In a followup to the Ken Tysiac story from the weekend where the Observers’ headline writer claimed that 29 emails made the difference in the status of Lee Fowler’s job, former Technician sports editor and sometime NC State blogger Jim Pomeranz makes sense of it all and injects some much-needed reality:
In reality, the idea of replacing Fowler has been stirring for several months, if not years. Chancellors prior to Woodward werenâ€™t interested in replacing Fowler as much as they were interested in replacing head coaches. And, Fowler did himself no favors when Herb Sendek voluntarily left the Wolfpack basketball program and Fowler hop-scotched around the country looking for a head basketball coach before settling on Lowe who had no college coaching experience. And, when it was time to replace Chuck Amato as head football coach, Fowler settled on Oâ€™Brien who hasnâ€™t done very well in that capacity.
So, when Woodward showed his true, weak colors and caved into the wishes of Kessler to fire Barton, it was obvious to several â€œhigh-rollingâ€ supporters that Woodward could also make the decision to fire Fowler. One manâ€™s lackey is another manâ€™s salvation when it comes to decision-making. And, does anyone think that Woodson, who replaced Woodward, would reverse the decision? If so, thereâ€™s plenty of oil splattered beach front in the Gulf of Mexico for sale. Go get it.
Those emails from 29 people did nothing to continue or prevent the termination of Lee Fowler. Once WoodwardÂ made the decision to halt the contract of Fowler, it was a done deal. What would be interesting to know is who told Woodward to do it and when, possibly sometime last fall. I doubt Woodward made the decision on his own. Someone had his ear on this subject, and emails about that would be a lot more interesting to read than what was reported in Sundayâ€™s newspaper.
As Mr. Pomeranz points out, the emails didn’t make the difference in the decisions of either the Interim Chancellor Bob Woodward or that of new Chancellor Randy Woodson.Â Perhaps the opinions of those authors underlined the logic of the decision, or perhaps they were simply so much n0ise echoing in the halls of power at NC State.Â One may never know, but it is a logical and logistical certainty that 29 emails didn’t force anyone’s hand.
While some may consider this beating a dead horse, we think it is important to discern the truth and record what happened for posterity.
We would certainly hope that you would check out some of our comments and view on this situation by clicking here.
This will probably become important in the future, whenever NC State inevitably has to make an important personnel decision in its athletic program, and the best time to make that recording is now while the story is fresh and on everyone’s mind.Â This prevents misconceptions from happening later, something that seems to be a regular occurrence where Wolfpack athletics are concerned.
Instead of leaving it buried in the comment section of our other article on the subject, I will repeat here what I believe:
1) The local media â€“ N&O and others — are setting the stage for a myth of â€œunreasonable fans fired Fowler.â€ Remember, in their mind, we fired Herb Sendek and also had a parade for finishing fourth in ACC football, Jim Valvano’s players were reckless and out of control, the 1973-74 team;s championship is tainted because the team and coaches cheated, and so forth and so on. They love this stuff and since sports â€œjournalistsâ€ are some of the least analytical folks out there, it will reverberate in their echo chamber until it is â€œfact.â€Â National writers and commentators from other areas will pick up on this and repeat it endlessly, count on it.Â No matter that it doesn’t match the reality of what happened in each case, once the myth gains traction, it replaces the truth with fiction and becomes a part of the historical record.
2) Speaking of myths, Duke’s AD Kevin White lauded Fowler for doing a good job under “impossible conditions.”
I wonder what â€œimpossible conditionsâ€ White is talking about. Give me a break. NC State is one of the larger ACC schools in terms of student population, and it is the largest school in the 10th largest state in the country. Moreover it has generous and loyal fans â€” fans who sell out their football stadium year after year despite marginal results, for example. Fans who vigorously donate to the booster club despite poor results â€” for DECADES, mind you â€” in the sports that matter.
Those ingredients do not make for â€œimpossible conditions.â€ In fact, the conditions on the ground are rather fertile conditions for sustainable success.Â All that’s needed is effective and visionary leadership with good qualities such as “managerial courage” – corporate-speak for folks who will make the hard decisions for the right reasons when a time comes that such decisions need to be made.
On second thought, what White implies is patronizing and wholly arrogant. Itâ€™s just another flavor of â€œlittle NC State cannot compete with Duke and UNC.â€ Horse puckey, Mr. White. That’s nothing more than malarkey.
Overall, I am neither surprised nor distressed by what Tysiac and his editors at the N&O/CO concocted. Why am I not surprised? Why should I be? Itâ€™s like being surprised when a bad dog shits on the floor. You know what angle the N&O and the CO are going to take, because theyâ€™ve taken the same angle for 40 years or more: they are going to pander to the UNC fans and they are going to try the tried and true â€œrile up the NCSU fans so theyâ€™ll read our stuff.â€
Keep in mind that for folks like the newspapers and sports radio stations, NC Stateâ€™s fans are not their audience, they are their INVENTORY, and that their TRUE customers are their advertisers.
They will do all they can to deliver that inventory to their customers, and stuff like this is exactly how they do it. Itâ€™s worked for years and seemingly always will, so donâ€™t expect it to change.
As the old line from the old movieÂ “War Games” applies to fans and the media: the only way to win is not to play.