Willie’s Wise Words

January17/ 2000

… Longtimers here at SwaggerSays may remember my chat with UNC Assoc AD Willie Scroggs six years ago.  As we sat in Willie’s subterranean office deep in The Legend’s Lair, he lamented the growing concern among athletic administrators on the issue of “alcohol consumption” among athletes, students, and fans.  “The Duke Mess” is now focusing on that issue, as is a mess of trouble in TrojanLand at USC. … Looks like Sidney Lowe for NCSU!  If so, does this end the concerns in WuffWorld or simply move it to another level … will “blood” be thicker than “bile”?

   “There are two categories of schools”, Willie Scroggs said, “those that have had a major problem involving alcohol and those that WILL HAVE a major problem.”  Carolina at that point had had two recent circumstances … an inebriated coed fell to her death off the roof of a campus building, and a fraternity house fire involved alcohol as a secondary issue.

   Willie was putting Carolina into the first category and the University was in the process of reevaluating its policies involving student (underage) drinking as well as the consumption of alcohol by spectators at on-campus sports events … i.e. Football Saturdays.

   In addition to the above incidents, UNC had also recently had an incident where a UNC Trustee’s relative was cited for underage drinking in the Ramshead Parking Lot at a Football game.  This involved the infamous campus cop  “Officer Swain”.

   Since my meeting with Willie six years ago, NC State has had its “Trinity Road Tailgate Murders” and related F-Bomb Alley situations.  Again, alcohol consumption was a key ingrediant in the situations.

   Moving right along to “the Duke mess” … as this mega cause celeb is acted out on the world stage, the issue of “drunken Lacrosse players” is now under investigation.  Whether the “drunken Lacrosse players” did/did not sexually assault the “hootchee cootchee dancing honor student” is separate from the larger issue of rampant alcohol-fueled debauchery by the Laxers.

   Out in LA, USC’s Pete Carroll is busier than a one-armed paperhanger fending off waves of allegations about the besotted Sons of Troy … not only their creative rental agreements but acts of violence that were “alcohol-fueled”. 


     Let me qualify myself before going any further.  BobLee Swagger, by any standards, is essentially “a teetotaler”.  A six-pack of beer will last me a year AT LEAST.  I have no idea what “a bottle of whiskey” costs.  I “might” have 4-5 margaritas a year at “a fancy Mexican restaurant” (and get ‘brain freeze’ every time … I hate “brain freezes” don’t you!).  Pressured at a party for “what’ll you have?” I cop out with a “glass of wine” and nurse that through the night.  If I did “drink” I think I would be like Denny Crain and Allan Shore on Boston Legal … a glass of scotch on a balcony late at night while ruminating Life’s vagarities. … actually the reason I “don’t drink” is that I can be obnoxious enough sober, “drunk” I doubt I could even tolerate myself. … just one of my personal peculiarities.  When I hear folks say they “have to have alcohol to have a good time” I simply don’t understand … but I appreciate their sincerity.


   The subject of “drinking” and college sports” is guaranteed to bring out the absolute looniest form of illogic from the screeching simians over in the message board asylums.  When I talked to Willie Scroggs, the howler monkeys were in full riot mode ready to disembowel Little Dickie for “ruining their RIGHT to ‘party’ at UNC Football games”.  I violated the #1 fan rule and actually got the facts of the situation.  I know … me bad!

   I will give the lunatic fringe credit however … bless their hearts they had constructed an elaborate labyrithian conspiracy that had Little Dickie Baddour diabolically destroying Carolina Football by (1) outlawing “having a good time” thereby (2) ruining the Kenan gameday atmosphere which would (3) cause BillyBlueChip not to come to UNC (despite it being Thomas Wolfe’s alma mater!) and then (4) UNC could never go to a BCS game and (5) the evil Fat Cats who want UNC to “just be a basketball school” would win.  If any of that makes sense to you … you be a loon!

   By Loon Logic, “boys will be boys” and “drinking” should be “winked and nodded at” and left alone cause that’s what “jocks have always done”.  Loons know this because they used to get drunk too and pretend they were “jocks” and cuss a lot and make up stories about wild sexual bacchanals.  There is some truth to their assumptions.  “Jocks” have always led the way in drunken partying on any campus.  Again, according to the loonies, if the football-hating administrators try to curb “drinking” then BillyBlueChip will go where he is allowed to get drunk.

   The same “but we’ll never get to a BCS game if …” logic applies to drugs and sexual assault too.  WHAT’S NEXT … expecting them to go to class and take for real courses?  When are those stoopid administrators going to learn that the primary purpose of “college” is to qualify for a bowl game (preferably a BCS game) … and to “make the dance” (preferably The Final Four).

   Alas and alack … even if the goggle-eyed loonies had “a clue” they are forgetting about those fine folks on the back of your telephone book.  Yes, indeed, those lovable “trial lawyers” lurking in the weeds ready to sue any deep-pocketed institution that “does not have policies in place” OR “has policies in place but did not enforce them sufficiently”.

   Yes, college “jocks” and college students in general have a long history acquainting themselves with demon rum, Jack Daniels, and the kiss of the hops.  Has one really “been to college” if one hasn’t thrown up all over one’s date … I mean really!

   So Duke is aghast that it’s Laxers are drunken party boys … NC State has allowed a small minority of hooligan fans to give the entire institution a negative image.  And everyone blames the administrators for “taking away our RIGHT to party”.

   In the past two years, Raleigh has had two tragedies involving cars full of inebriated high school students involved in multiple fatality auto accidents.  Every parent’s nightmare … that late night call from a police officer.  In both caes, parents of the deceased passengers in the car sued the parents of the deceased drunken driver. 

   Two great American socio-cultural institutions converge … liquor and lawsuits.  

   Mr Swagger doesn’t have “the answer” here folks … but just offering a little reminder that nothing takes place in a vacumn any more. … and, of course, the reminder that screeching fan loonies are among God’s dumbest creatures.


 Sidney Lowe Takes The Job

    For my Wuff pals I really do hope Sidney Lowe works out OK.  For Lee Fowler’s sake I hope it all holds together long enough for him to get the heck outta town.  For me always looking for bizarre column fodder … I can’t imagine a scenario any “richer” in irony.

   There is no better gauge of “the State basketball coach search” issue than I found Thursday night.  The Mizzus and I attended a UNC Athletics Dept party at Top of The Hill on Franklin Street.  The Sidney Lowe hiring was one of the popular conversation topics (one of a dozen or so).  The coincidence of Sidney, after 22 years, suddenly deciding to finish his degree coincidentally just when it mattered, at some obscure “credible institution” had everyone laughing.  Does it smell to high heaven and is likely bogus as hell? … certainly … but among a lot of Tar Heel names you would immediately recognize no one even cared.  Here’s hoping that the N&O nor SI or ESPN does not even bother to investigate.  Let it go, State fans have suffered enough.

   Give Sid his convenient mail-order diploma and lets move on.  Throw in an extra $25 and get a couple for Washburn and Shackleford too.  Hell, howsabout Academic Amnesty for all of V’s players. Sure, why not?

   Sidney’s record as an NBA head coach … there are only, what, 30 or so NBA teams.  To simply BE an NBA Head Coach is cool and has a definite cache.  That his W-L record is not exemplary is a fact but, hey, Eddie Fogler was never an NBA Head Coach.  Neither was Randy Weil. Neither was Quin Snyder.  Heck neither Roy nor Mike have “been NBA coaches”.

   With the hiring of Sidney, the New ACC now has 7 African American head coaches out of 12.  No big deal … but it might win you a bar bet someday.  Sidney’s wife’s name is Melanie.  Herb’s wife was named Melanie.  Jim’s wife was named Pam.  

   Will Sidney be successful?  How the hell should I know?  Does anyone think Roy or Mike are exactly shaking in their Florsheims.  

   What kind of “student-athletes” will Sidney bring to NC State?  Ah yes … what “type” of kid will Sidney recruit?  Calipari didn’t think he could get his “type of kid” into NCSU, will Sidney be limited to “Les and Herb-types” or will he get some “wink & nods”?  Will we see any more Serbo-Euros wearing Red & White?

   The Real Question … How long a “honeymoon” will Sidney get from the hardcore Wuffloons … and from the mainstream wolfpackers?  We all know the toxic bile that builds up among “the Pack loyalists” with mounting defeats to local area teams.  With Sidney being “blood” and all … will his Wolfpack Red blood be able to counteract the bile of losses to local area teams? … for how long?


 Swagger’s Stumper

Who did State defeat in the semifinals in ’83?


    The Ozzie & Harriet question … had two answers … The Nelson Family all waving good by from their living room … or Ricky singing to adoring teeny boppers.

   The account of BobLee and The Black Panthers was accurate.  Almost all of the stuff you read here IS accurate … BobLee leads an interesting life.

   Great line from Boston Legal a few weeks ago … Brad asked Allan if he could join Allan and Denny “on the balcony” some night.  Allan said “No, that would make it three and three is a team and I am not a team player.”  That may become a BobLee motto.

   Mike Nifong won his election by 900 votes.  Duke decides to reinstate its Lacrosse program.  Conflicting evidence surfaces every day.  This mess isn’t going away for a looooong time.

Want to e-mail BobLee?

[email protected]

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