The Wolfpacker

January 2017

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 34 of 103

JANUARY 2017 ■ 35 WHEREARETHEYNOW? BY TIM PEELER E very time Charlie Bryant goes to an NC State football or basket- ball game, he sits back with pride. Wolfpack Pride. That's was the name of the campaign Bryant started in the 1990s to help raise the money to fund a long-awaited basketball arena and upgrade NC State football facili- ties. During his fundraising tenure, he helped bring assigned parking to Carter-Finley Sta- dium, institute lifetime seating rights and pay for scholarships for some 8,000 student- athletes. It's the latter number that Bryant has al- ways been most proud of, but in his retire- ment he's also enjoyed watching the build- ing plans he started lobbying for as far back as 1984 come to fruition. "I'm real pleased with what has trans- pired with the Wolfpack Club and how it's grown," said Bryant. "The quality of the membership and their support remains as strong as ever. It seems like we had one capital drive after another, which can be hard, but our people responded. "We have gotten a lot accomplished." Bryant has a year of milestones coming up. He'll turn 85 in January, complete his 20th year of retirement in March and cel- ebrate 65 years of marriage to the former Helen Marie Kinsey in April. He and Helen have three kids — Debbie, Kenny and Gary, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Gary, the couple's youngest son, was a manager on the 1983 national championship basketball team at NC State and is the owner of H Street Kitchen, a new restaurant on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. Sitting in the clubhouse of at MacGregor Downs Country Club on a November af- ternoon, Kenneth M. "Charlie" Bryant re- flected on a career in athletics and athletic development with a sense of accomplish- ment. As an assistant basketball coach at Wake Forest and NC State, Bryant coached in seven consecutive Atlantic Coast Confer- ence basketball championship games. As the executive secretary of the NC State Student Aid Association (the Wolfpack Club), he helped swell the membership to over 10,000 members and laid the founda- tion for the facility upgrades and enhance- ments of the last two decades. And, perhaps most importantly, he helped hold the asso- ciation together during the difficult times of the 1990s, following the departure of men's basketball coach and athletics director Jim Valvano, bringing the long-laid plans for new facilities and much of the goodwill Bryant cultivated with major donors to a grinding halt. Eventually, however, the Wolfpack Pride Campaign was started to raise $45.3 mil- lion, which included NC State's $22 million share to finance construction of the basket- ball arena, the seed funds for improvements to Carter-Finley, a $1 million renovation to the Derr Track facility and other long- needed enhancements to the athletic depart- ment facilities. It took an unusual partnership between the Wolfpack Club, Wake County, the state of North Carolina and the luring of a Na- tional Hockey League franchise, renamed the Carolina Hurricanes, to complete the new arena. But when it opened in 1999, the $158 million, 19,000-seat facility im- mediately became one of the best basketball venues in the country. It is a great source of pride for the former assistant coach whose career was influenced by former NC State basketball legends Bones McKinney and Everett Case, whose playing and coaching tenures date back to Thompson Gym and Reynolds Coliseum. Bryant was well recognized for his ac- complishments at NC State. He received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine from Governor Jim Hunt for his service to the state of North Carolina; was presented the Ronnie Shavlik Order of Merit for his service to NC State; and made an honorary member of the NC State Alumni Association. In 2006, he was elected to the North Car- olina Sports Hall of Fame. "I was very fortunate to have worked un- der Charlie, and I owe so much to him," said current Wolfpack Club executive director Bobby Purcell, who Bryant hired from Dick Sheridan's football staff in 1987 to join his team at the Wolfpack Club. "NC State was lucky to have him both as a basketball assis- tant and as the long-time executive secretary of the Wolfpack Club. "I think, for all that Charlie Bryant ac- complished in basketball and at the Wolf- pack Club, he should be in the NC State Athletic Hall of Fame." A native of High Point, where he was a four-sport athlete, Bryant went to Wof- ford College in Spartanburg, S.C., where he was also a standout football, baseball and basketball player. He spent time as a high school basketball coach and in the U.S. Army before beginning his college coaching career under McKinney at Wake Forest. The Deacons went to five consecutive ACC title Charlie Bryant Basketball Assistant (1964-70) Wolfpack Club (1977-97) Age: 84 Living: Cary, N.C. Occupation: Retired Did you know? Bryant was a two-time state champion at High Point (N.C.) Central High in wrestling and played football, baseball and basketball at Wofford College. ? WHERE ARE THEY NOW Bryant was an assistant coach on two ACC title-winning basketball teams at NC State (1965 and 1970) before moving into private business. He returned to Raleigh in 1977 to run the Wolfpack Club. FILE PHOTO THE ARCHITECT The Former Wolfpack Club Director Led The Efforts That Eventually Produced The PNC Arena And The Carter-Finley Stadium Upgrades "I think, for all that Charlie Bryant accomplished in basketball and at the Wolfpack Club, he should be in the NC State Athletic Hall of Fame." ■ Wolfpack Club Executive Director Bobby Purcell

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - January 2017