05/19/09 — Wolfpack Caravan rolls into Walnut Creek

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Wolfpack Caravan rolls into Walnut Creek

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 19, 2009 1:46 PM

North Carolina State fans mingled with administrators and coaches as the annual Wolfpack coaches caravan rolled into Walnut Creek Country Club on Monday evening.

New women's basketball coach Kellie Harper, men's basketball coach Sidney Lowe and softball coach Lisa Navas reported on the state of their respective programs.

Athletics director Lee Fowler presided over the ceremonies, and offered insight into improving facilities and the generate state of the athletics department.

"It's an exciting time for the department," said Fowler. "The coaches are all on the recruiting trail and we have been doing a lot of work around campus. We are putting in a new field at Carter-Finley Stadium with better drainage, we are putting in new restrooms on the east side of the stadium, and we are making some updates around Reynolds Coliseum."

Lowe stepped up to the microphone and showed off his renewed enthusiasm surrounding the men's basketball program. Along with a nucleus of returning freshmen and sophomores, Lowe was quick to acknowledge his list of incoming recruits.

"We have a young man named Scott Wood and he can really shoot the basketball," said Lowe. "Along with Wood, we have signed a seven-footer named Jordan Vanderburg who has really good hands and a lot of potential. Richard Howell is a guy from Georgia that plays above the rim, and he should help us with his athleticism."

Lowe also hinted at some non-conference games that should have Wolfpack fans excited for the upcoming season. The list tentatively includes Marquette, Florida and an appearance in the annual ACC-Big 10 challenge.

A new face appeared at the mic after Lowe.

Harper received a hearty ovation and immediately won the crowd over with a genuine smile and her vision for the program. The former Western Carolina head coach made it clear that she was not trying to replace coaching legend Kay Yow.

"We will not be taking down pictures of coach Yow," said Harper. "We will be showing recruits those pictures, and we'll make sure that they understand the history of women's basketball at N.C. State."

After a late arrival during the spring recruiting period, Harper made it clear that the Wolfpack will be focused and ready to play in her first year.

"Our first priority was the existing players on the roster," said Harper, who guided Tennessee to three consecutive national titles in the late 1990s. "We talked to the girls and they seem excited and ready to get things started. Then we met with the two incoming players that were signed in the fall and we are glad that they are both still coming to N.C. State."

Having just completed the softball season, Navas acknowleged that her young team is still improving and should be better suited for ACC play in 2010.

"Our strength of schedule was in the top 25 in the nation and I don't think we were ready for that this season," said Navas. "If you watch the super regionals this weekend, you will see a lot of teams that we played this season. But the bright side is we only lose two seniors and we have a lot of talent returning."

The Walnut Creek event was just one of 22 Coaches Caravan stops in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia for the Wolfpack this year. The Wolfpack Club currently has 20,000 members nationally.