North Carolina State has offered Morgan Wootten of De Matha High School a five-year contract that would bring him $700,000, including all fringe benefits, to become the Wolfpack's basketball coach, informed sources said yesterday.
According to the sources, Wootten and Willis Casey, N. C. State's athletic director, have reached "a strong verbal commitment" over contract terms in telephone conversations.
"All the nuts and bolts are there," a source said. "Now it's up to Wootten to do something."
Wootten said yesterday that he plans to make a decision by this afternoon after holding "a summit meeting" with his family and talking to a couple of friends.
"If you've ever seen a guy sitting on dead center, you're looking at him," Wootten said. "You can build a fantastic case both ways. I have to decide."
Casey denied that contract terms were set. When asked if all that remained was for Wootten to make up his mind, the athletic director said: "I hope you're right. I hope he takes the job."
"Our committee has not interviewed anyone," Casey said. "We have talked to Wootten and invited him to Raleigh. He has not accepted our invitation. We would like very, very much to have him visit with us . . . Personaly, I'm a high admirer of Wootten's. I'd like him to visit and consider."
Robert Bryan, a chemistry professor at State and chairman of the search committee, said the committee had conducted "informal" interviews by phone with Wootten. He labeled the reported $140,000 annual income to Wootten as "total earning power," not salary from State.
Wootten would not comment on the contract offer.
Sources said that Wootten's annual salary will be in the $45,000-$50,000 range and that camps, television shows and endorsements would bring his yearly income to $140,000 -- double what he is making now.
Wootten would replace Norman Sloan, who resigned two weeks ago to become the coach at the University of Florida.
Wootten has turned down numerous college offers in the past. With two stars of his 1978-79 team as State freshmen last season, the Wolfpack job is quite appealing to Wootten because it is now apparent that the job he wanted most -- Maryland's -- will be Lefty Driesell's as long as he wants it.
Weighing against the 48-year-old Wootten taking the job is his commitment to his family. He has to decide whether he will be putting basketball ahead of it, something he said he does not want to do. He has three teenage daughters who would have to relocate.
There were reports that Wootten would have gone to Raleigh yesterday if he intended to pursue the job.
"I said it was a possibility" Wootteen said. "But the snow-out of the city championship game pushed everything back. The game was moved from Sunday to Tuesday and they had an assembly today to honor the team. I had to be here for that."
With State playing in the NCAA tournament this weekend in Greensboro, N.C., it is unlikely Wootten would now go to Raleigh before Sunday.
"If I decide to go, or lean that way I'll go right on down, take my wife with me and look things over."
That would be to wrap up the deal.