Shocking – Lee Fowler Still Doesn’t Get It

Lodged deep within the N&O’s write-up of the upcoming Wolfpack hoops season (all WTNY, all the time, just like the buffoonish duo of Fowler and Lowe want it) is this little gem from Fowler’s always jabbering mouth:

Too many times, loyalty’s a one-way street. Fans want the coach to be loyal to them, but they’re not loyal to the coach.

Pardon my language, but this is the biggest crock of shit Lee Fowler has ever served up (and that’s really saying something). It’s a perfect microcosm of his asinine philosophy – by being “loyal” and almost never firing anybody, no matter how weak the results, he believes he will get “loyalty” in return. That is, should one of his coaches turns out to have a clue, they’ll stick around and not seek other jobs or ask for a raise. Seriously – that’s how this man “thinks.”

Assuming you have an IQ above room temperature, you understand that 21st century college athletics is a big business, not a “Mom and Pop” operation. Hell, that’s been true for almost fifty years. And no, Lee, the vast majority of fans (again, with the room temperature vs. IQ caveat) don’t want loyalty. They want results. And frankly, I expect the ones that get those results to be paid commensurately with what they deliver. That’s why I have been a paying member of the Wolfpack Club since the day I graduated – so that we have the resources to attract and keep winners.

Of course, you can imagine what kind of coaches are attracted to the “no pressure, we just want loyalty!” ground rules. That’s right, coaches who can’t hack it on the open market. Where winning brings financial reward, and losing brings a pink slip. The most determined, driven, and ultimately successful coaches aren’t worried about failure. They don’t need Clueless Lee’s security blanket. And that’s why Wolfpack athletics will be stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of mediocrity.

We learned last spring that at least one major donor values having a golf buddy over leadership that strives for championships. And apparently the other heavy hitters who feel otherwise don’t feel it strongly enough to draw a line in the sand. You and I can’t change that sad state of affairs, but you can stop enabling this twisted regime.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

09-10 Basketball AD & Department Coaches NC State Administration Sidney Lowe

123 Responses to Shocking – Lee Fowler Still Doesn’t Get It

  1. charger17 11/12/2009 at 9:15 AM #

    Spot on!

  2. Daily Update 11/12/2009 at 9:19 AM #

    NC State’s loyalty to Fowler has led us to maybe the worst three year stretch of combined results from NC State football and basketball in the history of the university.

    It all makes sense. We have been loyal for years and that led to us putting the best interests of NC State employees ahead of the best interests of NC State. I have no problem with loyalty as a strategy in some situations, but it cannot be the only strategy. When there is an opportunity to upgrade our athletics programs, then you have to take advantage of that opportunity even if that means throwing loyalty to your current coach out the window.

    That is the ultimate downfall of Lee Fowler and unfortunately NC State fans and the reputation of the university have had to pay the price.

  3. Rick 11/12/2009 at 9:30 AM #

    Loyalty is just little head jed code for “I am afraid to make an actual decision”.
    He is an incompetent boob who does not know how to manage an NCAA athletic program.

    The most ironic thing is the NCSU fanbase has supported the pathetic crap LF calls a sports program far more than they should have. You think UNC fans would have put up with this mess?

    Little head jed just proves how truly clueless he is.

  4. Khan 11/12/2009 at 9:36 AM #

    Does Fowler want blind loyalty or money for the athletic dept.?

    Money makes the world go ’round. Unfortunately, it comes with expectations. Can’t have it both ways.

  5. Alpha Wolf 11/12/2009 at 10:07 AM #

    Lee Fowler keeps his job thanks to money flowing in. That’s his only metric in the old regime, and who knows, that may be the metric in the new one too.

    The ole saying that “the bottom line is the bottom line” is incredibly true where NC State athletics are concerned. So long as the fans continue to support the athletic department financially, winning is only a chimerical goal where it is okay to not attain.

    State’s fans have been loyal to each and every coach they have had until it becomes apparent that the coach is either buffoon or is in over his head. Then, and only then, has their opinion turned to the negative.

    In Sidney Lowe’s case, the concern that many fans feel is because Sidney has not managed the personalities on his team effectively. There has also been some reasonable player development questions. The winning, well that figures into it too. Are Wolfpack fans wary of what’s to come? Based on history, yes. Even still, I would say that the bulk of Pack fans have not completely turned on Lowe yet, but I will say that it may be coming if after this and next season the program does not show marked improvement.

    As far as Tom O’Brien goes, there has been some emotional backlash over losses this year, but it is more in terms of the way his teams have lost. The concern with coaching in football centers less on him than on his Defensive Coordinator. Have Wolfpack fans turned as a group on TOB? No.

    The bottom line for fans is results. That’s not a shared value with the Athletic Director.

    It’s also interesting to note that once again, Lee Fowler has gone out of his way to belittle and insult NC State’s fans. How he constantly gets away with that is not interesting, it is telling. Long ago, the Chancellor should have called him onto the thick carpet and told him to can it. That they have not shows not only tolerance, but also approval.

    And that my friends is EXACTLY what is wrong with NC State as a whole: it’s management and employees treat their customers with derision and disregard.

  6. hball57 11/12/2009 at 10:13 AM #

    I really try not to get drawn in to Fowler discussions on this site, as I well know the agenda by the mods of this site and the tenor of the major posters here. But sometimes I just have to jump in.

    In some respects I think the mods here need to look in the mirror. The incessant postings and the ability to look for every word that comes out of Lee Fowler’s mouth for opportunities to post your anti-Fowler agenda smacks of the same behavior that you accuse Fowler of! If you remove your personal agendas and look at the statemnet based on it’s own merits, you may find that the statement itself has some truth and value to it. I think it is a statement that it true for the fans of all teams in all sports today. It is not a personal attack on any individual on this site, in Wolfpack nation, or to any one individual.

    But many individuals and IMHO this site particularly want to pretend that everything Lee Fowler says is a personal attack on them and chooses to react accordingly. This site has some unkind words for anyone who chooses to be positive about the future of the prorams or websites that choose to be positive. I get that. But if Fowler believes that, looking in to the future, he is best served by giving a certain level of commitment to his current coaches, and stating that publically, he is entitled to that philosophy. Just as SFN and the posters here can have their opinions in the other direction. To be really fair, none of us are siiting in the AD’s chair at NC State, we haven’t been involved in those internal decisions and we don’t know what the standards and discussions are. But we act like every one of these goals should be shared with us.

    I still read this site because the mods can be very insightful, many of the posters offer a great point of view, and you can engae in some interesting dscussions here. But I think the mods tend to be so convinced in their agendas they bypass positive, upbuilding information about the Pack that we all love to push the anti-Fowler agenda. Yesterday two great playeres signed with our basketball program and there were some encouraging comments from CJ Leslie. Is it so important to have another anti-Fowler post that we can ignore the great things that happened for NC State yesterday?

    Please understand, I am not trying to blast the mods or the posters at SFN. I am just wondering, when have we posted enough anti-Fowler posts?

    I am ready for the blasts now. Someone will accuse me of being Fowler’s relative. Someone will tell me i am blind or stupid. But I have never understood why I look to my sports teams to be negative. It doesn’t mean I don’ hurt when we lose. But why should I live in negativity before the games are played?

  7. Alpha Wolf 11/12/2009 at 10:20 AM #

    This site has some unkind words for anyone who chooses to be positive about the future of the prorams or websites that choose to be positive. I get that.

    I would say that this site has been positive about Tom O’Brien far more than it has been negative. In fairness, it has been quite critical of Mike Archer, but at the same time, the numbers do speak for themselves as far as his players’ performance has gone this year. To quote him, “it is what it is.”

    I have never understood why I look to my sports teams to be negative.

    So, are you saying that you tend to overlook negative aspects of a given teams’ performance and always choose to look at the glass half-full, or ten percent full? I am simply wondering what you are thinking here, and am not saying you are Lee Fowler’s long lost nephew or that you need a Belgian Shepherd and a white cane.

  8. hball57 11/12/2009 at 10:20 AM #

    Alpha, I just read you comments. May I repsectfully disagree with a central point of your comments?

    You say “Lee Fowler has gone out of his way to belittle and insult NC State’s fans”. I disagree with you assesment. He says there is a lunatic fringe in our fan base. Is that true? YES! Does it mean you or I are the lunatic fringe? NO! Are their some fans that want loyalty from the coaches, but don’t have loyalty for the coaches? YES! Does that mean you or I are those fans? NO! I think those statements are true of any fan base in the country.

    I think we as a fan base sometimes are a little too sensitive. We want the news medai to credit us. We want everything written or said about our program to be positive. And we individually take every negative comment made personally. I think that is a WE issue.

    On your question – I don’t ignore the outcomes. But I look to every game with a confident or at least hopeful look. I don’t negatively persuppose the game or the season.

  9. Khan 11/12/2009 at 10:28 AM #

    ^ Hball75…. Hogwash.

    Loyalty and support is not a right. It is either earned and sustained or it is betrayed and destroyed. There’s no middle ground.

    Let me put it another way: If you have a job, and you have goals or requirements that are part of your job, and you are unsuccessful in meeting those obligations, then you have failed. When you then, instead of taking responsibility and corrective action, blame outside factors for your lack of success, you have not only failed, but you have now done so with a complete lack of integrity and character.

    Not meeting requirements + not taking responsibility = Fail = Lee Fowler.

    If Fowler was interested in being relevant in revenue sports, he would find a way to quit blaming others, i.e. the fans, and take the positive responsible step of correcting an obvious lack of success.

    Show me one instance where he’s done that.

    It’s not the fans and it’s not the money. It’s the leadership. Loyalty is not a right. It is earned through mutual trust and hard work. And that’s the bottom line.

  10. ncsufan13 11/12/2009 at 10:30 AM #

    ^^ Lee Fowler has a long history of making snide remarks about the NC State fan-base. If you haven’t surveyed the wreckage that is the landscape of NCSU athletics since his tenure began than you must not be looking. It is simply unacceptable to ignore the state of our athletics programs and give the man who is ultimately responsible for their success a pass just because you feel like its being negative to criticize him.

    Lee Fowler has been AD for a decade and has done nothing but played a fiddle while Rome burned. That is more than enough time to evaluate him as a failure and to move on.

  11. Alpha Wolf 11/12/2009 at 10:35 AM #

    Let’s look at the whole quote in context and see what we find:

    “We’ve always been honest with each other,” Fowler said. “He understands we need to win more, but I also think he needs to know we support him. Too many times, loyalty’s a one-way street. Fans want the coach to be loyal to them, but they’re not loyal to the coach. We need to give [Sidney] a chance to get it going and not put any extra pressure on him.”

    Tell me, in the context of that statement, why did Lee Fowler even have to mention fans specifically? Lee Fowler is a master politician. He knows better.

    To prove my point, let’s edit two sentences out from that quote:

    “We’ve always been honest with each other,” Fowler said. “He understands we need to win more, but I also think he needs to know we support him. We need to give [Sidney] a chance to get it going and not put any extra pressure on him.”

    See the difference?

    “We” would be NC State and by inference, its fans.

    By adding “Too many times, loyalty’s a one-way street. Fans want the coach to be loyal to them, but they’re not loyal to the coach” I can see nothing beside a veiled belittlement of fans. It is at the very least a poor choice of words for a man who has been rightly derided for calling a portion of NC State’s fans lunatics, among other things.

    In short, if he was misinterpreted there, it was because of his history, and he should be smart enough to know better. That statement about fans absolutely did not need to be in what he said in order to propagate his larger point, especially to a newspaper that was going to print anything even slightly controversial if he said it on the record.

    That in mind, there are only two ways to look at it in my view:

    a) another insult

    b) an unnecessary, not smart comment from a man with a bad history of hurling invectives.

    Your mileage may vary, but I stand by what I said.

  12. hball57 11/12/2009 at 10:41 AM #


    Maybe we have a different philosophy of sports. Loyaty and support must be earned in any number of factors of life. But sports is an area where loyaty and support are given freely. Couldn’t that be a reason why that we enjoy sports so much? Aren’t the fans who feel support is earned are teh fans we call “bandwagon fans”? A team wins and they are fans. A team losesand they are gone. If loyalty and support have to be earned, why are there Cubs fans, for example?

    And 13, I am not saying that we should ignore issues, and I am not saying we should give anyone a pass. I am saying that some are so consumed with this, they refuse to look at anything positive or uplifting about our teams.

  13. Par Shooter 11/12/2009 at 10:47 AM #

    I’m not a mod on this site and don’t presume to speak for them; however, from my perspective we will have “posted enough anti-Fowler posts” when he is no longer employed by NC State and not a moment sooner.

  14. Alpha Wolf 11/12/2009 at 10:47 AM #

    I have said this many times and I will repeat it again:

    I am loyal to NC State. That will never change. My loyalty for an NC State coach, an athletic director, a chancellor or anyone else for that matter is contingent upon them doing what’s best for NC State in my view — which I consider to be fair and considered.

    Metaphorically, it is like NC State is my son and the coach or AD is the woman he is going to marry. My love for my son won’t change. My love for her is contingent on her doing the right thing for my son, no more and no less.

  15. hball57 11/12/2009 at 10:48 AM #

    Alpha, I appreciate your response and I have always respected your opinion. He made a general statement about fans. Not just NC State fans, but fans in general, and I can’t disagree with the statement in general. And i can say that I agree with that general statement.

    Sometimes I feel we get what we want and don’t like it when we get it. We want our coaches to say what they think (see herb Sendek). But if they say what they feel and we don’t like it, then we want to attakc them.

    I respect your opinion, and I am not trying to change anyone’s mind about Lee Fowler. I am simply wanting to reveal in the hope and possibilities of our teams more than what I perceive the anti-Fowler agenda that I think overwhelms this site at times.

  16. Alpha Wolf 11/12/2009 at 10:53 AM #

    Thanks, hball. I think that we both feel the same way about the Wolfpack, but we are civilly disagreeing on some of the finer points of the thing as a whole.

    Like I just said, the good ship Wolfpack is my only concern. Captains can come and go, but the Wolfpack is all I really care about in the long run.

  17. Bubba 11/12/2009 at 10:55 AM #

    hball, fwiw,

    I too, took the comments as a general statement about fans

    I really dont see any problem with the article

  18. bigjohn 11/12/2009 at 11:03 AM #

    The most potent and revealing thought on this thread is the one from Alpha where he asks to “look at the quote in context”.

    He is absolutely right, and for Hball57 to think that the LF statement is about fans in general is a serious stretch to “spin” the AD’s words

  19. Alpha Wolf 11/12/2009 at 11:04 AM #

    Let’s take a look at the statement “too many times, loyalty’s a one-way street.”

    Fair enough, and true enough.

    But let me ask you this: who has been more loyal to their school than NC State’s fans, given the results that they’ve gotten in return? Look at booster club donations, look at attendance in football, heck, even basketball the last couple of years. Would our neighbors to the west have remained as loyal? Would Texas fans? Would Washington fans? Who, exactly?

    There is no question in my mind that NC State’s fans are loyal, almost to a fault. That loyalty has been stalwart for as long as I can remember, which unfortunately is a very long time.

    Are we supposed to be the Chicago Cubs of college sports, never winning, with a curse like the Cubs’ “goat” as an excuse?

    I don’t think so. I think that the Cubs could win a World Series in five years or less if they had the proper management in place. They have the resources. They have the market. They simply do not have the leadership.

    Finally, the Cubs analogy is a very good one. If you think for a second that Cubs fans do not get all lathered up about managers and the team’s management you are VERY much mistaken. Believe me, my wife’s family is solidly a group of lifelong Cubs fans. They go to Cubs games. They watch them on TV. They wear their stuff. And when they don’t win, they bitch like everyone else. They were happy to see Dusty Baker go, for example.

    Their love for the Cubs never changes, but they are just like everyone else when it comes to their opinions on how the team is run.

    And finally, if their favorite club’s management insulted them by calling them lunatics, etc., they would run that guy on a rail to Gary, Indiana and drop him off stone cold naked.

  20. choppack1 11/12/2009 at 11:05 AM #

    I think this just demonstrates – once again – that Lee Fowler operates in a bureaucratic/old guard mindset.

    This mindset basically said that when there were problems, the result was either unavoidable or lack of funds…It certainly wasn’t the result of a decision that he’d made.

    His loyalty lies w/ his other employees.

    I’ve used this analogy before and I’ll use it again:

    Lee Fowler’s comments are the equivalent of a restaurant GM/owner saying to a complaining customer: “You need to give the cook more time to learn how to cook the meal” or “You’re crazy for not liking it.”

    This is the 21st century – most successful organizations have grown to understand the value of customer service. One of the most important parts of customer service is NOT dismissing his/her complaints – even when they may appear unreasonable.

    Clearly, this line of thinking hasn’t permeated Lee Fowler’s skull yet. There’s that saying “the customer is always right.” Luckily for Lee, he works for an employer and a job where he can routinely insult his customers and get away w/ it.

  21. Khan 11/12/2009 at 11:10 AM #

    “Maybe we have a different philosophy of sports.”

    Maybe so. But it’s possible that we’re talking about 2 different things. I am loyal to NC State. I will always support NC State. From a sports perspective, I will always pull for NC State to win. But do I support Lee Fowler and his current leadership of our athletics program? I do not. Will I support and back a coach who isn’t or has no prospect of building a great program? I will not. Will I give money to a program that I feel won’t spend it wisely? I will not.

    Lee Fowler’s definition of loyalt is to “shut up and give me some money”. That is fine, and I can reciprocate, but he’d better stop throwing me under the bus and produce something at some point. Has he done that, ever? No he has not.

    I would also point out that whether there is a lunatic fringe or not (and there IS with NC State, as there is with every school), the more times you publicly criticize them and talk about fan loyalty, the more times you provide fodder for which to create a negative perception of the university at which you are employed. NC State sports marketing is a joke in the first place, and each time Folwer opens his mouth to say something like the comments posted above, he does not do his job of building the NC State brand. In fact, he detracts from it.

    And before you might say, “blogs and message boards do the same”, I would point out that: Position of leadership speaking with a broad and public microphone > message board chatter, when it comes to public perception.

  22. BJD95 11/12/2009 at 11:12 AM #

    The whole concept of “loyalty” is the problem. Hell, I think fans are being stupid when they expect coaches to be loyal (and I don’t believe that sophisticated fans DO think that way). It’s not PERSONAL, it’s BUSINESS.

    What is personal and in the realm of “loyalty” is our connection to NC State. And to that end, we should (as the more critical fans ARE doing) put NC State first. Not Lee Fowler. Not Herb Sendek. Not Sidney Lowe. Not Tom O’Brien. To the extent they aren’t making NC State the best it possibly can be, “loyalty” to the university means that you should work for change. And you certainly should expect the university’s leadership to handle employees that way. Otherwise, we’ll never reach our full potential.

  23. Daily Update 11/12/2009 at 11:15 AM #

    Alpha made the point. Lee didn’t need bring up the fans or make any type of comment regarding the fans. Just say we support Sidney Lowe and think the future is bright. Nothing more.

    Unfortunately, Lee is either stupid or he just likes taking shots at NC State fans. It is really sad that there are people at NC State who let one if its most high profile employees get away with these types of comments.

    This is nothing but another shot across the bow at NC State fans who have supported his athletic programs at record levels for the last 10 years.

  24. Par Shooter 11/12/2009 at 11:29 AM #

    Ask yourself this – when was the last time that NC State fans said anything about the loyalty of a coach? Ray Tanner (I guess)? Have there really been any fans calling for loyalty from a coach at NC State during Fowler’s tenure? This entire “loyalty” argument is a strawman.

  25. hball57 11/12/2009 at 11:30 AM #

    OK so we all support NC State. Should the majority of our comments be about the teams and the players or about the AD that most on here love to hate? I guess tht is where my issue lies. I just feel this site does an inordinate amount of anti-Lee Fowler posts as opposed to things that might be team or sport centric. And when we do talk about teams or sports, a “Lee is stupid, Lee wants mediore results, Lee is our problem” series of threads break out.

    Again, I am not trying to debate Lee Fowler. It is just my opinion that there are positive things about our programs that are happening – not enough for all of us, i agree – but postive things nonetheless. I simply feel like the great resource of SFN gets sidetracked at times.

    One more item. Some say that Fowler doesn’t listen. I have emailed and called Fowler’s office at times with complaints and have always received a response. Now if you mean that Lee Fowlers doesn’t do what you want him to do, hence he is unresponsive, I think that is another issue entirely.

    Thanks again for your respectful responses.

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