NC State and City of Raleigh celebrate ACC title, Final Four runs at the Belltower

Josh Chapin Image
Monday, April 15, 2024
NC State celebrates ACC title, Final Four runs at the Belltower
The celebration was held Monday night at the Belltower on NC State's campus.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- NC State and the City of Raleigh prepared a special celebration following the historic March Madness run of the men's and women's basketball teams.

It was quite a night and perfectly encapsulated the extraordinary last month in Raleigh.

During NC State's March Madness runs (men's and women's) celebrations at the Memorial Belltower became a common occurrence. The big difference Monday night was that the teams got to be there for the festivities.

"I want y'all to give yourself a hand ... thanks for coming out and thanks for supporting us," men's coach Kevin Keatts told the crowd.

The party weeks in the making came to Hillsborough Street, complete with music, highlights, students, and families with small children.

The Wolfpack men followed their first Atlantic Coast Conference championship since 1987 with an even more improbable Final Four appearance, the first since Jim Valvano's "Cardiac Pack" magic of '83.

They are the first team to go 5-for-5 and win the ACC Tournament, then followed with four NCAA wins in a row to get back to the sport's biggest stage before falling to Purdue in the Final Four 63-50.

Thank you for coming out to let the team know what it means to celebrate the Belltower, to light it red for the Pack. Go Pack," NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson said in his remarks.

Just as magical: the women made the Final Four, too, their first trip since 1998, which came under their own beloved late Hall of Famer, Kay Yow. The team also did not advance to the championship after losing to No. 1 and eventual national champions South Carolina 78-59.

Both teams got announced one by one, each with their own hype videos.

"It's been electric, the whole street has been filled with people every weekend for the last four weekends," said Tanner Cable, an NC State student. "It's been the greatest experience ever to be able to go here as a student at the same time it's been so cool "

Cable, a Holly Springs native, also went to Phoenix for the men's Final Four.

"We missed some classes, I'm not going to lie ... and we get back and it's like finals season ... gotta lock in," Cable said. "The procrastination is at an all-time high."

To top it off, Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin issued a proclamation declaring April 15 as "North Carolina State University Men's and Women's Basketball Day" in Raleigh.

And in a final twist, Baldwin good-humouredly addressed the rumored sentiment that NC State big man DJ Burns Jr. was so popular that he could run -- and probably get elected -- as mayor of Raleigh.

"I'm going to have DJ be mayor of the day one of these days," Baldwin said. "We're going to organize it."

The crowd roared with approval.

It was a moment years in the making, celebrated by current students and former ones, like Harold Stroupe, a 1962 graduate.

"I've never dreamed that we'd have men's and women's teams at the top of the mountain," Stroupe said. "It's wonderful."

WATCH THE FULL CELEBRATION CEREMONY HERE

Miss the Wolfpack celebration at the Belltower on Monday night? Watch the full thing right here.