Hess “naturally has thick skin” (his words)

We’re not overreacting here, and we’re not in the mood to let this go easily. Luckily for us, we might actually have some help from elsewhere in the blogosphere and even from, of all folks, (gasp) the media.

Courtesy of Mark Armstrong’s Twitter (ArmstrongWTVD), we’re directed to a 2008 column by Bill Hass, where Karl Hess talks about having “thick skin” (TheACC.com):

There’s no such thing as an “ACC official” per se. Instead, all the officials who work in the league are NCAA officials. The ACC carries 64 referees its roster, and about 40 of those are primary for the league. That means they can work games in other leagues, and they do, but their first priority is to fill the 30 or so ACC dates they’re offered.

It’s no surprise that Clougherty believes the officials who work in the ACC are the best in the country, but he backs it up.

Then there’s Hess, who has a PhD in marriage and family therapy and makes his living with a private psychology practice in Virginia. A four-year hoops player at Liberty University, he’s married and has two children and coaches a 13-under baseball team that won a national championship two years ago.

“I never thought about being an official,” Hess said. “When I played I thought all officials were nuts and a pain in the neck.”

Hess said he has a naturally thick skin, so he isn’t bothered by verbal insults from the stands. He believes fans paid to see a game and can yell what they want, as long as they stay in their seats.

“You’re a fan and you’re entitled to your opinion,” he said. “You have to be able to deal with that when you put that black and white shirt on and become an official. If not, you need to go home.”

I couldn’t agree more with Hess: he’s nuts, a pain in the neck, and he needs to go home.

This morning, Gugs and Fire were on The Insiders with Mike Mansicalco and Mark Thomas (WRAL):

“When a fan, spectator gets ejected from a ball game, there should be some reason why, and I think the ACC conference owes that to us to say, ‘This is why Karl Hess did that’ and we haven’t gotten that yet,” Corchiani told the Insiders.

NC State athletic director Debbie Yow requested an explanation from the ACC following Hess’ ejection of the two former players following Saturday’s game. The ACC issued a statement later that evening saying referees are allowed to remove fans at their discretion, and Hess may have not followed the right protocol in doing that and that would be reviewed with him.

“The only thing we can think of is we got underneath his skin,” Corchiani said. “We stood up. There was a handful of calls. It wasn’t just Karl Hess, it was the other two officials, that appeared to have a little thicker skin than him.”

“There was certainly no profanity used and nothing was always directed at [Hess]. We were yelling at bad calls. We cheered for them when they made good calls,” said Gugliotta. “We certainly were boisterous like fans are, but there was nothing personal said towards the officials … I don’t know what the protocol is, but there was no warning or anything. He just asked us to leave.”

Our “friends” over at Duke Basketball Report chime in (DukeBasketballReport.com):

Is it any wonder that many Wolfpack fans are freaking out – screaming about officiating conspiracies and demanding that the ACC is out to get them? Two decades of basketball frustration have been unleashed, culminating with a petition drive demanding that the administration get out of an ACC dominated by Commissioner John Swofford, a former UNC football player and official who showed his true colors when he went to Indianapolis to support UNC’s appeal of its nine major NCAA infractions.

(Just to be clear, Swofford never attended a Committee on Infractions hearing for any other ACC school during his tenure as commissioner. And he didn’t object when a UNC athletic official explained his presence by noting, “He’s a Tar Heel.”).

It’s interesting that N.C. State shot 10 more free throws than Florida State Saturday. The gap was even bigger in the first half when the Seminoles built their big lead and put the game away.

That’s what makes the ejection of Gugliotta and Corchiani so strange.

Did they think Karl Hess was the reason that State trailed by 20 points in the second half? Or were they merely venting their frustration over the way the game was going?

Still, unless I hear that the two former players where threatening or disruptive or even obscene – and the early evidence seems to be that they weren’t – I can’t understand why Hess had them ejected.

I’ve covered ACC basketball for more than 40 years and sitting on press row between the fans and the court, I’ve heard a lot of insults directed at the officials. With a couple of exceptions (thrown objects are grounds for ejection … physical threats are certainly worthy of ejection … and while I may be an old fogey, I can even see excessive profanity getting you tossed) insults hurled at an official are part of the game.

I was flabbergasted Saturday night to hear Jay Bilas defend the ejections, I think – his logic wasn’t clear – because they were two prominent former players. Hey, Jay, you are a brilliant commentator, but you’re dead wrong on this issue. If they were sitting somewhere in an official capacity – at the scorer’s table, on the bench or even on press row – that would warrented ejection. But they were fans – in the stands – and they have every fan’s inalienable right to second-guess an official.

Karl Hess is old enough to know better.

I’ll be interested to see if there’s any more fallout from this issue. The ACC’s initial response – criticizing Hess only for not following proper protocol – is ludicrously inadequate. Unless there is more evidence that we have not seen, he should be suspended for his bad judgment – if not retired.

That’s an issue that State fans have a right to be upset about. And the next time Karl “Rabbit Ears” Hess appears in Cameron, I hope the Crazies offer him some cotton balls to stuff in his ears.

Think Mark Gottfried’s ESPN connections aren’t a major positive in moving this program forward? Well, it’s getting national attention, among other places, from longtime Herb lover/apologist Andy Katz, who keeps attention on the “bizzare incident” (ESPN):

Yow told ESPN.com that what occurred this weekend was embarrassing. Yow said she doesn’t believe Hess knew what was said by Corchiani and Gugliotta. She is convinced that he was angry over the student not being ejected and says she has a report from the RBC Center, as well as from game security, that will back up the claim that Gugliotta and Corchiani did nothing more than question calls.

NC State officials are convinced that Hess wouldn’t have thrown out a famous North Carolina or Duke alum. Of course we will never know that to be true and that only plays into the inferiority complex that the Pack often get painted with in the Triangle, inside the shadow of its two rivals.

Nevertheless, Yow wants to have a face-to-face meeting with ACC coordinator of officials John Clougherty in the conference office in Greensboro. Yow wants an answer and is hoping she can get one in person.

She’s not the only one.

“The more it’s discussed, the more it bothers me,” Corchiani said. “If you get pulled over by the police, the officer will tell you the reason. We got thrown out of game, at least tell us why? We did absolutely nothing. We were on Hess and the other officials for six or seven calls, no different than what I’ve done the last 20 years in going to games as a fan.”



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46 Responses to Hess “naturally has thick skin” (his words)

  1. graywolf 02/20/2012 at 2:42 PM #

    Thank you Dr. Yow….your leadership is a bright spot for many of us that have been waiting a long time for someone to stand up for NC State.

  2. skitchwolf 02/20/2012 at 2:43 PM #

    Glad to see the majority of the press corps seems to be siding with us on this one. I’ve been watching ACC basketball for over 40 years and I had never seen anything quite like this. I think Yow’s handling of this has been spot-on and speaks volumes about what an upgrade she is from the previous AD. The decision to recognize the ’88-’89 team with the inaugural “Wolfpack Unlimited” Award is brilliant. It sends an unmistakable signal about the value we place on Googs and Corch (along with their teammates) and makes it clear that we will no longer quietly tolerate being treated like the “red-headed-step-child” of the conference. Go Debbie! Give-em hell!

  3. Smasher 02/20/2012 at 2:44 PM #

    I’m still struggling to understand why a ref has the power to compel an agent of the State to forcibly remove someone from some public location? Did anyone point out some rule written somewhere that this is codified?

  4. TopTenPack 02/20/2012 at 2:53 PM #

    I am somewhat disturbed by the victim narrative that we as fans have built so far. Victim of NC State administration after Jimmy V, victim of the media, victim of a Blue run ACC…We will not build anything upon a victim base.

    I think we should be clear as a group on the basic facts:
    1. Officiating did not cause us to lose the FSU game
    2. Fans who are overly abusive with profanity and threats, or who are physical in any way should be removed from the stadium
    3. Nobody has yet to claim Gugliotta and Corchiani fell in the #2 category. Moreover, they were with their families at the time.
    4. No fan should have been removed by an official in this way, x100 for program legends.

    Later Update—
    Not saying that we are saying the ref cost us the FSU game, but it seems like it pops up in the media. Just want to be clear on that point.

  5. ncsuallday 02/20/2012 at 3:00 PM #

    Can we just focus on the UNC game we have to play at home tomorrow night? Five articles about this is a bit much and what happened certainly doesn’t warrant leaving the ACC. The SEC will NEVER take us unless we start winning BCS bowls. Clemson or FSU, or even VTech are ten times more likely to go. Unless we want to go to the Big East, which I’m sure nobody would want, then we’re stuck. Not to say that I don’t want an explanation and I hope that Yow gives them hell, but we should look at the road ahead. The most anticipated game of the year is TOMORROW and there’s not a single word about it on here. It’s stuff like this that makes us look whiny and inferior in the eyes of our opponents, especially Duke and UNC (who we are playing TOMORROW).

  6. old13 02/20/2012 at 3:04 PM #

    It really gauls me that some of our media folks characterize Heir Hess as being “one of the best, if not the best, basketball ref in the ACC.” As far as I’m concerned, his grandstanding completely disqualifies him from even being in the conversation for such a distinction. And Saturday wasn’t the first, nor the second, nor the third, . . . nor the (insert three or four-digit number) time he’s done it, including in many non-ACC games I’ve seen on TV! If anything, he should have been reprimanded about it the first couple of time and then fired the next time. He’s the referee version of Woody Hayes or Bobby Knight – out of control.

  7. Rick 02/20/2012 at 3:09 PM #

    Will someone please show me anyone who has stated we lost the FSU game because of the refs? I have not seen a single post stating that and yet I keep seeing posts implying people are saying this.

  8. Rick 02/20/2012 at 3:10 PM #

    “Hey, Jay, you are a brilliant commentator,”

    Jay is to commentating as Hess is to officiating

  9. coach13 02/20/2012 at 3:11 PM #

    Refs are human, and all these guys talk to each other. What do you think they are saying to each other about this incident, the Duke calls being in the press after that game and calling State games at the RBD in general right now?

    IMO there needs to be some wholesale change in oficials, or maybe they should consider rotating leagues yearly. Certain arenas/fans/games have got to start messing up your judgement after so long.

    I know as a coach in my community there are certain communities that are fine to go to and some to dread. If officials start dreading coming to the RBC what do you think thats gonna do for the calling of the game?

  10. Rick 02/20/2012 at 3:12 PM #

    “It’s stuff like this that makes us look whiny and inferior in the eyes of our opponents, especially Duke and UNC (who we are playing TOMORROW).”

    So you post a whole paragraph whining about other’s whining.

    Hypocrisy is not a very effective way to make your point.

  11. logarithm 02/20/2012 at 3:14 PM #

    Nobody with a brain in their skull is arguing that bad officiating cost us the game against Florida State. We’ve been upset at bad officiating for a long time and it speaks volumes about the fanbase and the issue at hand when we’re arguing against bad officiating when it actually helped us stay somewhat in the game. The argument that the bad officiating helped us stay in the game does not do anything to diminish the fact that the officiating was/is bad and needs to change.

  12. coach13 02/20/2012 at 3:15 PM #

    Agree Rick. I have read many posts and while I haven’t read anyone saying the refs cost us something, I read posts saying we should stop saying the refs cost us. I guess people are inferring this??? It is annoying. Guess folks skim other’s work and fill in the blanks as they see fit.

  13. FuquayWolf 02/20/2012 at 3:17 PM #

    Man, I love me some Al Featherston. He just calls it like he sees it, and he’s almost always spot on. Why he doesn’t have a job at a local paper is beyond me. It was a shame when the Durham Herald-Sun let him go.

    My 2 biggest complaints with ACC officiating are:

    1) Refs calling a game inconsistently. For example, IMO the first 5 minutes of the second half of the Duke game were called differently than the first half. What wasn’t a foul in the first half suddenly became a foul. You know it’s bad when the fans at Cameron are chanting “let them play!” The problem with calling a game inconsistently is that changes how the game unfolds – it forces teams to adjust on the fly to a different standard, after they spend the opening minutes of the game adjusting to the officials that evening. It’s acceptable that each crew will call a game different than another. To me, it’s not acceptable for the same crew to switch gears mid-game. If it was a foul in the first half, it’s a foul the whole game, and vice versa. Perhaps this goes back to refs who look for “tendencies”…

    2) Refs who seem to have big egos, causing them to interject themselves into the game action. A good ref should exist in the background, only there to make sure the game is played fairly within the rules. I think it’s a bad sign for ACC officiating that ACC fans know so many of the refs by name – Hess, Valentine, Edsall, Rose, Luckie, Ayers, etc. None of them are known because they are good refs, they’re known because they are infamous for bad calls. If a ref is doing their job properly, we’d never know their names, because they’d be merely an afterthought, just an entry on the box score.

    Bottom line – in the last 2 weeks, ACC officiating had come under the microscope. It started with the ESPN article where Clougherty gave some “interesting” comments; it was talked about more because of the role that fouls played in the outcome of the State-Duke game; and now a regular ACC official is getting national attention for the unprecedented ejections on Saturday (even though officiating had nothing to do with the outcome of that game). The ball is in the ACC’s court – but I doubt they’ll do anything publicly to get in front of this and seriously address it. If the ACC truly aspires to be the best conference in college basketball, then they need to have the best officiating in college basketball as a part of that. Even if there is no actual bias, more and more people are starting to perceive bias, and in the court of public opinion, perception = reality.

  14. MrPlywood 02/20/2012 at 3:33 PM #

    Scott van Pelt clearly on State’s side today. He spoke to the perception in the ACC (not just in Raleigh) that the blues get all the calls. Pretty balanced if you ask me.

    He also mentioned a Jeff Goodman article that says Hess has to go (http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/26283066/34888799). van Pelt will speak to Andy Katz “in an hour” (I’m listening to streaming radio from Rochester, so I think it’s a live feed…)

    It sounds like this has legs and won’t go away.

  15. 61Packer 02/20/2012 at 3:37 PM #

    TopTenPack, good post. However, I don’t think a large number of the posters here, or any for that matter, really blame Hess & his Zebra Goons for the FSU loss.

    What State fans are tired of is continually being kicked while we’re down. We’re tired of being laughed at by certain other fan bases in the ACC and then being held up as the whipping boy for not only the rest of the league but the rest of the country to see in an unfavorable light. We’re tired of the ACC treating us like we’re second rate in their grand expansion and re-scheduling schemes.

    My big problem with this particular incident Saturday is that ACC officials haven’t apologized and apparently won’t. When Googs and Corch were told to leave, that wasn’t a simple case of giving two belligerent fans what they had coming. The ACC, by allowing that to go off without apology, might as well have lowered those two jerseys from the rafters and spit on them at midcourt while Googs and Corch walked quietly to the tunnel.

    I’m not sure as to how much more abuse I can take as a State fan. Eventually, what keeps going around is finally going to come around. I hope the beginning of that starts tomorrow night. Eventually, we’ll win again, and when we start winning, no margin of victory will be enough to suit me. No more prisoners; when our teams win from now on, I want them to go for the kill. I don’t care who we’re playing!

  16. Shadow722 02/20/2012 at 3:47 PM #

    It is clear to me that after the majority of NC State blogs rightfully criticized the horrendous officiating after the Duke game, that a message would be sent to us, in some form or another.

    Hess delivered that message for the zebra clan. I would guess we heard that message, but the unintended consequences from the delivery of that message have yet to be felt….

  17. MrPlywood 02/20/2012 at 3:54 PM #

    Katz is criticizes the reaction (non-reaction?) of the ACC. Nice. Bilas sounds more and more like a fart in the wind.

  18. wolfbuff 02/20/2012 at 3:55 PM #

    I’m glad most people have sobered up from their (hopefully) drunken tirades over the weekend. I intentionally did not comment during the barrage of loser talk. We as a fan base need to get over the whoa is me, stop making excuses, and get on with the business of building a winning fanbase and athletic program. Someone said in another entry where the players are questioning the calls and whining. They probably feel empowered to do so if they read most of the comments on here. Good for Gott for not stooping to that level.

    Yes, we’ve gotten some bad calls. Yes, the Duke game was called inconsistenly and our starters got in foul troulbe. But, for crying out loud, we only go 7 deep. The top5 play most of the minutes, and the +2 aren’t really all that productive. So, by definition, anybody on our team who gets in foul trouble is a starter. We have to live with the same officiating as the other teams. Overcome and adapt. We will start winning in the coming years. And hopefully, that will filter some of the noise whenever we don’t get the calls we think we should.

    Start acting like winners, and the winning will follow. That goes for fans and teams alike.

  19. NCSU84 02/20/2012 at 3:56 PM #

    ncsuallday stated: “The most anticipated game of the year is TOMORROW and there’s not a single word about it on here. It’s stuff like this that makes us look whiny and inferior in the eyes of our opponents, especially Duke and UNC (who we are playing TOMORROW).”

    I do not think you understand that this issue is much larger than the game tomorrow. If officials are allowed to eject fans with no explanation, we are all at risk. For example, officials may eject you because of your gender or the color of your skin. But you would never know because ACC management contends that they are not obligated to hold officials accountable and no further explanation is required. Put yourself in the shoes of Googs or Corch. How would you feel if you paid for tickets and were asked to leave a game with no explanation. Is that fair? – I didn’t think so. And if you think about it, Cameron Indoor would be empty if Duke fans were ejected for unruly behavior. Is this a precedent that we want to continue? I, for one, do not.

  20. swamppack 02/20/2012 at 4:11 PM #

    Freedom of speech; fine

    Encouraging people to think like a winner; fine

    Getting on this site and criticizing people for calling out the refs; bad choice

    The asinine treatment of State basketball players among many league officials is a real problem and until it is dealt with head-on, “stopping our whining” and adopting a winning attitude will do jack-squat. We had a winning attitude at Cameron last Thursday night which was quickly squelched at the hands of some flagrant miss-calls.

    Then some had the nerve to get on here and say “until Howell quits fouling 40 ft. from the basket……….”. WHAT?? you have got to be kidding me. LA-LA land.

  21. packof81 02/20/2012 at 4:20 PM #

    “I think we should be clear as a group on the basic facts:
    1. Officiating did not cause us to lose the FSU game”

    Who said it did?

    I thought the SFN concensus was the FSU game went around the bowl and down the hole because we played poorly.

    However, officiating certainly was a factor in the “heartbreaking” loss to Duke.

  22. YogiNC 02/20/2012 at 4:28 PM #

    For those who keep saying “stop whining…man up” I say POO! The problem is we haven’t been whining enough or loud enough or demanding an explanation for what we have seen for the last 20 years. It’s almost as if when they screwed Jimmy V it’s been game on for screwing the rest of us. And trust me, the revelation last week that the poor officiating has a root cause was the straw that broke the camels back. Then the Duke game, uneven and underhanded officiating. Probably if Hess hadn’t done that we would have sat here saying “Yep, we got whooped by FSU.” That wasn’t the case though. This has become the tipping point. To quote and old movie, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.” That’s what we all are feeling. This wasn’t just one little deal, and the detractors, the Bilas bunch, are trying to say it’s no big deal State, get over it. THAT IS NOT THE POINT! We are tired of having to “SUCK IT UP!” We are tired of a commissioner who is a UNC homer. We are tired of officials being biased. And so should every AD in this league. Everyone of them should be banging on Swofford’s door and if he doesn’t answer it then fire him. Change the locks on all the doors when he leaves tonight. Cut off his “official” cell phones (there may be some 216 calls on them though so retrieve the call records). In short WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS CRAP.

  23. TheCOWDOG 02/20/2012 at 4:33 PM #

    Man, if some of you guys don’t get it…ask for a little freakin’ help.

  24. JSRy2k 02/20/2012 at 4:34 PM #

    This couldn’t come at a better time for our program. The Duke loss was devastating, and we were flat vs. FSU. Depending on the team’s psyche, especially considering the listless history under Lowe, it could turn into a 6-game losing skid to end the season. However, Karl Hess has turned our fans’ temperature to boiling, Yow has entered seek-and-destroy mode, and I can only pray the coaches and players have become angrily distracted from their recent woes.

    ACC officiating and blue-blood-ism aside, in several weeks we may be thanking Rabbit Ears for lighting the fire that resurrected our NCAA Tournament hopes.

  25. BJD95 02/20/2012 at 4:38 PM #

    We lost to FSU because (a) the matchup sucked; and (b) our hearts had been ripped out by Thursday’s theft. Hell, we all joked that we would almost certainly get more than our fair share of calls (because that’s how the ACC rolls), and in the first half…we did.

    Featherston’s right – inconsistency within a game is baffling to coaches and players. It’s also the surest way to change a game, and frequently the outcome thereof. It happened on Thursday. If you want to put blinders on and call it “loser talk” that’s your prerogative. But my eyes are open and will stay that way.

    But it’s not about having a game stolen, or two prominent alums embarrassingly ejected from a game that was clearly over (and had never been truly in doubt). It’s about the blatant disrespect that the ACC shows any team not wearing blue, and NC State in particular. It’s also about the complete lack of professionalism in the front office and the referee cabal.

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