Taking Back Tobacco Road

Mark Gottfried used a Pacific Coast system to resurrect NC State basketball.
  1. Mark Gottfried mingles. Gliding through his own backyard, the basketball coach shakes hands, passes out beers and talks hoops—North Carolina State-by-god Wolfpack hoops. His guests, for the first time in a long time, are drinking up their pride in the Pack program with as much enthusiasm as they throw back the beer. It has been a while. Not since they've had a drink but since they've been able to discuss State basketball without apologies, excuses and then a drink. It is late summer. Gottfried's second season in Raleigh is nearly two months away, but buzz from the Pack's unlikely run to the Sweet 16 and the program's first 24-win season since Jim Valvano's 1987-88 squad continues at a low hum. And Coach has been busy.

    He is still tweaking his new up-tempo offense (well, new to the Pack) that helped put NC State into the NCAA tournament, and he persuaded his best players, guard Lorenzo Brown and forward C.J. Leslie, to put the NBA on hold and stick around for one more year. That me...

The complete text of “Taking Back Tobacco Road” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on espn.go.com.

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