NC State People Category
Shawn Rychcik grew up wanting to play for the New York Yankees. But that didn’t happen because he traded in baseball for fastpitch softball, a sport in which Rychcik (pronounced “RI-check”) had a storied career as a member of the U.S. men’s national team from 1994-2002. He was named the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Athlete of the Year in men’s softball in 1999 and 2000.
He took that success and rolled it over into a career coaching collegiate women’s softball, serving as head coach the last eight seasons at Boston University, where he led the Terriers to the NCAA Regionals and the America East Conference championship three of the last four years.
Rychcik’s pedigree as a player and coach breeds a self-assurance of inevitable success for Wolfpack softball as the team prepares for the ACC tournament, held May 10-12 in Tallahassee, Fla. NC State magazine sat down with him and learned that Rychcik entertains no other option.
Why he was a successful player: I was a really good hitter and smart player. I hit quite a few home runs in my day. I could run. I could throw. I could hit for power. I could hit for average. I wanted to be the best. If I didn’t hit .400 or .500 on a weekend, I was back at it on Monday afternoon.
Why he’s a successful coach: I’ve been on the national team and a part of world championships. And that’s the standard for myself. I know how to get there. …We were talking as a team [in the fall], and I said, “We’ll be better. We’ll be better because I’m here. Period. I’m here. I win.”
The style of his teams: I like to trust my teams to hit. I want to see if we can swing. Run and hit, trying to keep the pressure on. And, defensively, the plan is not to give anyone extra bases, extra runs. Get the ball back to the pitcher, and let the pitcher get the outs.
On coming from Boston to Raleigh: I think things move at a little slower pace than I’m used to in Boston. It’s probably how I like it and how I grew up [in New York state], but I’ve been away from it for ten years, especially living in Boston. I think that city hardens you.
What drives him: Being somebody was an expectation of myself. …My dad told me there’s a lot of good players out there. But how many great players are out there? So I was fueled by wanting to be more than just a good player. I knew to separate myself from people, I had to be great at something. The next step for me here is to be a great coach.
It’s been open for three months. But today, the James B. Hunt Jr. Library was formally dedicated.
Keynote speaker Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, called the library “a Laboratory of human endeavor, a window to the future.” He said the library embodies the spirit of the Morrill Act, the legislation signed 150 years ago that created land-grant universities such as NC State. Gregorian, the former president of Brown University, praised the vision of Gov. Hunt and his support of education. “I salute you. Today is your day,” he said to Hunt, who sat on the front row with his family.
Chancellor Randy Woodson said the library on Centennial Campus is nothing like the libraries of the past. To those who haven’t been through its spaces, he said, “you’re in for a surprise.’’ Woodson added, “Today’s students need to interact across disciplines in creative ways….We created space for that to happen.’’
The library uses an automated bookBot retrieval system that allows storage of over a million volumes while freeing up more space for study areas. The group study rooms are each equipped with large-screen display monitors, and walls made of whiteboard are ready for students to write down equations and notes. A Teaching and Visualization Lab and Creativity Studio offers opportunities for simulation that can enhance teaching. And patrons can use technology such as 3-D printing. At the conclusion of the dedication, Woodson presented Gregorian with a 3-D printed version of the Hunt Library.
Andy Walsh addresses the audience at the dedication of the James B. Hunt Jr. Library.
Andy Walsh, student body president, spoke of the buzz among students about the building— saying it was a constant presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He noted that more than 1,700 images of the library are online through the #myhuntlibrary campaign to collect photos of the library.
You can read more about the library in the upcoming issue of NC State magazine, a benefit of membership in the Alumni Association.
Bryan Jones (left) and Hootie Bowman (right)
Bryan Jones never thought he would be a writer.
“I can’t even spell,” Jones says. “I’m atrocious at grammar.”
But 14 years after graduating NC State with a degree in political science, Jones finds himself creating children’s books with Hootie Bowman, who graduated from NC State with a textiles degree in 1997.
The die-hard Wolfpackers Jones and Bowman are the creators of Collegiate Kids Books, a company based in Hickory, N.C. It started with the idea that avid sports fans can be cultivated at a very early age.
The college-themed books are available at university bookstores and at on-campus sports venues. Lauren Jones holds one at the Carter-Finley Stadium store shown here.
Go … Wolfpack … Go! is just one book in the collection. Currently, there are five books in the collection, but Jones plans on expanding. The books are interactive, with scratch-and-sniff items and textures for children to feel. They are tailored to include the landmarks, mascots and well-known establishments of beloved ACC schools.
There’s even one for UNC-Chapel Hill, which wasn’t easy to write, Jones says, even though his mother and wife both went there.
“I still feel like I need to go wash my hands,” Jones says. “It was a little difficult. But really, I want Carolina kids to grow up to be passionate Carolina fans and hate State. I want them to be just as passionate about beating State as we are about beating Carolina.”
Jones was inspired with the idea for the books when his daughter Lauren was born. He was looking for good books to read her before bed. He read books like the N.C. State-centric Hello, Mr. Wuf, by Aimee Aryal and Pat the Bunny, a touch-and-feel book, and realized he could fuse the State themes of the one with the interactive qualities of the other to create his own concept.
“You want your child to love NC State,” says Jones. “I thought I could combine those ideas.”
So he did. Now, Jones and Bowman’s book collection is steadily growing to expand into other conferences besides the ACC.
“We’re coming out with South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn and Clemson maybe as early as March,” says Jones, who adds that the company will eventually produce books about professional teams and even smaller schools. “We’re also going to do the military and Harley-Davidson. We want to do it if there’s a passionate group of people that want to pass that on to a younger generation.”
Now the father of two girls and one boy on the way, Jones hopes to take advantage of his product to get his children invested in the Wolfpack. If they like any other school, he’ll attribute it to a job well done.
“If they like UNC better, maybe I did my job too well with the Tar Heel book,” says Jones. “But, having both of these books kind of negates for one of them to sway (my children) to the other side.”
Katharine Stinson was a teenager in 1932, a young woman with dreams of flying airplanes. She was working at the Raleigh airport when she got to meet her idol, Amelia Earhart, who was flying through the area for a promotional tour.
“I told Miss Earhart I wanted to be a pilot, but she said just being a pilot wouldn’t be enough to make a living,” Stinson said in a 1998 NC State magazine article. “She said I should study aeronautical engineering.”
Photo by Simon Griffiths. It originally appeared in the Spring 1998 issue of NC State magazine.
Stinson heeded her hero’s advice and came to NC State as a junior to study engineering. She was, in fact, the first woman to graduate from the university’s engineering program, in 1941.
Stinson went on in 1942 to become the first female engineer hired by the Civil Aeronautics Administration, today known as the Federal Aviation Administration. But over the years, different dates have been listed as her hiring date. University records indicate that Stinson was hired by the CAA on this day in 1942. (See Editor’s Note below)
Regardless of her exact hiring date, Stinson saw her work at the CAA as a way to fulfill her dream. “I never thought about the fact that I was the only woman, because I never saw any women,” she told NC State magazine in 1998. “That may sound funny, but I just wanted to be a good engineer.”
Stinson worked for the agency for more than three decades before retiring in 1973. She died in 2001.
Editor’s Note: Historical State, an online archive maintained by NCSU Libraries, cites today’s date in 1942 as the day Stinson was hired by the Civil Aeronautics Administration. Multiple sources suggest she was hired on an unspecified date in 1941. A clipping from the Feb. 1, 1942, issue of The News & Observer, though, has a photograph of Stinson seated in her office at the CAA building in Washington, D.C., indicating she had started work at the CAA before this day in 1942.
Bailey Finley Williamson
Bailey Finley Williamson grew up in Raleigh on his family’s farm in the 1870s and ’80s, driving Morgan horses for his father. The farm was dedicated to fruit crops, and it provided Williamson with an early introduction to finances.
Williamson’s father gave his son and his two brothers 10 percent of the profits for gathering raspberries in June, plums and peaches in July, and grapes in August. But Williamson wrote in a biographical note archived in the Alumni Association’s records that he and his brother never had time to enjoy the fruits of their labor and spend the money.
“By the time we got through it was time to go back to school, so we didn’t have time to run around on the streets,” he wrote.
So it makes sense with Williamson, who was one of the first 72 freshmen to come to the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1889, would be remembered for his contributions to the agriculture and financial fields.
As a botanist, he is credited with pioneering the use of cottonseed and tung tree oils in industries ranging from varnishes to automobile manufacturing.And as a citizen, he played a part in leaving an indelible image on money.
“[Williamson] who has rubbed elbows with some of the greatest figures of the 19th and 20th Centuries has succeeded in his ten-year campaign to make it mandatory that all U.S. currency bear the inscription, ‘In God We Trust,’” the Gainesville (Fla.) Daily Sun reported in 1955. The motto had started to appear on coins in 1864 and had been used on all U.S. coins since 1938, but not on paper currency, according to the Department of Treasury’s website.
Williamson, who left A&M College before graduating, apparently began his campaign in the 1940s, according to the article. He feared that countries who “do not trust in God die,” so he felt the need for the U.S. to officially acknowledge that creed.
In the mid-1950s, he started to write congressmen in Florida, Williamson’s home state at the time, about the matter. Once legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate, there was resistance, according to the article. Aides in the Eisenhower administration claimed the inscription would cost too much and not even fit on currency.
But President Eisenhower approved a resolution in 1956 that officially made “In God We Trust” the country’s national motto. And in 1957, due in part to Williamson’s efforts, the phrase first made its way onto paper currency, appearing on the one-dollar silver certificate.
Bill Lytch ‘62 remembers very little of his grandfather, William McNeill Lytch. He remembers a dusting of white hair accompanying the bald head of the man known in the family as “Pop.” But most of what Bill can recall is relegated to the few local myths that have survived around Laurinburg, N.C., about the tinkerer who began a business there that still operates today.
“One of the stories that circulated was that he built a muffler for a gasoline engine lawnmower. It blew perfect rings,” says Bill Lytch, who today runs the Laurinburg Machine Company. The company was started in 1909 by his grandfather, who worked there until he died in 1946 of a heart attack.
“He lived about three blocks from the shop,” says Bill Lytch. “Everyone said you could set your watch by seeing him open up at 7:15 a.m.”
“Pop’s” love affair with machines can be traced back to 1889, when he came to the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts as a member of its first freshman class. He studied engineering at A&M and completed a thesis on the design of a 24-horsepower horizontal engine.
After he graduated as one of the first 19 young men to ever receive a degree from the college, he left North Carolina behind and moved to Florida to work in the railroad business. It was there that he met his wife, Ollie, and the couple moved back to Laurinburg, where Lytch and his brother, Ed, started the machine shop.
William McNeill Lytch, second from left in the third row, with the other 18 members of the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts' first class.
The Laurinburg Machine company stands today on Fairley Street on the very spot where “Pop” and his brother built it in 1909. Back then, it was a wooden building that was torn down and replaced by a brick one in 1918. “Pop” handed it down to his son, Dike, prior to World War II. Dike brought his son, Bill, and another son in as partners in 1969, and they ran it until 2005, when Bill became sole owner. The shop has grown from being a building that was just a simple blacksmith’s shop with an anvil to include another building and an arm of the business dedicated to building truck bodies.
But Bill says he still employs the same basic methods that guided his grandfather as a young machinist in 1909. “We work on anything that no one else will touch,” he says. “We work by blueprint, by sketch or by word of mouth. We work on anything that has metal in it.
“There used to be a saying: ‘If you can’t find it, go to a machine shop. They’ll have it.’”
Bill says his time operating the shop is drawing to a close. He’s preparing for his son, Keith, to take the reins, keeping the business in the Lytch family for four generations. And that would make “Pop” very proud, especially given what was said about him in a 1946 obituary in the Laurinburg Exchange after his death.
Bill Lytch, left, and his son, Keith, right.
“Things are so arranged in this world that men must work and toil,” the obit reads. “The machine makes that work and toil lighter, and greatly more productive. Mr. Lytch was a machine man. He knew and loved machinery. His keen ear could detect the slightest irregularity, the most unlikely defect, in a machine. And whether that machine was a simple farm implement, or some complicated and sensitive mechanism, if it was ailing or limping, he could set it aright and make it sing. “
Nothing special really jumps out at first glance looking back at the 1995-96 season for NC State’s women’s basketball team. The Wolfpack went 20-10, lost to Alabama in the second round of the NCAA tourney and finished the season ranked 23rd in the nation.
But for Kay Yow, who was in her 21st season at the helm in Raleigh, that year provided a milestone. It was on this day in 1996 when Yow got her 500th career victory, as the Wolfpack defeated Georgia Tech, 68-63.
Yow had a chance to get the victory three nights earlier in Charlottesville, Va., when NC State faced Virginia. But the Wolfpack lost in what history might now judge as a fortunate defeat, since it meant that Yow could come home to Reynolds Coliseum, where NC State fans could watch the historic win.
Number 500 would prove to be just one of many Yow’s significant wins. She would go on to capture her 700th victory in 2007 with a 68-51 win over Florida State and eventually net 737 wins by the time she died of cancer in 2009. She was one of only six Division I women’s basketball coaches to win at least 700 games.
Yow was also inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Photo courtesy of Seattle Seahawks.
Most NC State fans probably think of Russell Wilson when they think about the current trend of college football teams getting a player from another school to transfer in and play for only one year. They probably recall how the storied Wolfpack quarterback took his final year of eligibility to the Wisconsin Badgers and led them to a Big 10 title last season.
But what fans may not remember is that State also benefited from the rule allowing such transfers when a kicker named Steven Hauschka came to Raleigh in 2007.
The Wolfpack scored 220 points during the 2007 season. The team’s leading scorer, accounting for 33 percent of the total points scored, was Hauschka.
Originally from Needham, Mass., Hauschka didn’t started kicking for a football team until his sophomore year at Middlebury College in Vermont. “My roommates were football players and they needed a kicker, ” says Hauschka, who studied neuroscience at Middlebury. “I won the job and did the punting and kicking there for the next three years.”
Hauschka had one year of eligibility left when he graduated, and the NCAA allows a student to transfer without having to sit out a year if the athlete’s new college offers a graduate program not offered by the original school.
Such was the case, and Hauschka’s one season with the Wolfpack began. He went 16-18 that year in field goals and 25-25 in extra points, leading the ACC in kicking and being named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, which goes to the nation’s top kicker. Upon leaving NC State, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minesota Vikings in 2008.
After four years of bouncing around from five different NFL teams, Hauschka found his leg with the Seattle Seahawks last season. He made at least one field goal in 12 straight games, tying the longest streak in Seahawks’ history, and connected on five field goals in a November 2011 game against the Baltimore Ravens, one of his old teams. He has continued his success this year, going 19-22 in field goal attempts. “I was just developing as a kicker,” he says. “I just needed another opportunity. I was fortunate to get an opportunity here.”
Hauschka says the most important facet of being a kicker in the NFL is the mental component. That’s just the nature of the game when so much of what a kicker does is put under a microscope. “It’s, ‘What have you done for me lately?’” he says. “You only get a few attempts a game, and you’re only as good as your last kick.”
But, he says, once a kicker accepts that, the worry and anxiety go out the door. “The more you do, the more you get used to it,” he says. “It’s not a really big deal in my life at this point.”
Steven Hauschka at NC State. Photo courtesy of NC State Athletics.
The key for Hauschka avoiding stress comes with him working on his breathing techniques and the support of his teammates, some of whom are old Wolfpack buddies.
Russell Wilson and J.R. Sweezy also play for Seattle and came to State with their kicking counterpart in 2007. Hauschka says they all lived on the same hall at NC State and have stayed close friends since their Wolfpack days.
Add to that a rational view of the big picture, and you’ve got a mentally stable professional kicker.
“You don’t think about it as a kicker,” Hauschka says of a missed field goal. “As a kicker, you have to think about all the good stuff you’ve done for the team. The sky’s the limit when you think positively.”
The Arizona Cardinals suffered one of the more memorable losses of the 2012 season last week, as they fell to the Seattle Seahawks 58-0. It was difficult for an NFL veteran like Adrian Wilson, the longest tenured Cardinal, to fully process such a loss.
Photo courtesy of the Arizona Cardinals.
“When you have a game like that, emotionally, you’re going to be charged the rest of the week until you play another game,” says Wilson, who played at NC State in the late 90s and early 2000s. “It will make you question a lot. It will make you question if you want to play. ”
But Wilson and the Cardinals get another chance this Sunday. “That’s the great thing about football,” he says. “That’s why guys love to play it.”
The High Point, N.C., native has loved playing professional football the last 12 years. He left NC State and was drafted by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He was a starter by his third year, led the Cardinals in tackles in Super Bowl XLIII in 2008 and was named to his fifth Pro Bowl last season. Wilson chalks up his longevity to a little luck and care. “I’m truly blessed to have good health, and I take care of my body,” he says.
Wilson is also leaving his footprint off the field. The fashion bug bit him in 2007, and he opened High Point Shoes – a store dedicated to street wear and skate fashion — in Scottsdale, Ariz. He says his mother pushed the entrepreneurial spirit in him, but that it was scary opening a business, even for a 6-foot-3, 230-pound NFL strong safety.
“You have to find your identity,” he says. “You can’t be like any other store. I think when we first started, we were a street wear type of brand, and now it’s crossed over more into shoes and accessories. More cleaned up and buttoned down types of things.”
Wilson says a lot of NFL players understand the concept of transitioning to life outside of football. “But to actually have the guts to do it is another thing,” he says.
High Point shoes is now in its sixth year, and Wilson appreciates seeing customers come in and enjoy what he sells. He says the store has a family atmosphere, and that he likes that a community has been forged there. And that’s an aspect he’ll want to continue after football, when he plans to build a community center, as well.
“Sometimes people just come in and hang out,” he says. “It’s very gratifying.”
Photo courtesy of adrianwilson24.com.
It didn’t take long for Sarah Cutler to show her true colors as a child. While the first words she spoke were “Momma” and “Daddy,” her mother says the first phrase Sarah uttered was “Go Wolfpack!”
Sarah and Brad Cutler were young football fans
That’s because Sarah was the latest in a long line of Wolfpackers in her family. Her mother, Ann Gentry Cutler, and her grandfather, Howell Gentry, both graduated from NC State, as did several other members of her extended family. Her younger brother, Brad, plans to attend NC State after he finishes high school.
Sarah is now a junior at NC State, majoring in mathematics and math education. And she and her family will be recognized during the Wolfpack game against Wake Forest on Saturday as the 2012 NC State Family of the Year, an award given out by the Office of Parents and Families Services. The recognition is part of Parents and Families Weekend at NC State.
“Our family history is so intertwined with the university,” says Ann Cutler, a 1982 graduate. “It’s home to us.”
The Wolfpack connection started with Howell Gentry, a 1958 graduate who was the first person in his family to graduate from college. He was already married when he came to NC State - he earned money by milking cows in the university dairy each morning while his wife worked in Kilgore Hall as a secretary for the horticulture department. He went on to work as superintendent of an NC State research station in Reidsville, N.C.
Ann and Sarah Cutler
“My whole life, between my dad going to school there and then working for the university, there was a real connection,” says Ann Cutler.
Cutler was a finalist from her high school to be a Morehead Scholar at UNC. But she showed up for the interview wearing red, and knew even then that NC State was the place for her.
“To me, it was just like being at home,” she says. “I was so used to being on campus.”
When it was time for Sarah Cutler to consider college, her dad encouraged her to look at some schools other than NC State. You see, her dad is one of the few family members who didn’t go to NC State, although they all say he’s a strong Wolfpack fan.
“He thought she might be a little brainwashed, so we did take her to other college campuses,” says Ann Cutler. “It was enlightening for her and for us, but it always came back to NC State.”
Sarah Cutler, who nominated her family for the award, says she loves the faculty, staff and students at NC State. She plays the mellophone in the NC State marching band and, like her mother before her, is active in the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.
Sarah and Brad Cutler
“Even though State was so big, the College of Education felt like more of a small family,” says Sarah, whose family is from the small town of Bethany, N.C. “I feel like I have the best of both worlds here - the advantages of a big university but the feel of a small community.”
But while she feels support from her friends and professors at NC State, Sarah Cutler still relies on her family. She talks to her mom by telephone every day and her dad often stops by to take her to lunch when he is in town for business. They are always in the stands to watch her perform with the band.
“My family has supported me and encouraged me to keep a level head and step outside my comfort zone at times,” she says.