Virginia leaves Fowler alone in wilderness of failure

Alternative title: Things I never thought I’d say – ‘Still dreaming of a trip to Omaha’

(Picture above was emailed to SFN from a reader. If anyone out there deserves ‘credit’ then please let us know)

Since Lee Fowler became NC State’s Athletics Director, the Virginia Cavaliers whose overall athletics program ranks near the top of the ACC with extremely strong, broad athletic success – the Wolfpack is the only ACC athletics programs to have failed to participate in at least a Frozen Four, a College World Series, a BCS Bowl, or a National Basketball Championship game.

LSU battles Texas in this year’s College World Series that begins tonight after another College World Series that passed without NC State’s participation. (Thank God that Carolina got knocked out by Herb Sendek’s Arizona State Sun Devils. How in the world could Arizona State ever hope to compete with the likes of mighty UNC-Chapel Hill?)

With Virginia’s participation in this year’s CWS, did you know that half of the Atlantic Coast Conference has now participated in the College World Series since 2006? Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina and Virginia have all found a way to make the CWS at least once in the last four seasons with Carolina appearing four years in a row. Unfortunately, even with an all-important renovated ‘fuhcility’, NC State is not amongst the group.

In Coach Elliott Avent’s 13 seasons at the helm of the NC State Baseball program, the Wolfpack has yet to win a single ACC Championship or even finish first in the conference’s regular season. This past season – his 13th- was not only his worst since arriving in Raleigh, but it was the worst in the program’s history over the last forty years.

‘Strangely’, NC State’s worst baseball season in a couple of generations happens to coincide with the completion of Lee Fowler’s all-important facility improvements at Doak Field?! Please correct me if I am wrong, but hasn’t every single player on this team been recruited to the program after the completion of the ‘we must build it or we will die’ improvements at Doak Field?

Before you get all fired up that we everyone here really cares that much about baseball, then you need to read – Why I don’t get worked up about Avent. But, if we are going to field a program, is it too much to ask to at least win something? at some point?

Of course, any focus on NC State’s troubles are only accented by the success created by Mike Fox in Chapel Hill. When Fox took over at Carolina, the Tarheel program was actually inferior to NC State’s program. Oh…and Carolina has just recently finished their facilities improvement. How in the world did they do it?

Before Mike Fox, North Carolina baseball competed for ACC Championships but rarely cracked the national rankings. Dick Baddour, in one of his first moves as Athletics Director, made the decision to hire Fox, who had won the NCAA Division III title at North Carolina Wesleyan.

“We knew we could be better than we had been in baseball,” Baddour says today.

Under Fox, the North Carolina program has risen step by step through the ranks where college baseball prominence is concerned. In fact, now the Tar Heels have attained a level not seen before in the Atlantic Coast Conference, by earning four straight trips to the College World Series.

Historical CWS Appearances
* Miami – 22 appearances
* Florida State – 18 appearances
* Clemson – 11 appearances
* South Carolina – 8 appearances
* UNC – 7 appearances
* Georgia Tech – 3 appearances
* Duke – 3 appearances
* Wake Forest – 2 appearances
* NC State – 1 appearance
* Virginia – 1 appearance

Since 1996:
* Miami has attended 8 CWS
* Clemson has attended 4 CWS
* Georgia Tech has attended 2 CWS
* UNC-CH has attended 4 CWS
* Florida State has attended 4 CWS
* Virginia has attended 1 CWS
* Ray Tanner’s South Carolina has attended 3 CWS
* NC State has attended no CWS

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47 Responses to Virginia leaves Fowler alone in wilderness of failure

  1. old13 06/22/2009 at 6:00 PM #

    How many times does one have to say it! And why is nothing ever done about it?

  2. highstick 06/22/2009 at 6:58 PM #

    When you say “Lee Fowler”, you’ve said it all! “All” meaning the absolute worst athletic director in the history of the world.

    And “WE” continue to make excuses for him by allowing him to disgrace our university.

    Absolutely disgusting!

  3. SaccoV 06/22/2009 at 7:40 PM #

    I am still very anxious for something big since the April fiasco, and I have been very patient, Mr. SFN. So if you please, could you send me a July-Christmas present and find out why he has not been fired. It’s really sad when younger kids (17 and 18) who are State fans are aware of his ineptitude and his unwillingness for anything remotely resembling competition at the university they love and want to be a part of. Oblinger is no longer an issue (at least in this realm). The spotlight is on Lee now, and it seems to me (like universal health care), if not now, when?

  4. ruffles31 06/22/2009 at 8:50 PM #

    When the NCAA tournament started, I started pulling for Virginia because they got hosed in not getting a regional bid. For the ACC champ, I thought it was very surprising. And to top it off, they were sent to Irvine, CA to play in the toughest regional that included:

    #1 Seed and #6 Overall National Seed UC-Irvine
    #2 Seed Virginia
    #3 Seed San Diego State
    #4 Seed Fresno State – defending national champ

    San Diego State would play Virginia in the first round. The Aztecs had the consensus #1 draft pick in pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who is generally considered the be best amateur player since Alex Rodriguez. After taking him out and giving him the only loss of his season, they beat UC-Irvine not once, but twice.

    After they won the regional, I remembered the quote (that was first realized last year) from the above article saying only UVA and NCSU who hadn’t gotten anywhere nationally in the Fowler era. I was certain that UVA would beat Mississippi in Oxford (the Rebels have an almost equally inept AD if you look him up…Pete Boone) and wind up in Omaha.

    I told WV Wolf about this before the super regional about this and then reminded him of our new status as the lone wolf status for ineptness in the ACC.

    It is sad that we are at this place as a fanbase. What makes it even worse as look at our rival and how they are doing in each of these sports compared to us:

    Baseball: CWS 4 times in a row, generally considered one of the top 4 programs in the country vs. the worst record in 40 years, although the previous few years have been fairly good, including a super regional berth last year, although no titles.

    M Basketball: National Champ, team of the decade (3 titles in 18 years) vs. 18 years of futility, with only 5 NCAA berths and 1 Sweet 16 berth, and an ever increasing fan apathy.

    W Basketball: One National Championship, plenty of ACC titles, and multiple Final Fours, generally considered one of the top 8 programs in the nation vs. One Final Four and several NCAA berths, but no titles in 18 years. Huge plus is the way that Coach Yow courageously battled cancer, and the great memories I will always remember from her.

    Football: In 18 years, both teams have been about equal. Mack Brown’s late 1990s teams were better than the best State teams but overall, both programs have had ups and downs and now both are on an upswing.

    Finally, the embarrassment of our NCSU administration means IMO that no real change in our athletic department for at least a year. Unfortunately, I don’t see how any this interim chancellor really can focus on the athletic department problems when there are bigger issues facing him.

  5. Gene 06/22/2009 at 9:02 PM #

    Didn’t Carolina finish second in the CWS a few years back? A few balls here and there and they could’ve won the whole thing, if I remember correctly.

    What I respect out of Carolina is they do not settle for second best in any sport. NCSU was ahead of them in women’s basketball and they hire Syliva Hatchell and raced ahead of us. Baseball has room for improvement and they hire Fox. Even long long ago they hired Frank McGuire to coach basketball because they weren’t beating in-state rivals.

    Luckily, at NCSU, we don’t care if we’re second best or 12th best. Why the university still has sports fans is beyond me. Why part of me still cares even a little bit is frustrating. I am trying to achieve total apathy.

    We do not have a culture of trying to win or maybe we did, but that’s pretty much dead and buried and I don’t see it coming back. Lee Fowler’s a hack who was hired to build facilities and manage the budget. He wasn’t hired to set goals for the department and it shows.

    After Oblinger’s ouster, I really think we’re going to get even more timid leadership, who won’t try and do something as bold as the speaker’s series Mrs. Easley was hired to manage, let alone fire an AD.

    I just can’t picture the UNC Board of Governors caring more about making NCSU a top university than our BoT, who in the end appointed Oblinger, stood by him for years and don’t bother with putting pressure on Fowler to produce a winning athletics department.

  6. blpack 06/22/2009 at 9:05 PM #

    The positive buzz last April about the possible firing of the AD says all you need to know about where most are with their frustration & indifference level with the department. He has to go.

  7. 61Packer 06/22/2009 at 9:23 PM #

    Nice photo. But who’s the guy in the middle?

  8. buttPACKer 06/22/2009 at 10:07 PM #

    This f****er must have hired a private dick to take some extremely incriminating photos of several/all of the BOT. . . Honestly, there could be no other reason than blackmail. His performance is just so off-the-charts bad, nothing else stands to reason!

  9. howlie 06/22/2009 at 10:13 PM #

    Can an expose’ be provided on Fowlup’s “supplemental income” he negotiated for himself with Capitol Sports Marketing for the football and basketball shows?
    I’m stunned that at a public university he is allowed to negotiate income for himself that is essentially a ‘kickback’ for these other shows.
    Of the REPORTED income [& hidden income from his deal], where does Fowler rank among all NC State emloyees and department heads?

    WHATEVER he makes, he is clearly refusing to perform his duties. Those two monkeys in the picture could provide advice if he would listen.

  10. turfpack 06/22/2009 at 11:21 PM #

    We can only hope his days of ass kissing will come to a end.
    So let it be written So let it be done!
    I wonder if FOULUP ever talked to Mary E -I’m just say….you know- what the hell.

  11. Wolf74 06/23/2009 at 7:28 AM #

    Talking about baseball, I love baseball. It is my favorite time of the year. I used to love basketball also but NCSU has been irrelevant for so long, I forget when the season starts. I could go into a rant about Avent and how absent NCSU recruiting is on the Showcase Circuit (even in North Carolina which is loaded with talent every year and which I followed closely with my son who just finished his Soph year at another D1 school) but Avent’s record in the conference speaks for itself.

    Instead I will rant about non-revenue sports. I had a friend who always said he didn’t care about non-revenue sports. Just basketball and football (even though baseball is a revenue sport at many schools). He didn’t care if the non-revenues even existed. I always argued that you could gauge the health of an athletic department by the non revenue sports. At the largest university in North Carolina, if the non-revenue sports are doing well the department is probably on pretty sound footing even if the revenue sports are having a down year and if the non-revenues are performing poorly for an extended period of time, it is just a matter of time before the revenue sports start stinking because the athletic department is being mismanaged.

    I think it is evident what Fowler has done, and what his superiors have allowed to happen. NCSU is basically irrelevant as an athletic department. That is sad.

  12. sergeant slaughter 06/23/2009 at 7:50 AM #

    I kind of have a hard time with the bashing of Avent and the baseball team here. It was just last year that we went to the regionals and the team that beat us ended up playing in the freaking final game of the CWS.
    In between then and the beg. of this season the baseball team lost A LOT of their best players/pitchers to the draft. We were expected to struggle this year esp after the departure of that number of key players.
    The only thing you might fault him is not having the support staff ready to fill in behind those, but what coach expects to lose that # of his key players in a single season?

    You can’t compare the completion of the facility to the teams record without commenting on the fact that they lost key players.

    Fowler does need to be gone, but the baseball team this year is by far NOT the reason why.

  13. SaccoV 06/23/2009 at 8:19 AM #

    Icing on the cake, Sarge. And also, don’t you see the direct correlation in performance from Avent and Sendek? If you don’t, then you should re-read the litany of posts, including the one linked above. Second, to add insult to injury here, our baseball program has not only been passed by UNC and UVa, we’re now consistently trailing ECU and Coastal Carolina. If you don’t believe that we should strive to meet the demands made by those two schools, then I don’t think you would ever ask for a coach’s firing in any sport. Baseball is nothing more than the mirror (albeit one with a hollow reflection) of Lee Fowler’s time here. Nothing more than an example of his lack of direction and leadership. The baseball team was average when he arrived; it remains average today. But, since it’s NC State, ‘average’ must be a synonym for ‘excellent.’

  14. Sam92 06/23/2009 at 9:24 AM #

    we, loyal alums, students and others in the fan base, are in an awkward position when it comes to Lee Fowler, aren’t we? We want him gone, but we also want the programs to succeed – and football is on the verge.

    If TOB does what we all hope and believe he can, it will make Lee Fowler look good, perhaps too good to fire.

    With a successful football program, is there any realistic way to get rid of Lee?

  15. StateFans 06/23/2009 at 10:12 AM #

    Considering that Lee Fowler (1) wanted to keep Chuck Amato and (2) could have hired Tom O’Brien a year earlier and (3) was forced to fire Chuck and (4) wasn’t allowed to be very involved in the ‘search’ for a new coach where (5) Tom O’Brien came to us and wanted to coach here…

    …then I have a hard time being in an ‘awkward position’ that football is on the verge of something great.

    It is on public record that if Fowler had his way he would have never gotten rid of Chuck, meaning that we wouldn’t be on the verge if Wendell and the BOT hadn’t forced a move that was followed by TOB pursuing our job in large part because of the great fan support he recognized here.

    The only thing awkward here is that anyone would ever remotely link Fowler to our burgeoning football program.

  16. PackMan97 06/23/2009 at 10:26 AM #

    If TOB does what we all hope and believe he can, it will make Lee Fowler look good, perhaps too good to fire.

    With a successful football program, is there any realistic way to get rid of Lee?

    Yes, simply because we expect to be good in basketball. Football can only take the heat off that sport for so long, and Lowe is Fowlers’ guy.

    To be honest, the Fowler hating would stop if we saw our teams become successful. I don’t really care who the AD is when we are winning. It’s only when all of our programs are tanking and getting worse and no changes are being made that you begin to wonder WTF is going on.

  17. Sam92 06/23/2009 at 10:35 AM #

    those are all good points, and i hope everyone sees it the same way, but i still have this sinking feeling that if the AD hasn’t been fired already, it’s going to be pretty hard to fire him when the football team starts contending for ACC championships regularly

  18. Wulfpack 06/23/2009 at 10:41 AM #

    I agree with Sam. Lowe isn’t anymore more “Fowler’s guy” than TOB is. Lowe wasn’t even on the list when he opened up the search. Because he bungled it so badly, Sid became a candidate after everyone turned us down. Based on these facts, I don’t think you can say Sid was “Fowler’s guy”.

    If the football takes off, it will make Lee look better to the outside world, to those that don’t really know what all went down with the TOB hire. Considering the powers that be, the one’s that really matter here, haven’t forced LF out, don’t you think it’d be rather hard for them to do so when we are competing for ACC Championships and BCS bowls? Unless, of course, TOB is vocal about his displeasure with LF, that would completely change the game. But is he the type to do so???

  19. whitefang 06/23/2009 at 10:46 AM #

    For whatever its worth my “inside” connections at UVa (which unfortunately are better than my State connections these days) have mentioned to me that Littlepage is on the hotseat. Of course he just made a basketball change so we’ll see how that works out, and will likely make a football change after this season. But their athletic program overall makes ours look pretty bad and has for a while now.

  20. thekind 06/23/2009 at 11:33 AM #

    How many ways can we all say that Fowler sucks? Our athletic department is the bottom of the barrel, and the only BOT member with the guts to do something about Fowler has just been run off.

    The cycle begins again.

  21. Cardiff Giant 06/23/2009 at 11:46 AM #

    Just another helping heaped on Fowler’s great, steaming rjstaffel of FAIL.

    How cool it is that we can spend not only the month of March but the months of May and June desperately hoping that the Tar Holes will not win a national championship – and our teams sit in front of the TV doing the same thing!

    Thank you, Lee Fowler!

  22. WV Wolf 06/23/2009 at 12:02 PM #

    To compare with UVA during Fowler’s time as AD, UVA has 39 ACC titles (2nd behind Carolina) and 3 team national championships. State has 14 ACC titles and 0 team national championships. Although some of those are in sports State does not compete in, like lacrosse and rowing.

    UVA has won more ACC titles (15) in the past 3 years as State has won in the past 9 years (14).

  23. BJD95 06/23/2009 at 12:42 PM #

    I have no doubt that Fowler will wrap himself tightly around the football program’s success, even though everybody with an iota of inside knowledge knows that’s bunk.

    But Fowler is more closely identified with Lowe, and media reports at the time of the hire noted as such. Lowe’s hire was the inevitable result of his scattershot coaching search. TOB’s hire was the result of Fowler being told to stay out of the way and not screw anything up.

  24. bradleyb123 06/23/2009 at 1:37 PM #

    On quite a few blogs about basketball, I hear talk about the people behind the scenes, the big-money people that REALLY pull the strings. I hear stories about how they told Fowler that if he didn’t fire Amato, then HE (Fowler) would be fired, himself. Stuff like that.

    Since Fowler is so monumentally horrible (which he is, I’m not disputing that), then why don’t these big-money folks pull some strings to get HIM fired? People here on SFN talk about Sidney Lowe being on the hot seat with the people that count (these people behind the scenes). But Fowler is MUCH worse that Sidney at HIS job, IMO. He’s failing in every category imaginable (except for fuhcilities improvements). Why isn’t his arse on the hot seat with them, too? At least Sidney gets an above-average grade for recruiting. And he does have an ACC championship game appearance under his belt. And a few big wins, too.

    Or do they have no say in the AD, just all the coaches in MAJOR sports?

    If this came across as being sarcastic, that was not my intent. I really want to know. How does Fowler survive the people that really call the shots, the people behind the scenes?

  25. graywolf 06/23/2009 at 4:56 PM #

    The wheels of the bus go round and round…. I mean they fall off the bus since the driver is Fowler.

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