NC State History Category
Students at NC State have always been an honorable bunch, but there was a a time when some felt that it was necessary to be a bit more rigid about questions of honor.
On this day in 1980, the Technician published a story saying that students registering in the spring would be required to fill out an honor-code card before they could receive their schedule. The shift was announced by the student government attorney general.
Beginning in the fall of 1982, incoming freshmen would be required to sign an honor-code card before they could even register for classes. The honor-code card would be in effect for the duration of the student’s time at NC State.
The story noted that there was a longstanding policy at NC State requiring honor codes for students, but that the policy had not been strictly enforced. There was nothing in the story to indicate whether any particular problems had prompted this new vigilance in enforcing the policy.
When the protests against the Vietnam War first hit the NC State campus, the hecklers may have outnumbered the protestors.
At least that’s what appears to have happened on this day in 1967, according to a front-page story in the Technician. The headline indicated it was the first draft protest to be held in Raleigh.
“The anti-draft movement has hit Raleigh in the form of a rally on the State campus Friday and the picketing of the South McDowell Street Induction Center yesterday,” read the story.
The story described how a representative from an anti-war group based in Durham and Chapel Hill known as “The Resistance” tried to “drum up support for the picketing” behind the student Union. The story said the group amounted to a “handful of sympathizers” that was “drowned out by the shouts of the loud but orderly audience.”
Additionally, the story said the protest was met by “catcalls and jeers from the crowd of about 450 students.” One student carried a sign that read, “Vietnam or no Vietnam, you owe this country six years.”
One student compared the protest leader to Hitler. “I pulled four years with Uncle,” the student said. “You people make me sick. When it comes your turn to go, you hide behind the laws.”
The protest leader countered that the draft discriminated against the poor and that it was wrong to draft someone before they were allowed to vote.
Ken Blackburn was, in 1983, an unknown junior in aerospace engineering at NC State who had but one dream — to own the sky.
And it was on this day 30 years ago that Blackburn’s anonymity died and his dream took off as he set the world record for indoor paper-airplane flight in Reynolds Coliseum with his cutting-edge pulp glider, “Bossy,” that cut through the air for 16.89 seconds.
“‘Bossy,’ the record breaking plane, is constructed from a piece of standard-sized typing paper,” the Technician reported, quoting Blackburn as describing his design as being “highly modified” from a design he saw in a book in elementary school.
That November day had been a long time coming for Blackburn. According to the Technician‘s account, he’d been cradling that dream since the sixth grade. He had broken the record, which had been on the books since 1975, by three seconds a year before the historic flight in Reynolds. Unfortunately, there was no official representative from Guinness World Records to record that initial flight.
Even on the record day in 1983, “Bossy” wouldn’t have joined Blackburn on the unfolded pages of history if not for a simple twist of fate taking down another of his planes. “During warm-up, ‘Old Betsy,’ his previous record-breaking plane, gave her life as she drifted into the speaker system in the rafters of Reynolds Coliseum,” the Technician reported.
Ken Blackburn’s launch was captured by a Technician photographer.
According to the story, only six people were on hand to see history that day. But that, and the wear-and-tear that paper airplanes can inflict on their launchers, didn’t deter Blackburn from enjoying his glory. “Blackburn said that his right arm would be sore for the next few days, but this did not take away from the excitement of his accomplishment.” the Technician‘s account read.
Blackburn, who graduated from NC State in 1985, continued his upward trajectory after college. According to his website, he set another record in 1987 with a 17.2-second flight. He wrote and published The World Record Paper Air Plane Book. And he set another record in 1998 inside of Atlanta’s Georgia Dome with an airplane that whirled and twirled for 27.6 seconds.
According to Guinness World Records’ website, the current record for a paper airplane’s flight stands at 29.2 seconds and was set by someone else in Japan in 2010.
It’s not uncommon to hear complaints that college sports have become too much like a business, with a similar focus on the bottom line of wins, losses and making money. Such laments often bring a yearning for the good old days — a time when college sports were were about nothing more than friendly competition, school pride and the values of teamwork.
But how far back does one have go back to find such good old days?
On this day in 1951 — more than 60 years ago — a front-page article in the Technician spoke to concerns then that college sports were becoming big business. The reason for the concern was the money that NC State was spending on college athletics — $417,799 was the athletics budget for 1950-51.
“When the half-million mark is reached, sports becomes big business,” read the article. “As such, intercollegiate sports at State have brought with them intricate problems of finance. There has been considerable discussion in the nation’s press about the profit-loss relationship of sports.”
The story broke down how the money was being spent at State, with basketball getting $174,490 and football getting $132,370. A total of $79,200 was paid in salaries.
“In this day of $20.00 shoulder pads and $19 football shoes, it is not surprising that the cost of the sports are so high,” read the article. “However, the most significant factor in the cost is the growth in the size of the teams.”
The story noted that the football team had grown from 20 members in 1930-31 to 90 players in 1950. The basketball team had grown from 15 players to 35 over the same time period. The number of scholarships in the two sports had grown from eight to 88.
The concern seemed to be less about the amount of money being spent, but in making sure that it was accounted for properly. The story noted that the only auditing of athletic expenditures had been done at the end of seasons, but that the Athletic Council had adopted a policy to audit the spending after each game. It was hoped that more frequent audits would give the university better control over costs associated with athletics.
“The new control is not expected to raise the profit side of the picture, but through its more analytical aspects it is expected that a good deal of money will be saved,” read the story.
When the news of the assassination of President Kennedy reached the NC State campus on this day in 1963, the reaction was one of horror and disbelief.
Many students were in class on that Friday, while others were already getting ready for the final home football game of the season — a Friday night clash against Wake Forest.
As the news started to break, students rushed to the Union or their dormitories to gather around television sets “to listen in disbelief as the confirmation of the President’s death was announced,” according to a story in The Technician.
At 5 p.m., the Memorial Bell Tower played the national anthem. University officials announced that the game that evening would go on as planned, and be played in memory of Kennedy.
Not surprisingly, there was a somber tone to the game. The bands from the two schools took the field “at a funeral cadence, not the customary excited pace,” according to a story in The Technician.
Chancellor John T. Caldwell spoke to the crowd before the game began. “This is a day of deep tragedy for our nation and all mankind,” he said. “Let not the playing of this game tonight diminish our sense of respect for our great departed President and the office he held.”
Then, following a moment of silence, Caldwell read the last stanza of the national anthem.
NC State went on to win the football game, 42-0, to assure itself of a tie for the ACC title. All university classes were suspended between 11 a.m and 1 p.m. the following Monday.
With his creation of tournament basketball in the South, the freight-train speed of his fast break or his gimmicks like the applause meter inside of Reynolds Colisuem, Everett Case changed the game of basketball at both ends, and off of the court.
It turns out those innovations stretched even to Hollywood. Case was known for having his games and practices recorded, and those tapes were used for him to grow the sport and to teach others about his unique view of the game.
And it was on this day in 1950 that The Technician reported that NC State games would be recorded in Technicolor for the first time. While most of the games would be recorded in black and white that 1950-51 season, the matchups with the other teams of the Big Four — Duke, Wake Forest and UNC — got the innovative rainbow treatment on film.
The Technician reported that it was Reynolds’ state-of-the-art lighting facilities that allowed for Technicolor filming for Wolfpack games for the first time.
“Requests from all over the United States and from overseas occupation units have been placed for the films,” read The Technician article. “Uncle Sam appears to have taken a special interest in them. The American command in Munich, Germany wishes to use the movies to aid in their athletics program. …High school basketball teams in every section of the country are studying the offensive and defensive plays of the Wolfpack by the means of these films.”
E.T. hit movie theaters in 1982, chronicling a boy’s friendship with an kind alien from outer space.
But on this day almost two decades earlier, NC State was home to its own alien invasion. According to a 1961 article in The Technician, a crowd gathered to see — and welcome – the extraterrestrial, which had landed his spacecraft on top of Harrelson Hall.
“Hundreds of students, mistaking him for the Great Pumpkin, surrounded the flying saucer where they knelt in silent reverence and presented offerings of candy, popcorn, and one unfortunate professor,” the article read.
But, according to The Technician‘s report, once students realized it was an alien, he was vaporized: “It was not until the invader said, ‘Take me to the College Union’ that the students realized he was from outer space. He was immediately disintegrated by an [electrical engineering] major with a modified slide rule.”
We weren’t there, but we’re guessing this was an ”unreal” experience for the students who saw it.
Amelia Earhart was still about seven months away from making her historic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, but she was still a big draw when she spoke at at the YMCA on campus on this day in 1931.
Earhart had become famous a few years earlier, when she joined two other pilots in 1928 for a 21-hour flight from Newfoundland to Wales. Earhart and the other two pilots were honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York and a reception at the White House when they returned to the United States.
During her visit to NC State, Earhart naturally talked about aviation and what she described as “autogiros,” according to a story in the Technician. But when it came time to answer questions, the students wanted to know about her flight over the Atlantic.
“Well, there is little to say as to the feeling for being afraid of the water,” Earhart said. “We were not able to see the ocean because we were flying between two blankets of fog.
“However, we did catch a few views of the vast expanse of water whenever there were breaks in the fog blanket. The plane was equipped with pontoons so that in case of a forced landing we would not be in quite the same condition as if we were without them.”
NC State’s campus saw its share of anti-war protests during the 1960s and 70s, but students apparently threw out the welcome mat when Vice President Spiro Agnew came visiting on this day in 1973.
Agnew, a Republican, spoke at Reynolds Coliseum before a crowd of about 8,000, according to an account in the Technician. The story indicated that there were only a handful of protestors, less than had been been expected. Various signs in the coliseum welcomed the vice president with variations on “Spiro is our hero.”
Agnew, though, did not have kind words to say about the Democratic Party, saying it was no longer the party of the people.
“The Democratic Party, my friends, is not the party we used to know — the proud party of Richard Russell, Harry Byrd and Jimmy Byrnes,” he said. “The whole country knows that’s true. It’s not even the party of John F. Kennedy anymore. It has been taken over by radical liberals, mainly those in the United States Senate. Now its guiding philosophy makes as much sense as trying to harvest tobacco in January.”
Agnew also used the occasion to sing the praises of his boss, President Nixon, and reminded the crowd that Nixon was strongly behind neighborhood schools and against busing.
NC State’s football team had reason for optimism as its game against Duke approached in 1963. The Wolfpack was already 4-1, with victories over the likes of Maryland, Clemson and South Carolina.
But there were also plenty of reasons for concern — 16 of them, in fact. That’s how many years in a row NC State had tried, and failed, to beat Duke (there were two ties during that span). The last time NC State had beaten Duke was 1946, 17 years earlier.
But on this day in 1963, the Wolfpack finally came out on top. And the Pack did it in decisive fashion, winning 21-7 to tie its largest margin of victory ever against Duke up to that point.
“DOOK DRUBBED: State Gives Devils Hell After Seventeen Years,” read the headline at the top of the front page of the Technician.
The win was led by a backfield known as “The Mafia” (which was later chosen by BleacherReport.com as one of the 12 greatest college football nicknames of all time) that included Tony Koszarsky, Jim Rossi and Joe Scarpati.
Koszarsky scored the game’s first touchdown following a 55-yard run by halfback Mike Clark. Rossi set up the second touchdown with a 55-yard run of his own to the Duke 29-yard line, and then threw a touchdown pass to Scarpati three plays later.
Duke, which had been stymied by what the Agromeck described as “State’s fierce defense,” crawled back into the game with a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
But NC State’s Don Montgomery sealed the win when he intercepted a Duke lateral just 10 yards from the goal line and ran it in for a touchdown.
The win was a relief for the team and its fans. A cartoon wolf in the Technician sporting a shirt with the final score, 21-7, said what many State fans may have felt: “I simply can’t believe it.”
Presumably, they believed by the end of the season. The Wolfpack went 6-1 in conference play that year (8-3 overall) and were co-champions of the ACC.
Tony Koszarsky, Jim Rossi and Joe Scarpati (front row), Pete Falzarano (back row, center)