Happy 25th Anniversary, Lee

Departing NC State Athletics Director, Lee Fowler’s love of the media spotlight is well known to all of us. Quotes from Fowler often find themselves into newspaper articles that sometimes are unrelated to NC State Athletics as “Coach Fowler” made a much higher priority of returning calls from reporters than focusing on finding ways to work to improve the Athletics Department at NC State University.

I have one word and one link for you — Cougars!

Well….Sunday, May 30th marks the 25th anniversary of one of Fowler’s ‘breakthrough’ moments with the national print media and it is just too classic for us to ignore.

Check out this blurb from the New York Times from 25 years ago:

Lee Fowler, an assistant basketball coach at Memphis State, gave an interview to The Nashville Tennessean not long ago in which he defended Coach Dana Kirk but described the troubles in which the program finds itself as ”the pits.” Kirk didn’t think he needed defending, however, and now he has suggested publicly that Fowler might be in the wrong line of work. ”Another conversation like that,” the coach says, ”and Lee will be working for The Tennessean instead of Memphis State.”

Lee Fowler talk too much in an interview that he shouldn’t have been giving in the first place?

Say it isn’t so?

If only Adam Gold and Joe Ovies would have been around 25 years ago to defend their guy!

About StateFans

'StateFansNation' is the shared profile used by any/all of the dozen or so authors that contribute to the blog. You may not always agree with us, but you will have little doubt about where we stand on most issues. Please follow us on Twitter and FaceBook


18 Responses to Happy 25th Anniversary, Lee

  1. McCallum 05/31/2010 at 7:22 AM #

    State has been a testing ground for years. The comic nature of the matter concerns the endless slogans you hear about qualifications and experience as you work your way through life. The plain truth of the matter is that you had better know someone in most cases if you want the job. Most people learn on the job but Lee did not seem to be doing that rapidly and where he lacked the greatest, hiring, firing and PR, he never improved. Sadly the organization in question at State seems to have no review system in place to audit and remove unqualified employees. (GO WOLP FACK!!. That is basis for immediate termination)

    Lee was never qualified to be employed at the level has was at State. There were strong question marks along the way and articles like this point out the type of items that a search committee should keep their eyes peeled for as they review candidates. True to its history, its marketing and its mental state, State took the cheap out with Fowler. They hired an unqualified candidate from a lower tier conference from a lower tier school that had extremely limited success in the field of concern. His resume history, reviewed alone, does not give the indication of being able to handle such a position at a school within a state that has 5 division one programs. Pushing that aside there are those aspects which couple themselves to competing against schools and programs which are nearly stand alone programs (either the only or one of two majors programs within a state) which have the attention of people not affiliated with the university either through employment or through education. When 20% of the people filling your stadium have no attachment to the school other than winning or location then there is an overall dynamic of expectations, appearance and reputation (UGA is a classic example, Tennessee is even better)

    Managing is a boring item. People tire of the mundane and want break through “exciting” projects to be placed before them. My suggestion is that State should seek those people that have mastered the mundane (marketing, public relations, EDITING, basic roll up sheet considerations, employee review, etc) and then allow them to explain within reason and with some great detail how their mastery of the mundane would allow them to fully develop the program at State. A tireless underling at a major program would be a primary place to start and DO NOT HIRE A FRIEND.

    I’ll finish by adding two items: 1) this site does excellent work. It is hard to believe some of you actually went to State and 2) I hope to submit an article from the late 90’s to the News and Observer concerning the closing of Reynolds and the opening of Leviathan near Wade Blvd. The piece was not written by me but rather by a knuckle dragging Union Pines graduate that has large amounts of nose hair and ear hair. The piece was excellent then and looking back now you can grasp a true vision on things (outside of missing the clear nose hair and ear hair issues).


  2. bradleyb123 05/31/2010 at 7:51 AM #

    I wanted Lee out at NC State as much as anybody. He was a horrible AD. But we got what we wanted. He’s on the way out. I think it’s a little bit of poor taste to kick the man when he’s down.

  3. McCallum 05/31/2010 at 8:31 AM #

    Learn from the past. Do not let it define you but grasp the pitfalls and avoid them.

    Ecclesiastes 6:10-7:29 would be a good read for the knotheads in charge of the next AD hire.


  4. rtpack24 05/31/2010 at 8:49 AM #

    Sorry off subject but stay tuned to the Pump brothers ticket scandal at Kansas. You know who was their coach during all of this and it will be interesting to see how much local media coverage it gets. National media is all over it.

  5. The Captain 05/31/2010 at 10:44 AM #

    rtpack24 – The Pump thing has been warming up for some time. With the years involved, it looks like it’s going to impact Roy Williams and Bill Self and two ADs. The Wear Twins played for the Pump’s AAU team.

  6. The Captain 05/31/2010 at 11:10 AM #

    bradleyb123 I hear you but I’m glad that SFN published this.

    The issue isn’t Lee, it’s that we hired him and will history repeat itself? This article has been out there for 25 years and I’ll be willing to bet it’s the first time anyone in NC State’s administration (other than Fowler) has read the article.

    When Fowler was hired from Middle Tennessee State, the chair of the Board of Trustees was LIVING in Nashville, Tennessee – yes, a city 35 miles from the directional Tennessee powerhouse whose athletic department was being led by Fowler. I would know about a CEO in Winston-Salem if I lived in Greensboro and I would hope due diligence was conducted on Lee.

    In Fowler, we hired an athletic director from a Division II football school that had previously been a fundraiser at a Conference USA school. I’m sure Fowler did the best he could but I honestly can’t believe there weren’t better candidates out there. Even with his baby blue colors, Toad Turner was a better candidate in 1990 than Lee Fowler in 2000.

    Turner had been an AD at a Big East School and had held senior positions at Virginia under Dick Schultz, one of the preeminent athletic administrators in the country.

    SFN has proven time and time again that Wolfpack sports under Turner, yes the man of the baby blue cap and gown, performed better than under Fowler. And we all heard the stories, whether true or not, that Turner publicly said he couldn’t decide who to root for at his first State-Carolina game. Looking back, Turner could have been a great AD for us if he didn’t have the UNC taint. So why couldn’t we have hired someone with his pedigree in 2000? That person could have groomed Bobby Purcell to take over the job when he retired.

    Keep up the heat SFN – this selection process needs to be closely watched. Good businessmen make most of the money on the buy not the sell.

  7. gcpack 05/31/2010 at 11:28 AM #

    I agree with Bradley. SFN got what it wanted with Fowler being fired. You have your red meat so why do you keep pounding him? This leads me to again wonder what SFN’s real mission is. That last time I dared to question SFN’s intentions my comments were removed immediately.

    Fowler is gone & I have no quarrel with that. So why continue to embarrass all State fans by continuing this apparent harassment? Are you following the Gregg Doyle method of blogging?

    If SFN wants to find another State coach or administrator to criticize then its time to go after the men’s soccer coach.

    Lately that seems to be the thing SFN does best.

  8. baxter 05/31/2010 at 11:51 AM #

    Its a relatively slow news week, I’m okay with this anniversary, and for the new followers of SFN, they might not have known about this. Fowler is a fool that needs to be slapped around. And anyone hiring this twerp needs to see these things.

  9. tmb81 05/31/2010 at 12:00 PM #

    I’ve been reading this site and it’s predecessors for a long time. In fact I happen to have on a StateFans.com/”Pack Attack in Tallahassee” T shirt from 2001. Most of the time this site is the “source” for all things related to Wolfpack Sports. And yet sometimes this site is petty and ridiculous. This post is the latter.

    After the Fowler termination some well deserved congratulations on your reporting were earned as evidenced by references in the media. This was earned despite some “over the top” Fowler themed columns mixed in with the reporting. So here we are weeks later with another “over the top” Fowler themed column. No need to dance on his grave.

  10. The Captain 05/31/2010 at 12:46 PM #

    JPPack – I beg to differ as the purpose of this site is to promote winning and accountability in NC State athletics. This article has been out there for 25 years. Did anyone do a quote check when Fowler was hired? If you were on the search committee that selected Lee would this article have bothered you? I view this as a message to the current Search Committee – do your homework on candidates.

  11. gcpack 06/01/2010 at 12:03 AM #

    Captain wrote…”Looking back, Turner could have been a great AD for us if he didn’t have the UNC taint.”

    Exactly what are you looking at when you say that Captain?

    Turner is at best equal to Fowler and, as it turned out, he couldnt hold jobs at the two schools he went to after State. Turner was the worst AD we had who was actually hired to be a fulltime AD.

    He did nothing to keep Ray Tanner here even after Tanner turned down the Miami job. And Tanner was one of the two top baseball coaches in the country at the time. All Turner had to do was at least make an attempt to upgrade the baseball field and he did nothing.

    Turner also alienated Dick Sheridan and I don’t think I have to do say anything about what Coach Sheridan meant to our school.

    But guess what. Turner said that it would be Les Robinson’s choice about whether to leave or stay at State. Now that’s real leadership.
    The one coach of the three major sports that was doing very badly and Turner puts his head in the sand. Certainly not what he did when he got to Vanderbilt. The first thing he did was fire the football coach saying that the coach had not won enough games. I would love for someone to explain Turner’s defense in letting Robinson stay despite poor winning percentage but not hesitating to do the opposite when Vanderbilt had a bad football coach.

    Turner was so bad that Vandy actually eliminated the athletic department and put it under the helm of either their provost or dean of students. How bad does an AD have to be for his employers to get rid of the entire department?

    Then Turner goes to Washington and can’t make it a career there either and was fired as well.

    Turner’s failure was consistently repeated after he left State at the next two stops. Being baby blue had less to do with it than his incompetence. Willis Casey was a Carolina grad as well and I don’t recall anyone having an issue with where he graduated from. I know I didn’t while a student at State when Casey was there.

    Maybe Fowler wasn’t an ace in the hole but please don’t give us this Toddy Turner would have been great for us routine.

  12. wolfie91 06/01/2010 at 1:04 AM #

    I’ll echo the sentiments of bradley and others. Lee Fowler is on his way out. Frankly, it reflects poorly on SFN to post yet another blog entry bashing him, especially one that points out something the man said 25 years ago. Who knows, after all this time perhaps Fowler regrets saying those things. And I don’t buy the argument that articles like this are needed to encourage the hiring committee to make a good choice. If you want to do that, write a blog outlining the qualifications you’d like to see in the next AD. And I also don’t buy the argument that Turner was a good AD. I don’t think there is evidence to support that if you look at his track record.

  13. heavy 06/01/2010 at 6:19 AM #

    Sorry…as long as Fowler is collecting his check from State, he is fair game. If he did the right thing and stepped down (without the compensation), I would be agree that this is over the top.

  14. The Captain 06/01/2010 at 7:44 AM #

    gcpack – The statement was intended to be more reflective of the decline in NC State athletics during Fowler’s tenure. I agree with you on Turner’s significant shortcomings but the fact is that Turner’s teams outperformed Fowler’s despite hundreds of millions of dollars raised to improve athletics during Fowler’s tenure. Maybe it’s better when the coaches don’t like the AD – there was also a lot of coaching turnover during Willis Casey’s reign.

    But Willis Casey hired very good coaches and that’s why it’s important for the Search Committee to do its homework on the new Athletic Director. That’s the point of my post.

  15. WolfOG 06/01/2010 at 9:12 AM #

    Bottom line: heavy is 153% correct – as long as Jed cashes checks that say “NC State” on them, he is the fairest of game.

    Additionally, it’s laughably sad to me that Fowler has lowered expectations around here so much that anyone would think that Todd Turner was anything other than a horribly inept AD.

  16. WolftownVA81 06/01/2010 at 12:38 PM #

    Have to agree with heavy on this. I for one was not aware of this article and appreciate being informed by SFN. Lets hope we learned something from the Fowler hiring.

  17. McCallum 06/01/2010 at 6:00 PM #

    “We” always do learn something.

    It is the “they” in charge that “we” need to worry about.

    I have no doubt that State will screw it up. There will be lots of big talk but in the end State will be State and those of us that went to the damn place are too loyal to pull for anyone else.

    So move away from there folks. Don’t read the papers, don’t watch tv………find a nice book to read on the history of industrial strength wall paper or the finer points of parcheesi but to place your heart and soul into the hands of the eternal yahoos in Raleigh is some odd form of torture which borders insane.

    BTW: this weekend would be the Candor NC Coon dog water races but they were canceled about 20 years ago.


  18. packof81 06/01/2010 at 9:29 PM #

    Foulup may be on his way out but the damage is done and it may take a long time to fix it. So bash away. He has earned every unkind word.

Leave a Reply