Friday, May 14, 2010

Heels go formal; N.C. State plays it casual

After stopping by booster club rallies in Raleigh for North Carolina's Rams Club and N.C. State's Wolfpack Club this week, it's impossible not to reflect on how different the events were.

On Wednesday night, North Carolina held its Tar Heel Tour event at the North Ridge Country Club in North Raleigh. A crowd of 350 attended for $35 a plate.

The country club's business casual dress code required jackets and collared shirts for men, and slacks, skirts or dresses for women. Jeans weren't allowed, and reporters were asked not to complete their interviews early and not watch the coaches speak to the crowd.

Football coach Butch Davis enthusiastically spoke to the media before the event. Basketball coach Roy Williams arrived about 45 minutes after the dinner was scheduled to start and hurriedly spoke outside the club for 2 minutes, 20 seconds, glancing longingly over his shoulder at the front door during his interview.

N.C. State served barbecue at $15 per plate for adults to a crowd of 700 at an event held under a huge tent at the football practice field near Carter-Finley Stadium. Coaches spoke to reporters before the event, but media members were welcome to watch the speeches in front of the boosters, too.

Wolfpack Club executive director Bobby Purcell graciously invited reporters to eat some barbecue. Some of them accepted (although this reporter did not).

While the coaches were speaking, N.C. State athletes ran around the practice field, entertained and supervised the children who showed up for the event. Senior linebacker Nate Irving was among them.

"This is my family," he explained.

Class act, that guy.

This isn't to say one event was better than the other. I enjoy getting dressed up and taking my wife out to dinner on our anniversary. We also like to pile the kids in the minivan and share a pizza at Amedeo's. The formal evening and the casual dinner are both enjoyable for different reasons.

Rather, the point is that this area is fortunate to have a couple of state universities with vastly different cultures. It's part of what makes living in this area and covering sports in the Triangle interesting.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Great post Ken. I think its just a matter of preference... not better or worse, good or bad.

I'm an NC State fan and love the rivalry but it gets too ugly sometimes. I loved State and think it was the best place I could have ever gone to school. That doesnt mean that UNC isn't/wasn't right for others.

They are both great schools with great students and alums. The state of North Carolina is lucky to have such great public universities.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Carolina fan, but dang, that BBQ would've been nice!!!

agree with the above, nothing wrong about either. Both good schools with rabid fan bases.

Anonymous said...

"...and reporters were asked not to complete their interviews early and not watch the coaches speak to the crowd."

Why does this not surprise me? Does anyone else find this odd? As for Coach Williams longingly looking towards the door, that is just disturbing. Part of his job is to interact with the media. If Coach can no longer do that, he should retire.

Anonymous said...

Chapel Hill is a bunch of pole smokers!!

Anonymous said...

I love the NC State players were "babysitting" - what a great way to make fans for life!

Anonymous said...

North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh is the poor people's Country Club of Raleigh. Why not host at a real club such as the Carolina Country Club (CCC)? This is a more legitimate location. This is NOT the Carolina way!

Anonymous said...

Good grief! Isn't the Carolina Country Club the place the UNC-CH surgeon drank himself into oblivion and ran into the ballerina's car last summer causing a fatality?

Anonymous said...

Agreed - UNC alum's should not attend anything of a country club in Raleigh. We ARE UNC - the state university of NC. We ARE better than that.

Anonymous said...

I heard Sweezy was giving bong hits to the kids.