Where Were You 15 Years Ago Tonight?

Most of the time this would be a hard question: Where were you 15 years ago tonight?

But for myself and 19,000+ other State fans, that’s an easy question to answer. We were at the very first NC State basketball game at the Raleigh Entertainment Sports Arena/RBC Center/PNC Arena.

Giveaway poster from opening night:

And the flip side featuring the triumvirate of Marye Anne Fox, Les Robinson & Herb Sendek:

On November 19, 1999 the Wolfpack played their first game on their new home court and defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 67-63.

According to the Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries(the source for the scoreboard pic as well), this is a picture of the first basket (not sure if it is the first overall basket or State’s first basket).

The Wolfpack, coached by Herb Sendek, started Justin Gainey and Anthony Grundy in the backcourt and Damien Wilkins, Kenny Inge & Damon Thornton up front. Archie Miller, Cliff Crawford, Marshall Williams, Cornelius Williams & Ron Kelley came off the bench.

In typical NC State fashion, the game did not start well as Georgia scored the first 10 points and led by as many as 12 in the first half. At halftime Georgia led 38-31 as the Bulldogs shot 56.5% and the Pack only 39.3%. In the second half the Pack battled back and finally took the lead 55-53 on 2 Ron Kelley free throws. With the score tied at 63, Archie Miller hit a 3 pointer with 58 seconds left to seal the win. (Thanks to Tony Haynes’s gopack.com recap that is still online for these details that are hard to find and/or remember)

State had 4 players in double figures, Grundy with 13, Gainey with 12, Thornton with 11 and Inge with 10. Inge and Thornton led the team in rebounds with 7 and blocked shots with 2 each, while Grundy led the team in assists with 4 and steals with 7.

State would win their first 14 games in the new arena, going 17-3 at home that season. State’s record in the arena after the Hofstra win this season stands at 185-68 (.731).

Here are a few more bits of trivia from the game:
• Georgia’s Shaun Coleman scored the first basket in the arena, Damon Thornton had the first State basket

• Jim Harrick was coaching the Bulldogs that night, current head coach Mark Gottfried was an assistant under Harrick at UCLA and Harrick has been a mentor/consultant for Gottfried while in Raleigh.

• Damien Wilkins would transfer from NC State to Georgia, the same school where his uncle Dominique played.

• One of the 3 officials that night was none other than Karl Hess, who would later have a much more memorable performance in the same building.

• The Carolina Hurricanes opened the arena a few weeks earlier on October 29 in a 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. The first goal in the building was scored by Hurricane Andrei “The Russian Tank” Kovalenko.

About WV Wolf

Graduated from NCSU in 1996 with a degree in statistics. Born and inbred in West "By God" Virginia and now live in Raleigh where I spend my time watching the Wolfpack, the Mountaineers and the Carolina Hurricanes as well as making bar graphs for SFN. I'm @wvncsu on the Twitter machine.

NCS Basketball NCSU Sports History

Home Forums Where Were You 15 Years Ago Tonight?


Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
  • Author
  • #61861
    WV Wolf

    Most of the time this would be a hard question: Where were you 15 years ago tonight? But for myself and 19,000+ other State fans, that’s an easy quest[See the full post at: Where Were You 15 Years Ago Tonight?]






    I was there!


    I was there…for both opening nights. The Hurricanes hired the same crew that produced the Superbowl halftime show and Big Voodoo Daddy played…it was lame. It think we walked out some high profile Pack supporters and had a little speech where they tried to pass off the new electronic noise meter to replace the one in Reynolds. Low key approach.


    Never have liked the place.


    I flew in from CA to see that game. Had dinner at Two Guys and then drove over to the arena. Not as fun as walking to Reynolds. The next day we drove to Greenville and watched State get embarrassed by EZU in football. A great Wolfpack weekend, though. I still have my ticket.


    We drove back and forth from Charlotte to watch the game Friday night. The next morning my sister-in-law went into premature labor and delivered my nephew in Rocky Mount, NC. I wish we had spent the night in Raleigh after the game and saved lots of driving back and forth across the state!

    Also, his grandparents on the other side were huge ECU fans and had to skip the game to be at the hospital. Must have been bittersweet to have to miss the “game of the century” in Greenville to be there for a grandbaby’s birth!


    I had a little hope that we could establish a bit of a home court advantage after that game. Probably 80%ish of what we had a Reynolds. I was way off.

    I’m guessing the PNC is ‘50%’ of what Reynolds was for it? I know that is somewhat unquantifiable. Giving it a stab, nonetheless.


    Freshman year. My first ever NC State basketball game. Second row. Needless to say, I was there (although I have no memory of getting a poster to commemorate it).


    Are the axe stroke scars still visible???


    If we could ever put together a team or better yet a program like the ones that roamed the hallways at Reynolds, we could have that advantage.


    If we could ever put together a team or better yet a program like the ones that roamed the hallways at Reynolds, we could have that advantage.

    Concur, whole heartedly.


    I was there. Still have the ticket stubs too. Had two tickets for seats that actually didn’t exist (Sec 314, Row A, Seats 1 & 2). They had to pull up two folding chairs for us and we sat in the walkway up against the glass…crazy.

    john of sparta

    personally, i was buying dot-com stock.
    that and the Pack wiped me out for 12 years.


    I was in Section 337 that night too!


    Was told my wife wasn’t going to give birth that week, it was 6 days later, so I was in Raleigh for the UGa game. Thought we could build a great program again. Still do. Win and we get a home court advantage. Different than Reynolds, but still good.


    I was on my couch in Northern Virginia (part of 18 hellish months I would like to forgets), watching. It looked really cool.

    I was there for the NIT game in Reynolds a year or two later, the one against Marist or someone of that ilk.


    I was there – lower bowl, east sideline, behind the State bench, top of the 3-point line. I took my father, son and a friend. The intro video made my father and I both well up with tears as we watched with pride the history of our great program play out on the old video board.

    Slow start, but a great finish. I thought our program was on the cusp of greatness once again. I moved from Raleigh to Charleston, SC the following year and eventually gave up my lifetime right seats. I still have ticket stub and possibly the program.


    It’s one of those little twists in basketball lore that Jim Harrick was the opposing coach for that game in light of his connection to our current staff. Hell, I bet Jeff Dunlap was probably on that staff at Georgia at the time. I haven’t taken the time to check that out, however.

Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.