Fans of the Seattle Seahawks made waves last week at CenturyLink Field when they helped set the Guinness World Record for the loudest stadium, reaching a level of 136. 6 decibels.
But such competitions measuring the clamoring and passion of fans have been around for a long time in sports. And on this day 60 years ago, Wolfpack fans gathered at Reynolds Coliseum took on UNC fans, who were rallying in Chapel Hill, in the epic State-Carolina cheer battle of 1953.
WPTF Radio aided in the contest, providing the hook-up between schools and recording the competition for a broadcast to an estimated 50,000 people. Each fan base was allotted two seven-minute periods in which their yelps, barks, shouts and screams were broadcast to the other group.
Though billed as a contest — we could find no actual claimed victor –the event was primarily used as a way to celebrate Consolidated University Day and to introduce Carey Bostian, the newly elected chancellor of NC State.
Few individuals have had closer ties to NC State through its 125 years than John W. Harrelson.
Harrelson was valedictorian of his class when he graduated from North Carolina State College in 1909. He immediately went to work as a math instructor at the college, and later became a professor. He was head of the math department when he was appointed dean of administration in 1934. That meant he was in charge of State College — the first alumnus to hold that position — since there was no university chancellor at the time. That would change in 1945, when Harrelson’s title was changed to chancellor.
Then, on this day in 1952, Harrelson announced that he was resigning, effective the following summer when he would be 68. The Technician reported that for 18 years, Harrelson “was a familiar sight, garbed in a navy blue suit and a hat with a downturned brim.”
Clarence Poe, a member of the Board of Trustees for the university system, said at the time that State College had made more progress under Harrelson than under all of his predecessors combined. Another trustee, not named in the article, praised the excellent work being done in the schools of Textiles and Agriculture.
But Harrelson also had his controversies, most notably with students who felt they were not given enough freedom under his leadership. One nagging issue was how students were penalized for missing classes. When a student dance was cancelled in 1938 to avoid disturbing the neighors of fraternity houses, students staged a protest. “At the next freshman assembly when Harrelson rebuked the students for the incident, he was loudly hissed,” according to an account by Alice Elizabeth Reagan in North Carolina State University: A Narrative History.
Harrelson, a World War I veteran, was known for his military bearing. In 1943, he became the first head of a major college in the South (and 56th member of the State College faculty) to be called for permanent active duty. He was appointed deputy chief of the Army Specialized Training Program in the Fourth Service Command, a post he held for 16 months before returning to State College. The Faculty Council ran the college in Harrelson’s absence.
It was not so easy to replace Harrelson following his resignation. Reagan writes that several possible candidates refused the job “because of the low salary and limited authority.”
It took trustees more than a year to finally settle on Carey Hoyt Bostian, director of instruction in the School of Agriculture, to be NC State’s next chancellor.
Gus Gusler’s time as student body president in 1971-72 did not come without its unrest. First there were numbers of students protesting the Vietnam War in the streets and at the Capitol building. And then there were his fiery exchanges with Chancellor John T. Caldwell.
Gusler remembered how in his first meeting with the chancellor, Caldwell had intended to intimidate him with his stature by having the president-elect sit next to him. But Gusler had been tipped off and chose to sit at the other end of the table, a symbolic move foreshadowing how the two would face off in the ensuing year.
But Gusler, who is a Raleigh attorney and owner of Hillsborough Street’s Players’ Retreat, pointed out in an interview for the Student Leadership Initiative, NCSU Libraries’ showcase of former student leaders at NC State and their recorded reflections of their time at the university, that there was always behind-the-scenes mentoring going on.
“Chancellor Caldwell, had the biggest impact on me of anybody,” Gusler said. “I worshiped the ground the man walked on. He was an amazing person, probably one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.
“…We were constantly at each others’ throats publicly in meetings and stuff, completely disagreeing on an awful lot of stuff, and it was very high energy disagreement, and then that night I’d go have dinner with him at his house.”
In Gusler’s three interviews featured in the Student Leadership Initiative, he also talked about how he and Caldwell would frequently be at odds over the pace of advancements in the African-American community and education.
“He just couldn’t understand why I would get so angry about that, that we were moving in the right direction, but a little too slow for me,” Gusler said. Gusler discussed how he was sensitive to racial and socioeconomic issues, having grown up on the poor side of the tracks in a segregated Burlington, N.C.
And Gusler described his love of the Players’ Retreat, one of Raleigh’s most famous bars and restaurants, which he bought in 2005. “When I got here in ’67 it was the first place I went and had a beer… It’s always been a very eclectic place,” he said, “where you’ll walk in and there’ll be a plumber sitting there drinking a PBR on Friday afternoon and at the next table, the governor’s sitting there or the mayor, dressed up, eating an early dinner to go to the symphony, and everybody gets along.”
Perhaps the students wanted their professors to be more like them. Or maybe they just were looking for a greater sense of formality as they prepared to enter the real world after college.
Whatever the reason, the senior class at State College voted on this day in 1934 to ask faculty members to wear caps and gowns during graduation ceremonies “or else refrain from taking part in the procession,” according to a story in the Technician. There was no reason given in the story for the students’ concerns.
But they did seem to have an interest in caps, for they also voted during the meeting at the YMCA in favor of freshmen being required again to wear caps on campus. The requirement had been lifted a few years earlier after complaints that the caps were used to identify freshmen for hazing.
There are few moments in NC State’s history that stand out more than the Wolfpack’s NCAA basketball championship in 1983.
We know that a lot of memories were made during the Cardiac Pack’s run to the Final Four and the national championship 30 years ago, and we hope you will share your memories with us and other Wolfpackers.
How did you celebrate when the last shot went in? Did you still have any mementos of that amazing moment? What is your favorite memory from the championship game — or one of the games leading up to that moment?
Share your stories here, and we’ll publish some of them in an upcoming issue of NC State magazine. If you prefer, you can send your memories (and any photos) to us at email@example.com.
Joab Thomas was not from North Carolina and had no connection to NC State, having earned all his degrees at Harvard University. His strongest ties were to the University of Alabama, where he had taught botany before serving in several administrative roles.
And the man he would succeed as chancellor at NC State, John T. Caldwell, was popular and visible on campus.
Yet on this day in 1976, Joab Thomas became the chancellor at NC State.
“He came to N.C. State because he was impressed by the institution’s potential and the state’s commitment to higher education,” according to Alice Elizabeth Reagan’s North Carolina State University: A Narrative History.
“Thomas’ personality was different from Caldwell’s; he tended to be much more low-key and less visible,” Reagan wrote. “He considered his task one of fine-tuning the university and its programs, and he sought to give priority to quality on every level.”
Thomas stayed at at NC State for almost six years, leaving to become the president of the University of Alabama. He later served as president of Penn State University.
Thomas was recognized for establishing the Caldwell Fellows scholarship program, which is now administered by the Alumni Association, and leading the university to establish the College of Veterinary Medicine. Thomas was supportive of NC State’s library as it completed a campaign to increase the holdings in D.H. Hill Library to one million books. Thomas oversaw the establishment of the NC Japan Center, and the construction of the McKimmon Center, Bostian Hall, Caldwell Hall and Kamphoefner Hall.
Enrollment at NC State grew from 16,903 to 21,169 during Thomas’ tenure.
“He made excellence in academics and research his top priorities, placing strong emphasis on developing major endowments for merit scholarships, increasing funds for professorships, strengthening the University’s library, and upgrading research facilities and resources,” read an account in the NC State alumni magazine when Thomas was presented with the university’s Award of Merit in 1985.
In 2009, the former Southwest Gardner Hall was renamed Thomas Hall in honor of NC State’s ninth chancellor.
Thomas, in a 1996 article in the alumni magazine, fondly recalled his time at NC State.
“When I arrived I found it was a much better institution than I had thought and better than anybody here thought,” he said. “I wanted to make it clear we had to get over this inferiority complex and realize we were first-class. I reminded everyone: The only way an object to the west can cast its shadow on you is when the sun is setting on it.”
Come March 2013, the world of premium denim clothing will grow by one more brand. MeFiver – launched by alumni Carly Giammona ’04 and Veronica Tibbitts ’12 – will have all the qualities high-end shoppers look for when selecting premium denim, but with one important difference. It will be sustainably made.
“The standard process for making denim is one of the dirtiest processes in the textile industry. Indigo dyes – which color the material – naturally do not bond well to cotton fibers, so the process requires lots of water, chemicals and energy,” says Giammona. “We’ve created a proprietary process that uses reactive dyes instead of indigo.
“Beyond coloring, the process for distressing denim to give it character is extremely labor intensive and requires a series of washes, which causes considerable water waste and pollution,” she says. “We found a way to create those same vintage, distressed looks digitally using a fraction of the waste.”
Vaughn, Giammona, Tibbetts of MeFiver
MeFiver, says Tibbitts, has the ability to rejuvenate the American textile industry. The company has gained national attention by being recently named one of the top five most innovative start-ups in the world by Startup Open – a competition held as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week – and featured on CNBC.
“Sustainability is absolutely the future of the fashion industry. This is where we should be heading,” Tibbitts says. “It’s been hard for other longstanding companies to make the leap. They are deeply rooted in the processes they’ve used for so long. Going sustainable seems like too big of a change for them to make even though it needs to happen.”
Giammona began developing the process in 2009, while working for textile giant Cotton, Inc. With their blessing, she left to develop MeFiver, bringing on Tibbitts and University of South Carolina MBA graduate Alana Vaughn. The company officially launched in August, and the team has been hard at work developing five distinct collections to be available in stores come March.
The Archives collection will be for the traditionalist, while Anaglyphics – which will include 3D images on the denim – will be geared toward the more fashion-forward. The company will also offer an Executive collection that will include designs such as pinstripes and herringbone, ROYGBIV which highlights bold, beautiful colors, and a very unique Visual collection.
“The Visual line will truly highlight the digital technology we’re using. We’ll be able to inlay photorealistic prints on top of the jeans,” Giammona says. “This stuff has never been done before. Even our colored denim, a trend that is extremely popular right now, will be different from any other brand. Our dyes will allow us to develop colors that other companies can only dream of.”
The jeans, which will retail between $250-$350 per pair, will be sold at high-end clothing boutiques and eventually spread to other luxury retailers. MeFiver is setting up their office in downtown Durham, N.C., and the entire production process will take place within North Carolina. This commitment to local production recently earned them a $50,000 grant though NC IDEA, an organization dedicated to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina.
“Working in the textile industry, I was very aware of how dirty clothing manufacturing processes can be, and that needs to change,” Giammona says. “I want shoppers to consider their choices ecologically and change the way they purchase their denim. I hope MeFiver can ignite a paradigm shift across the fashion industry. That’s my dream.”
— Caroline Barnhill ‘05
Everett Case engineered unprecedented success for NC State men’s basketball for 18 years while he was head coach. He brought an up-tempo style to a game that had largely been relegated to the half court. And he helped promote the sport in new ways, vaulting the Wolfpack and the ACC to the top of the basketball world.
And it was on this day in 1964 that what many consider the golden age of NC State basketball came to an end, when the coach they called “the Old Gray Fox” stepped down as the program’s head coach due to health reasons. Case would die two years later after an extensive battle with cancer.
During Case’s tenure, the Wolfpack went 377-134 and won 10 conference championships. He won six championships at the annual Dixie Classic, a tournament that was his brainchild. And he coached seven All-Americans — John Richter, Vic Molodet, Lou Pucillo, Bobby Speight, Ronnie Shavlik, Sam Ranzino and Dick Dickey.
Here’s how the 1965 Agromeck summed up Case’s achievements: “There is little doubt Everett Case’s contribution in filling the basketball program with glamour, exhilarating competition, and high-principled sportsmanship is indirectly responsible for the great success in the sport shared by many teams in North Carolina and the South.”
Case was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in 1982, and into the NC State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012 as an inaugural member.
Photo courtesy of Tennessee Titans.
NC State’s football program had an award in the early 2000s for offensive lineman who could stand up a defender and drive him back five yards or more. It was called the Raleigh Rails, and it was commonplace for lineman to collect the honor during games.
But offensive guard and center Leroy Harris was so powerful when he played on NC State’s offensive line from 2003-06, the coaches had to invent a new statistic called “the round trip.” In a 2004 game against Wake Forest, Harris blocked his defender in a full circle and the new stat was born.
“It was when you lock onto a guy and drive him back more than 15 yards,” Harris says, laughing. “They called it putting him on the railroad track.”
The move was a result of Harris’ aggressive play, something he learned playing as a defensive lineman in high school. But when the Wolfpack got a hold of him, they switched him to offense and couldn’t remove the love of the pursuit from Harris’ mindset.
“I got a chance to pull a lot and run and hit people,” Harris says. “It’s not about sitting back and waiting until the guy comes to you. The same mentality from defense can be applied to the offensive line.”
That aggressive mindset took Harris to the NFL. He was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He’s spent the last five seasons blocking for one of the best running backs in the game, Chris Johnson. And in 2011, Harris started for the Titans in every game of the regular season, a first for him.
But 2012 threw a wrinkle in veteran Harris’ journey. On the Titans’ opening drive in their Oct. 28 game against the Indianapolis Colts, Harris partially tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Harris’ season was over, and the Titans placed him on injured reserve. But, he says, IR does not mean a player is on vacation. He goes to the facilities to work every day. Instead of running drills on the field, he spends four hours receiving treatment and then hitting the weight room to work on maintaining his upper body strength. Everything he does is aimed at making him strong to come back in 2013.
Photo courtesy of NC State Athletics.
Harris says the key for a veteran who has been injured is to stay strong mentally. He says veterans realize that everybody wants to play, including the guys behind them, so that motivates players to come back from injury as fast as possible. But a player can’t let fear and worry build up.
“You’re kind of scared to get out of the huddle because you don’t know who’s coming in next,” Harris says. “You don’t know who that man is who is coming behind you. But the key is that you don’t let it overwhelm you. As you get older, you get a chance to understand that.”
Boasting more than 200 volunteers in their database, the Pack Partners program run through NC State’s admissions office allows for members of the NC State alumni family to stay linked to their alma mater by reaching out to potential new Wolfpackers.
The program, which is run as a partnership between the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Alumni Association, engages alumni in a number of different activities to encourage and recruit undergraduate students. Based on the time alumni would like to contribute to the Pack Partners program, they can volunteer to work college fairs in their area, contact accepted students and urge them to choose NC State or make a scholarship presentation on behalf of the university.
Joyce Mai and Natalie McCook act as Pack Partners Program coordinators, reaching out to alumni through events such as the Alumni Volunteer Leadership Conference which took place in September, in order to encourage greater participation.
Joyce Mai and Natalie McCook
“I’ve had many alumni tell me how much they truly enjoy volunteering,” Mai says. “Alumni are critical to helping recruit undergraduate students because they allow the admissions office to greatly extend their reach to students in areas that the office cannot get to.”
Mai, who has been overseeing the Pack Partners program since 2006, says alumni initially only participated in college fairs throughout the country. In the years since then, Mai has expanded the program to allow alumni to participate and volunteer in more ways, and has also seen an increase in the number of alumni signing up to volunteer.
Last year’s Pack Partners program used the efforts of 115 alumni volunteers, and Mai says the program is hoping to grow even more in the coming years.
“Alumni add a personal touch because they have their own memories of NC State and can share those with prospective students in order to give them further insight into the University,” she says.
Any alumni interested in getting involved with the Pack Partners program should contact Mai at firstname.lastname@example.org or McCook at Natalie_mccook@ncsu.edu.
– Jamie Gnazzo