We catch a lot of flak for our criticisms of Lee Fowler and the manner in which he runs the NC State Athletics Department; and much of that criticism comes from people that are too spineless or too stupid to actually publicly stake their own opinions.
But, we choose to educate ourselves on issues and then call them like we see them. Despite the ability that many Wolfpackers have to ignore facts and the realities of the world outside of the cocoon that is West Raleigh, we simply aren’t built that way. We can’t ignore the truth and have learned that one can’t just ‘wish’ things better.
I don’t have any problem actually praising Lee Fowler when he does something to deserve praise. You see, that is the problem! — the guy actually does so little; and when he finally does something it is usually so inept and incompetent that he never gives us anything to praise. That’s not our fault!
One issue where Lee Fowler deserves some legitimate praise is in his hiring of Kellie Harper earlier this spring as NC State’s women’s basketball coach. I was shocked at the time that some people were giving Fowler grief for not hiring Stephanie Glance, and now that Coach Harper is here I am more convinced than ever that she is the perfect fit to bring NC State’s Women’s Basketball program back.
With this said, you should read AJ Carr’s piece on Coach Harper that is linked here.
Truth is, being 32-year old Kellie Harper is pretty cool. So suggests her playing and coaching resume and so think State players, who have been working with their new mentor since early August.
They talk about her energy level with a wide-eyed expression. They like the passion she brings and the compassion she has shown them during this transition period.
“We love her,” said junior forward Tia Bell. “We admire that she understands the emotional situation and stress we had been through [losing coach Yow, who died of cancer in January]. She is really supportive. She’s open minded and includes us in a lot of decisions.”
Said senior guard Sharnise Beal: “She has done a good job making everybody feel comfortable; she’s very upbeat.”
On the court, Harper, a trim, fit former all-star point guard who still looks as if she could engineer the secondary break, is hands on, all over the place. In addition to teaching, she hops in team drills and works out with players in the weight room.
Please note that this praise is confined to Fowler’s choice of Kellie Harper as Head Coach; it does not extend to the overall management and guidance of the women’s basketball program. From a macro view, one cannot ignore the obvious that the Women’s Basketball program was allowed to significantly deteriorate from a top flight program to an also-ran throughout Fowler’s decade in Raleigh.
It also ignores that Fowler couldn’t find the energy, motivation or competency to hire Harper in March (instead of late April) and thereby allow her a fighting chance to do some recruiting. Whatever the excuses and rationality for moving painfully slow without an ounce of urgency are unacceptable and serve to reinforce the obvious conclusion that Fowler & NC State seem to never be able to understand the consequences of each of their actions.
Both of the aforementioned items exemplify why Fowler is so incompetent and rudderless as a ‘leader’ of a $40 – $50 million business. But, on the ultimate hiring of Kellie Harper I think the man finally got something right.