“Colleges around the world don’t have athletic teams that build confidence in the university, build passion within the alumni. It’s something that’s uniquely American.”
Dr. Randy Woodson
N.C. State chancellor
By Nathan Summers
Saturday, January 5, 2013
When Dr. Randy Woodson describes the multifaceted task of being the chancellor at a large state university like N.C. State, it takes a little while for him to get around to athletics.
It’s not that Woodson doesn’t think sports are important, it’s just that overseeing such things as building a new library and expanding the student center at N.C. State comes first on his list. When addressing the Greater Greenville Sports Club on Friday, however, Woodson eventually detailed his feelings on just how vital a part of the N.C. State framework its sports teams really are.
“It creates a unified campus, our students are very excited about it, our alumni are very excited about it and at what other venue can you get 60,000 people to come and cheer on their university?” said Woodson, who’s been at N.C. State since 2010. “I don’t think they’d do it for the English professors.”
Though he stresses academics above and beyond all else — he calls N.C. State “a very nerdy place” thanks to its tradition of success in research and science-based education — Woodson lends a great deal of credit to the power of sports, both in Raleigh and beyond.
“If you travel around the world, there is not another country in the world that has married academics and athletics the way America has,” said Woodson, a Cornell graduate who came to N.C. State from Purdue (where he was executive vice president for academic affairs) and made the hiring of athletic director Debbie Yow one of his first accomplishments. “Colleges around the world don’t have athletic teams that build confidence in the university, build passion within the alumni. It’s something that’s uniquely American.”
Woodson spent plenty of his podium time on Friday lauding his university’s successes in that marriage of school and sports. He noted, among other accomplishments, that 381 of N.C. State’s 530 student-athletes were named scholar athletes this year after maintaining grade point averages of 3.0 or better.
Now in his third year as chancellor, Woodson said the Wolfpack has made critical decisions in terms of coaching hires, most notably the addition of Mark Gottfried as the Pack’s men’s basketball coach a couple of years ago and most recently Dave Doeren in football.
The NCSU chancellor, who said he thought he was in basketball heaven in Indiana until he came to North Carolina, admits there are other athletics changes needed. He said upgrading Reynolds Coliseum is a necessary project that requires the school to modernize the arena built in 1949 without losing its character and history.
As for changes he hopes are in the past and not the future, Woodson lists conference expansion at the top.
“I hope we’re kind of in a cooling off period,” Woodson said of expansion. “I hope it’s over.”
Contact Nathan Summers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-329-9595.
GREATER GREENVILLE SPORTS CLUB
via The Daily Reflector.