NC State’s Football program has been re-energized with Coach Tom O’Brien’s injection of hope for a nice steady climb back to respectability. The dream of this kind of future can’t help but harken names of Wolfpack-past like Edwards, Holtz, Sheridan and Rein.
I don’t hesitate to say that there are multiple generations of NC State fans who are not familiar with Rein and they should be. So, we have been saving this article about Bo Rein for a generally slow time of year like right now.
By the looks of the first sentence of the article old Bo wouldn’t have fit very well into NC State’s landscape during this new millenium.
Bo Rein always aimed higher, never settling for the status quo. It’s fitting then, that the former Ohio State football player and short-time Louisiana State coach met his end going above and beyond.
Something horrible happened up there, high above the Louisiana landscape, where a veteran pilot and his tired passenger sailed in silence. Nearly 30 years later and still no one is certain why the plane depressurized and went cold. It could have been a crack in the fuselage. Or maybe a broken seal. We’ll never know, because the men and the plane were never found…
Rein joined Lou Holtz at William & Mary, then at North Carolina State, where at age 30 he became the nation’s youngest coach in 1976 when Holtz left for the New York Jets. After compiling a 27-18-1 record in four seasons at North Carolina State, Rein left for LSU to replace retiring Charlie McClendon.
On Jan. 10, 1980, exhausted from a full day of recruiting in Shreveport, La., Rein climbed into the Cessna Conquest and joined pilot Louis Benscotter for the 40-minute return flight to Baton Rouge. Along the way, the plane diverted east to avoid a storm.
“They requested a higher altitude because they were in heavy turbulence, and called back to ask to climb from 20,000 to 22,000 feet,” said Dietzel, a former World War II pilot. “That was their last radio signal. At about 20,000 feet, without enough oxygen you pass out and don’t know it. You drift off. Something went wrong with the pressurization in what was a brand new airplane.”
The plane climbed to 40,000 feet and was picked up and escorted by military aircraft as it flew east over North Carolina, 1,000 miles off course. The plane continued over the Atlantic Ocean, finally crashing 100 miles out to sea after running out of fuel. The military pilots spotted debris, but no wreckage was ever recovered. Rein was dead at age 34.
“The weird thing is the plane’s path took it right over the North Carolina State campus, where down below Bo’s wife and children were sleeping,” Dietzel said.