When Debbie Yow was introduced as the new Director of Athletics on June 25, 2010, she told Wolfpack nation that moving forward, the department would "refuse to accept the status quo." The literal interpretation of that Latin phrase, "status quo" is "the state in which."
That "state" was very apparent the week she was hired when the 2010 Directors' Cup standings were announced. NC State was ranked 89th two years ago.
But instead of dwelling on the obstacles, Yow embraced the opportunity to lead the department. In her introductory press conference, she presented her "Wolfpack Unlimited" initiative, spelling out a number of very specific goals for the NC State Athletics program. One of those goals was that "every sport with a full complement of scholarships should be among the nation's top 25, working towards the top 10 and competing for conference and national championships."
She stated that "achieving these goals is a process, not an event," then promptly began work examining every detail of the Wolfpack program, from financial procedures to academic policies, to administrative assignments. As part of that process, the department developed a five-year strategic plan to serve as a road map for achieving those goals.
The ambitious objectives set out in the Strategic Plan were for the NC State athletics program to move up to 65th in the Director's Cup by 2013, 55th by 2014, 45th by 2015, 35th by 2016 and 25th by 2017. In 2011, State jumped 22 spots to 67th.
For 2011-12, 13 Wolfpack teams earned Directors' Cup points and six finished in the Top-25 of the Cup standings: baseball (9th), men's basketball (9th), men's cross country (10th), gymnastics (13th), women's golf (13th) and women's cross country (23rd). NC State is one of only four BCS schools to win a bowl game, finish in the top 20 in men's basketball and advance to a Super Regional in baseball (along with Florida, Florida State and Baylor) in 2011-2012.
Obviously, there is a new status quo in NC State athletics and a number of the promises of 2010 are now the realities of 2012. Sport budgets have been increased more than 22% in the past two years and improvements have been made to many of the Wolfpack's facilities for training and competition. In the process, the department has also paid all of its bills, while also generating enough new revenue to add $500,000 to its operational reserve this year, thanks to a better than anticipated ACC payout.
Despite the significant improvement, Yow and the NC State coaches and administrators will continue to refuse to accept "the state in which" things are today. As Yow said to close her introductory press conference:
"Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good becomes better and your better is the best."