The Confidential has been having some fun with league-wide coaches Mount Rushmores. Football and Basketball, plus polls for each of football and basketball to share your thoughts. In fact, it was so sufficiently fun and controversial that we are going to do school-wide Mount Rushmores now. And we will only put three people on the list, leaving you–our readers–to comment as to who should be the fourth. We will not do polls anymore. For today, let’s go with a school that has a rich ACC history: North Carolina State.
As we discussed previously, these school-wide Mount Rushmores are limited to sports only–players and coaches. That being said, athletes that have gone on to have careers that have furthered their legend are rewarded also. And negative publicity will also be factored in. We do not believe that USC would put OJ Simpson on its Mount Rushmore. It is what it is. Admittedly, there will be a recency bias too. While historical accomplishments are typically quite impressive, coaching college football (as an example) in 1955 was a lot different than coaching today, where coaches rarely get 5 years to make their mark anymore. Similarly, in an era of up to 14 college football games or 40 college basketball games, as well as daunting pressure from the fans and media, today’s game is more challenging. That’s our opinion and we are sticking to it.
The Confidential gives the first spot to David Thompson. Thompson’s troubles off the court are well-known, but he was one of the all-time greats to ever play at the college level. He averaged approximately 27 points per game for the Wolfpack during his three-year career. In 1974, he led North Carolina State to a National Championship. For several seasons, he was a star in professional basketball (ABA and NBA). Not only was he a prolific scorer at his peak, he was also one of the most exciting players in pro hoops–paving the way for Julius Erving and Michael Jordan. He returned to North Carolina State to earn his degree in 2003.
The #2 spot goes to Jim Valvano. While a lot of coaches will put up better numbers, we made the case for including Valvano in our list of the all-time great ACC coaches. We said it fine then:
Jim Valvano won a national championship at North Carolina State. The image of him running around after that colossal upset is burned in our minds. While his overall success falls well short of other coaches, his passion is part of the reason that college sports is so popular. Simply stated, Valvano embodied everything that is great about the college game. His courageous battle with cancer, leading to the V Foundation is yet another reason why Jim Valvano goes beyond merely wins and deserves a spot.
For all these reasons, we have to give him a spot on the NC State Hall of Fame.
The #3 spot is, as always, a tough one. The Confidential will select Kay Yow. She coached for 34 years at North Carolina State, becoming one of five women’s basketball coaches to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame. She was selected to the first Hall of Fame class for North Carolina State. She also coached the USA Basketball team in international play, winning a Gold Medal in Seoul in 1988.
And that leads us to the number four spot. A trio of football players deserve consideration–Jim Ritcher, Ted Brown, and Roman Gabriel. Two women’s athletes, Julie Shea (Track) and Genia Beasley (Basketball) were part of the first Hall of Fame class for the Wolfpack. From a coaching standpoint, Everett Case, Earle Edwards, and Norm Sloan are intriguing. Tab Ramos from the soccer side of life. Anyway, this is where you come in–let us know who should be #4.
Who will be the Confidential’s fourth North Carolina State icon on its Mount Rushmore?
Other Mount Rushmores: