The Wolfpacker

November 2013

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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■ pack perspective Remembering Former Sports Information Director Ed Seaman By Tim Peeler n the old press box at Carter-Finley Stadium, the now-demolished double-wide in the sky, there used to be a closet that had a small rolling trolley that would just fit in the narrow aisles of the three rows of media seats. During the 1970s and '80s, it was a suitably stocked mobile mini-bar, maintained meticulously by former NC State sports information director Ed Seaman. "Would you like a toddy?" Seaman would ask the sportswriters banging out their stories on their then-fancy Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 portable word processors. Most did. Seaman was always careful to pass by the underage student reporters from Technician or the visiting school with North Carolina going through the transition of moving the legal drinking age from 18 to 19 to 21 during the 1980s. But nothing made me feel more like a legitimate sportswriter than the day Seaman stopped at my spot on press row and said, "Tim, can I get you something?" Seaman, who served as NC State's SID for 17 years, publicized two NCAA and five ACC men's basketball championships and five bowl games before retiring in the summer of 1987. He died at the age of 91 on Oct. 13 in his hometown of Greenville, S.C. Even when I was a student, Seaman was a crusty old soul, who wore his emotions on the sleeves of his bright red, industrial polyester blazer. He wasn't quite as fiery as the late Frank Weedon, whom Seaman succeeded as SID in 1971 after a successful newspaper career in Roanoke Rapids, Fayetteville and Charlotte. But he let you know when he thought something you wrote put the Wolfpack in a bad light. He guided the athletic department's handling of multiple negative stories through the years, but always maintained a cordial and professional relationship with the media that he served. He was a friend and ginrummy opponent and partner of the coaches he traveled with and a great yarn-spinner in media hospitality rooms. Several reporters even paid him the ultimate compliment in his early days, penning a song in his honor, sung to the tune of "The Red & White Song." I I'm the SID from State and I know I am the best. I drink my whiskey straight and let Walt Atkins do the rest. Seaman served as NC State's SID for 17 years, and he publicized two NCAA and five ACC men's basketball championships and five bowl games before retiring in the summer of 1987. photo By simon griffiths Helluva SID am I, helluva SID am I, helluva SID from State Go State! Well, I mean, you know, I mean you know … I'm the SID from State, you can call me on the phone If you're someone I really hate, I'll set you up with Norman Sloan. Helluva SID am I, helluva SID am I, helluva SID from State Go State! (Atkins was Seaman's lone assistant at the time.) Seaman's early life was filled with tragedy. His father — who had brought his family of eight children to South Carolina from Lebanon — was shot and killed outside the family restaurant when Seaman was just 6 years old. His older brother Tony was killed during World War II. His mother insisted that all of her children graduate from college, and Ed did so in 1943 from hometown Furman, where he helped set up the school's first sports information office and was a stringer for the local newspaper. Seaman was, in fact, a real seaman. Conscribed into the U.S. Navy after he graduated, Seaman spent 13 years as an officer during World War II and the Korean War, as an officer on the U.S.S. Stanton and the U.S.S. Lattimer until his discharge in 1955. He spent some time working as a theater manager and as a salesman for General Electric. But sports was always his first love. "Sports is such a worthwhile thing," Seaman said when he retired prior to the 1987 football season. "I really think it has a tremendous influence on young people, and it has a tremendous impact on society. It's just such an excellent thing for the athletes themselves. It's a wonderful experience. It is to me really a part of their education, and I think they get a better education than the average student because they're involved in athletics. I really believe that. "I'm really sold on college athletics, otherwise I wouldn't be a part of it." Seaman returned to journalism, working for the Roanoke Rapids Times and then serving as the sports editor of the Fayetteville Observer for 13 years. A lifelong golfer, Seaman worked for Golf World magazine before taking a job at the Charlotte Observer. He took over for Weedon as NC State's sports information director in April 1971. A month later, legendary head coach Earle Edwards — Seaman's longtime friend — resigned unexpectedly, throwing the program into disarray. Seaman had the opportunity to publicize some of the most unique personalities in NC State athletics history, from coaches Lou Holtz to Norman Sloan to Jim Valvano, and athletes such as David Thompson and Ted Brown. Among his many achievements, Seaman listed as the things that made him most proud having Brown and center Jim Ritcher earn first-team All-America honors in 1978 on a team that went 9-3 and promoting Ritcher for the '79 Outland Trophy, one of only two ACC players to ever win the award. He retired just after Valvano, who was both the men's basketball coach and athletics director, led the Wolfpack to the 1987 ACC title, the 10th and most recent in school history. Seaman enjoyed a quarter-century retirement in Greenville, playing golf and worshipping in the local Catholic diocese. He did, however, suffer from the effects of dementia in his latter years. When he passed away, he was residing in an assisted living center. Seaman was buried at the West Oakwood Cemetery in Spartanburg, S.C. The family requests that memorials be made to St. Mary's Catholic Church of Greenville, S.C., or to the Monastery of St. Clare. In recent months, NC State athletics has lost much of its institutional memory, with the passing of Rudy Pate, the first real sports information director the school ever had, the inimitable Weedon (see page 19), and now Seaman. May they rest in peace, and may the memories they helped create outlast us all. ■ You may contact Tim Peeler at 136  ■  the wolfpacker 136.Pack Perspective.indd 136 10/22/13 11:53 AM

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