The Wolfpacker

March-April 2020 issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 49 of 51

50 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY TIM PEELER T orry Holt wandered into the James B. Hunt Jr. Library on NC State's Centen- nial Campus on a recent blustery day, taking in the advanced technology and opportuni- ties at one of the world's most advanced learning centers. He practically bounced over to a baby grand piano on the second floor, staring at the gleaming ivory keys and thinking what might have been when he was a college student in the 1990s. "I wish I had taken the opportunity to ex- plore my artistic side," Holt said with a real hint of regret while working on a volunteer project for the university. "It's something I always wanted to do." Holt, of course, was a different kind of artist, one whose canvas was the football field, one who couldn't be framed by nor- mal boundaries. As a wide receiver, his cu- mulative accomplishments will be hard to ever match, until offensive coordinators find even more ways to throw the football further down the field or the schedule-makers add another couple games to the college season. The same could be said for his profes- sional career. He made a splash his rookie season by helping the St. Louis Rams win the Super Bowl, then spent more than an- other decade running circles around defen- sive backs, with statistics gaudier than the Rams' blue-and-gold uniforms. He never lost the love for the university that gave him a chance and provided him an opportunity to display his talents. More than anything else, that's what NC State has done since 1887 for anyone willing to put the work into pursuing his or her dreams. Holt fell in love with the place when head coach Mike O'Cain's staff first recruited him, then stood by with unwavering support when he needed to take care of some aca- demic work at a prep school before coming to Raleigh. He never forgot that, even when bigger schools tried to convince him to join them instead. It's the place where he met his wife, a former Wolfpack women's soccer player, with whom he now has three children. It's a family bond that can't be broken. It's the place where his younger brother Terrence became an All-ACC safety and master kick blocker, paving his own path to the NFL. That kind of brotherly connection few can replicate. And now, it's the place where his oldest son is enrolled as a freshman engineering student. "He's doing his own thing, the thing he loves," Holt said. "And he's doing it here." That's the multigenerational legacy that binds Holt to his home state's biggest school. Torry and Terrence, of course, lived their athletic dreams here, a pair of small-town North Carolina kids who maximized their football talents, played at the highest levels and are now back in Raleigh giving back to the communities that launched their careers. If anything, they have been underappreci- ated for their representation of their alma mater, through the Holt Brothers Founda- tion, a charity that helps the children of can- cer patients cope with their parent's disease, and through their construction company by the same name. Torry is now in the comfortable stage of his life, a middle-aged father watching his kids grow up and a successful business- man who can spend his spare time doing his choice of the many favors he's asked to do on a regular basis. Or not, which is the charm of this status. It's a time to celebrate his accomplish- ments. Last year, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, joining a handful of NC State alumni who have already taken their place among the best players of all time: Jack McDowall, Roman Gabriel, Dennis Byrd, Ted Brown and Jim Ritcher. He was feted — along with fellow Gibsonville, N.C., native and former NC State director of athletics Debbie Yow — during the 62nd Na- tional Football Foundation awards weekend in downtown New York last December. He was also selected as one of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, along with former NC State linebacker Bill Cowher, who was chosen by a blue-ribbon panel for con- sideration in a special class celebrating the NFL's 100th anniversary. They were the first Wolfpack players to ever reach that elite level. Cowher, of course, was elected as one of the two coaches in the Centennial Class and will be inducted later this year. Holt — for now — was not. It will happen one day, despite the num- ber of wide receivers who are waiting pa- tiently in line. His professional accomplish- ments, just like in college, are too good for him not to be. Because, you know what? Torry Holt was an artist, one whose best works are etched forever in the record books of the game he loves. ■ Tim Peeler is a regular contributor to The Wolfpacker and can be reached at Holt was officially inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame at a dinner in New York City last December. He was also a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. PHOTO BY BEN SOLOMON/COURTESY NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION PACK PERSPECTIVE Time For Torry Holt's Call To The Other Hall

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