…not with a bang, but a whimper. That said, I still tip my cap to the team for a compelling ACC run. You have to imagine that the Pack Nine were physically and emotionally drained after that. And this was always a flawed team, just one that had a well-timed hot streak late. Omaha was never seriously in the cards.
Rather than go through the whole “is he or isn’t he ‘Baseball Sendek’?” routine, I will just point you to my post after losing in the Super Regionals two years ago. But to briefly update those thoughts, I do think Avent has shown enough toughness and tenacity that I have some cautious optimism that he can take the next step and be energized by a more proactive, competently run athletic department. I have it on pretty good authority that he was certainly no Lee Fowler fan – and if he was a guy who was content to rest on his laurels (I’m looking at you, George Tarantini), wouldn’t you think he would have loved Fowler?
But hell, he may ultimately be Sendek-like in ultimate results, if not attitude and personality. I still won’t get worked up about it. Even in an ideally run athletics department, Avent isn’t really a guy you ditch. He just might not get that “champions fund” bonus if we stick around the same winning level.
As much as I understand BJD’s general perspective on Avent…I think I fall just a little more on the side of wanting to hold Avent to a little higher set of expectations.
I also don’t want a long thread comparing Avent to Sendek 2.0 as much as I understand the legitimate comparisons in light of his 14 year record of winning 0 ACC Titles (and losing in the Title round on four different occasions); 0 ACC regular season 1st place finishes; and never advancing to a single College World Series while participating in 10 NCAA Tournaments.
Anyone who has ever read any of my (admittedly weak) baseball entries has seen the statistic I use to compare our relative peak performance over the last 14 years to the performance of our conference peers — since Avent took the reigns at NC State, seven different programs have won an ACC Baseball Championship (more schools have won titles than have not)…
…and, six other Atlantic Coast Conference programs have managed to advance to at least one CWS. Since 1996:
* Miami has attended 8 CWS
* Clemson has attended 4 CWS
* Georgia Tech has attended 2 CWS
* UNC-CH has attended 4 CWS
* Florida State has attended 4 CWS
* Virginia has attended 1 CWS
* Ray Tanner’s South Carolina has attended 3 CWS
I just find this^ relative performance to be too far from our competition to be as agnostic as many.
Two other items to memorialize for the future: (1) Avent has compiled a 182-183 record in ACC regular-season play, (2) In the 1990s, NC State advanced to two Super Regionals (losing both of them) while ECU advanced to three Super Regionals and UNC-CH advanced to five Super Regionals.
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