From 2002-2006, Herb Sendek and NC State didn't miss an NCAA tournament. After the 2006 season, Sendek resigned and was replaced with Sidney Lowe, who in three years has yet to take NC State to an NCAA tournament, who has one NIT appearance, and whose team has never finished higher than No. 10 in the ACC.
Those marks are unlikely to change this year, and Lowe's job status has been in doubt all season. Lowe has already received his athletic director's vote of confidence, so it's unlikely he'll be fired this year ... and if NC State officials lend any weight to the published opinion of its prized recruits, Lowe's job just got even safer.
Why? Because high schooler Ryan Harrow -- one of the recruits supposed to revitalize Lowe's program in 2010-2011 -- wrote a letter to NC State fans posted on PackandPride.com, the Wolfpack-affiliated Scout forum, in which he respectfully asked fans to go easy on their criticism of Lowe. A sample:
Myself and Lorenzo are on NC State's blogs and forums everyday and we look to see all the support you give us, but now a days we see so much negative and it has become really discomforting to my godbrother and I. The things that are said about the fans giving up and not wanting to show the support like I know ya'll can. I was at the Duke game. Our fans can get crazy lol. Those statements matter to me. I came to the school at first solely for Coach Lowe but when I come to see games and people are greeting me, saying " thank you so much for joining us", it made me realize I love the atmosphere to. These fans can get better. I hate going on the forums reading those things.
Also Lorenzo and I see the statements about coach Lowe and it really makes me think, " what am I getting myself into". Coach Lowe works hard and is very passionate about the game. He just needs people and players around him like Lorenzo, Luke, C.J., and me to transpire that fire onto the court. Every bad game we cannot criticize coach Lowe. It comes down to the players performing on the court. I know Coach Lowe is going to help my game and make me the best point guard I can be. But it will come in time.
Pretty strong stuff, and as you can tell from the responses to the letter, it worked.
For his part, Lowe was shocked by the letter, saying it was "incredible" and that he'd "never heard of any young player going out and doing that." It's a major win for Lowe, really; taming that wildest segment of your fan base -- the message board denizens -- isn't easy even when you're winning. To have them fall in line at the behest of an 18-year-old is exactly the sort of thing Lowe needed.
Now all he has to do is go out and win. Easy, right?