Alums and Fans Under 25 Have Never Seen Glory. Will They Live Long Enough To Ever See It?

In the wake of yet another disappointing basketball season with yet another lackluster ACC Tournament one-and-done, I got to thinking about some of the current students, younger alumni and fans of NC State — and how much I feel sorry for them because they have rarely if ever gotten to feel the absolute joys that being a Wolfpack fan has afforded me through my lifetime.  Sure, a few wins against Carolina and Duke in hoops, a Gator Bowl in football, Philip Rivers, a few other things, but nothing like beating UNC in the finals of the ACC Tournament.  Nothing like beating the most-feared basketball team of its era in UCLA.  Nothing like standing in the Brickyard watching a huge bonfire, celebrating with thousands of other students and fans knowing that NC State had won a very unexpected but well-deserved national title in hoops.  When Lorenzo Charles put in the winning basket for his team in 1983, it wasn’t just for them…it was for all of us, his fellow students.  It sure felt that way that night, out there on Cloud 9.  And today’s kids…well, they’ve never come anywhere near that moment.  It’s as far away as Jupiter for them.

For me, all of those things were an integral part of my childhood and student life.  For today’s younger Wolfpackers, they’ve never gotten to experience anything remotely close to it.  At the rate things are going, they will probably be my age — squarely rooted in middle age — before it becomes even possible for them to see the things that we old farts saw and celebrated.

Think of it this way: a current undergraduate student was about two years old — or not even born — the last time NC State won an ACC Tournament.

If a fan is twenty-five, they weren’t born when NC State won the second of their two national titles in basketball.

If a fan is thirty years old, they’re too young to remember the last ACC title in football.  Jimmy Carter was still president of the United States.

That’s a long time, folks.  Too damned long if you consider that NC State is the largest university in the state of North Carolina and that it has a huge number of living alumnae in this state who give millions of dollars to help their beloved Wolfpack compete.

I recently had an exchange with a 26 year-old alumnus who said

“I am proud of my Pack no matter what. They have their moments and you know what if they win tonight [against Maryland]  I’ll be extremely happy .   They then play WF, which they have played before and beat once out of the two games. If State goes to the NIT who cares at least they are getting some post season play. I am a young fan and no I was not there for the 73-74 team i wasn’t even born and I was only 1 during the ’83 team. State has a tough time closing the deal on most games.  You know what I do tune into the Wolfpack radio because I support my team win or lose and I will continue to support the Pack no matter what.”

I know that in her heart of hearts, this young lady loves NC State every bit as much as I do.  I know that she goes to the games, or listens on the radio or watches them on television and cheers just as loudly as I do.  Thing is, she’s never gotten the payoff for her loyalty, even if she is young.  She’s never seen State’s players laughing while they cut down the nets, not even in the ACC Tournament.   She’s been conditioned to believe that an NIT berth is a “good season” for hoops.  In my day, getting dumped into the NIT was a booby prize not to be valued with much regard at all.  If she remembers 1989, it is through the eyes of a six year old.  You get old enough, and memories like that start seeming like a dream you had a long time ago that you can only remember glimpses of now.  She doesn’t even have that.

So I feel sorry for her, because her University has let her down.  She has to cheer for a school whose administration cashes her checks but gives her lip service to excellence in return.  She undoubtedly had to work as hard as any of us did for her degree, but unlike me, she cannot expect that the athletic teams that represent her school will reflect the excellence that goes on every day in the classrooms across campus.

And that is wrong.  She deserves better.

It is unfortunate that the school doesn’t see it that way.

She deserves better because she keeps the faith even when it seems hopeless.  I respect that beyond measure — a fan who stands by their team through times thick or thin.  That’s what a “true fan” is…not some Johnny-come-lately who jumps on the bandwagon when a team happens to have success.

Like I said, she deserves better.

For those young fans, I wish I could say it would be better soon, that State was on the cusp of a golden age.  Unfortunately I can’t.  All I can say is that I hope you live long enough for things to change and for new blood to take over that actually cares as much as you do.

AD & Department Alums Fans General NC State Administration NCS Basketball NCS Football Non-Revenue Tradition

81 Responses to Alums and Fans Under 25 Have Never Seen Glory. Will They Live Long Enough To Ever See It?

  1. Rick 03/13/2009 at 2:49 PM #

    I believe the powers that be want this type of fan.
    One who is happy with small things. Not one that expects to win.

  2. wufpup76 03/13/2009 at 2:54 PM #

    I feel badly for your friend as well.

    I cannot fault her attitude. She absolutely has been conditioned to feel that “any” type of glimmer in any sport is something rare and to be valued and celebrated.

    I love how positive she is and I love fans like this in general.

    It is disgusting the products that they (we) all have to choose from by this University when it comes to athletics. This is a total and absolute letdown from one side of the equation. It is more than just a shame that the NIT is considered a resounding success (and we probably won’t even make that field).

    I don’t know what else can be said … there’s only so much hand-wringing one can do 🙁

  3. Clarksa 03/13/2009 at 3:02 PM #

    I sense some frustration with the Basketball team by the authors on Statefans…is that a fair statement?

  4. StateFoxer 03/13/2009 at 3:07 PM #

    This post is so gloomy. Don’t worry about us young fans. With trends in medicine, a healthy diet, and exercise, I should be able to make it to 85. At least! That’s a sixty year cushion I’m giving the university to turn things around.

    I have absolute faith that we will win an ACC tournament and potentially reach two Sweet Sixteens by the time I finally kick it. Go Pack!!!

  5. charger17 03/13/2009 at 3:10 PM #

    This describes me, perfectly. I was born in ’81 and have no memory of 1983.

    But you know what, I printed out the ACCT bracket and posted the quote from statefansnation at the bottom about us making a run through the four biggest conference rivals in order: maryland, wf, duke, and carolina. I did this actually thinking after we won the tourney, I would laminate this peice of history and show it to my kids.

    This morning, I scratched off the tape that kept in on my desk and threw it away without even thinking anything about it, with only VT and GT filled in as winners.

    I don’t know what needs to be done, but someone needs to organize a boycott or something and force whoever to fire Lee and bring hope back to this fan base!

  6. coppertop 03/13/2009 at 3:15 PM #

    I’d say that the authors are using the disappoint of this season to highlight the overall lack of success across the board in almost every facet of NCSU atheletics.

    I fall into the latter category of fan, one who was barely old enough to remember 83 but too young to remember any football success. I grew up in Raleigh, met Jimmy V when I was a kid and graduated from NCSU when you still could tailgate at your leisure, camp out for tickets to games, and watched NCSU football for the tailgating experience, not necessarily for the game!

    Some of my friends where I live asked me why I pull for NCSU when I am from NC and didn’t prefer a school who cared about their athletics programs. Or a school who had some measure of success.
    I’ve always been a State fan, probably always will be. I will continue to support our football program, but have not given a cent to basketball for quite sometime.

    But to me its not just basketball, we loose in almost every other sport, with routine to the other Big 4 schools like it was our job. We can’t field a competative team in the vast majority of our atheltics, both mens and womens. This site has detailed the exceptions to this and highlighted how badly we perform on a regular basis.

    Honestly I don’t think Jed is the only problem. It starts with the BOT, chancellor and the others in academia at NCSU. It seems they pay lip service to our athletics, but they don’t really care that much, nor do they really want that success. I’d love to be proven wrong, but Fowler has job security. the rest of the administration has what they need. Someone to play the patsy to their line of thinking and someone who will probably take the fall eventually. And sadly will be probably replaced with someone just as incompetent.

  7. tobaccordshow 03/13/2009 at 3:37 PM #

    You mean… it wasn’t always like this?!?!?

  8. backinpack 03/13/2009 at 3:39 PM #

    I blame a lot of this on MAF. Not only did she hire Fowler, but had she not bolted to San Diego I think we would be in a different position. She cared about sports and thought it was an important part of student life. Her experience at Texas taught her that.

  9. aevanee 03/13/2009 at 3:39 PM #

    Thanks for the reminder.

  10. PackMan97 03/13/2009 at 3:43 PM #

    Basketball is dead to me until some changes are made. I never knew the glory days of NC State and didn’t start following the Pack until I arrived on campus during the Les era. Even then, I could taste the history and watch Les and his boys play hard (if undisciplined) every night. Even down 50 to Carolina they at least TRIED. Herb was a breath of fresh air that put discipline AND hard work on the floor. Sadly, his teams at times had too much discipline that the joy and passion were missing, still at least the product on the floor was usually trying hard. Now, I don’t know what the hell is going on but I give up investing any more emotional and financial energy into this team. I just quit (like the team did).

  11. buttPACKer 03/13/2009 at 3:44 PM #

    yeah, i think MAF did a lot for this school, and i wish she would have stayed. . . She did hire Fowler, though. Maybe she foresaw the shit-storm coming because of that hire, and decided to bolt for the left coast??

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind living in Cal myself, so i can’t really blame her too much.

  12. JEOH2 03/13/2009 at 3:45 PM #

    As I commented on the last post those of us under 25 (like me) cannot reflect on NC State the same way those of you older then that can.

    My BEST Basketball moment was the year we went to the Sweet 16. I was a Freshman and my friends and I went to Fountain and caught the game on TV there. It took us an hour and a half to eat one plate because we stayed focused on the TV. When I tell you the entire dining hall stopped what they were doing to watch it, I mean that literally. As Hodge went to the basket and made that play and then looked into the camera to say “WOLFPACK!” we lost our minds and the place exploded. As we left, with a sense of joy and hope for the future, we could seriously hear people in dorms all over the campus chanting and singing the fight song. It was one of my most memorable college moments. MORE memorable then rushing the court when we beat UNC at the RBC Center, MORE memorable then the run to the ACC Tournament final…nothing could live up to it at the time, and nothing has since…

    And now I’m an alum of the University…waiting for something like that to make me proud of NC State Basketball again…but maybe, I’m just Waiting for Godot…

  13. cjt 03/13/2009 at 3:46 PM #

    The most frustrating thing about our administration’s lack of interest in putting a consistent, quality product out on the court, field, pool, etc. is that they will not acknowledge the direct link between athletic success and academic success. Being successful in sport, particularly the major revenue sports, provides a university with its best platform to sell and advertise itself and its academic potential. If a school’s teams are always on national television, constantly being discussed in polls, by pundits and in national publications, then the best and brightest take notice. It increases your applicant pool and allows a school to be more selective about the type of student it accepts. Furthermore, the revenue generated directly from this success and indirectly through alumnus and corporate contributors will only profit the university as it provides access to funds for valuable learning resources.

    Not only does the lack of athletic success and our leaders’ blantant disregard for fixing it, taint students’ overall enjoyment of the college experience but it also robs them of potential opportunites both athletically and academically that may be found at another university where the leadership gives a shit.

  14. BAC79 03/13/2009 at 3:53 PM #

    The story of how far we have fallen was told last night when Costner commented on how this was a successful season. Our teams definition of success is that for the last three years we finished 10th, 12th and 10th? Two more conference victories in 2009 vs. 2008 and out in the first round of the ACC tournament and probably not even an NIT bid.

    What kind of Kool Aid are they drinking? Our illustrious athletic department and BOT have successfully brainwashed the coach and team. You are a success if your not dead last and feel good about yourselves. Trying most of the time is OK.

    Yep, this is contemporary thinking all right. Every team should get an award, every player a prize. Winning doesn’t matter any more only that you tried.

    With this attitude we will continue to be bottom feeders in every sport. Not only that this attitude spills over into the academic arena. Its OK to be second best. Well, its not OK with me.

    This University needs an attitude adjustment at the top. But, we are powerless unless the money stops flowing. Only then will anyone be concerned with what ordinary fans like us think.

  15. BJD95 03/13/2009 at 3:53 PM #

    There will be more on Monday, too.

    Sidney Lowe and the basketball program are just prominent, nausea-inducing systems of the disease rotting away our proud athletic tradition.

  16. Wolfpack_1995 03/13/2009 at 3:56 PM #

    “She has to cheer for a school whose administration cashes her checks but gives her lip service to excellence in return.”

    That’s so true. Each day I look at NC State more as a jaded institution that is all about the money. That’s it.

    NC State admittedly takes in more freshmen so they can collect their money fully knowing that these students will drop out.

    Ever since 89 I’ve felt that our university is being run by people who do not have NC State in their best interest. Who are these people? Probably UNC plants.

    Anyways having TOB does give me some hope. Basketball is dead to me but I believe we will win an ACC championship under TOB. I’m thinking RW’s senior year if things go right.

    With basketball we experience “Groundhog Day” every year. Apathy has set in and the university could care less because they are still cashing our checks.

    Maybe at somepoint we can weed out the current Chancellor, AD, and BOT that are in place but something tells me they would be replaced by the same type of people.

    A Revolution is needed to have real change.

    Tell your friend that there is hope with TOB. If we can get Nate to stay till his Senior year along with RW then WATCH OUT!

  17. Noah 03/13/2009 at 4:01 PM #

    but maybe, I’m just Waiting for Godot…

    It’s worth noting, for those that never read or saw the play, Godot never shows up. It’s just two guys talking beside a wall (IIRC).

    Perfect metaphor.

  18. BJD95 03/13/2009 at 4:03 PM #

    Yep. We have football season for the next 5-7 years until Tom O’Brien retires.

  19. ncsufan23 03/13/2009 at 4:10 PM #

    I am a 15 year old diehard NCSU fan living in the heart of UNC country. I have lived through beating after beating from UNC and Duke, and I will continue to believe the tide will turn eventually. Whether this is false hope or not remains to be seen.

  20. 61Packer 03/13/2009 at 4:37 PM #

    I believe alums and fans under 25 will one day see basketball glory at NC State. The real worry for me, being in the 60ish group of Pack fans, is that WE will never see it again.

  21. JaxPackMan 03/13/2009 at 5:11 PM #

    I’m 55-years-old, grew up in Greensboro. Was a little too young to remember much about the Dixie Classics Tournament games that came along a little before ACC and NCAA tour. Certainly had more prestige. Too bad the point shaving scandal brought the whole thing down. Wonder how tournaments would have evolved if the scandal hadn’t happened?

    In the late 40’s and 50’s State had some great teams. Reynolds Coliseum was the largest arena in the southeastern US. Everett Case had a great idea to bring these teams in to play. Why in H— the powers at be wanted to give up that “home-court” advantage, I don’t know. Well I do know…it is the all mighty dollar. But, that is a topic for another e-mail. You might think of the Wolfpack as the Buffalo Bills of their time in that they had great teams that were always ranked high in the polls, but couldn’t seem to finish it off.

    I was thinking about the game last night with State and Maryland – comparing it to their famous tournament game played back in the early seventies which State won in OT – and how much the game and players have changed. For either squad on last night’s game I’m not sure a single player from the 08-09 squad with the exception of Vasquez for Maryland, would even make one of the teams that played in the 70’s. Yet the athletes of today are all bigger, faster, stronger than those of the past but I don’t necessarily believe they are better basketball players.

    I can’t speak to whether Lowe is the best choice for coach. I hope he is listening to his assistants, for they certainly have more experience with college the he does. Recruiting is ultimately the key to his long to success. I think we have to give enough time to see how that is gong to go in terms of establishing a solid base of players and consistent recruits coming in. It has always amazed me how the Duke’s, Carolina’s, UConn’s, Louiville’s, UCLA’s, etc. manage to recruit and keep a bench full of blue chip five-star guys and somehow they are able to keep them happy. How do they do it? You recruit some hot shot and tell him he has a chance to compete for a position, but basically all he does is play in practice and sits during the game and waits his turn for a couple of years.

  22. JeremyH 03/13/2009 at 5:32 PM #

    do true fans go onto other teams’ boards and bad mouth them?
    go back to your baby blue sites and wait for unc to lose when they play with non-ACC (i.e. non-WWF) officials.

  23. VaWolf82 03/13/2009 at 5:44 PM #

    With all of the disappointment and bitterness, I can only assume that alot of people were predicting alot better results than I was. How anyone expected alot better with the backcourt situation is beyond me…but evidently alot of people did.

    Several years ago, Nebraska folks were unhappy with FB and wanted a change…but the AD didn’t make a good hire. It took a while to play out, but that mistake ended up costing that AD his job. It will be interesting to see how things play out in Raleigh.

  24. old13 03/13/2009 at 6:04 PM #

    “Alums and Fans Under 25 Have Never Seen Glory. Will They Live Long Enough To Ever See It?”

    Ahh, the memories that envokes! My freshman year at NCSU was Everett Case’s last as BB HC, although Press Maravich was basically the HC at that time due to the health of the “Old Gray Fox.” As an alum, I’ve been through the 1974 and 1983 BB NC experience, including the “greatest college basketball game ever played” between NCSU and UMd in the 1974 ACCT, when only one team from each conference could go to the “big dance.” Earl Edwards was the football HC my entire time at NCSU, culminating in the “White Shoes Gang” of the 1967 season, my senior year, and the all-time high ranking of NCSU FB of No. 3 in the country. We had an AD and an SID who really knew what they were doing, and a Chancellor, John Caldwell, who thought that the Athletics Department was as important to the university as the Engineering, Agricultural, PS&AM, etc. Departments. (The student body numbered about 11,000 my freshman year, which was also the first year that there was a women’s dorm on campus!) My impression, in response to the question posed in the article title, is: NOT WITH THIS DO-NOTHING ADMINISTRATION!!!

  25. thekind 03/13/2009 at 6:10 PM #

    My question is what can we all do in a unified voice to see a change occur? It is painfully obvious that our AD is the worst AD in the country. It is painfully obvious that the Pack has a horrible athletic program BUT nothing around that F-ing school ever changes.
    F- Fowler
    F- the BOT
    F- Oblinger

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