North Carolina State has a proud athletic tradition. The Wolfpack won two national men's championships in basketball. Who could forget the picture of then Wolfpack hoops coach Jim Valvano when he raced across the floor in 1983 after NC State won the national championship?
The Wolfpack has also fielded competitive women's basketball programs. Other sports(both men and women) have had successful moments. But in recent years, fans have been vocal about the lack of success in the two most recognizable sports: football and men's basketball.
And for that difficult scenario, Lee Fowler became the fall guy. NC State announced yesterday that Fowler was fired as athletic director effective the end of June.
By most accounts, Fowler ran a clean program and was a fair and successful administrator. He spearheaded a major upgrade in Wolfpack athletic facilities. He also supported the student part of athlete.
But maybe it really wasn't Fowler's fault. Maybe he and NC State can blame it on what real estate agents call "location, location."
Located in Raleigh, NC State has been the weak sports sister of the three ACC schools located within about 30 miles of each other. Duke and North Carolina are consistently playing for men's basketball championships and always create lots of noise nationally.
Say, if the Wolfpack resided in a different part of North Carolina or a different part of ACC country, maybe the pressure becomes less strong. But reality is reality.
So, NC State looks for a new leader and new fortunes.
Here is hoping the changes results in better outcomes. And if it doesn't, we will know Fowler wasn't the problem.