Curtis Dail, a long and devoted supporter of NC State University who made significant contributions to Wolfpack athletics, has died.
Dail, who was 85, and his wife of more than 50 years, Jackie, were Wolfpack fans despite never having attended NC State. Campus athletic facilities prospered thanks to more than $10 million in donations by the Dails over the years. Their names appear on the Curtis & Jacqueline Dail Basketball Complex at the Weisiger-Brown Athletics Facility, the Dail Plaza at Carter-Finley Stadium, Dail Club at Vaughn Towers, a football practice complex and an outdoor tennis stadium.
“He’s one of the men I most admired at NC State,” says Wolfpack Club Executive Director Bobby Purcell. “He cared deeply about his church, family, community and NC State. If you were a friend of Curtis, you were a friend forever.”
Originally from Cumberland County, Dail grew up on a tobacco and cotton farm with nine siblings. He received a partial scholarship to play basketball and baseball at East Carolina University, but he didn’t have the money to pay for the rest of his college expenses. He was drafted by the Army, where he spent three years as a jumper with the 101st Airborne.
After a series of jobs, Dail finally hit upon the business in 1975 that would define him — in the fast food industry. That year, he bought a half-share in two Hardee’s fast-food restaurants in Fuquay-Varina and Raleigh. According to a 2007 article in NC State magazine, Dail would go on to own 24 Hardee’s across North and South Carolina before selling the restaurants in the late 1980s to shift his focus to real estate.
Dail’s allegiance to NC State was secured during an encounter in Fayetteville, N.C. Dail refereed high school and college basketball games there that legendary Wolfpack basketball coach Everett Case would visit annually.
“Case would bring his squad to Fayetteville every year to go over rules changes with the referees,” Dail said in the 2007 article. “I really respected the commitment he had to educating both his players and all of us, and I’ve been a State fan ever since.”
The Dails funded athletic scholarships through the Wolfpack Club, and Curtis served on its board of directors. They also named the grand reception room in the Park Alumni Center on Centennial Campus. Curtis and Jackie Dail were named as Honorable Alumnus and Alumna by the Alumni Association in 2006.
There will be a visitation for Curtis today, May 30, from 6-8 p.m. at the Bryan-Lee Funeral Home in Garner, N.C. His funeral will be held Friday, May 31, at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Garner.