Tom Suiter reminds us why he is a local institution. We’ll chime in with follow-up on this later:
N.C. State fans have been bashed by the national media in the midst of the coaching search drama, and I don’t think that’s quite fair. Now, Pack fans have always felt like the media is against them. I’ve heard it throughout my almost 35 years at WRAL and I’ve answered many a letter and irate phone call on the subject. When I was younger, it made me mad because I thought it was so unfair. Now I just laugh, because I know how silly it is. One day before I die I will get into all that.
But I will say this – I do feel that the N.C. State basketball coaching job is a better-than-good job. That’s my feeling. The facilities are top notch, and the RBC Center is as good an arena as any in the country. The commitment is there. I don’t think N.C. State basketball lacks for any resource that it needs.
I can understand why many were unhappy with Herb Sendek. He didn’t do a bad job. I have a friend who thinks Sendek was winning and competing and that his teams had a chance to win every night out. But I know where the fans who want more are coming from, and I understand those arguments. He had 10 years and he didn’t win any kind of championships. He did pad his record to 20-plus wins with a cupcake non-conference schedule, but he couldn’t win in his own backyard. I know that N.C. State fans want to win as badly as any fans around. They want to see their team win ACC titles and to make a run in the tournament.
Coach Sendek was getting to the NCAA Tournament, and five straight appearances were impressive, but the early exits weren’t. And he never had a season without double-figure losses. Sendek did a good job — not great, but good. But was he going to take State to the next level? Maybe, but then again maybe not, and many vocal fans thought he wouldn’t. And whether somebody else can do better will be judged in the future.
N.C. State fans want to win big, and is that wrong? Of course it’s not. State fans can make an arena rock like no other. There is a tradition at State and that does matter. Still, the most memorable story I was ever a part of was State’s march to the 1983 NCAA Championship. People are always asking me the biggest story I ever covered and I’ve covered a lot of them, but to this day, I say it was 1983 and the Wolfpack’s amazing run to the National Championship.
No, a fan base shouldn’t be chastised because they want to win, or because they want their team to be the best. A coach should want his fans to feel the thrill or the pain, after victory or defeat, just like he does. He should want them to care.