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June Springs Eternal

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Wherein we discuss Spring sports and whatnot

Eric Kilby

In the final of the reviews of Wolfpack Sports Director’s Cup Era sports, we’re going to take a look at the Spring sports, and our performance therein. For those interested, and somehow missed the previous posts, here are links to the articles on Fall and Winter.

Women's Golf

Women’s Golf was reinstated as a varsity sport at NC State in 2000 and has been very successful under Head Coach Page Marsh. Coach Marsh has led the Wolfpack to 15 NCAA Regionals, 3 NCAA Championships, and coached 12 golfers that went on to compete in the professional ranks.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see us continue to recruit well with the Lonnie Poole course maturing nicely. It had to be tough recruiting to play at the Varsity Club. The only downside with Coach Marsh is that she went to that baby blue school, but none of us are perfect.

Men’s Golf

Head Coach Richard Sykes led the Wolfpack Golf team since the Nixon administration. That’s 46 years for those of you scoring at home. Appropriately, he retired last year at an even-par 72. During Coach Sykes’ tenure, NC State won 52 tournament matches. Additionally, over those 46 years, he coached 47 All-ACC golfers, 34 All-Americans, 6 ACC individual Champions, and 5 NCAA Regional individual Champions.

Sykes coached two very successful golfers in Tim Clark and Carl Pettersson. Tim Clark has two wins on the PGA tour, including The Players Championship. Additionally, Clark was a 2nd place finisher at the Masters, 3rd place finisher at the US Open and PGA Championship. Carl Pettersson has five wins on the PGA tour, including the Greater Greensboro Open (GGO or Wyndham Championship if you prefer). Additionally, Pettersson was a 3rd place finisher at the PGA Championship, a 6th place finisher at the US Open, and an 8th place finisher at the British Open.

Debbie Yow tapped Press McPhaul to replace Coach Sykes. Press played under Coach Sykes, and helped the team to an 8th place finish at the NCAA Championships. McPhaul got his coaching start as an assistant under Coach Sykes. McPhaul took over the Vanderbilt program from 2000-06, where he led them the Commodores to their first NCAA Championships appearance. The next 11 season saw McPhaul lead our neighbors, East Carolina, to their first appearance in the NCAA Championships, as well as four NCAA Regional appearances in the last six years.

Baseball

So, does anyone know what happened to Ray Tanner?

What’s that?

He won two National Titles after leaving his alma mater to coach South Carolina??? That sounds like a dubious claim.

**Goes out on to the interwebs do some research...

For Fuck's Sake!!!! He was a mother fucking alum!!!! How the fuck does that happen?

Tanner had some frustrations with trying to build the NC State program up to Clemson’s and UNC’s level....he struggled with the NCSU administration to get upgrades at tiny Doak Field, installing lights, etc. NC State was not able to host regionals back in those days due to not meeting several minimum NCAA requirements, and Tanner wanted to change that. NC State said no....

Tanner has stated several times that if they’d just gave him what he wanted at NCSU, he might still be coaching there today....

I mean FUCK! We could possibly have a couple of NCAA titles in baseball?!?

Elliot Avent has done well, if not NCAA Champions well. There was that brief, glorious sophomore season of Carlos Rodon and Trea Turner, where we got back to Omaha for the first time since the 1960s, which was really nice. A ball that Trea and most of Wolfpack Nation thought was headed out of the Omaha confines, could have propelled the Pack to a chance of its own NCAA Championship. It’d be nice to get back there again, and the team is ranked in the preseason polls, so we shall see.

Softball

So, let’s start here before discussing the limited success of NC State Softball. The team has only been in existence as a varsity sport since 2004. I remember playing intramural/beer league slow pitch softball while at NC State in years prior to 2004. I’m not sure if that was the highest level of softball played at that time, but if so, it was a sad, sad time for the sport of Softball, as I once struck out at T-Ball.

Lisa Navas was the first Head Coach at NC State. She led the Wolfpack to two NCAA appearance in years 3 and 4 of her tenure. Unfortunately, those were the high points of her 9-year career at NC State.

Current Head Coach Shawn Rychcik took over for the 2013 season and led the Wolfpack to the regionals his first two seasons, and the Super Regionals in his third season. Sadly, the last two seasons have trended the wrong direction. Softball at the college level is all about your pitcher. Usually, you rely on a single starter for most of your games, unlike baseball where starters are rotated and given rest. NC State is looking for a solid pitcher for this year, to help right the ship.

Women’s Tennis

As evidenced by the chart above, coaching turnover has struck Women’s tennis. Coach Kelly Key had a largely forgettable tenure, even if the last couple of seasons weren’t 1 or 2 win seasons in ACC play like her first four seasons.

In her 3 seasons, former NC State player turned coach, Jenny Garrity turned around the program, leading the team to its first NCAA appearance in program history in her final season at NC State. Garrity left her alma mater for a position at Kansas, where she had a very brief 2-year stint, and then moved on to UNCW for 11 years. Her husband is a Women’s basketball coach, which may have played a role in her bouncing around.

The team regressed under Kay Louthian, who replaced Garrity at the helm of the Women’s Tennis team. To give you a sense, she had 1 ACC win in her 3 seasons. The only real positive of her tenure is that it was short.

Hans Olsen took over the tattered mess left by Louthian and proceeded to win 2 ACC matches over his first four years. Fortunately, he managed to turn a corner in Year 5, and qualify for 3 straight NCAA tournaments. Then managed a couple more appearances before tailing off.

The team has really taken off under the leadership of Simon Earnshaw, last season was the best in program history with the most ACC wins, best ACC finish, and best finish in the NCAA polls at 26th. A strong recruiting class has the program looking really strong moving forward.

Men’s Tennis

Crawford Henry coached the Wolfpack for 11 years, the last few fell in the Directors Cup era. During those 11 years, his teams won 13 ACC matches. I’m uncertain how one keeps his job for 11 years with that performance.

Taking over in futility for NC State was Eric Hayes who led the Pack for 7 years. During those 7 years, NC State won 8 ACC matches. Again, I’m not sure how one keeps their job for that long with such abysmal performance.

Jon Choboy led the program for the past 15 years before resigning after last season. He led NC State to 6 NCAA tournaments, including one Elite 8 season. Overall a very solid tenure, and it appeared that the resignation was his decision and not one of those forced resignations.

Choboy was replaced for this season by Kyle Spencer who was previously the Head Coach at Maryland during Debbie Yow’s tenure there as AD. Immediately prior, Spencer was an assistant at SMU who finished in the NCAA tournament the past 2 seasons. This is very much a wait and see hire, but I think Debbie Yow has earned the benefit of the doubt in her hires.

Outdoor Track and Field

Women

Men

Just as with Indoor Track and Field, Rollie Geiger has led the teams for the past 3 decades. It’s similarly a very noisy data set, without a really consistent trend one way or the other. Our very own acc_10k, former ACC Champion and All-American at NC State in the 10k, gave some great insights around why Geiger heads up both the Cross-Country and Track teams. The teams actually share scholarships, as well as the number of coaches allowed across both sets of teams. The upshot-put of this is that most teams looking to dominate Cross-Country and distance running will employ their Cross-Country Head Coach as their track Head Coach.

Neither track team placed last year, but the previous year both had solid results. With the noisiness of Track and Field, it’s hard to predict what this year will entail, but hopefully, the team can come away from the NCAA meet with some great performances.

Conclusion

Solid Programs

  • Women’s Golf
  • Baseball
  • Women’s Tennis

Noisy Programs

  • Women’s Track and Field
  • Men’s Track and Field
  • Softball

New Coaches

  • Men’s Golf
  • Men’s Tennis

Should be interesting to see how the new hires perform, as well as whether the Softball and Track teams can finish with strong NCAA tournament performances.