Commentary

Tudor: 10 suggestions for the N.C. State sports hall

ctudor@newsobserver.com May 29, 2012 

The 14 people who will select N.C. State’s inaugural sports hall of fame class face a near impossible task.

The school has been playing football, basketball and baseball for more than 100 years.

As early as 1915, N.C. State alum “Demon” Dave Robertson was among the best players in Major League Baseball. On John McGraw’s New York Giant teams, he led the National League in home runs in 1916 and ’17.

Wolfpack products have won Olympic gold medals in swimming. They’ve won PGA golf tournaments, including one this season by Carl Petterson and another in 2010 by Tim Clark.

Eventually, there’ll room for dozens in the Pack Hall. But here are the 10 who would get my vote for that first class:

• Ted Brown, football: The High Point native has held the ACC rushing record since 1978, when he capped his college career with 4,602 yards and 49 touchdowns in regular-season games only.

• Tom Burleson, basketball: A Newland native, the 7-foot-4 center had 38 points against Maryland in the famous 1974 ACC title game that propelled the Pack to the NCAA title. In a three-year career at N.C. State, he averaged 19 points 12.7 rebounds.

• Everett Case, basketball: The father of ACC basketball, Case’s 1946 arrival in Raleigh had a profound and lasting impact on regional sports. He jump-started the basketball enthusiasm we have seen in the state since his first season.

• Roman Gabriel, football: A Wilmington native, Gabriel was the 1969 NFL player of the year.

• Torry Holt, football: A lock to someday enter the NFL Hall, the Gibsonville native had almost 13,000 yards in receiving yardage with the St. Louis Rams and played a key role in a Super Bowl win.

• Philip Rivers, football: Maybe the most popular player in Wolfpack football history, the quarterback passed for more than 13,000 yards and 95 touchdowns from 2000-03 and now stars in the NFL.

• Ron Shavlik, basketball: A native of Denver, Colo., Shavlik was one of the first dominant big men in ACC history. At 6-8 and more than 200 pounds, he averaged 18.5 points and 16.8 rebounds in the mid ’50s.

• Julie Shea-Graw, track: Until the 1979-80 school year, a female had never been voted ACC athlete of the year. The Raleigh native, a distance runner, won the same ACC award the following year as well.

• David Thompson, basketball: The clear-cut No. 1 choice for N.C. State’s Hall. A native of the Shelby area, Thompson has been accurately called the greatest player in the ACC’s rich history. His spectacular, high-flying style likely will live forever in sports lore. A three-time, unanimous first-team All-American, Thompson led the Wolfpack to its first national championship in 1974 and averaged 26.8 points and 8.1 rebounds a game in his three-year college career. His No. 44 is the only basketball jersey retired by N.C. State.

• Kay Yow, basketball: An icon on and off the basketball floor, she coached Wolfpack teams to 737 wins, five ACC regular-season and four tournament titles until her death from cancer in 2009.

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