It’s the ultimate meeting of the Wolfpack sports minds: NC State basketball coaching legends Everett Case, Norm Sloan, Jim Valvano and Kay Yow, all together in one place.
That Pack fan’s dream will become a reality of sorts outside Reynolds Coliseum this fall. That’s when a group of students will unveil the Coaches’ Corner, a collection of statues of the four coaches who’ve shaped basketball at NC State.
The Coaches’ Corner concept emerged after the installation in 2010 of a bust of longtime women’s basketball coach Kay Yow outside Reynolds, said Student Body President Andy Walsh. Then a freshman, Walsh approached Jeffrey Johnson, the student who spearheaded fundraising for the Yow statue, about memorializing Sloan, Valvano and Case.
The only question: whom do you honor first?
“We had the same debate that I’m sure many State fans have about what coach is the best coach and who’s more relevant and all those things,” Walsh said. “At the end of the day, we both just said, it would make sense to put all three of our retired coaches in at the same time.”
Since then, Walsh has worked with other students, the Athletics Department and the Wolfpack Club to raise money for the $200,000 Coaches Corner project. With roughly $70,000 in cash and pledges on hand, Walsh hopes to build something that tells the story of NC State basketball like the Murphy Center celebrates Wolfpack football.
The Everett Case statue will be the closest to Reynolds, a nod to Case’s integral role in the coliseum’s completion. Dressed in his trademark double-breasted suit and holding a basketball net and ball, Case will stand just outside his old office.
Walsh called Case “the father of Southern basketball.” NC State’s head coach from 1946 to 1964, Case is credited with conceiving the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament and original cutting down of the basketball net after a big win.
Sloan will appear in an eight-foot rectangular relief panel that portrays three signature Sloan poses: the coach in his trademark checkered jacket, coaching on the sidelines and holding the 1974 national title trophy.
The Valvano stature will capture Jimmy V running around seeking a hug partner after the 1983 national championship game.
“I don’t think anything conveys his larger-than-life personality better than him running looking for someone to hug” after the 1983 national title game, Walsh said.
The existing Yow statue will move to a more prominent spot next to the new Talley Student Center. Yow was a strong advocate for the massive renovation Talley is undergoing, Walsh said.
A committee drawn from across campus has worked on the project, choosing the artists and designing the Coaches’ Corner site between Reynolds and Talley Student Center. The committee also included Ernie Myers, who played for Valvano; Lou Pucillo, who played for Case; and Mark Moeller, who played for Sloan.
“Their voice in the room was so powerful because of their personal relationships with each of the coaches,” Walsh said.
To support the Coaches Corner project, visit http://coachescorner.ncsu.edu/.