Sunday’s salt in the wound – NC State, Phil Ford article in N&O

Norm Sloan

I know that the timing of News & Observer’s string of articles around the 40th anniversary of NC State’s 1974 National Championship Basketball this morning was pre-determined…nonetheless, this one focusing on the shift of power really stung. Despite the torture it created for me this morning it is worth reading; particularly for our younger audience.

If Ford had gone to N.C. State, perhaps the Wolfpack would have continued its most dominant stretch in history against UNC. Between Feb. 29, 1972, and Jan. 4, 1975, the Wolfpack defeated the Tar Heels nine consecutive times.

To put that into perspective, N.C. State has defeated UNC nine times – total – since 1993, and just 23 times since Ford, then a freshman, helped end that nine-game winning streak in 1975. The UNC-N.C. State series has become so one-sided it’s difficult to remember that, at one time, it was the primary rivalry in North Carolina – and one of the most passionate in the country.

“I still look at State as the rivalry,” Ford said. “It was the big game when I was in school.”

Ford arrived at UNC amid somewhat perilous times. N.C. State, primarily because of Thompson, had become the best college basketball program in North Carolina.

On a smaller scale, the early-to-mid 1970s rekindled memories of a stretch in the 1940s and ’50s when N.C. State beat UNC in 20 out of their 21 games. UNC then hired Frank McGuire in 1952, and he gradually built the Tar Heels into the national power they’ve usually been since.

In the mid-’70s, with N.C. State threatening the Tar Heels’ superiority, Ford’s arrival couldn’t have come at a better time. He went to UNC in the summer of 1974, not long after N.C. State had won the national championship, and more than any other player he turned the series back in the Tar Heels’ favor.

[snip]

Yet the shift in power in the ACC, and the state, didn’t happen easily. N.C. State beat UNC in the Big Four Tournament in Greensboro in Ford’s first game in the rivalry. The Tar Heels endured another loss to the Wolfpack in January of 1975 in Reynolds Coliseum. It would be the last time until 1983, the Pack’s second championship season, that any UNC team lost twice in a row against N.C. State.

Of course, we ALL now know that one of the ways the Tar heels secured their ‘dynasty’ over the Wolfpack (and the rest of college basketball) was through the meticulous execution of a corrupt academic system that included hundreds (if not thousands) of ghost classes and HUNDREDS of unauthorized grade changes aimed at keeping the best athletes eligible and on the court. But, that doesn’t matter. You see, this is the way it works. IT DOESN’T MATTER.

Think about it like this — despite all of the evidence and proof that the N&O itself is responsible for uncovering, when the historians write articles like this one they still don’t think to realize or highlight that the academic fraud purported by of the last few DECADES significantly contributed to one program’s ability to dominate the other. OF COURSE Carolina has dominated State, they’ve had the benefit of players who didn’t have to do the academic work of their competition and recruiting the best talent in the country on the foundation of ‘winning’ and ‘tradition’ and national media exposure all built on a cycle of cheating.

We all knew it for years. Now the rest of the world knows it. But, does it matter at all when even the journalists who are responsible for uncovering the details on the fraud don’t even mention it in articles about the very topic of the program’s success?

During Ford’s next three years, UNC went 6-3 against N.C. State. The Tar Heels have controlled the rivalry since, and Ford expressed surprise when told that the Wolfpack had beaten UNC just 23 times since he helped end their streak 39 year ago.

Ford remembers a different time, when N.C. State was every bit as formidable an opponent as Duke is now.

“I didn’t know that,” Ford said, when told just how rare N.C. State victories against UNC have become. “But I know that N.C. State was the big game when I was in school, and it was the big game when I was in high school. And it’s still a big game to me. I think it’s lost some of its luster with the Duke-Carolina game now.

“But with us old guys, we still remember the N.C. State-Carolina days.”

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Home Forums Sunday’s salt in the wound – NC State, Phil Ford article in N&O

This topic contains 10 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  pakfanistan 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #41195

    StateFans
    Keymaster

    I know that the timing of News & Observer’s string of articles around the 40th anniversary of NC State’s 1974 National Championship Basketball this mo
    [See the full post at: Sunday's salt in the wound - NC State, Phil Ford article in N&O]

    #41216

    TheCOWDOG
    Participant

    Phil Ford may have had some problems with beverages and motor vehicles, but he is one of the good guys.

    I understand the context of the article, and the irony. Just saying that it’s a shame Ford even has to mentioned in the same paragraph as the sham that UNC became.

    #41218

    JKL
    Participant

    It needs to be noted – and taken with a grain of salt – that this article was written by Andrew Carter, the N&O’s dedicated UNC reporter. You can’t expect him to have an objective opinion on how UNC achieved there place, because his job is to pander.

    I liken this to if Joe Gilio wrote about the Butch Davis years of recruiting and how it resulted in mediocrity because of Russell Wilson, a 2 star recruit.

    #41225

    Dogbreath
    Participant

    Phil Ford made it well known that he wanted the State job in 2005. Would have been better than Lowe, frankly.

    #41228

    BJD95
    Keymaster

    I would have taken Larry Brown with Phil Ford as lead assistant. Larry Brown can f-cking coach. See SMU, as Exhibit A.

    Instead, LB recommended Sidney Lowe highly. He certainly can’t recommend anywhere near as well as he can coach.

    #41253

    Gene
    Participant

    Too bad for us UNC-Cheat is coached by an old-timer, who was around for those 9 losses in a row and remembers NCSU-UNC being THE RIVALRY in the the state. Roy would rather walk over broken glass and have his players run wind sprints over broken glass than lose to NCSU.

    Too bad for UNC-Cheat fans as well, because they’ve moved on from the 1970′s and only care about beating Duke. They look at NCSU as a poor suffering little brother, who they will regularly root for against other opponents, because it’s better a UNC System school win than someone from out of state.

    #41255

    Gene
    Participant

    Larry Brown can f-cking coach. See SMU, as Exhibit A.

    Not only can Brown coach, he cannot stop coaching. He could’ve retired, but he won’t. The man needs to be on the sidelines.

    #41316

    blpack
    Participant

    If Ford would have gone to State, Dean would have been the one moving on and Sloan would have stayed on and won more games than he did post ’74, imho. As it is, we all know the score on the court and in the classroom. They have won a ton of games. They are all tainted wins since way back when.

    #41352

    john of sparta
    Participant

    above:…..Roy would rather walk over broken glass
    and have his players run wind sprints over broken glass
    than lose to NCSU.

    he Has Said he would rather beat State than eat.
    AND, his players won’t eat after the game if they don’t win.
    obviously, there’s more than x/o and recruiting going on there.

    beating Duke means more to the students.
    beating us means much more to Roy.

    #41354

    TheCOWDOG
    Participant

    Man…I need Packfanistan’s clap thingy for your guys ‘ get.

    #41356

    pakfanistan
    Participant

    Man…I need Packfanistan’s clap thingy for your guys ‘ get.

    For TheCOWDOG

    "I want my ten dollars!" -Abraham Lincoln
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