The Wolfpacker

January 2017

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 37 of 103

38 ■ THE WOLFPACKER WHEREARETHEYNOW? BY BRIAN RAPP O ver the 40-plus years that NC State has produced women basketball standouts, many have used the sport to propel themselves to highly suc- cessful careers as coaches, administrators and professional players in the WNBA or overseas. But few, if any, have used the sport as a springboard to the type of experiences that Trudi Lacey has compiled. Since her gradu- ation from NC State in 1981, the Wolfpack's pioneering standout has forged a career that has taken her around the world and back to North Carolina, where she now presides as director of athletics for Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte. "People know it primarily as a world- renowned culinary school," Lacey pointed out, "but it's an overall great place, and I'm blessed to be there." Lacey inherited a relatively new athletic program (five sports) this past July when former AD Stephen Byrd left to take a job at Virginia Commonwealth. The promotion came just one year after Lacey became the Wildcats basketball coach in 2015, leading the second-year program to a 7-16 mark. "Basketball is my first love, and I love teaching it, and the relationships you develop with your staff, players and fans," she admit- ted. "It was tough to give up coaching because this was my first recruiting class. But I think the lesson here is when you have a diversi- fied skillset, other opportunities do present themselves." Diversity, opportunity, challenge … those have been the hallmarks of a 35-year career for the youngest of two children of Norman and Ethel Lacey since Trudi first started emu- lating her athletic father, who played football and baseball in his youth. "I actually tried out for a little league foot- ball team and made it as a quarterback!" Lacey recalled of her first sports-related memory. "I was so proud; I came home with my helmet and shoulder pads — and mom told me to turn around and give it all back!" Undaunted by that early rejection, Lacey, with the encouragement of a close family friend, began her hoops career where so many of her fellow players began — on the neighborhood playground in her hometown of Clifton Forge, Va. Lacey scored 1,957 career points and grabbed 1,051 boards at NC State and was honored as an ACC Legend in 2007. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS TRUDI LACEY

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