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.
Winning one of golf’s four sought-after majors each year can be a life-changing event for a PGA professional, sometimes taking an unknown to folk-hero status or simply adding one more piece of hardware to an already-great’s mantle. Members of a golfer’s family also feel the effects of that winning — or not winning.
Such was the case for Carl Pettersson‘s two children in August 2012 at the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island, S.C. Pettersson had held the lead after the first round and a share of the lead after 36 holes. But on Sunday, he couldn’t catch Rory McIlroy, who went on to win the championship by eight strokes. Pettersson, who graduated from NC State in 2000, finished tied for third, his best finish at a major during his 12-year career on the PGA Tour.
“We told our kids if Carl ever won a major, we’d get them a dog,” says DeAnna Pettersson, Carl’s wife and herself an NC State alumna. “So at the PGA, they were like, ‘Come on, Dad.’”
It’s not often that you get to hear stories of the golfers away from the course. But DeAnna Pettersson, along with other wives who belong to the PGA Tour Wives Association, have now pulled back the ropes, so to speak, and have offered readers a glimpse of PGA professionals at home with their families in the book Beyond the Fairways and Greens: A Look Inside the Lives of PGA Tour Families.
The book features 132 golfing families, from Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player to some of the youngest players on tour today. And there are some recipes included in the book, as well, to offer a taste of the golfers’ homes. All the proceeds from the book go back to the PGA Tour Wives Association and then go to all the charities they donate to through the year.
Pettersson says what’s interesting to her about the book is that it helps readers understand that PGA golfers and their families are like other families trying to juggle professional and private worlds. “Most people think it’s an extremely glamorous life, going to what oftentimes is a resort property,” she says. “But it’s a work week. We’re doing the exact same thing on the road. The laundry. The kids still have to go to school. It’s a job. And it’s a wonderful job.”
She says the PGA tour makes it easy for family and professional lives to intersect, adding that there’s a kinship among golf families. “We all feel like we’re family.”
Left to right: Carlie, DeAnna, Chase and Carl.
The Petterssons first met at East Village in 2000 when they were both at NC State — Carl, a Wolfpack golfer and CHASS major studying communication, and DeAnna, a CHASS major with a focus on textiles. They dated for a couple of years after graduation while Carl played on the European Tour and commuted to London. The couple married in 2003 and settled in Raleigh, and DeAnna soon started traveling with Carl to all the PGA events. These days, she still travels with him to the almost 30 events he plays a year, and they often bring along their daughter, Carlie, who is 9, and son. Chase, who is 6.
DeAnna laughs about being married to someone who plays golf, a sport she had no involvement with until she met Carl. And she says that the she’s grown more superstitious in her 14 years with him. “The longer we’re together, the more I’m involved emotionally and physically,” she says. ”I’ve become more superstitious. I’m like ’I was chewing gum and he bogeyed. Maybe I need to get rid of the gum.’…If he’s eaten eggs with Tabasco and he has six birdies, then we’re eating eggs with Tabasco sauce the rest of the week.”
The ups and downs of the golfing life are not lost on DeAnna Pettersson, and she realizes the magic can leave the golfer’s putter on the next hole or in the next round. That’s why Carl and DeAnna finally caved two months ago and got Carlie and Chase a chocolate lab named Grace.
Maybe a victory in a major tournament will come next.
There’s no telling how much ridicule an NC State student would receive if he or she showed up on campus wearing Tar Heel blue. Especially this week, when the heated rivals take to the hardwood for the second time this ACC season.
But apparently wearing other schools’ designs was enough of a problem in 1955 that the student body president felt compelled to release a statement on the matter.
On this day in NC State history, Lloyd McForrest “Doc” Cheek, a senior in textiles from Gibsonville, N.C., asked students to make more deliberate choices in the attire they wore to campus, especially garments featuring monograms. According The Technician, Cheek argued that monograms celebrating any letter other than “the Red and White ‘S”" robbed the Wolfpack men’s monograms of their significance.
Cheek said “the men wearing our monograms have earned the privilege and these men should be accorded alone the honor of wearing monograms on Campus.”