Two of the best players in North Carolina State history were thrown out of their seats during the Wolfpack’s 76-62 loss to No. 20 Florida State on Saturday.
Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani were in the stands behind the scorer’s table when they were removed from their seats by official Karl Hess with 6:40 left as Wolfpack player Scott Wood prepared to shoot a free throw.
NC State Athletic Director Debbie Yow issued a statement Saturday night saying she spent the afternoon and evening seeking an explanation from the Atlantic Coast Conference about what happened. She said she spoke to Commissioner John Swofford and Karl Hicks, the league’s associate commissioner for basketball operations, ”regarding our concerns and our need for clarification as to why this occurred.”
”We expect fair treatment of our fans at State athletic events,” Yow said.
John Clougherty, the ACC’s supervisor of officials, said in a statement later Saturday night that game officials have the authority to ask the home team’s management to remove fans when, in the official’s judgment, their behavior is extreme or excessive. After Hess gestured to have Gugliotta and Corchiani removed, they were approached by an officer from the Raleigh Police Department.
”It’s unfortunate in this instance that ACC protocol of communicating directly with the home game management was not followed, and instead, a building security officer was solicited,” Clougherty said. ”We will re-communicate this policy with all officials to ensure proper protocol is followed.”
In response, Yow said in an email to The Associated Press that she appreciated Clougherty’s comments, she expects that protocol to be followed at future NC State games and that Swofford and Hicks understand her school’s concerns.
Hess declined comment several times when approached after the game by an AP reporter. Corchiani tweeted roughly 40 minutes after the game that Hess ”didn’t like fact Googs (and) I told him he was having a bad day, inconsistent, (and) telling the truth.”
”I don’t have any idea what happened there,” first-year N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said.
Gugliotta scored 1,536 points while playing for NC State from 1988-92, before beginning a 13-year NBA career that included an All-Star selection in 1997. Corchiani, who spent three seasons in the NBA, played for the Wolfpack from 1987-91 and is second on the NCAA Division I career assists list with 1,038 — behind only Duke’s Bobby Hurley.
Both Gugliotta’s and Corchiani’s jersey numbers hang from the RBC Center rafters.