for Gottfried's pregame speech. It was ... motivational? Maybe. More than anything, it just seemed awkward:

"It's like I'm that dog ... that damn car rolls over me, and that car is on top of me, and that tire is squishing me," Gottfried said. "You got a choice to make right there.

"I promise you, I promise you, I'm going to bite that damn tire. Bite the damn tire today, fellas. You hear me?"

Some players forced out a grumbled "yeah."

"Bite the damn tire," Gottfried repeated one more time, before clapping and taking his team out to the court.