At a time when irate NC State fans are flooding call-in shows and message boards with pleas for Sidney Lowe's dismissal, the embattled Wolfpack coach received a touching show of support from a very unlikely source.
No, not a current player, administrator or even a local columnist. It came from a promising recruit from Marietta, Ga. who hasn't even played his first game for Lowe yet.
Ryan Harrow, one of the cornerstones of the 2010 recruiting class expected to revive NC State's floundering program, read some of the vitriol directed at Lowe and opted to stand up for the man who offered him a scholarship when others weren't interested. As a result, Harrow wrote a lengthy letter directly to fans on PackPride.com on Sunday requesting that they "don't give up on supporting the team and don't say we need to fire the coach."
"I read the boards a lot, and lately the fans were talking bad about coach Lowe and the team," Harrow said by phone on Tuesday afternoon. "Coach Lowe always believed in me even when I wasn't ranked and I wasn't as good as I am now. I just feel his loyalty has always been with me, so I wanted to show him the same respect."
Despite a six-game losing streak, a 17-42 record in ACC play the past four years and a 3-12 mark against in-state powers Duke and North Carolina, Lowe received a vote of confidence for next season from athletic director Lee Fowler on Friday. Fowler cited several reasons for his support, but it's no mystery that the primary one is that he can't risk losing the star-studded recruiting class Lowe landed for next season.
Not only are Harrow, guard Lorenzo Brown and forward Luke Cothron are each among Rivals.com's top 40 recruits in the nation, Raleigh native and McDonald's All-American C.J. Leslie is also still considering signing with NC State in the spring. Each of them cite Lowe as a primary reason for their interest in the Wolfack.
"I'm pretty confident he'll be around," Harrow said. "They assured me of it. Even though I like the school, I don't think I'd be there if Coach Lowe wasn't around."
In his letter, Harrow wrote that "Coach Lowe works hard and is very passionate about the game."
"Every bad game we cannot criticize Coach Lowe," he added. "It comes down to the players performing on the court. I know coach Lowe is going to help my game and make me the best point guard I can be."
The recruit's post took Lowe by surprise.
"That's incredible," Lowe told the Raleigh News & Observer on Monday. "I've never heard of any player going out and doing that."