Chris Combs didn’t know why so many of his friends and family were at Doak Field on Friday before N.C. State’s baseball game with Clemson.
Nobody told Combs his friends and the Wolfpack Club had raised $400,000 for the Chris Combs baseball endowment.
“He didn’t know until we got here,” said Bobby Purcell, the executive director of the Wolfpack Club.
Combs, one of the top home-run hitters in N.C. State history, might not have let his friends honor him had he known about the scholarship endowment.
“He’s such a humble person,” Purcell said.
Combs was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2016 and has been instrumental in helping raise money to fight ALS. He has raised more than $3.5 million for Project ALS.
Combs, who grew up in Raleigh, had worked as an associate director for the Wolfpack Club for 14 years until last year. One of his regular events was a golf outing with former players and Raleigh professionals.
His friends came up with the idea for the endowment. Combs, a fifth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1997, hit 42 home runs for N.C. State and was drafted as a pitcher.
“They wanted to do something big to honor Chris,” Purcell said.
About 30 minutes before Friday’s game, Combs’ family, N.C. State coach Elliott Avent and the Wolfpack presented Combs with a $400,000 check to establish the endowment.
“That just shows how much that young man is loved,” said Avent, whose first year was Combs’ senior year in 1997. “Being loved is probably the greatest feeling in the world and there’s nobody more loved than Chris Combs.”