At the end of last week, a long time friend of the site made us promise that we would not run a piece of information that he was going to share with us until it became public from other sources.
Not expecting it to be that big of a deal, we promised to corroborate his information from multiple sources before posting anything on the site.
Then, he dropped the bombshell on us — NC State Athletics Director, Lee Fowler, was not only working to position himself for the same role that is currently vacant at Mississippi State University, but was actually a legitimate leading candidate for the post.
After being passed over by almost a dozen jobs in the last decade, including San Diego State just a few months ago, we found it hard to believe that any school – least of which an SEC school – would ever truly consider ‘Coach’ Fowler. Then, we realized that Mississippi State is one of only six BCS schools ranked worse than NC State in the latest Director’s Cup standings and…Eureka!!! Lee Fowler will fit right in!!!
Whereas NC State is currently #60 of 66 BCS Schools (#88 in the country), Mississippi State is the worst of 66 BCS schools at a miserable #146. Considering how Lee Fowler loathes tangible and measurable goals, the idea of going somewhere to work on things like ‘improving’ and ‘competing’ has to make his mouth water! Once he builds a new ‘fuhcility’ he will have hit the trifecta!!!
Since our source insisted that the Bulldogs’ brass was genuinely considering Fowler as a leading candidate, we promised to keep our mouths shut for fear that the good folks in Starkville might figure out how to get on the internet; and we’d hate to have our hopes for liberation thwarted by the ‘lunatic fringe’ and just ’50 crazy people on the internet’.
Tonight, we can break our silence as WFNZ in Charlotte is publicly reporting the rumor that we heard last week. (Click here) Additionally, the WFNZ story states the following:
Information leaking out of Mississippi is that N.C. State athletics director Lee Fowler is interviewing with officials from Mississippi State in Atlanta today about its athletic directorâ€™s job.
RALEIGH â€“ The days of Lee Fowlerâ€™s reign as head of North Carolina State Universityâ€™s sports programs appear to be drawing to a close.
Several sources with ties to the university say Fowler, top university officials and the schoolâ€™s board of trustees are working on a strategy that would end his decade-long tenure as athletics director. The sources say Fowler is being given time to find another position, should he choose to do so, at which time his departure from NCSU would be announced
We do not know if Fowler was meeting with Mississippi State officials today; but, SFN can confirm for a fact that Fowler flew from Raleigh to Atlanta earlier on Thursday morning. We also do not know if Fowler’s final destination was Atlanta; we simply know that he boarded a plane in Raleigh bound for Atlanta.
As we shared with you in this entry on March 12th:
For the better part of the last month, the frequency and consistency of rumors related to a Lee Fowler departure has significantly intensified. Many different sources have shared with SFN that Lee Fowler will â€˜retire/resignâ€™ as NC Stateâ€™s Athletics Director at some in the very near future. The scenarios around Fowlerâ€™s ultimate departure usually takes the form of one of the two of the following:
(1) Some of the rumors have Fowler departing NC State in May, coinciding with the end of the school year. This version centers on the premise that Fowler has been given an ultimatum to have found a new job and hit the bricks by the end of the yearâ€¦or else. This would have Fowler riding into the sunset with another of SFNâ€™s most disliked NC State administrators, Tom Stafford.
To this point, we have not explicitly shared the strong rumblings & rumors that Fowler was given some kind of ultimatum to find another job or risk the public humiliation of getting booted to the curb in a not so soft manner. Due to turnover in the Chancellorship coupled by a Board of Trustees with a record that would make Enron proud, we could never deduce exactly who supposed was to have suddenly and simultaneously grown a strategic brain and a big pair of balls to take charge of the horrible situation that has festered for the better part of the last decade.
Since we ran that entry in March, it has become almost common knowledge amongst many in/around Cary that a very wealthy and close personal friend of Fowler’s has manufactured an empty-suit role in private enterprise available for Fowler to ‘gracefully’ step to as he ‘choose’ to ‘retire’ from Athletics and NC State as he was excited and motivated for a new challenge and chapter in his career. (There is no reason to go deeper into this unless that ever becomes reality.)
The general expectation was that this move towards ‘the next phase of Fowler’s career’ would occur in the days/week(s) following the Fowler’s return from the Wolfpack Club’s trip to Ireland (May 15th-22nd). I mean, is there a soul on this planet that knows Lee Fowler and would not expect him to make sure that he got to enjoy a free trip to go do nothing and simply hang out at other people’s expense? I wonder what kind of Cougars prowl the Irish countryside?
Even good old Bob Kennel made a loose reference to Fowler’s ‘corporate opportunity’ in one of his zanier recent posts on Pack Pride’s message boards titled something like the “Last will and testament of Lee Fowler”. It was very odd if you didn’t already have this background against which to apply the comment. In addition to such an odd title, Kennel made a statement about Fowler having strong business qualifications and that a soon to be released announcement would show just how respected Fowler is for his business skills. (I am going to take a five minute pause here to allow myself to recover, but you as the reader will never know the difference).
[12 minutes of laughing, crying, head shaking, astonishment, and (most of all) pity]
(I’m back. Dear God, please give me the strength to finish without hurting myself thinking about Kennel’s craziness.)
In the end…you weren’t really wondering why Uncle Jed just happened to suddenly shave his signature Jed Clampett mustache earlier this week? Why do you think that we actually started this thread on our message boards earlier in the week highlighting ‘the shave’? That’s not something we’d typically do. This move made us excited that there was something to this MSU talk as Uncle Jed was making himself more ’2010′ for his interview. Now, if he could only do something about that damn interwebs!