banner
NC State

Avent: Letting Wilson go a bad decision for NC State

Posted January 23
Updated January 24

— Before Russell Wilson was a Seattle Seahawks quarterback, before he attended the University of Wisconsin, before he was a player with the Colorado Rockies organization, and even before he was a signal caller for North Carolina State University, he was a baseball prospect as a top-level shortstop.

“I was in Salem, Va., watching a game on a bad field – the best players in the state of Virginia,” said N.C. State head baseball coach Elliott Avent. “I liked this shortstop, very raw, but I liked him. In fact, I kind of said, ‘That shortstop is pretty good.’ I knew some farmer would come over and say, ‘Hey coach, if you like him in baseball, you should see him throw a football. He's the best quarterback the state of Virginia has ever had.’”

Avent immediately called then-Wolfpack head football coach Chuck Amato.

“I said, ‘Hey Chuck, what do you know about Russell Wilson?' (He said) 'I'll call you right back.’” Avent recalled. “He called back and said everybody likes him, but he's a little short. I'm like, ‘Here we go again.’”

Avent subsequently placed a call to Wolfpack offensive coordinator Mark Trestman – now the head coach of the Chicago Bears.

“I called Trestman and said, ‘Hey Mark, I need you to get Russell Wilson in camp and convince Chuck that he's a little taller than he is,’” Avent recounted. “Next thing you know, they sign Russell, and the rest is history.”

It was at that point that the long journey for the baseball player – and quarterback – began in earnest.

“Chuck and I recruited him for baseball, football. It was always baseball, football,” Avent said. “Now, in the process, Chuck leaves, and in comes Tom O'Brien. I had to go to Tom O'Brien and say, ‘This is baseball, football.’”

For three years, Wilson made the delicate balance of school, baseball and football work.

“He would actually get up at 5 a.m. to go to the early workouts for football so he could be out here in the afternoon,” Avent said of Wilson’s baseball dedication.

It got more complicated the summer before his third year, when Wilson was drafted by the Rockies. He played minor league baseball that summer, reported to fall football camp on time and produced a stellar campaign under center.

He wanted to continue playing minor league baseball the summer of 2011. O'Brien wanted Wilson to spend more time with football. The coach’s question: Do I take Wilson for one year or Mike Glennon for two?

"He’s not coming back. He’ll be a baseball player,” O’Brien said at the time. “We have to move forward with Glennon. We’ve planned for this day. I can’t sit here and say we’re going to wait for Russell to come back. We have to move forward. Mike is going to be the quarterback. That’s how we are going.”

That led to the transfer to Wisconsin where Wilson continued to flourish in one season as a Badger.

“It was something I wasn't very happy about,” Avent recounted. “I think it was one of the bad decisions in college sports – and not on Russell's part. I'm just saying we should have found a way to keep Russell Wilson here.”

59 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Objective Scientist Jan 25, 1:31 p.m.

    Yes sir we sure had some great games with Mike. Reminds me of Monte Kiffin sticking with Tol... View More

    — Posted by arcansawtuthpik

    "When in battle do not give up your best warrior. TOB forgot that." Not an NCSU fan, but as I recall... is not TOB a former US Marine? I know some retired Marines... with active duty even decades ago. Have any of them "forgot" about throwing anything and everything you have at your enemy... to defeat that enemy and to survive the battle? Not one of them! Yea... I know, I'm not naive. We use "military/battle talk, analogies, phrases" all the time in sports, politics, and who knows what else. But com'on! We're talking here about a college sport. There has to be some point beyond which we are not willing to go to "win" a game! That said... TOB had a decision to make... a very difficult decision! I have no doubt he WANTED Wilson as his QB for another year. He wanted his best "weapon" on the field. From what I know of the situation he made what he - TOB - thought, as HEAD COACH, was best LONG-TERM for the program.

  • arcansawtuthpik Jan 25, 1:08 p.m.

    Yes sir we sure had some great games with Mike. Reminds me of Monte Kiffin sticking with Tol Avery. It boils down to the best chance for the Wolfpack to win. The rest is mere opinion. I liked TOB, but letting Wilson go was a mistake of the highest caliber. When in battle you do not give up your best warrior. TOB forgot that. Mike is an ok QB, but will never achieve the success that you are seeing Wilson have.

  • Doc Holliday Jan 25, 12:38 p.m.

    I'm a "Carolina guy", but I always enjoyed watching Russell Wilson play... great athlete. From... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    +1...appreciating the student-athlete.

  • Objective Scientist Jan 25, 10:27 a.m.

    All QBs can be "better" with regard to their play calling on Monday mornings... likewise with coaches and the decisions they made on Sat or Sun. It is "easy" to make a better call after having seen the tape of the game. That said... O'Brian had to make a decision at that time. NCSU folks who loved Wilson wanted to get to watch him another year... understandable. I'm a Carolina guy and I liked watching him play. Having been a coach myself earlier in my life... I can empathize with O'Brian. I followed the story closely as it developed.... and we all now have the "hindsight" to better judge the call O'Brian made. Then... and now.... I believe he made the "right call" given the circumstances he faced, and the hand he had been dealt by Wilson and the circumstances. It was the right call then... and, now having a retrospective perspective, it remains the right call by O'Brian.

  • Objective Scientist Jan 25, 10:14 a.m.

    I'm a "Carolina guy", but I always enjoyed watching Russell Wilson play... great athlete. From information in the media it also appears that he was a very solid student in the classroom. I will always appreciate the STUDENT-ATHLETE more than the mere ATHLETE.

  • NCSUclassof90 Jan 25, 9:15 a.m.

    TOB did the right thing under the circumstances. RW did the right thing under the circumstances. Neither of them have hard feelings. State fans have no hard feelings. RW loves us. We love him. And to all you tarholes who like to poke this particular fire with your filthy sticks, where are your NFL QBs?

  • robbins Jan 25, 8:20 a.m.

    Letting him go may not have been good for NC State, but this State fan realizes that a year with a powerhouse like Wisconsin certainly helped him be ready for the NFL. I'll always be a Russell Wilson fan.

  • Doc Holliday Jan 24, 11:46 p.m.

    If it was such a bad idea, Coach, why wasn't RW an every game player for you? And didn't he have like the 10th highest BA on the team the year he got drafted?

  • sweet D Jan 24, 4:48 p.m.

    gotta love Avent.....great guy in person, also....Avents' Army, baby!!

  • Honesty first Jan 24, 4:28 p.m.

    Throw OBrien under the bus coach. Easy to say this now since he is gone.

More...

 

 

  • Sun Bowl: Duke vs. Arizona State

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Teams TBD

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Teams TBD

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Oakland at Denver

    Sunday at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Denver at Cincinnati

    Tonight at 9:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Louisiana Tech at NC State

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Hurricanes at Devils

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. Rice

    Wednesday at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
NYR 1
CAR 0
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
DEN
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
FAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
JST
NCCU
 
Final
TOR 118
NYK 108
Final
CLE 105
MEM 91
Final
MIA 100
BOS 84
Final
BRK 110
DET 105
Final
SAC 108
LAL 101
Final
ORL 88
PHI 96
Final
WAS 92
PHO 104
Final
MIN 96
IND 100
Final
OKC 99
NOP 101
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
DEN
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
POR
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
UTA
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
ATL
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
SAC
 
2:00pm Today
MEM
BYU
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
Final
BGU 68
FERST 82
 
Final
ARMY 72
MAINE 69
 
Final
QUIN 60
ORST 52
Final
CLST 69
USF 65
 
Final
CARK 55
CCAR 72
 
Final
UWGB 66
ARKLR 46
 
Final
RAD 74
CORN 61
 
Final
UNT 62
CREI 58
Final
CAN 67
HC 48
 
Final
USB 67
GHND 52
 
Final
OKST 64
MD 73
Final
WINT 100
REIN 72
 
Final
UGST 68
SMISS 55
Final
NEOM 77
TXPA 72
 
Final
STLU 58
VERM 55
 
Final
UNCA 62
WCU 66
 
Final
EVAN 81
ALAST 63
 
Final
HART 82
FIU 69
 
Final
VALPO 82
GOSHEN 55
 
Final
LIP 69
PEAY 63
 
Final
DEN 46
BRY 48
 
Final
MONT 62
SD 67
 
Final
MTST 65
TENST 47
Final
SAMF 64
LAMON 50
 
Final
SCAR 78
COKR 52
 
Final
HAMP 75
NARZ 66
 
Final
SDU 71
SDCHR 61
 
Final
BC 71
USC 75
Final
NICST 64
TROY 65
 
Final
BRAD 47
UCI 55
 
Final
UGA 65
SHU 47
Final
ALA 60
APP 59
Final
KSU 53
NDST 52
 
Final
WASU 82
SJST 53
Final
UTEP 78
ALCOR 45
 
Final
SEAT 66
SACST 47
 
2:00pm Today
BRAD
ARKLR
 
2:00pm Today
CCST
BRO
 
2:00pm Today
NW
ILLCH
 
2:00pm Today
FSU
STET
 
2:30pm Today
GWU
OHIO
 
3:00pm Today
KNST
ELON
 
3:00pm Today
ARKPB
SUTAH
 
4:00pm Today
PSU
DART
 
4:30pm Today
COL
DEP
 
4:30pm Today
UCI
UWGB
 
5:00pm Tonight
PORT
L
 
5:30pm Tonight
ABCHRIST
SCST
 
6:00pm Tonight
PURD
GWEBB
 
6:00pm Tonight
NKENTUCKY
IDAHO
 
6:00pm Tonight
FORD
MAN
 
6:00pm Tonight
OSU
UMO
 
6:00pm Tonight
MSU
CITA
 
6:00pm Tonight
GSOUT
TRUETT
 
7:00pm Tonight
WMICH
ALAAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
MNTER
BING
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAKE
BUCK
 
7:00pm Tonight
SYR
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
RMU
DEL
 
7:00pm Tonight
VCU
ETST
 
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
EKENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
GTDNS
FAIR
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
FAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
ILLST
MAST
 
7:00pm Tonight
TEMPL
KU
 
7:00pm Tonight
PRIN
LIB
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNH
LIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
BONA
MDES
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENN
MERC
 
7:00pm Tonight
JMU
NORST
 
7:00pm Tonight
ALCOR
NDST
 
7:00pm Tonight
ND
NILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
OU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UCF
SELA
 
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
TOWS
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUT
TENNM
 
7:00pm Tonight
VT
VMI
 
7:00pm Tonight
ODU
WMARY
 
7:05pm Tonight
IND
NO
 
7:30pm Tonight
UCONN
CLMB
 
7:30pm Tonight
STJ
LBSU
 
7:30pm Tonight
WVU
WOFF
 
8:00pm Tonight
MCNST
CMICH
 
8:00pm Tonight
COLST
CSOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
SIUE
CHIST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MICH
COPST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MINN
FUR
 
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
GRAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
TULSA
INCWORD
 
8:00pm Tonight
TTU
LOYC
 
8:00pm Tonight
JST
NCCU
 
8:00pm Tonight
IOWA
UNF
 
8:00pm Tonight
VANDY
PENN
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAM
RICE
 
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
SEMIZ
 
8:00pm Tonight
BAY
SOUTH
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHAT
UAB
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKLA
WEBER
 
8:05pm Tonight
SILL
MURST
 
8:05pm Tonight
MIZST
ORU
 
8:05pm Tonight
DRAK
SIMPSON
 
8:05pm Tonight
UMKC
TENT
 
9:00pm Tonight
LSU
COC
 
9:00pm Tonight
AFA
JVST
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
KSU
 
9:00pm Tonight
PROV
MIAMI
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARK
UWMIL
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
NDAK
 
9:00pm Tonight
GAELS
NE
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NNM
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
UCD
 
9:00pm Tonight
OREG
UCSB
 
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
WISC
 
9:05pm Tonight
EWASH
LCST
 
9:05pm Tonight
PORST
WALLA
 
10:00pm Tonight
NEV
MARS
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSFU
TAMCC
 
10:30pm Tonight
HOU
BSU
 
11:00pm Tonight
WICHS
LMU
 
11:00pm Tonight
WASH
TULA
 
11:00pm Tonight
SDST
UCR
 
Final
DET 1
COL 2
Final
EDM 5
DAL 6
Final
BOS 4
BUF 3
Final
NYR 1
CAR 0
Final
CHI 4
TOR 0
Final
WIN 3
PHI 4
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
NAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
OTT
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
PIT
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
ARI
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
CAL
 
Final
NOS 14
ATL 30
Final
HOU 25
BAL 13
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
CHI 14
DET 20
Final
TAM 3
GBP 20
Final
PIT 20
KAN 12
Final
MIA 37
MIN 35
Final
NYJ 16
NEP 17
Final
STL 27
NYG 37
Final
OAK 26
BUF 24
Final
DAL 42
IND 7
Final
ARI 6
SEA 35
8:30pm Tonight
CIN
DEN