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
* 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 Tannerâ€™s South Carolina has attended 3 CWS
* NC State has attended no CWS