Last week we ran a great entry highlighting the NC State Baseball program’s opportunity to deliver a much needed ACC Championship in a major sport. (If you missed the entry then you are not allowed to read further until you go read it).
Coach Avent failed to win his first ACC Championship in twelve years over the weekend, but the Wolfpack’s hosting of the “Raleigh Regional” provides an opportunity for the Wolfpack baseball program to at least make some kind of tangible progress towards something worth celebrating – the school’s first College World Series appearance in forty years.
“The winner of the Raleigh Regional will advance to face the winner of the NCAA Athens (Ga.) Regional, which includes host Georgia (35-21-1), second-seeded Georgia Tech (39-19), third-seeded Louisville (41-19) and fourth-seeded Lipscomb (32-28).”
State’s CWS drought has been comparatively painful in to our far-reaching failures throughout our Atheltics Department. For example, in 2006, a third of the Atlantic Coast Conference participated in a single CWS when UNC-CH, Miami, Georgia Tech, and Clemson all advanced to Omaha. In 2007, UNC-CH – who is yet to spend a bunch of money to upgrade their baseball stadium – advanced to their second consecutive CWS.
The big news in Raleigh is the presence of one of the most popular Wolfpackers of all-time – Ray Tanner. This article focuses on Tanner’s return to Raleigh and is a fantastic read. Of course, anytime Ray Tanner’s name is mentioned it is a requirement to mention Todd Turner. (Click here for our most recent Todd Turner entry.)
While discussing playing his alma mater at today’s press conference, he said that he is not a touchy feely kind of guy, but it was as clear in his voice today as it was when the two of us talked a year ago that he still cared about NC State. I asked him why he left Raleigh, with all the obvious ties there. He said it came down to one thing – NCSU at that time was not willing to host an NCAA Regional. They wouldn’t even submit a bid.
And that is how a coach who twelve years later is acknowledged as one of the greatest coaches at South Carolina, regardless of the sport, became a Gamecock.
So for the first time in its 42-year history, Doak Field, the home of the Wolfpack, will host an NCAA Baseball Regional and Tanner couldn’t be happier for them. It is, however, with some irony that the first time he ever gets to play an NCAA torunament game there will also the Pack’s first time as well.
As SMD shared in our comments section, “Tanner should be example number one of how our athletic leadership has not exactly reached for the brass ring for nearly 20 years now. Here’s a guy who is a GREAT coach, is one of our own, and somehow we don’t show the commitment to his sport so he rightfully bolts.
As much as the current problem is related to Fowler, losing Tanner shows that the problem has existed for awhile. Our rivals are literally passing us by. UNC-CH had not exactly burned up the baseball world pre-Mike Fox. And though Hatchell has been their women’s b-ball coach for some time, neither the Tarholes nor Duke had been to a women’s Final Four until the early 90′s – while our very own version of Joe Paterno can’t keep up.
Across the board, our university’s leadership has not demanded excellence for sometime. I don’t expect us to start now.”
It’s ironic that Tanner’s departure from the school that he loves is so strongly tied to the behaviors of a single Athletics Director and University Administration because many people in StateFansNation freely submit Tanner’s name as a potential candidate to replace Lee Fowler as a Athletics Director at NC State. If you people absolutely MUST have someone that you know as opposed to searching the country for fresh-blood, I suppose Tanner would be at or near the top of my list.
Historical CWS Appearances
* Miami – 22 appearances
* Florida State – 18 appearances
* Clemson – 11 appearances
* South Carolina – 8 appearances
* UNC – 6 appearances
* Georgia Tech – 3 appearances
* Duke – 3 appearances
* Wake Forest – 2 appearances
* NC State – 1 appearance
* Miami has attended 8 CWS
* Clemson has attended 4 CWS
* Georgia Tech has attended 2 CWS
* UNC-CH has attended 2 CWS
* Florida State has attended 4 CWS
* Ray Tanner’s South Carolina has attended 3 CWS
* NC State has attended no CWS