In the middle of this past basketball season I asked my buddy if he had noticed that ACC fixture, Larry Rose, didn’t seem to be officiating as many games as he did in the past. (Don’t worry…nobody was complaining about the development) I knew that Rose was no longer allowed to officiate NC State games after the stunt he pulled in the 2004 ACC semi-finals; but, I had not noticed such a blatant absence from other ACC games until the middle of this season.
Now that the season is over we have learned that there is more to Rose’s disappearance. The Daily Press shares this detailed feature on Rose that you may find interesting:
Humor and humility are his guideposts.
After a 36-year career that began with Hampton Institute intramurals, progressed to the Peninsula District and carried him to 10 ACC championship games and four Final Fours, Rose says he has officiated his last basketball game. There’s some melancholy in the moment and perhaps a hint of regret – relations with the ACC soured in the end.
…Not that Rose, 56, is leaving the game he loves. No way. He has joined the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference as its supervisor of officials, giving the collection of historically black schools – Hampton University and Norfolk State are members – instant national credibility.
‘Humor and humility’ may be his guideposts, but fabricating game changing calls was his watermark. Rose can proudly claim “It was never about me on the basketball court” all he wants. I can also claim to be a Matthew Mcconaughey look alike. It doesn’t make either statement true just because we say them.
To ACC fans, Rose ranks in the pantheon of Lenny Wirtz, Dick Papparo, Rick Hartzell, Ted Valentine, (post-injury) Duke Edsall and some others (including John Clougherty) – self aggrandizing officials who impacted the games in which they officiated with a much greater impact (and frequency) than their peers.
You see, fans really shouldn’t know the names of officials. That is one of the ways that you can tell if refs are doing a great job – they are seemingly absent while still effectively managing the game. But, ALL ACC fans knew much more than the faces and names of these characters. ACC fans cringe(d) every time you saw them walk on the floor (unless you were wearing a shade of blue).
Rose’s infamy is elevated with NC State fans because of the laundry list of examples of his ridiculous game-changing calls.
The Forgotten Carolina Robbery
One of Rose’s most incredulous moments has been forgotten by many Wolfpackers (probably because there are so many from which to choose).
You may remember that Herb Sendek’s teams played exceptionally well on the road in Chapel Hill for the large majority of his tenure at State. In addition to the big 1997 win in the Dean Dome (CC Harrison), State was in a fantastic position to win almost every one of Sendek’s first six or seven trips to Chapel Hill.
This particular game was one of those performances in the late 1990s; I can’t remember the exact year. NC State was playing surprisingly well in Chapel Hill (again) and held something that felt like 6 to 8 point lead for much of the game. (This may have been the game that Kenny Inge was mysterioulsy suspended without the public being made aware before tip-off). Unfortunately for State, the Larry Rose-led officiating crew had piled up a HUGE foul differential in favor of Carolina throught the game. Despite an off-night for Carolina’s offense,the Tarheels were able to stay in the game because of free throw shooting. With no Kenny Inge available, fouls were even more valuable to the Wolfpack because of our lack of height and depth inside.
State was executing fantastically (shades of 1997 and past trips to Chapel Hill) and Carolina could not find that momentum/spark to help them rally. It was mid to late second half and Carolina hit a jumper from the corner. (I *think* it was a three pointer, but not 100% sure) Out of nowhere the whistle blew and Larry Rose came running from the baseline. It was odd time for a whistle, but you couldn’t help but expect that the officials were FINALLY going to call Carolina for a push in the back on a rebound.
Not the case.
Instead, Rose whistled State center, Ron Kelley, with a foul underneath the basket. Amazingly, Rose ruled that the foul happened simultaneously (or after) the made basket. So, Carolina got to keep the points AND then shoot free throws because of the key foul on one of our only big men. Carolina ended up with the only FIVE POINT PLAY that I have ever seen in my entire life of watching basketball. They also ended up with momentum and too many skilled players to battle our foul-plagued squad and won the game.
The uniqueness of this call was bad enough. The fact that replay showed that Rob Kelley was out of position on the play and wasn’t within three feet of a player from either team made Rose’s fabricated call even harder to swallow for Wolfpackers.
2004 Maryland Fiasco
The capstone of the Rose vs NC State rivalry occurred in 2004 ACC semi-finals. The event was so egregious that the ACC office never allowed Rose to officiate another NC State basketball game.
With the Wolfpack still holding a decent lead on the rallying Maryland Terrapins in the second half, Larry Rose chose to call a technical foul on the NC State bench because a member of the staff stepped five feet on the floor to wipe a danerous wet spot on the floor (while the ball was in play fifty feet away at the other end of the court). It was utterly amazing. Literally unprecedented.
The technical served deflate a mentally weak Wolfpack squad – unfortunately, a hallmark of Herb Sendek teams. Ultimately, Maryland rallied (from as much as a 21 point lead late in the first half) and NC State experienced the worst collapse in ACC Tournament history.
Great, related commentary
The blog entry behind this hotlink about Larry Rose and Duke Edsall is just too good not to include in this entry.
If you REALLY wanted to make an sensationalized statement…you could truly make the case that Larry Rose was largely responsible for pushing Herb Sendek from his job in Raleigh. What if NC State had beaten Carolina that one more time in Chapel Hill? What if that win over Carolina would have helped the Wolfpack make the NCAA Tournament in the late 1990s and have put Sendek’s program on the success track earlier in his tenure? What if Sendek would have made his FOURTH ACC Championship game appearance in 2004 and finally broken through with a Championship win with his best team?
Holy shit. All of these things could have VERY easily happened…but will never know how history would have played out all because of Larry F’ing Rose.
* We have recently discussed the diva of the college basketball officiating fraternity, Ted Valentine.
* We also have recently discussed Coach K’s #1 guy, Rick Hartzell. (I hope that Mike Wood isn’t offended by Hartzell’s position in the Duke Hall of Fame)