Out of all fundraisers in college athletics, the Wall Street Journal chose our very own Bobby Purcell to feature in this article. Some may be surprised that there wasn’t a single mention of Lee Fowler and others probably wonder how Bobby can raise so much money since NC State has such “bad” fans. Maybe the only person left out that deserves some credit for the flood of donations and record levels of attendance at football and basketball games is former football coach Chuck Amato (who at the same time deserves a lot credit for the current state of the football program).
Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., is a tribute to the earning power of big-time college athletics. Since 2000, the school has added over $100 million in improvements, including a four-story tower with luxury suites and a football-operations center that houses three swimming pools, a weight room and a 3,500-square-foot player lounge.
But this place wasn’t built on winning football. Its tenant, North Carolina State, hasn’t finished higher than fourth in The Atlantic Coast Conference in over a decade and is 1-2 this season heading into tomorrow’s game against heavily favored East Carolina. These facilities sit on a foundation of charitable fans, their blind faith in better seasons and one man with a knack for cultivating both….
…The only thing that has eluded Mr. Purcell lately is a high-profile team. The school’s men’s basketball squad hasn’t set the world on fire in the last decade either. Even so, donors like Mr. Vaughn, the construction executive, say they still believe their donations will make a difference. “I think everyone believes it’s going to happen sooner rather than later,” he says.