Nov. 9, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State fans continue to show their excitement for the 2012-13 season by selling out the Wolfpack’s season opener against Miami of Ohio tonight at PNC Arena.
It marks the first sell-out of a Pack season opener since 1999, when NC State played its first game in the arena against SEC opponent Georgia, posting a 67-63 win on Nov. 19, 1999.Fans wanting to see Mark Gottfried’s sixth-ranked Pack in action should act now to purchase tickets for the remainder of the non-conference schedule by logging onto gopack.com/tickets. If seats remain for select ACC contests, ACC Mini-Packs will be available on Nov. 16.
Can you believe it?
NC State fans have supported our basketball program at a top 25 level despite only two top 25 finishes(one last year) since moving to the RBC Center/PNC Arena. Apparently, NC State fans have stepped up their support even more by selling out tonight’s home opener. Over the years, NC State fans have been largely criticized by members of the media for expecting too much. In fact, the criticism was almost unprecedented by the national media as I cannot remember a bigger obsession with a coach leaving a school than when Herb Sendek “fired the fans” when he chose to take the Arizona St job. Surprisingly, they don’t bring that up anymore. When the program struggled over the last two decades, one of the favorite lines by our rivals and the media was that NC State fans were getting what they deserved.
So are we still getting what we deserve tonight when our #6 ranked team opens the season with NC State’s first real shot at national relevance since the days of Jim Valvano? I would argue that this is exactly what one of the most loyal, supportive fanbases in the entire country deserves.
Listen, I am not delusional. I don’t expect an ACC title, a Final Four or even a top 10 final ranking. There are going to be struggles and the season likely won’t turnout to match our pre-season expectations.
And I am fine with that.
NC State fans don’t deserve wins, titles, and national recognition any more than other fans around the country. But what we deserved all along was a reason to be excited about our program’s past, present and future. We deserved a competent, hard working coaching staff that developed players indivisually while putting cohesive, mentally tough teams on the floor that play hard each night. We deserved a chancellor and an athletic director that stood tall among UNC system and ACC conference leadership. And of course, we deserved a head basketball coach that didn’t fear any of our rivals on the basketball court or on the recruiting trail.
While there were have been some succesful seasons at times, NC State fans have always seen our potential to perform better and the obstacle holding us back more clearly than outsiders. Our lack of success had nothing to do with our proximity to UNC and Duke(which the recruiting results show isn’t an obstacle at all and actually may be an advantage versus other ACC schools) or the expectations of our fans. People use talking point comments like those when they don’t have anything intelligent to offer.
What our critics couldn’t see was the huge void in quality leadership over the last two decades. Since the arrival of Interim Chancellor Woodward(who began the changes), Chancellor Woodson, Debbie Yow and Mark Gottfried, the basketball program is finally getting the type of leadership it needs to reach its potential. They have collectively made the right hires, implemented a plan, and executed that plan almost perfectly. Last year’s results offer proof on the court along with commitments by some of the top players in the country since Gottfried has arrived(something like 8 top 100 players). So not only do we have this year to be excited about being ranked in the top 10 pre-season for the first time since the 1970s, but the future looks extremely bright as well.
So I tell all NC State fans to enjoy tonight.
Finally, we are getting exactly what we deserve.