The Wolfpacker

July 2016

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 23 of 163

22 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER O ver the past five years, NC State has achieved five of its 10 highest finishes in the Directors' Cup — a competitive measure of each uni- versity's athletics programs. The Wolfpack finished 32nd in 2015-16 and appears positioned to potentially finish in the top 25 next year, which was the goal outlined in the Wolfpack Unlimited strategic plan released in July 2012. Nine programs finished ranked in the top 25 of their sports after an all-time best of 10 did so in 2014-15. That compares to just one in the year prior to athletics director Debbie Yow's arrival in the summer of 2010. Academically, the most recent rankings of the Graduation Success Rate showed the Pack (83 percent) achieving its highest GSR in school history. Yow sat down with The Wolfpacker to talk about these successes and more. When you look at the year in sports, how would you evaluate NC State? "I would look at this as a work in prog- ress. We do have a strategic plan, and we are meeting our strategic plan goals for 2015-16. Next year is a huge year for us. It's the year as a program we need to reach top-25 status. "The closer we've gotten to that, the more challenging it has become, because at this level everybody has financial support, ex- perienced administrators, talented coaches and great athletes. It's a daunting challenge to get there. "I don't think I can look at 2015-16 men's basketball without thinking what an anomaly that was with what occurred to us from an injury perspective. I don't expect to ever see another year like that. To Coach [Mark] Gottfried's great credit we have gone from that season to having a recruiting class for 2016 that's No. 7 in the nation and No. 2 in the ACC behind only Duke. "I suspect that there are a number of peo- ple who will be amazed by that, given where we were when the Martin twins chose to go elsewhere. "I am very proud of what he and his as- sistant coaches have been able to achieve in a very short period of time. They have worked so hard to get where we are, and of course they are continuing to work on the class of 2017 and 2018, even as we plow through getting a critical mass of highly talented players for 2016." How would you analyze football last season? "We had a couple of choices to make dur- ing the year that impacted us in football. One of those was what to do with the incident that occurred with Shad [Thornton]. I realized there are programs that absolutely would not have removed him from the team at that point. "Coach [Dave] Doeren and I discussed it very seriously and made the choice to make the change. It had nothing to do with how we feel about Shad. I would help him today if there is any way that I could, and I think Coach Doeren feels the same way. "That incident happened in the middle of the week before the opening ACC game on the schedule, a much less than ideal situa- tion. A little later Matt Dayes goes down with an injury. Things looked different after that. "I do believe Coach Doeren evaluated all Work In PROGRESS Athletics Director Debbie Yow Discusses The State Of The Program Under the guidance of athletics director Debbie Yow, NC State went from 89th in the Directors' Cup during the 2009-10 school year before she was hired to an all-time best of 27th in 2014-15. The Wolfpack finished just outside of the top 30 this year. PHOTO BY LARRY BLANKENSHIP

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