Rejoice! Larry Rose Retiring! (& More Zebra Talk)

In the middle of this past basketball season I asked my buddy if he had noticed that ACC fixture, Larry Rose, didn’t seem to be officiating as many games as he did in the past. (Don’t worry…nobody was complaining about the development) I knew that Rose was no longer allowed to officiate NC State games after the stunt he pulled in the 2004 ACC semi-finals; but, I had not noticed such a blatant absence from other ACC games until the middle of this season.

Now that the season is over we have learned that there is more to Rose’s disappearance. The Daily Press shares this detailed feature on Rose that you may find interesting:

Humor and humility are his guideposts.

After a 36-year career that began with Hampton Institute intramurals, progressed to the Peninsula District and carried him to 10 ACC championship games and four Final Fours, Rose says he has officiated his last basketball game. There’s some melancholy in the moment and perhaps a hint of regret – relations with the ACC soured in the end.

…Not that Rose, 56, is leaving the game he loves. No way. He has joined the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference as its supervisor of officials, giving the collection of historically black schools – Hampton University and Norfolk State are members – instant national credibility.

‘Humor and humility’ may be his guideposts, but fabricating game changing calls was his watermark. Rose can proudly claim “It was never about me on the basketball court” all he wants. I can also claim to be a Matthew Mcconaughey look alike. It doesn’t make either statement true just because we say them.

To ACC fans, Rose ranks in the pantheon of Lenny Wirtz, Dick Papparo, Rick Hartzell, Ted Valentine, (post-injury) Duke Edsall and some others (including John Clougherty) – self aggrandizing officials who impacted the games in which they officiated with a much greater impact (and frequency) than their peers.

You see, fans really shouldn’t know the names of officials. That is one of the ways that you can tell if refs are doing a great job – they are seemingly absent while still effectively managing the game. But, ALL ACC fans knew much more than the faces and names of these characters. ACC fans cringe(d) every time you saw them walk on the floor (unless you were wearing a shade of blue).

Rose’s infamy is elevated with NC State fans because of the laundry list of examples of his ridiculous game-changing calls.

The Forgotten Carolina Robbery
One of Rose’s most incredulous moments has been forgotten by many Wolfpackers (probably because there are so many from which to choose).

You may remember that Herb Sendek’s teams played exceptionally well on the road in Chapel Hill for the large majority of his tenure at State. In addition to the big 1997 win in the Dean Dome (CC Harrison), State was in a fantastic position to win almost every one of Sendek’s first six or seven trips to Chapel Hill.

This particular game was one of those performances in the late 1990s; I can’t remember the exact year. NC State was playing surprisingly well in Chapel Hill (again) and held something that felt like 6 to 8 point lead for much of the game. (This may have been the game that Kenny Inge was mysterioulsy suspended without the public being made aware before tip-off). Unfortunately for State, the Larry Rose-led officiating crew had piled up a HUGE foul differential in favor of Carolina throught the game. Despite an off-night for Carolina’s offense,the Tarheels were able to stay in the game because of free throw shooting. With no Kenny Inge available, fouls were even more valuable to the Wolfpack because of our lack of height and depth inside.

State was executing fantastically (shades of 1997 and past trips to Chapel Hill) and Carolina could not find that momentum/spark to help them rally. It was mid to late second half and Carolina hit a jumper from the corner. (I *think* it was a three pointer, but not 100% sure) Out of nowhere the whistle blew and Larry Rose came running from the baseline. It was odd time for a whistle, but you couldn’t help but expect that the officials were FINALLY going to call Carolina for a push in the back on a rebound.

Not the case.

Instead, Rose whistled State center, Ron Kelley, with a foul underneath the basket. Amazingly, Rose ruled that the foul happened simultaneously (or after) the made basket. So, Carolina got to keep the points AND then shoot free throws because of the key foul on one of our only big men. Carolina ended up with the only FIVE POINT PLAY that I have ever seen in my entire life of watching basketball. They also ended up with momentum and too many skilled players to battle our foul-plagued squad and won the game.

The uniqueness of this call was bad enough. The fact that replay showed that Rob Kelley was out of position on the play and wasn’t within three feet of a player from either team made Rose’s fabricated call even harder to swallow for Wolfpackers.

2004 Maryland Fiasco
The capstone of the Rose vs NC State rivalry occurred in 2004 ACC semi-finals. The event was so egregious that the ACC office never allowed Rose to officiate another NC State basketball game.

With the Wolfpack still holding a decent lead on the rallying Maryland Terrapins in the second half, Larry Rose chose to call a technical foul on the NC State bench because a member of the staff stepped five feet on the floor to wipe a danerous wet spot on the floor (while the ball was in play fifty feet away at the other end of the court). It was utterly amazing. Literally unprecedented.

The technical served deflate a mentally weak Wolfpack squad – unfortunately, a hallmark of Herb Sendek teams. Ultimately, Maryland rallied (from as much as a 21 point lead late in the first half) and NC State experienced the worst collapse in ACC Tournament history.

Great, related commentary
The blog entry behind this hotlink about Larry Rose and Duke Edsall is just too good not to include in this entry.

If you REALLY wanted to make an sensationalized statement…you could truly make the case that Larry Rose was largely responsible for pushing Herb Sendek from his job in Raleigh. What if NC State had beaten Carolina that one more time in Chapel Hill? What if that win over Carolina would have helped the Wolfpack make the NCAA Tournament in the late 1990s and have put Sendek’s program on the success track earlier in his tenure? What if Sendek would have made his FOURTH ACC Championship game appearance in 2004 and finally broken through with a Championship win with his best team?

Holy shit. All of these things could have VERY easily happened…but will never know how history would have played out all because of Larry F’ing Rose.

* We have recently discussed the diva of the college basketball officiating fraternity, Ted Valentine.

* We also have recently discussed Coach K’s #1 guy, Rick Hartzell. (I hope that Mike Wood isn’t offended by Hartzell’s position in the Duke Hall of Fame)

* ACC Officials struggling on National Stage

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26 Responses to Rejoice! Larry Rose Retiring! (& More Zebra Talk)

  1. lush 04/27/2007 at 9:36 AM #

    i remember that call in the maryland game. i thought i was going to have a heartattack at the tender age of 22. it was the most ridiculous thing i have ever seen. i didnt know that he never ref’d a state game again.

  2. Buddygreen 04/27/2007 at 9:56 AM #

    There was a preseason ACC basketball magazine that used to come out years ago, I can’t remember the name of it, but it had statistics on each official. Best numbers I ever seen put together that supported the UNX ref biased theroy. Truely there were and are ACC officials that are much like the Nascar fake yellow flag for debris officials. They certainly seem to be trying to keep one team in a position to win. Ask Rick Barnes he left and has stayed away from the ACC and part of that is he knows the truth about ACC officials.

  3. Buddygreen 04/27/2007 at 10:07 AM #

    Off topic but as far as conspiracy goes. Take that 82 UNX championship. You will never convince me that game was not fixed. Worthy takes him self out of defensive position and literally stands there asking a kid from the other team to pass him the ball. How many times with a lead late in the game did Worthy take himself out of defensive position during his college and professional career? Once championship game 1982. With him out of position that left his man open. No player would do that in that position unless he knew that kid would throw him the ball.

  4. BoKnowsNCS71 04/27/2007 at 10:09 AM #

    In a related news item, Bill France announced today the Larry Rose would join the NASCAR organization. “We want him to bring some “Stewartship” to the caution flag rumors.” said France.

  5. MadWolf92 04/27/2007 at 10:10 AM #

    ^ That’s a bit unhealthy, there, Buddy.

    I believe he had gone for a steal or overplayed a passing lane and hadn’t gotten back into position yet. It’s not like he’d just decided to stand outside of any G’Town player.

  6. PackMan97 04/27/2007 at 10:12 AM #

    “You Suck” Dick Paparo
    Lenny “He Can’t Get Any” Wurtz
    Larry Rose

    Finally….all the refs I hated during my years at State are gone….*sobs*. I’m getting old.

  7. MadWolf92 04/27/2007 at 10:23 AM #

    You know, people hated Lenny Wirtz, but I really think that he was as likely to make an unpopular call for you as against you.

    Papparo tried to be Lenny Wirtz, but he just ended up being a showboat.

    Rose just plain sucked.

  8. BJD95 04/27/2007 at 10:24 AM #

    “Humility” my ass. That’s like Putin talking about how near and dear civil liberties are to his heart.

  9. BJD95 04/27/2007 at 10:27 AM #

    I will still never forgive Clougherty. That call against Thornton cost us the game, and that’s the only time I’ve said that in the last 10-15 years.

  10. PackHooligan 04/27/2007 at 11:10 AM #

    I was at the dean dome for the 5 point play. My head nearly exploded. The collapse against maryland in the ACC tournament is probably my all time lowest point as an nc state fan.

  11. zahadum 04/27/2007 at 11:17 AM #

    What happened in 82 was that Worthy was struck with a brief vision of the future, and expected Kurt Rambis and Michael Cooper to cover for him defensively, as they would for his entire pro career.

  12. Cardiff Giant 04/27/2007 at 11:21 AM #

    “Best game: A 1995 ACC tournament semifinal in which North Carolina’s Rasheed Wallace and Maryland’s Joe Smith played above the rim all afternoon – the Tar Heels won 97-92.”


  13. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 04/27/2007 at 11:26 AM #

    I can’t remember the details but what happened in the ’00 game at Maryland. As I remember State had the lead towards the end and we made a shot (possibly a dunk) and it appeared there was a foul but the call went against us. I was driving back from Atlanta that day listening on the Radio and it seemed that was the beginning of years of frustration against Maryland. I was around the SC/NC border and the remainder of that drive was awful.

    I know one call or play shouldn’t or can’t cause a team to lose faith but I don’t think Sendek teams where ever as mentally strong from that point forward.

  14. Cardiff Giant 04/27/2007 at 11:56 AM #

    I still think Paparo was the worst. A showboat who openly favored UNC, in my view.

    Fred Barakat was just a greenmailer and stooge.

  15. BJD95 04/27/2007 at 12:17 PM #

    MD in 2000 – Thornton swooped in with a nasty dunk, with a clear block (or very generous no call) on the MD defender. From WAY out of position, Clougherty rushes in and calls a charge, then Ts up Thornton. The charge was his 4th foul, the T his 5th. We melted down the remainder of the game and season.

  16. ktpritch 04/27/2007 at 12:22 PM #

    tcthdi – I think the play you are referring to is when Thorton got called for a charge while going for a dunk. We imploded from there on out.

    That said, he made almost the same play in the first game against Maryland (going over a seven footer in the process – one of the nastiest game dunks I have ever seen). I am sure the image is still out there somewhere.


  17. BigRed 04/27/2007 at 12:25 PM #

    Replay is a valuable tool for rooting this sort of thing out. Between the DVR and YouTube it’s now possible to really review and share the evidence.

    Buddygreen’s comment really gets the mental wheels turning. What if we had stats to analyze. Think about KenPom taking a pass at those numbers. I think the bad apples would really become evident.

  18. scpackman 04/27/2007 at 1:04 PM #

    I live for the day when unc doesn’t own the ACC and it’s refs….mofos.

  19. noah 04/27/2007 at 1:08 PM #

    Was that pre-season mag Barry Jacob’s ACC Handbook?

  20. RickJ 04/27/2007 at 1:33 PM #

    Interestingly, the two biggest corn holings V ever took were against Virginia. I don’t remember the referee but we had one of the great Sampson teams (82 maybe) beat in Reynolds when Jeff Jones literally jumped on Whittenburg’s back at mid court near the end of the game. The ref called a jump ball and Virginia ultimately won the game. I remember feeling sorry for Gary Dornburg after the game having to interview V. It was the only time I remember V being out of control angry. He was ranting away and finally just said “I’m sick of it” and walked away. After the season, he developed a hilarious bit about the incident that he recited at Wolfpack Club meetings.

    The other game was at Virginia and it involved some lame brained new rule about returning to the court after a time out. Again, it was very late in the game and we were in great shape with Vinny Delnegro going to the foul line after a time out. Anyway, Papparo says we didn’t get to foul line quick enough and awards the ball to Virginia and they hit a shot and win. In this case, it was the only time I remember V being completely speechless. He didn’t say 10 words in the post game interview.

  21. BJD95 04/27/2007 at 3:26 PM #

    I remember listening to that 2nd UVA game on the radio. What a bunch of crap that was.

  22. Jamie 04/27/2007 at 3:52 PM #

    It’s interesting to finally hear the truth behind the 04 Meltdown. I had the conspiracy theory that the ACC office actually told the refs to do that to us, as that was the only way the ACC would get 7 teams in that year, with Maryland getting the automatic bid. Finding out that Rose was actually punished for it kinda makes me feel a little stoopid….Better, but stoopid…

  23. WildPack 04/27/2007 at 4:41 PM #

    As bad as Wirtz was he tried to allow State to win the tragic Dudley Bradley game with a succession of homer calls. Unfortunately Clyde Austin got in the way.

  24. forst8 04/28/2007 at 10:27 AM #

    For many years I have believed there are occasional instances of less than honest referees. Rick Hartzell and Larry Rose epitomize what makes me and others believe this to be true. There is no other answer for some of the calls these 2 have made.

    Good riddance !!!!!

  25. westwolf 04/28/2007 at 12:27 PM #

    ^Bob Knight has voiced his concern about this for years. It’s simply too easy for these guys to influence the outcomes of games and do so undetected.

    The NCAA, which has a contract for over a BILLION dollars just for the NCAA tournament, can afford to have a national group of officials, guys who do it full-time, call games within all different conferences, and could be scheduled randomly.

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