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Thursday, September 25, 2008

WRAL: NCSU's relationship with Rivers unfortunately a cold one


This kind of confirms something that I've suspected for a while now...while State fans love to rag on Carolina for Willie Parker not recognizing his alma mater during intros on Sunday, State's relationship with their signature football alum may be just as icy.

You walk into NC State's football shrine, the Murphy center, and you have to search for a picture of Philip Rivers. His jersey? Only in a picture. Nine NFL helmets with autographs of former Wolfpack players sit in a glass case.

There isn't a Chargers/Rivers helmet among them.


Did it get lost in the mail? You could have walked it from San Diego to Raleigh in the five years that Rivers has been gone.

When recruits walk into the Murphy center they want to see recent history. Guys in the NFL who have played at NC State within the last decade. Guys who recruits see on TV playing right now. A star like Philip Rivers would pull some serious weight.

Who's fault is it?

Probably both parties. Rivers doesn't get back to NC State much at all. He is still bitter about Chuck Amato being fired.

It kind of makes sense, doesn't it? When was the last time Philip was on local radio? Was spotted at a football game? Was in town to take part in a charity event or some other State related event in the community. My boy Joe Ovies at 850TheBuzz has confirmed as much to me before -- the relationship between Rivers and State fans is mostly a one-way street.

It's odd that this story from Jeff Gravely comes on the same day that PackPride caught up with another N.C. State player doing well in the pros, Steven Tulloch, in a story entitled 'Tulloch: 'I Love NC State.' Tulloch, too had many positives to shower upon Amato, but he didn't seem to harbor any ill will toward State for his former coach's treatment.

With all due respect to Philip, I don't think he should be bitter that Amato was fired. He had difficulty getting the job done once Philip left and couldn't seem to get out of his own way with the media at the end. If anything, he should be proud that he is probably the reason Amato lasted as long as he did.

I would hope that Philip would take a page out of Amato's book. As much as Chuck was dogged and badmouthed during his final years here, the man still deeply and passionately loves the school he suited up and played football for. I wish, and hope, Philip reaches that point someday.

UPDATE 10-01-08:
If you clicked on the above WRAL link hoping to find Jeff Gravley's story, I've got bad news...the story's no longer there. The link takes you to the front page of WRAL's new sports site, but a search on the new site yielded no results pointing back to the original piece.

Given the accounts posted in the comments section, I'm inclined to believe that Jeff was mistaken about his account of Rivers' memorabilia in the Murphy Center and decided to pull the piece. That's the only thing I can figure. If you find it on the redesigned page in the future, let me know via the comments or through email and I'll repair the link.


  1. Check this link out.


    And having been in the Murphy Center (I tutored the football team in 2005-2006), I can tell you firsthand that Gravely piece is garbage.


  2. Chris,

    I hear what you're saying, but Gravely seems to specifically address the fact that he's been in the Murphy Center the last three weeks:

    "For the last three Mondays, I have been in the Murphy Center to cover the football press conference. When you walk into NC State's state of the art football facility there is an area on the first floor dedicated to Wolfpack greats. This is where most get to visit. The upstairs areas are for coaches and players only. Memorabilia, pictures and artifacts decorate the first floor shrine but it took a few minutes for me to find a picture of Rivers. The larger-than-life Rivers photo that used to be in there beside Chuck Amato in his sunglasses is gone. The #17 jersey? Only in a picture."

    So perhaps there was a change made to the layout of the memorabilia since '06?

    Something's not adding up.

  3. I know that Rivers has returned to Raleigh at least a couple of times the past couple of years for signings and what not.

    I don't read too much into this. I don't see it turning into a Pete Rose situatuion, where Rivers is across the street at Bojangles signing autographs while the Pack is playing at C-F.

  4. I wonder if Graveley has been in the Murphy Center prior to this? Maybe there's some rearranging going on or something, or perhaps it's wishful thinking.

    I know that in most pieces I've read, if State is mentioned, Philip's said nothing but good things. I think it may be a failure on both ends...if TOB and the rest of the Athletics Department are not reaching out to Phil, they should do so quickly.

    If they are and Phil is giving them the cold shoulder, then he needs to get Chuck out of his ass. Apparently some people fell harder for the facade that Amato put up. I always felt like he was selling me a car.


  5. Well I don't think it was a facade to the players. Amato, to a fault, was a players' coach. It got in the way of him making some decisions that could've bettered the team at times, but it won him the loyalty of nearly everyone that suited up for him.

    Amato's primary faults were his ego--which hindered his ability to delegate authority--and his disdain for the media. The first prevented him from maintaining a consistent coaching staff, and the second made himself and the school look bad, which all but sealed his fate.

    Deep down, though, the man loves State, and though I was happy to see him go at the time, I still realize it was tough on him to have his alma mater give him the boot.

  6. I was in the Murphy Center in March, when I got to meet TOB. Either they've rearranged since then, or Gravely is indeed not being fully honest: