Among the news of the day was NC State’s announcement they’re putting together an NC State Sports Hall Of Fame and, in addition to forming a selection committee including none other than Dave Parker of Amedeo’s, they’re asking State fans for nominations.
Yours truly threw out a hastily-formed list on Twitter earlier today–only to have podcast mate Austin Johnson correctly point out that there are, in fact, “rules” to this whole process and that my initial list grossly violated said rules. That’s me, man: the Maverick of HOF compilations.
But after reviewing the rules, I realized my initial list wasn’t too far off, so with a few adjustments and without further ado, my rules-compliant NC State Hall Of Fame Ballot…if I had a vote (in alphabetical order) (and with explanations):
1. Ted Brown: The reigning ACC rushing yardage record holder nearly 35 years after his final season (1978) with 4,602 yards, Brown has almost 1,000 more yards than #2 on the rushing list (Joe McIntosh, 3,642) and is the only player in school history to average more than 1,000 yards per year. Brown went on to a successful career with the Minnesota Vikings and remains third on their all-time rushing list.
2. Everett Case: A no-brainer here, Case is widely considered the reason ACC basketball is what it is today (and was at its pinnacle). Case brought big-time basketball to the south, was incredibly innovative (The Dixie Classic) and spawned a coaching tree that further solidified the ACC power structure (Vic Bubas, Norm Sloan).
3. Earle Edwards: The man who turned NC State football from a whipping boy of the local powers (UNC, Duke) into a competitive program that could hold its own. Edwards won State’s first ACC title in 1957 and four more before his career came to a close. He also managed to land a prized recruit who would go on to have a first-ballot HOF-worthy career with the Wolfpack. Which leads us to…
4. Roman Gabriel: Arguably the best football player in NC State history, the kid they called “Gabe” was a towering presence at a time when quarterbacks were still relatively small. While most teams were still largely running the ball with passing a mere change of pace, Gabe was posting big numbers with his cannon for an arm. And while football was where he made his mark in the record books and in the pros, he was also a fantastic baseball and basketball player, as well, and competed in all three at one point in his career.
5. Cullen Jones: He wasn’t the first national champion or Olympic gold medal winner in State’s swimming history (David Fox, 1993, 1996), but Cullen has done a tremendous amount of work out of the pool since collecting a gold in China four years ago as part of the 4 x 100 relay team along with Michael Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale and Jason Lezak. A near drowning victim as a small child, Jones has done tremendous work through the Make A Splash program helping teach kids, particularly minorities, learn to swim. Using his notoriety in the sports world to save lives vaults Jones up the list into first-ballot territory.
6. Sam Ranzino: The Everett Case era wasn’t simply showmanship and innovation. It was also marked by great basketball, and Ranzino may have been the best player during the Case era. He was a consensus All America selection in 1951, led State to four straight Southern Conference titles, a Final Four in 1950 and was the school’s career leading scorer with 1,967 points until David Thompson broke his mark.
7. Philip Rivers: If Roman Gabriel is the greatest football player in NC State history, Philip Rivers is the clear runner up. Or vice versa, as Philip’s accomplishments in many ways surpass those of his predecessor. Rivers holds nearly every major ACC passing record, including yards in a season, career and career touchdowns. After getting drafted fourth by the Giants and then traded to the Chargers, Philip has become one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Further, his Rivers Of Hope foundation assists foster care children in search of a home.
8. Julie Shea: From Julie’s page with the N.C. Sports Hall Of Fame: “Won seven collegiate titles in track and field and cross-country in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Eleven all-American designations. Voted McKelvin Award as ACC’s top athlete, 1980–1981. Won three collegiate national titles in 24 hours in 1980. Specialized in distances from 3,000 meters to 10,000 meters. Sister Mary also a world-class runner. Won 1980 Broderick Cup as nation’s top female athlete. Led State team to 1979 and 1980 cross-country titles.” Need I say more?
9. David Thompson: Need I say more #2?
10. Kay Yow: Per the rules, three non-athlete selections are allowed per year during the first three years. I can’t think of a more solid selection for the first ballot than Yow, who not only built the women’s basketball team from nothing into one of the more prominent programs in the country but also coached the 1988 Women’s Olympic team to a gold medal. But it was her courage and outspoken fight against the cancer that ultimately took her life that became her lasting legacy. Thousands of dollars are raised for cancer research by her foundation annually and by the Spring Football game named in her honor.
Agree? Disagree? That’s what the comment section is for!