CBS: 1983 Started March Madness

You can’t ask for much better publicity than yesterday’s article by Dennis Dodd at CBS Sportsline — N.C. State’s inspiring ’83 effort started the madness

“Spring in Albuquerque was it. That was the weekend that made the Final Four fun, the in thing, an event. Valvano took Albuquerque by storm, dancing on tables, partying in, uh, establishments. That was before his team ever dribbled a basketball — and then changed a lot of people’s lives. “

As he prepared to go on the air, two members of the Washington band jumped out on the floor, re-enacting Whittenburg’s shot and Charles’ slam. Beginning to see what Valvano and the Pack left us? V’s mantra that year, “survive and advance” is still the best to describe March’s grind.

What a wonderful retrospective.

I’d like to spend more time talking 1983 right now, but don’t have time to get to it. I’d love to see some of your comments in the comment section and maybe I can get some more 1983-talk into the conversation.


General NCS Basketball Tradition

9 Responses to CBS: 1983 Started March Madness

  1. G. Wilson 03/31/2005 at 11:47 AM #

    Wednesday night Foxsports Best Damn Sportsshow started a poll on which
    they asked what is the biggest upset in Final Four history. 2 of the three guests said the ’83 championship game with the other guest saying the ’85 Villanova win. Their website is and initially there was a good lead by the ’85 game but into late last night the Wolfpack faithful started voting and it is getting even but Villanova’s ’85 win is still leading 39% t 35%. I have never understood why the Villanova win was considered that much of an upset because Georgetown was in the Big East and ‘Nova had aready played G-town at least twice. Beating a fellow conference member is not an upset.

    Get the word out for State fans to go the the website fequently today and keep voting for the State ’83 win as the biggest upset.


  2. Inside Wolf 03/31/2005 at 11:58 AM #

    Two nights later, Valvano avoided the drive-by. His team controlled tempo and got the Cougars into foul trouble. Houston couldn’t believe this bunch of no-names was not only in the game but suddenly tied 52-52 with two minutes left.

    The team that eventually produced the most points, the most love and the most history, oddly also had the most dunks, 2-1 over the mighty Cougars.

    Then the letters began to flow in …

    “I decided the next day, if they can do that there’s no reason I can’t overcome my problems,” Bob Valvano said, recalling one.

    “We, in the media, tend to get cynical to those things,” he said. “You’re around it so much you realize that the romance of the story is not always accurate. But sometimes it is, sometimes it is. Sometimes it touches people in ways only sports can.”

    The bolded quote is what magnifies my frustration with the current attitude within NC State’s Athletics Department – We have gone from the national gold standard as the cultural benchmark of perserverence and effort to a group of whiners more interested in manufacturing justifications for failure than in generating results.

    Our program now represents the complete opposite of what once made us great. Of course the Fowler and Sendek regime and supporters aren’t going to understand the point. If they could, they wouldn’t already think the way that they do.

    I heard something that was very disturbing to me from a friend that has very close ties to another ACC institution (who was close to the NCAA Selection Committee this year). He referenced to me that Lee Fowler and Herb Sendek literally compiled a file (or a presentation of sorts) that chronicled all of NC States “problems” this year and sent it to either the entire Selection Committee or some members of the committee. Basically, this ‘excuse book’ detailed our injuiries and every little thing that was unlucky for our team this year.

    Thank God that Chancellor Fox’s power had not been diluted before she made the move from Mike O’Cain to Chuck Amato (who is, coincidentally, a lot more like Wolfpack-great Lou Holtz than he is Mike O’Cain). Could you imagine Fowler making such a move? Just as Jeff said yesterday in his entry about Tennessee, if you apply Fowler’s opinion of our basketball program to our football program then there is no way that us fans should be foolish enough to try to compete with Florida State, Miami, and Ohio State.

    It is so embarassing that the spirits and the school that taught the world how to dream and how to perservere is now relegated to teaching the world how to grovel. How did these people take positions of power at our school?

    If you are old enough or smart enough to contemplate the comparisons…spend a couple of moments comparing Willis Casey to Lee Fowler. Or Norm Sloan and Jim Valvano to Herb Sendek. The differences in their leadership is as striking as the difference in the results that they have generated for the University.

    Author’s Note: As much as I agree with your perspective on Fowler/Sendek and am interested in your post, I ask that future comments focus more on some 1983-centric thoughts. We can re-address these other issues soon.

  3. Sammy Kent 03/31/2005 at 3:32 PM #

    Our victory in 83 was an upset, but monumental only because of the pre-game expectations. State was a much better team with a much better coach than anyone supposedly in the know wanted to believe. The proof wasn’t the 83 title game, but the next season’s Tip Off Classic. The same Houston team minus only Benny Anders lost by a dozen to the same Wolfpack squad sans Lowe, Whittenburg, and Bailey. Coaching does make a world of difference.

  4. Chris 04/01/2005 at 8:21 AM #

    Minus Benny Anders and Clyde Drexler

    Author’s Note: I think that the point remains the same despite the focus on detail. Houston started the 1983-1984 season around #1 in the country and State had lost Lowe, Whit, and Bailey. Houston ended up playing in the National Championship game that year.

  5. Chris 04/01/2005 at 3:58 PM #

    Who said anything about that other stuff you mentioned? I was just correcting the statement that Houston only lost Benny Anders.

    Author’s Note: You are correct. Thanks very much. I was just trying to bridge the gap between the general point of the previous comment and the specific issue of who Houston had lost that year. In hindsight, you are correct that your original point didn’t necessarily have any relation to the other point. Sorry, again…and thanks for adding some accuracy. Much appreciated.

  6. Jeff T 03/19/2006 at 9:46 PM #

    The night after 10th seeded N. C. State “upset” 7th seeded California in the 1st round of the 2006 NCAA tournament, I ran across the video tape compilation I had made of news broadcats and stories that were aired right after 4/4/83. I was 11 years old at the time, but still got swept up in the excitement of State’s journey. Watching the tape again, nearly brought tears of joy, excitement and hope to my heart, as State prepared to play a tough Texas team, later that day, 3/19/06.

    I showed the tape to my 6 1/2 year old daughter, who has really enjoyed watching State games with me this year, and she thought it was really cool. She DID comment on the style of shorts the players were wearing! But she too seemed to get excited about winning.

    The emotions of that ’83 tournament run, bouyed me throughout the day, fueled by a song WRAL, the local TV station, had put together, “The Cardiac Kids.” (available via email if you’re interested)

    Later that night, after State’s shooting went cold in the 2nd half against 2nd seeded Texas,I tucked my daughter in for the night. She said, “They’ll try harder next time.” I shared with her that I was certain that Coach Sendek was telling all the players, but especially the seniors, Illian Evtimov, Engin Atsur, Cameron Bennerman and Tony Bethel, to be proud of their accomplishments and that the only reason they had a chance to play today, was becuase they had worked SO hard all season. My daughter responded, “Those players must feel so special, to be so good. It isn’t always about winning and losing, right Daddy? It is about trying your best and having fun! They’ll win the trophy again, one day… just like they did when they wore those silly shorts!”

    WOW! The experience of 1983 has already transcended a generation. Thanks N. C. State of ’83 AND today! Here’s to a terrific season!

    – Jeff

  7. redfred2 07/26/2006 at 11:42 AM #

    Intangibles. ’83 points them out like no other sporting event ever has. It’s the inability to conceive that “we belong here” mindset and the power that a coach wields when he can convince of players in that belief. The person at the very top has to have a vision and ultimate confidence in his own abilities, before he has the ability to get the players to believe in themselves and translate it all the way down the line. That is what put a very talented, and underrated group of players in that position to begin with back in ’83, and that is what carried them through to the end.

  8. noah 04/03/2007 at 2:53 PM #

    I have always thought that the 1983 Houston team was the best squad that never won jack-squat. The 1985 Georgetown team won the national title in 1984, so I discount them.

    I think Florida probably would have beaten that 1983 Houston team with relative ease. It’s hard to compare eras though.

    I don’t know if we beat Houston if there was a shot clock in 1983…35 second or 45 second. When we needed to, we made them play flat-footed.

    I have that Louisville-Houston game somewhere on tape. Louisville was up at halftime. Houston just came out in the second half and smoked them. When they started on their run against us in the second-half, I remember thinking they were going to run away again.

    CBS led off the 1983 game with a montage of all the dunks. Louisville, of course, won the 1980 national title and was led by Dr. Dunkenstein Darrell Griffith. But Houston was something else. And the punctuation mark of just how dominant they were came when Billy Thompson, who had been the #1 recruit in the country, got a break away for Louisville and almost airballed the dunk. He didn’t throw it off the back of the rim, he missed it from the side somehow.


  1. StateFans Nation » Blog Archive » Great State Moments, v2007 - 04/02/2007

    CMGxz6 Thanks a lot for the article.Much thanks again. Really Great.

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