Black Smoke Signals Fowler’s Failure to Land Coach (Satire)

Black smoke signals Fowler’s failure to land coach on 19th offical day of search
By Noelle Knox and Marco della Cava, USA TODAY

RALEIGH – Black smoke wafted from the chimney of the Reynolds Coliseum at twilight on Monday, signaling that the board of trustees had cast a second, inconclusive vote for the next leader of the NC State Men’s Basketball program.

Black smoke rises from the chimney of the Reynolds, meaning that trustee members failed to elect a new coach in the first ballot.
AFP/Getty Images

Tens of thousands gathered in the Brickyard to see the smoke, the indicator of whether a candidate had won a two-thirds majority of votes. On the 21st day of the search, the trustees will vote twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon. The ballots will be burned twice a day at noon and 7 p.m. local time.

(Related video: Black smoke signals no new coach)

When the smoke is white, created by adding wet straw or chemicals, and the bells atop NC State’s Memorial Belltower ring, the world will know the 18th coach will have been chosen to lead the Wolfpack program.

“We wanted to be here,” said Ben Johnson, of Wilson, NC., who was snapping photos as a bleery-eyed wanderer ran by repeatedly screaming “I’m going home to Mebane! I’m going home to Mebane!” and howling like a Wolf.

Johnson continued, “You just can’t describe with words, or even pictures, what this is like. Even if I show these pictures to my friends, they won’t get the magnitude of the gathering. We even saw this strange older man walking around Case with a John Wooden mask, a bag full of seeds and a batch of “open letters” in his hands. Fortunately, someone called campus security.”

Bob Montgomery of Charlotte knows what kind of sacrifice that many had to make to get to this hallowed ground. Montgomery, like anyone born in Mecklenburg County, had to pretend that he was a UNC Tarheel fan his entire life to help his father remain employed at the Charlotte Observer. Ultimately, Montgomery was forced to severe all contact from all of his friends and family just to enroll at NC State.

The waiting, as the selction of a coach is called, is steeped in ritual and lore. But it is not all fun and games for everyone.

Many become obsessed; completely consumed. Students have been known to forego classes and struggle with the simplest of assignments. Many (formerly) employed graduates stare at the internet all day hitting F5 or refresh as local businesses suffer. Threats of separations and divorces strain what were otherwise strong family bonds. Even Triangle police report an outbreak of trespassers at local airports and sports facilities.

All the consequences of the events are not so dire, but they are almost all as profound. For example, lying in desolatoin outside of the Brickyard was a 1985 grad who was weeping and repeatedly mumbling, “Where’s my Herb?” Like so many in attendance, he was so overcome with emotion that he could not hold back his tears…for whatever the reason.

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