Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wolfpack Hoops

I moved to Raleigh in February of 1983. The Wolfpack basketball team led by Sidney Lowe was on a tear that ended with a NCAA championship for NCSU. Neighbors were out in the street after the game; they even painted the pavement red and white that night. I got my first lesson in the cosmic importance of Tobacco Road basketball.

I’ve been associated with broadcasting and marketing NCSU athletics since ’83, so the significance of Sidney Lowe’s departure is not lost on me. We wish him well. He has conducted himself with great dignity, especially over the past couple of months. It’s telling that State AD Debbie Yow noted how Sidney offered her comfort at a point during their Tuesday meeting that ended his tenure as head coach. He’s a class act. Coaches are highly focused people working under incredible pressure. They can easily become self-absorbed and prickly. Not Sidney. Always gracious and helpful. A really good guy.

Moving on…to the future and the quest for a new coach. I totally disagree with folks who suggest Debbie Yow will have a hard time filling this position. The NCSU coaching job is a plum assignment. Great facilities. The opportunity to compete with coaching legends at the epicenter of college hoops. And a large, passionate fan base.

Regarding the latter, I offer another insight regarding what is often perceived as a negative vibe within Wolfpack Nation. I’ve been watching this for 28 years. Tongue-in-cheek...or truth? We report; you decide:

NC State trains engineers, scientists, mathematicians. Yes, it is “rocket science” at NCSU. When their beloved team is losing they are compelled to dissect and analyze. To study. To solve the puzzle. To find a solution. This creates considerable angst between heart and brain. It may appear to be negativity, but it’s really a clash of loyalty and intellect. It’s the zenith of PASSION.

This doesn’t happen with the same intensity at UNC because Chapel Hill is a bastion of liberal arts, the humanities. On Franklin Street is all about “feelings.” If your team isn’t doing so well, you continue to “feel” great about your school. Tar Heels are right-brain people. Feelings conquer facts.

Not so with left-brained Wolfpackers. They are analytical, objective, logical. Still, they are RAVING FANS of their University. No doubt about it!

(Forgive the stereotyping, but I’m convinced that I have this figured out!)