Throwing back several cocktails at tailgates before a football game is certainly not just a 21st century problem. In fact, it was very much on law enforcement agents’ minds at NC State in the 1960s, as acts of drunkenness had become so prevalent that they felt they had to step in.
So it was on this day 47 years ago that officials from the N.C. Alcohol Beverage Control Board first patrolled Carter Stadium, according to a 1967 Technician article.
“[Board Director Raymond] Brady said the measure stemmed from a number of reports of the boisterous conduct associated with the use of alcohol at games,” the article read.
The ABC officials used the Wake Forest game, a 24-7 win for the Wolfpack, to look for “flagrant violators” of a 1967 law that prohibited liquor at public sporting events.
“This is the first time this season that ABC officials have been sent to a football game at a Big Four school,” according to the Technician. “Similar action has however been taken at East Carolina, according to Brady.”
There has been plenty of debate in recent years about whether college athletics have gotten out of control. Countless headlines about high-profile scandals involving student-athletes have fueled calls to make radical changes to how college athletics are governed.
But it seems that there’s nothing new about such concerns.
Because on this day in 1951, the Technician had a story across the top of the front page with the following headline: “Athletics ‘Out of Control.’”
The story related how the presidents of the schools in the Southern Conference had met recently in attempt to regain some control over intercollegiate athletics. The presidents, led by Gordon Gray, president of the University of North Carolina system, voted to ban post-season football games, prohibit off-season practices and ban transfer students from participating in intercollegiate sports at another school in the Southern Conference. They were scheduled to vote in December on whether to ban freshmen from participating in varsity sports.
NC State Chancellor J.W. Harrelson was not at the meeting, but was quoted as saying he was “in full sympathy with President Gray.” He also referred to a 1949 magazine article that said athletes at NC State are “just students,” and said that’s the way it should be at all schools.
NC State was represented at the meeting by H.A. Fisher, head of the mathematics department and chairman of the university’s Athletic Council. He told the Technician that athletics had been too far removed from the faculty and student body and that he would prefer that varsity teams relied less on recruited athletes and more on students who just happened to be in school at NC State.
The article did not provide details about what had fueled the concerns and the votes for increased regulation. But an advertisement inside the same issue may offer some clues.
The ad was for a new movie, Saturday’s Hero, and featured a bare-chested John Derek as a football player under the headline, “This movie minces no words about big time college football!” The movie starred Derek and Donna Reed.
“The screen performs a public service with this story of one boy who beat the body-buying System — and of the girl who made him a man!” read the ad. “The lowdown on the ‘kept men’ of that Saturday Afternoon Racket, where bodies are bought and hearts are broken so a mob can cheer!”
Club sports has long been a part of the fabric of student life at NC State, but most of them took place on some court or field. They rarely got too extreme.
That changed on this day in 1985, when it was announced in the Technician that the latest club a student could join was the sky diving club.
The genesis for the club, according to the paper, was a training course at the Franklin County Parachute Center.
One of the club’s founders, then-sophomore Basil Hassan, took a class there with 20 other people and fell in love with the sport. He came back to campus and advertised the club to spread the word to other students, according to the Technician.
“The club is for the fun of sky diving,” Hassan told the Technician. “We’re patterning our club after the one at Duke, which has gotten into competition with such schools as Clemson and South Carolina, all for the fun of it.”
We, at the Alumni Association, couldn’t find any pics of the student group in any volumes of the Agromeck from the mid-to-late 1980s, so we can’t say with certainty that the club ever got off the ground.
It had been NC State’s football team that, for many years, had donned the colors of red and white on the gridiron.
But it was on this day in 1938 that another integral part of autumn’s Saturday scene earned its stripes, so to speak, as the marching band received new uniforms for its members.
“The newly acquired uniforms follow the color scheme of those worn by members of the State football team,” The Technician reported. “The coats are of a dark red color, trimmed with white, and the trousers are a neutral gray with a red military stripe down the side.”
The State College Redcoat Band, directed by C.D. Kutchinski, unveiled the new uniforms eight days later in Charlotte, where the Wolfpack defeated Davidson College, 19-7.
The Redcoats. Photo from the 1939 Agromeck.
The uniforms, which gave a new identity and flare to a band already known for its sound, were made a reality when the Raleigh Junior Chamber of Commerce raised the money needed for the 45 that were purchased and the 20 more that would eventually be ordered to round out needed total.
“The State Band is noted throughout the State for the colorful performances it has put on during the halves of the home football games,” wrote The Technician. “Spectators will have their first glimpse of both the new uniforms and the rejuvenated band at the opening game in Charlotte.”
Lobo III may have been the most infamous mascots NC State has ever had. He also may have been one of the Wolfpack’s most popular mascots.
That’s because Lobo III, as it turned out, was not a wolf.
Lobo was believed to be a 4-month-old timber wolf when NC State’s student government purchased him from an animal dealer to commemorate the opening of what is now Carter-Finley Stadium in the 1960s.
Lobo was a hit at football games, in part because he often howled. But then a zoology professor unmasked Lobo, revealing that he was not a timber wolf. Instead, he was a coyote. That was fine with students, though, who simply started referring to NC State’s football team as the “Kool Kyoties.”
But all good things eventually come to an end and, on this day in 1970, the Technician reported that the reign of Lobo III as NC State’s mascot was over. The paper reported that Lobo III was retiring.
“Lobo, the wolf everybody knew was a coyote, was adopted by the Wolfpack several years ago as their official mascot,” the paper reported. “However, the cheerleaders have decided that Lobo is getting too old for the kind of rabble-rousing that goes on at football games and pep rallies, and they are making arrangements for a nice retirement home for the Wolfpack veteran.”
Head cheerleader Tom Dimmock told the paper that Lobo was being kept on a farm with a large wooded area where he could run free. But he also noted that Lobo sometimes had difficulty behaving as the NC State mascot.
“As a coyote, Lobo was not meant to be tame,” Dimmock said. “He was just too hard to handle at games. The squad was afraid to take him out of the cage for fear he would get away and hurt someone.”
When it was later announced that Lobo was going to be put to sleep, a state representative led a campaign to save the coyote. As a result, Lobo III was donated to the N.C. Zoo, which was under construction at the time. But before the zoo was finished, Lobo died of heartworms.
Back on campus, NC State adopted a full-fledged, two-thirds wolf as its new mascot.
Though it’s not in the ACC, East Carolina has long been considered one of NC State’s chief gridiron rivals. There’s even a victory barrel for the winner of the contest to take home whenever they play.
But on this day 36 years ago, while the the Wolfpack notched a 29-13 win over the Pirates, NC State kicker Nathan Ritter took home a school record.
Yes, it was an important win over East Carolina, the first for the Wolfpack in three years. But it was, as the Technician reported, Ritter’s foot that was the star.
“Showing his stuff more prominently than anyone else was Nathan Ritter, an unheralded High Point sophomore who set a school record by kicking five field goals and accounting for 17 points,” the Technician reported. “The 5-8, 150 pounder demonstrated excellent range and accuracy while booting three-pointers of 48, 29, 46, 34 and 44 yards.
“Before Ritter’s performance, no one in Wolfpack history had kicked more than three field goals or had scored more than 12 points kicking during a game. His only miss was a mere 41 yards, which he pulled left of the upright in the second quarter.”
Ritter’s mark still stands in the Wolfpack record books today.
Daryl Liles and his brother, Derek, have always done everything together. They were born together, as twins, so that’s only natural.
Derek Liles paints one end zone of Carter-Finley Stadium. Photo by Ted Richardson.
They grew up rooting for the Wolfpack together with their parents. They came to NC State and graduated from the Agricultural Institute in 1998 together.
And now they work to protect the sacred grounds of NC State athletics for coaches, players and fans. Daryl is the turf supervisor for athletics grounds, and Derek is facilities supervisor.
This fall will be their 15th full season working athletic events, from double-headers at Doak Field to game-day Saturdays at Carter-Finley Stadium.”With the pressure that comes with college athletics, it puts pressure on coaches to win,” Derek says of his job. “That puts pressure on everybody else. We work a lot of hours. You like to see a season come in, but you like to see them end, too.”
Daryl Liles raises a net for an extra point attempt at Carter-Finley Stadium. Photo by Ted Richardson.
The twins told themselves when they were at the Agricultural Institute that they would graduate and own their own landscaping business. “We cut grass all of our lives and grew up on a farm in Knightdale,” Daryl says. But they both got an internship with the athletics facilities division on campus that presented them with options, one of which stood out.
“In turf grass, you’re either on the golf course, athletic fields, landscaping or sales. [But with athletic fields] you get satisfaction of how your field looks,” Daryl says. “And you’re getting paid to watch Division I athletics. But at the same time, you’re here if something goes wrong to deal with it.”
That something could be an assortment of trouble. It might be an airplane liquor bottle shoved in a urinal during a game. It might be managing an array of contests across campus on a Saturday afternoon. It might be a breaker going out on a scoreboard. Or it might mean having to delay painting the football field for a Saturday game all week because of a tropical storm, as was the case when the University to South Carolina came to town one year.
“Friday morning, there was no paint on the field,” Daryl says. “We came in at 4 o’clock that morning, painted throughout the day and finished at seven that night.”
Of course, as Derek points out, sometimes something going wrong could bode well for NC State fans. “Early on, we dealt with tearing down goal posts,” he says. “It seems like every week, we’d beat Florida State or East Carolina, and we’d scramble to get a new set of goal posts up.”
The Liles brothers love being near college athletics every day on the job, even if it does mean they can’t use their two season tickets to football games (they give them to their parents). But they do get to enjoy their season tickets to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The ice is the one place where they can just be fans.
NC State magazine was granted full access in fall of 2013 to see all the behind-the-scenes work that goes in to putting on a game at Carter-Finley on Saturdays. We included a feature about what we saw in the summer issue, which should be in mailboxes very soon. We also produced a video to show how the stadium comes alive.
It had been four years since Jim Valvano had led NC State to the ’83 national championship in basketball, but his name and coaching prowess still resonated, stretching even as far north as New York City.
Valvano had spent the summer months during 1987 flirting with the NBA, specifically with the New York Knicks. He was one of five candidates, along with University of Kansas Head Coach Larry Brown and Providence College Head Coach Rick Pitino, that the Knicks were reportedly considering making their head coach, according to the Technician.
But it was on this day 27 years ago that Valvano closed the door on the New York courtship and pledged to stay with the Wolfpack.
Illustration courtesy of NCSU Libraries.
“At this time, I would like to state that I am definitely remaining at NC State University,” Valvano announced. “My family and I are extremely happy at NC State, and I look forward to the challenges ahead. I have the utmost respect for the New York Knicks and their management. I will always remain a Knicks fan, and I wish them the best of luck.”
The New York native admitted he had met with the Knicks but had never been formally offered a job.
“I love NC State. I’m excited about the future — of what we can become,” he said.
The Knicks eventually hired Pitino, now the head coach of ACC foe Louisville.
When Willis Casey was hired by NC State to coach its swim team, it began a period of dominance for Wolfpack athletics in which Casey won 16 Southern Conference and ACC titles. He gave up coaching duties and became athletics director in 1969, a post he held for 17 years.
But it was on this day 28 years ago that Casey eschewed any farewell speeches or tearful goodbyes for just a “regular” day that would mark the end of his tenure at NC State and the beginning of his retirement.
“[Casey] just said a few good-byes to his department colleagues and added just a touch of uncharacteristic flamboyancy for a local television station by kissing golf coach Richard Sykes on the cheek,” the Technician reported, adding that Casey’s legacy at NC State was “unsurpassed in Wolfpack Athletic Department history.”
Apart from the swimming dynasty he built as a coach, Casey is credited with turning around an athletics program in the red as athletics director. According to the Technician, he took over a program that was more than $100,000 in debt, in part because of Carter-Finley Stadium’s construction. He also bolstered women’s sports at NC State, hiring Kay Yow as women’s basketball coach. And he also hired Lou Holtz and Jim Valvano, who succeeded Casey as AD.
“The picture most people have of me is I’m a mean son-of-a-gun,” Casey told the Technician his last day on the job. “But I’m really just a teddy bear underneath it all.”
Tommy Burleson was a first-team All-ACC performer after his sophomore year in 1972, but that summer, the 7-foot-4 center took his talents national as he was picked to be on the 12-man Olympic team by head coach Henry Iba.
The pick on this day 34 years ago came after two weeks of Olympic trials at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Burleson was one of three rising juniors that year to be named to the team, according to the Technician.
Norm Sloan, Burleson’s coach at NC State, visited the trials and said the experience gave the center a chance to see for himself just how good he was. “Tom didn’t appreciate how good he was on a national level until these trials,” Sloan said. “This was a good experience for him.”
“I really wanted to make it and I couldn’t sleep the night before the naming of the team on Sunday afternoon,” Burleson said in the Technician. “It is the greatest honor ever bestowed upon me. It meant so much to me and I tried to do everything it took to make it. Not only on the court, but all the little things required. Coach Iba told us it was as tough mentally as it was physically playing in the Olympics and that was why we had such a rigorous training program.”
The ’72 Olympics in Munich that September became forever linked to the massacre by terrorists of eleven athletes from Israel.
The games were also marred by a controversial finish to the men’s basketball final, in which the U.S. team lost to the Soviet team in a game it had initially won. Burleson and his teammates never collected their silver medals.
Burleson recounted the experience for a feature story in NC State magazine in summer 2012.