O'Brien: We made the best decision for NC State
Posted January 24
Raleigh, N.C. — No matter who wins the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 in New Jersey, former head coach Tom O’Brien will hold claim to a victorious participant for the eighth time in the last 11 seasons. And while Broncos linebacker Nate Irving would like to see the Lombardi Trophy in Denver, it is former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson that is sure to garner more headlines should Seattle win or lose.
Wilson was part of O’Brien’s first class in Raleigh and redshirted his freshman year. That set up a position battle for the signal caller spot the following season.
“We went to preseason with (Mike) Glennon’s freshman year, Russell’s redshirt freshman year, and they went down to the last scrimmage in preseason camp before we decided to go with Russell,” O’Brien said.
Just a couple years later, Glennon seized the spot and Wilson took a different path to professional baseball and then to Wisconsin.
“I’m not clairvoyant. I can’t tell the future,” O’Brien said. “You make a decision on the facts that you have at that time. Certainly, with the facts and the situation what it was, we parted on great terms. Russell went his way, we had to make a decision that was best for NC State. We made that decision and went forward. The best part is that it worked out for both kids.”
Former East Carolina coach Steve Logan backed O’Brien in an interview Friday saying, “What Tom O’Brien did, without a doubt, was the logical best thing to do.”
Current NC State baseball coach Elliott Avent, who got the ball rolling on the two-sport athlete’s career in college, sees it differently and said that Wilson should have never been in a spot to go to Wisconsin, calling him “an NC State guy.”
Wilson and Glennon’s career tracks met this season as they went head-to-head on Nov. 3. The hero of that game? Former NC State kicker under O’Brien Steven Hauschka who hit a game-winner in overtime.
Despite the seemingly unceremonious departure from NC State, however, O’Brien said that he and Wilson maintain a positive relationship and have texted each other this week. O’Brien added that Wilson, “someday might be president if he wants to be. He has a great people skills, he has great leadership, he has great personality.”
Avent insists that Wilson would be a Major League Baseball player if he had stuck with baseball full time. O’Brien said that he can be a Super Bowl winning quarterback by seizing the opportunity he has created for himself in football.