It has been almost 40 years since Sidney Lowe and N.C. State took that wild ride to an improbable national championship.
It has been almost 12 years since Lowe coached his last basketball game with the Wolfpack — and it was not a happy parting.
But there he was Wednesday, back in PNC Arena, back in his red blazer, back hearing the cheers as NCSU honored the 1983 NCAA champs during the Wake Forest game.
“It feels great. It’s been a long time,” Lowe said, smiling. “To get back here and see these guys and see familiar faces, to feel the love from the university, it’s great. It’s great to feel loved, to feel the love from our fans.”
The ‘83 team, coached by the late Jim Valvano, will always be beloved by State fans, by college basketball fans. With Lowe at point guard, the Wolfpack beat ‘em all — North Carolina with Michael Jordan, Virginia with Ralph Sampson, Houston with Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon — in first winning an ACC championship, then the national championship.
As one columnist wrote in 1983, “N.C. State doesn’t have any All-Americas, just all of America.” That’s the way it felt that spring as the Pack’s story unfolded and disbelievers became believers.
“This group has a special bond,” Lowe said. “We accomplished something together as a team and it’s going to carry on forever.
“People still talk about it 40 years later. I go to games in the NBA and someone wants my autograph