StateFans Nation is certainly no friend of Twitter sensation, Lee_Folwer. So, it was no surprise to us that he was elusive to our many requests for an interview. Although he eventually relented, he refused to meet us in person, but initially offered to do an interview via email for $1,000; before we could even consider this and make a counteroffer, he had self-negotiated his price down to $500. We knew it was a value at twice the original amount, so we agreed to his terms.
The following interview was conducted via email with Lee_Folwer:
SFN: We notice on your Twitter account that you refer to yourself as â€œCoach,â€ although we have found no record in your bio of having ever been a head coach at any time of your career. How did you come by that moniker?
Folwer: Dana Kirk gave me the title of â€œCoach,â€ which I use to this day to honor us both.
SFN: What was the most important lesson Dana Kirk taught you?
Folwer: He taught me a lot, but mostly I remember how to make a good martini and not to do business with Italians. Coach Kirk was a great man â€“ Iâ€™d say almost a giant in the industry. People donâ€™t acknowledge it, but he laid the groundwork for people like Tarkanian, Huggins, Sutton, and Calipari. I like to think of him as the Moe Green of college basketball.
SFN: How did it feel when you found out the Memphis program you were a part of at that time had to vacate a Final Four because of recruiting violations?
Folwer: Itâ€™s still real to me and the other guys. Itâ€™s not like we killed anybody. We still have the watches and rings to prove it. Well, those of us that didnâ€™t pawn them still do. If you know anybody that wants a set, I think Keith Lee is still trying to sell his.
SFN: Youâ€™ve been at State since 2000. What is the thing that has surprised you most about State fans?
Folwer: Our fans are great, except for some â€“ like you guys, the other internet kooks, and the ones that throw stuff. No matter how bad things get, the checks just keep coming. To me, nothing says dedication and love like somebody who will pay hard-earned money to watch their teams get slapped around and keep coming back, year after year. Our fans know weâ€™re not Carolina or Duke, but where else are they gonna go? Theyâ€™re great.
SFN: Your official athletics department bio quotes you as saying: â€œThe ongoing goal of all of our teams is to compete for the top half of the conference and for ACC championships and to achieve a Top 25 national ranking. We also want all of our teams to achieve post season play. NC State aspires to excellence across the boardâ€”and athletics is included in that vision.â€ Based on this, do you consider yourself successful?
Folwer: Hell yes. That is a very well-written, professional-sounding statement. Itâ€™s complex without being complicated, but vague enough that it canâ€™t really be applied. Thatâ€™s the sign of a true leader, in my opinion. I donâ€™t think Dan Rather could have written it any better. Thatâ€™s the kind of stuff I can come up with if I have the time.
SFN: In the absence of either a single team conference or national championship during your nearly 10-year tenure at State, which achievements do you consider your greatest?
Folwer: As a student of history, let me ask you: how many championships did King Tut win? Nobody knows. Now, let me ask you: have you ever heard of the Pyramids? Everybody has. And who built them? King Tut. Sometimes a legacy of concrete lasts longer and is more important than a few trinkets from Mortâ€™s.
SFN: Obviously Carter-Finley is state-of-the-art, but how about the newly-renovated Doak Field and J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center?
Folwer: [SFN Note: He didn't respond]
SFN: Explain how important is it to establish defined performance measures for the coaching staffs within your program, and also how you hold them accountable when they donâ€™t meet these expectations.
Folwer: Most of them are grownups. They know what to do without me looking over their shoulders. Coaches coach and Directors direct. Our coaches know that working in the shadows of Carolina and Duke mean championships are tough to come by, but we can still sell stuff and do good. I seem to remember us winning sometimes, at least. I think it was Hitler who said, â€œYou canâ€™t win â€˜em all.”
Look, this isnâ€™t rocket science, keep the turnstiles turning; donâ€™t get kids that break stuff or rob people; and try to keep the expenses down. We can and have created a nice little niche for ourselves here.
I think championships are great and would like to win one, but you canâ€™t be a slave to that expectation when there are a dozen or so teams in our league and some of them are really good. Hell, Clemson had one kid in football that damn near beat us by himself. What are you gonna do about something like that? Itâ€™s not Oâ€™Brienâ€™s fault that kid went there. Is it Sidâ€™s fault that none of our kids can really shoot? Is it Kellie Whatsherfaceâ€™s fault that none of our girls are what youâ€™d call attractive?
My granddaddy used to say, â€œYou can dress a pig in womenâ€™s underwear, but you probably shouldnâ€™t marry itâ€. I like to apply that same philosophy to our coaches.
SFN: On Twitter, you recently referenced a note dated 4/10/06 from â€œWMâ€ regarding your involvement in the coaching search to replace Herb Sendek. April 2006 was an emotional rollercoaster for State fans. What can you tell us about that coaching search?
Folwer: People speculate, but only a few of us know the whole story. Once those photos of Herb surfaced, I figured he would leave the country, but I guess being in Tempe put him close enough to the Mexico option in case he ever needed it. I liked Herb, but I never understood much of what he said. He was a strange little man. On what we did after he bolted, Iâ€™ll set the record straight once and for all: Sid was my main target from day one. In my mind, the other moves were feints, like any good boxer would do. Pro moves, if you will.
Now, we had a lot of people with opinions, so I had to go through the motions.
Rick Barnes? Heâ€™s a dick, pure and simple. Never liked that greedy redneck from the first time I laid eyes on him. I did everything but spit in his eye to make sure he never came here.
Steve Lavin? I had to change my phone number. None of us knew where that came from; he just started saying it on TV.
Calipari? See your first question: Never do business with an Italian. That little grease ball even stole two ashtrays out of Wendellâ€™s plane.
Beilein? Those hillbillies up there were holding his mother in a garage up in some holler with a gun to her head. We just made the buyout stuff up so they didnâ€™t cut her fingers off.
Sid was the man for me all along. I even had him set up with a medical degree out of Ghana before he signed, but he wanted to do it his way.
SFN: Talk about womenâ€™s basketball coach Kellie Harper.
Folwer: Iâ€™d need to talk to a lawyer first. Sorry.
SFN: How close are we to a championship in football and/or basketball?
Folwer: Do you want me to punch you or what?
SFN: Is it unrealistic for State fans to expect to once again compete in basketball with its chief rivals, Carolina and Duke?
Folwer: If Carolina and Duke jumped off a bridge, would you? I rest my case.
SFN: How much longer do you plan to be at State, and what are your plans after that time is up?
Folwer: Youâ€™d love to hear me answer that one, wouldnâ€™t you? You rumor-mongering sonuvabitch. Iâ€™ll be here until Iâ€™m good and damn ready to leave and donâ€™t you forget it.
Oblinger? Dead man. Easley? Dead Man. Ruffin Poole? Dirt nap. Lee_Folwer? Whoâ€™s your daddy?
SFN: On a lighter note, tell us what you do to relax.
Folwer: Like Iâ€™m gonna tell that to the internet equivalent of the Weekly World News. Donâ€™t push it, junior.
SFN: Coach, we appreciate your time. Weâ€™ll leave you with a parting shot. What message would you like to offer the State fan base?
Folwer: Donâ€™t read this guyâ€™s crap. He makes most of it up.
â€¦and stop throwing stuff.
StateFans Nation greatly appreciates the time Lee_Folwer took to answer our questions (most of them, anyway). Please feel free to discuss this interview in the comments below, and if there are any questions SFNâ€™s readers would like to have answered, share them in the comments below and perhaps Lee_Folwer will be gracious enough to grant us a follow-up interview in the near future (for the right price, of course).
You can follow Coach Lee_Folwer on Twitter, here.