Now that June 30, 2010 has come and gone, North Carolina State has officially parted ways with its athletic director of the past 10 years, Lee Fowler. The past 10 years have been wrought with many more downs than ups, but we want to take some time to look back at the entire Lee Fowler era. We thought now is a good time to take an overall look at the events that transpired under his leadership. The following events that took place have been grouped into 3 categories: Good, Bad, and Ugly. Earlier, we looked into some of the good events during the past 10 years. Now, let’s look at some of these events that fall into the Bad Category.
One good thing in the Lee Fowler era; Fowler was generally acknowledged within the ACC as the most media-friendly athletic director. However, sometimes this was not the best thing for everyone. Sometimes he would make statements, which were supposed to be harmless, that would turn into something more. Case in point: a rumor that started in early April that Sidney Lowe was going to be fired. In responding to ESPNâ€™s Andy Katz, he talked about his own job status (which we found out later already had been determined) and his house being on the market as much as he talked about Coach Loweâ€™s job status. Another example of this was when he was upset by a statement made by another ESPN analyst, Mark May, about coach Amato after the Akron loss in 2006. Coach Fowler called May directly to contradict Mayâ€™s statement that Amato was in trouble. May turned out to be correct.
As much credit as is given to Fowler for the facilities improvements, we must also recall that the Wolfpack Club had to take over many of these projects, taking it more-or-less out of Folwer’s hands. The Wolfpack Club was in charge of the entire Carter-Finley expansion and everything was done in a professional way. However, there was some near-sighted thinking on some of the other facility improvements. For example, Doak Field does not contain any seats that are under cover. Really? No one thought to add some cover over some of the seats? For those families with little kids, this can be a deal breaker. And what is the deal with the big poles blocking part of the field view?
Not much has been made or said about the facilities used by our 2009 national champion platform diver, Kristin Davies. Maybe that is because she had to practice at Duke as NCSU does not have a platform to practice diving.
The SID office/Wolfpack Sports Marketing was another area that was not always a positive reflection of the Wolfpack. In the past year, we have seen not one, not two, but three embarrassing typos that should not have happened. Typos happen to everybody at some point in time, but a typo that is so outrageous that it shows up on Deadspin is not something to be proud of.
Furthermore, it is generally accepted that the SID office is the hardest ACC office for the media to work with. There are several media people who will say this, off the record of course. One popular media member who shares this view is Mark Packer, host of Primetime with the Packman. He has said several times that while he loves coming to Wolfpack football games, he absolutely hates dealing with SID office/Athletic Department. He says that they are by far the hardest group in the ACC to work with.
In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with Inside Wolfpack Sports with Lee Fowler TV show. Although we are unaware of any other athletic director who has his/her own show, it just seemed like this was another way to get his name continually out and about. I gave the show 15 minutes one time. That was more than enough.
Another thing that showed some of his ego was his preference for his employees to call him â€œCoach.â€ OK, he was an assistant basketball coach at Memphis State. As a contrast, Ron Wellman, who was the HEAD baseball coach at Northwestern, does not prefer to be called Coach by his employees to our knowledge.
One thing that never got any attention from the mainstream media (for obvious reasons) was a story that was told by a former student-athlete. In a meeting between the team members and Fowler, Fowler was unhappy that the team wanted a coaching change. At the end of the meeting, he asked the whole team, â€œWho here received scholarship offers to compete in the SEC?â€. What does this have to do with anything? It is easy to surmise that he believes the SEC is superior to the ACC and telling a varsity team this was completely unacceptable.
The last part of looking back at his tenure will consist of some of the events that comprised the ugly.