Quote: Basketball Passion

From Fayetteville Observer’s NC State Basketball Preview:

As hard as it is to believe now, especially for anyone born since 1983, N.C. State was once the program UNC and Duke wanted to pattern themselves after, instead of the other way around.

The Wolfpack won two national championships and enjoyed an undefeated season during a glorious 10-year stretch between 1973-83.

Though the foundation of the Wolfpack’s success was top-shelf coaching and talent, its trademark during the championship era was the passion that flowed from the floor to the stands at the old Reynolds Coliseum.

It’s an emotion that ultimately got out of control and helped lead to the downfall of popular coach Jim Valvano and period of NCAA probation from which State has never fully recovered.

That passion still burns just as hot in the fans that long for a return to the good old days.

But can too much passion, especially where it pertains to low-key coach Herb Sendek, be holding such a renaissance back? And how will this year’s team compensate for the loss of its most passionate member, former ACC Player of the Year Julius Hodge?

At least the first half of the quote was accurate.

But, “can too much passion…be holding such a renaissance back”.

I can’t even figure out what that means. Is this a joke?

General NCS Basketball Quotes of Note Tradition

42 Responses to Quote: Basketball Passion

  1. Slader4881 11/15/2005 at 12:21 AM #

    I am really going to hate having to hear all of the “how can they compete without Hodge” stories all year long. Hodge was a good team player and fit our system well and did a little bit of everything, but we were at our best when we played as a team. I refuse to believe the loss of Hodge will make NCSU go take a nose dive. I loved the way Jules played, but come on we are kidding ourselves if we assume he was the sole reason we won some the past 4 years. To be honest I always thought he was very overrated and he really knew how to drive me crazy with that flat jumpshot, and when he “tried” to take over the game. We will miss his energy more than anything else.

  2. packbackers 11/15/2005 at 12:35 AM #

    What he is referring to by saying that Wolfpack fans display of “too much passion is holding such a renaissance back” is the fact that we put too much negative pressure on our “low key” coach. This has been my stance for years on the Herb Sendek issue. Let the man coach, and rally around him. Stop second guessing him, and saying you’d rather have this person or that person as coach. Let’s start rallying around him, and supporting him, the way we did Sloan and Valvano, and I guarantee you we would be pleased at the results. College coaching is pressure enough without your own fans constantly scrutanizing everything you do. Let’s support our coach, and we might bring such a renaissance back. It sure can’t hurt.

  3. Class of '74 11/15/2005 at 6:37 AM #

    Every coach since E. Case has been scrutinized, criticized and second guessed. If you can’t stand the heat do something about it , just win. Coaches Bubas, K, Smith and R. Williams have received the same type of scrutiny and you know what they found a way to difuse it. Sendek is a good man now we will find out if he is a good coach.

  4. Jeff 11/15/2005 at 6:46 AM #

    I assumed (& feared) that Packbacker’s ‘explanation’ was the crux of the comment. I love it to!! I can’t honestly believe that there are breathing beings that continue to want to try to find a way to blame the one of the most supportive fanbases in the world for their coach’s inability to win a single ACC Title, win more than 4 NCAA Tournament games, and earn but a single ACC seed better than 4th in 9 years. MY BAD!!!! Sorry guys!!!

    I’m just curious…in Herb’s first 4 years he had NO PRESSURE on him in any way whatsoever. What is the excuse for the failure in those years?

    “Stop second guessing him, and saying you’d rather have this person or that person as coach. Let’s start rallying around him, and supporting him, the way we did Sloan and Valvano,”

    Oh yes…the implied “Herb gets treated differently” complaint. I guess some people REALLY do think that State fans just “liked” other coaches more for reasons other than the fact that they were successful. If Jim Valvano wouldn’t have won a National Title in 1983 and turned around his ship to become a consistent national player, he wasn’t going to have too much time left in Raleigh.

    It isn’t the coach that people love, it is the success that those coaches create that people love. Can you not drop your jaw at the irony that the people that DON’T really care about results and who unconditionally just love & support Herb as a buddy no matter what the results are the people claiming that others hold the program back!?!?!?

  5. Jon Smith 11/15/2005 at 8:35 AM #

    Funny how I don’t remember much glory during the years 1976-1982. During those years the Pack only made 2 NCAA trips – 80 and 82. UNC and Duke had better teams most of those years.

  6. Rick 11/15/2005 at 9:34 AM #

    At least we do not have to listen to the “Amato is treated better because of his personality” posts anymore.
    Herb gets heat because he is not performing at a level that is considered acceptable. When he does he will not get heat. It is as simple as that. People can continue to place blame everywhere but where it should be. On the coaches shoulders.

  7. packbackers 11/15/2005 at 9:57 AM #

    “I can’t honestly believe that there are breathing beings that continue to want to try to find a way to blame the one of the most supportive fanbases in the world”
    Jeff, when you say this, are you referring to being financially supportive (we all are), or verbally supportive? If what Herb Sendek has received is the best fan support in the world support, then I wouldn’t want it. Obviously, he has the support of the one who matters most (Fowler), but a little more fan support couldn’t hurt. It’s not that we should support Sendek won or lose, but we are winning. We have been for four years. Slow progress is still progress. I know we all want national titles, but our first trip to the Sweet 16 in 16 years is a start. Four straight trips to the tourney is a start. Top 25 rankings year in and year out is a start. Let’s stop talking about his first four years (where he had more player injuries to deal with than any coach in America), and start talking about his last four years, where he has put N.C. State back on the map. If we blame him when we lose, then let’s give him credit when we win. And let’s support him this year so we can have a successful season. That is the goal for all of us.

  8. BJD95 11/15/2005 at 10:40 AM #

    Sendek has gotten what his record deserves, IMHO. He hasn’t shown enough to make people believe he can take us to the next level, or stumbled badly enough (but he DOES like to flirt with it) to get canned. Our fans should never have to apologize for wanting championships or being “too passionate.” The alternative to passion is apathy, and that will kill a program much quicker than grumbling (which is universal, BTW) ever will.

    If Sendek doesn’t feel adequately supported here, he can go somewhere else. Otherwise, he has to win us over with on-the-court results. It’s really as simple as that.

    Please also note that, historically, Sendek has always performed best with his back against the wall. So I hardly see how the “too much passion!” has harmed the program.

  9. scott 11/15/2005 at 10:58 AM #

    I suspect “packbackers” isn’t old enough to remember the bumper sticker “For a Winning String, Let Joan Coach and Norman Sing.” And this was AFTER Sloan won 3 ACC titles and an NCAA championship – things Herb can only dream about. As for Jon Smith’s comment that the Pack made only 2 NCAA appearances from ’76 to ’82, it’s worth noting that the tourney didn’t expand to 64 teams until sometime in the early 80’s I think. By today’s standards for making the NCAA field, the following teams with their ACC & post-ACC tourney records ’76 (7-5, 18-8), ’77 (6-6, 17-11), ’78 (7-5, 18-9), and ’82 (7-7, 21-9) would all have gotten in, along with the “80 team (9-5, 20-7) that did. That ’76-’82 period, which was not noteworthy under Sloan & Valvano, is actually equal to Herb’s best period. Point is… Herb’s a weak coach compared to the likes of Case, Sloan and Valvano. If he ever proves he can win an ACC title or make the Pack a national contender on a regular basis, the fan base will rally around him. Just win, baby…it’s a simple as that!

  10. Jeff 11/15/2005 at 11:29 AM #

    Packbacker, I greatly appreciate your comments.

    In the big picture, I have major problems with ANY ATTEMPT to lay off ANY kind of “blame” or “responsibility” on a fan base that has been as amazing as ours since our days of true national success. That is the intimation of the article, and of many fans. Period.

    I won’t parse all of your comments – I think that they are quite good.
    but, I also don’t think that they are truly based in factual reality.

    “Slow progress is still progress.” only makes sense when progress has actually taken place.

    In 2004-2005, NC State made the NCAA Tournament SOLELY on the basis of having some extra wins in our win columb because of the embarassing BCA Classic (that allowed us to play more games than some more deserving teams like Indiana).

    We finsihed the season with:
    * a #63 RPI while playing the #276 best OOC schedule
    * a losing record in the ACC despite an imbalanced schedule where we only played Duke a single game
    * a #7 seed in the ACC Tournament
    * 4-8 record against ranked opponents
    * 0-5 record vs the Big Four in the regular season
    * 1-6 record vs the Big Four for the whole season
    * losing 3 games to teams that ended the season worse than 100 in the RPI
    * 3-7 vs NCAA Tournament teams in the regular season (with one of the wins coming against La-Lafayette)


    The ONE win (vs UConn) was wonderful. It also is being used by many “supporters” to forget the rest of the 30+ games and paint the season as some kind of “progress”

    Why is it PROGRESS that we couldn’t earn a seed in the NCAA Tournament good enough for us to avoid playing UConn in the 2nd round? How is it progress that we collapsed (AGAIN) in the 2nd half of a game against an inferior Wisconsin, who was ranked by The Sporting News as the worst of all of the Sweet 16 teams?

  11. BJD95 11/15/2005 at 11:58 AM #

    This reminds me of the old V story who talked about a woman telling him “We’ll always love you, Jimmy V.”

    Response: “What if I don’t win?”

    Woman: “We’ll still love you. We’ll miss you, too.”

    However you subjectively “feel,” it all comes down to winning.

  12. Class of '74 11/15/2005 at 1:01 PM #

    Question to packbacker, if we don’t make the big dance this year do you still back Herb?

  13. Trout 11/15/2005 at 1:18 PM #

    ^ I love that V story. That one, and the one about “can you give me a technical for just thinking something?….well, then I think you suck” are classic!

  14. SaccoV 11/15/2005 at 1:38 PM #

    Our distrust and contempt of the athletics program at NC State should be tempered with some kindness … and then amplified by the accomplishments of the other three in the Big Four AND the other ACC schools (like Maryland and Ga Tech, who have made Final 4 appearances). I think the only reason we let Sendek slide is the two ACC finals appearances (two of which should have probably been victories). Regardless of his ACC TOURNAMENT record, Sendek hasn’t made the leap in terms of success that we’ve seen at the rest of the Big 4 like at Wake when Odom almost obliterated the program and left for South Carolina, Doherty at Chapel Hill, and Gaudette at Duke. Prosser has made a darn good ball team from a mediocre team in the last years with Odom. Williams has a national title with Doherty’s team in two years, and K brought Duke multiple ACC titles and one NCAA championship in the last five years. The thing is, Sendek hasn’t produced the same upper-echelon results those three schools have in the same tenure. We’ve lost games against substandard competition (sometimes badly like Charlotte crushing us at home, losing two horrible games at Clemson by barely scoring 40 points.) Until we get an ACC title and make some REAL noise with the Big 4, there’s no reason to have Sendek as our basketball coach. Same for Amato. The point is that you compete WELL in your conference and you will have success. The National recognition and respect will come (unless Dick Vitale watches you breathe for a few seconds and then decides your the best basketball coach that has ever been!!)

  15. Cardiac95 11/15/2005 at 1:48 PM #

    Despite the decadence of the 90’s…..NC State is still historically a Top 20 national program in All-Time Wins/Winning Percentage, NCAA Tournament Winning Percentage, NCAA Championships, & Conference Championships.

    TODAY…..we are not a Top 20 Program. Scan the preseason polls if you don’t believe me. TODAY…..we are an NCAA Bubble Program. And while that may be progress…..over 9 seasons…..its hardly an accomplishment at a school which the rich tradition of NC State.

  16. Trout 11/15/2005 at 3:07 PM #

    ^ Well, Kansas and UNC are not in the preseason poll either. Do you really care about preseason polls? In 2002 (#25), 2004 (#20) and 2005 (#22), NC State finished in the Top 25 of the Coaches Poll. We need to move up, but over the last 4 years, the coaches certainly believe we are a Top 25 program.

  17. Rick 11/15/2005 at 3:17 PM #

    In my mind it is debatable on whether we are a top 25 program or not. We seem to always squeak into the top 25 at the end of the year but do not spend much of the regular season there.

  18. Trout 11/15/2005 at 3:22 PM #


    I agree, it is certainly debatable. Just giving you the coaches poll version. In the AP poll, we have not finished in the Top 25 in any year since Sendek has been at NC State. That final AP poll is done before the NCAA Tournament.

  19. Trout 11/15/2005 at 3:58 PM #

    ^ Correction. NC State did finish #15 in the final AP poll in 2004. Other AP results over the past 4 years: 2002 (#27), 2003 (#35), 2004(#15), 2005 (#44). Average of #30 over that 4 year span.

  20. Jeff 11/15/2005 at 7:16 PM #

    Ranked #30 over the 4 years = #6 in the ACC over that time period

    Ranked #30..
    ..with the Nation’s #1 conference…recruiting classes averaging in the Top 15…attendance in the Top 20…facilities in the top 10….attendance in the top 20…booster club in the top 10….and tradition in the top 20.

  21. Cardiac95 11/15/2005 at 9:01 PM #

    Trout: Whether you look at recent history or current preseason
    prognostications, you won’t find any evidence that we are a Top 20 National Program….which is what I stated above.

    Finishing the season ranked between 20-33 in the Coach’s Poll certainly
    won’t get you there. And that poll takes into account Tournament Play such as our Sweet 16 from last year & our Vanderbilt bomb from the year before.

    Having an average ranking of 30 in the Final AP Poll won’t get you there
    either. Since that one is done prior to the NCAA Tournament though, it
    does support my contention that we are a perennial Bubble Team (bubbles
    start bursting outside the Top 30).

    Not being ranked in either preseason poll this year certainly won’t help make the arguement either. And the computer’s won’t help either…Sagarin’s 4yr average is #28 (NCAA’s included).

    Herb has made progress… there’s no doubt about that. But please do not try to impress me with Herb’s great accomplishments or try to convince me that we have returned to our former glory.

    A Sweet 16 berth was a fairly average year for V (4 out of10 seasons).

  22. Class of '74 11/16/2005 at 7:25 AM #

    I just want that excitement, that buzz we once had. Where you really got excited to go to the games and looked forward to playing the best teams in the ACC. I sometimes think I’m sounding like my parents where “we walked 5 miles in the snow to get to school” but damn, we were once the cat’s meow of basketball around here.

  23. Trout 11/16/2005 at 8:04 AM #

    “But please do not try to impress me with Herb’s great accomplishments or try to convince me that we have returned to our former glory.”

    I wasnt trying to do anything of the sort.

  24. Mr. O 11/16/2005 at 10:26 AM #

    Jeff: The last 4 years IMO have been a significant step in the right direction. Going forward, we are at least as strong as Wake, GT and Maryland in terms of our current status and outlook for the future. So even if that average was sixth in the ACC the last 4 years, we are positioned as well as any of our current peers to be 3rd over the next 4 years. I think that is the next step for our program.

    Maybe I just like the current make up of our team better than a lot of people on this site.

  25. packbackers 11/16/2005 at 10:36 AM #

    You are absolutely right Mr. O, and progress is all we should expect. Class of ’74 seems to forget where we were when Herb took over. Some people seem to remember the two national championships (22 and 31 years ago), and forget everything that has happened since. This coach has put NC State in prime position to be a contender once again. The glory days of two and three decades ago are long gone, but it looks like with four straight NCAA tournaments Herb Sendek has begun the next era of NC State basketball glory. As long as we continue to show progress, I will continue to support Herb and our beloved basketball program every step of the way.

Leave a Reply