N.C. State athletics during the 2012-13 season, overall, were a bust.
Basketball was ranked as high as No. 6 and football was highly touted. To put it lightly, they both failed. Players opted to leave school early for the NFL and NBA draft, players transferred, and it sent the Wolfpack faithful into a coma.
The aura of State being a second-class program is alive and well. N.C. State sh*t is real, not just a Twitter handle.
Women’s basketball’s 2012-13 slogan, “Our Time,” was sadly mistimed and made the program look adolescent. If it’s a team’s “time,” the team doesn’t finish with a 17-17 record, 7-11 in its own conference, and its head coach doesn’t get canned at season’s end.
Better yet, “our state,” was a complete joke. It’s not “our state” just because the administration thinks its athletic program has “arrived” or its teams look promising on paper. It’s a joke, and the University is now mocked, especially in the ACC.
With arguably the most talent — and the “best” chance to win a third national championship — head coach Mark Gottfried failed to hone some of the most talent players in the country. The team didn’t even make it out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament or break the top 25 to finish the year.
The team, ranked as high as No. 6, lost to Temple in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Players, like senior forwards Richard Howell and Scott Wood, deserved a better end to their time with the Wolfpack.
Recently transferred guard Rodney Purvis left the team, and all but one starter either graduated or declared for the NBA Draft. One year after a Sweet-16 birth and a season with much promise, Gottfried is forced to start over.
And after six seasons and a 45-35 mediocre record, former head football coach Tom O’Brien was fired. Football’s streak against bitter rival North Carolina was snapped this season, in heartbreaking fashion.
It was time. Many felt it was coming, especially after the loss to the Tar Heels and the unfortunate smackdown from Virginia on Homecoming. Once again, a team filled with talent and promise came up short.
Like with any sports team, you should take care of the bottom feeders – a la Virginia – and put up a fight against tough competition. O’Brien should have gone at least 9-3, rather than 7-5, and, honestly, he probably would have kept his job. When you lose on last-second punt returns and desperation passes and lose to below average teams, when Director of Athletics Debbie Yow has set a precedent of greatness, coaches won’t survive long at N.C. State.
Fans are tired of looking up to the likes of Duke and Carolina, but if a program hasn’t “arrived” there’s no need for posting billboards or running corny introduction videos. Greatness isn’t simply handed out on a silver platter, waiting for someone to grab it. It’s earned.
A team can’t win on talent alone: There’s no “I” in team. Whether it’s baseball, volleyball, cricket, basketball or football, a slogan or mindset that “you’re the best” won’t lead to “top-dog” status.
State fans are itching to reclaim titles and reach the Promised Land, but the program isn’t there—yet. It’s time will come, but it’s not “our time.”