Tom Suiter reminds us why he is a local institution. We’ll chime in with follow-up on this later:
N.C. State fans have been bashed by the national media in the midst of the coaching search drama, and I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s quite fair. Now, Pack fans have always felt like the media is against them. Iâ€™ve heard it throughout my almost 35 years at WRAL and Iâ€™ve answered many a letter and irate phone call on the subject. When I was younger, it made me mad because I thought it was so unfair. Now I just laugh, because I know how silly it is. One day before I die I will get into all that.
But I will say this â€“ I do feel that the N.C. State basketball coaching job is a better-than-good job. Thatâ€™s my feeling. The facilities are top notch, and the RBC Center is as good an arena as any in the country. The commitment is there. I donâ€™t think N.C. State basketball lacks for any resource that it needs.
I can understand why many were unhappy with Herb Sendek. He didnâ€™t do a bad job. I have a friend who thinks Sendek was winning and competing and that his teams had a chance to win every night out. But I know where the fans who want more are coming from, and I understand those arguments. He had 10 years and he didnâ€™t win any kind of championships. He did pad his record to 20-plus wins with a cupcake non-conference schedule, but he couldnâ€™t win in his own backyard. I know that N.C. State fans want to win as badly as any fans around. They want to see their team win ACC titles and to make a run in the tournament.
Coach Sendek was getting to the NCAA Tournament, and five straight appearances were impressive, but the early exits werenâ€™t. And he never had a season without double-figure losses. Sendek did a good job — not great, but good. But was he going to take State to the next level? Maybe, but then again maybe not, and many vocal fans thought he wouldnâ€™t. And whether somebody else can do better will be judged in the future.
N.C. State fans want to win big, and is that wrong? Of course itâ€™s not. State fans can make an arena rock like no other. There is a tradition at State and that does matter. Still, the most memorable story I was ever a part of was Stateâ€™s march to the 1983 NCAA Championship. People are always asking me the biggest story I ever covered and Iâ€™ve covered a lot of them, but to this day, I say it was 1983 and the Wolfpackâ€™s amazing run to the National Championship.
No, a fan base shouldnâ€™t be chastised because they want to win, or because they want their team to be the best. A coach should want his fans to feel the thrill or the pain, after victory or defeat, just like he does. He should want them to care.