Norm Sloan Remembered For Accomplishments On, Off Court
Posted December 12, 2003 5:26 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Members of North Carolina State University's 1974 national-championship basketball team made their way to the Edenton Street Methodist Church on Friday to say goodbye to their coach, Norm Sloan.
Sloan died Tuesday of pulmonary fibrosis at age 77. His funeral was Friday, following a memorial service Thursday night.
"He led us to the top," David Thompson said. "He led us on the court. He led us off the court, as well. To have him gone now is really tough."
The joy of what his former players once accomplished was tinged with sadness at the loss of their coach. But Thompson, Tom Burleson and their teammates can move forward because Sloan taught them how.
"The best lessons in life come after you know everything," Burleson said. "We thought we knew everything at 18. But we came to look at him as a father figure."
About 200 people attended Friday's one-hour service, including members of the current Wolfpack team, led by coach Herb Sendek.
Sloan's grandchildren, Blake and Taylor Nichols, remembered their grandfather as more than a coach. And while many people may wonder why they were put on earth, Pete Sloan noted that "Norm was put here for us."
Sloan played for the Wolfpack in the 1940s and returned to coach 14 seasons. He led N.C. State to three Atlantic Coast Conference championships, an undefeated season in 1973 and the 1974 national championship.
Sloan won 627 games. But some of the players said they will remember the life lessons Sloan taught them.
"It's not the end of an era," Burleson said. "Because he was an era. What he did for N.C. State was take us to a level of national prominence . . . and made us all better people for being around him."