Of pulmonary fibrosis, Norm Sloan, 77, the coach who led North Carolina State to its 1974 NCAA basketball title. In an era when only one team from a conference could go to the NCAA tournament, the Wolf-pack first defeated Maryland in an epic, triple-overtime ACC final, then proved at the Final Four that UCLA could indeed be beaten, halting the Bruins' string of seven championships.
In the sweep of N.C. State basketball, Sloan bridged two eras. He had played in Raleigh for fellow Hoosier Everett Case, and he would bequeath to his extroverted successor, Jim Valvano, the nucleus that won the Wolfpack's 1983 crown. Sloan left his alma mater for Florida in 1980 in part because N.C. State wouldn't match the Gators' salary offer. ( Dean Smith's powder-blue powerhouse at North Carolina also got to him: "If you're in a beauty contest, you want to win. But when the same contestant always wins, it's time to find a new contest.") He then took Florida—which had never made the NCAAs—to the tournament three times in 10 years before retiring in the wake of a scandal in which Gators guard Vernon Maxwell alleged he had received cash payments from Sloan and other coaches. ( Sloan denied any involvement.)
Known as Stormin' Norman for his combustibility on the sideline, Sloan said of his emotionalism, "I blow up. In some cases that's hurt me, but that way I don't have to play a silly little game and let it eat at me." Sloan, who went 627-395 in his career and was named ACC coach of the year three times, had a keen respect for history. After Case died in 1966, he was granted his wish to be buried along U.S. Highway 70 so that he could wave to "the boys" as their bus headed down Tobacco Road for a game. When N.C. State returned after beating Marquette in the '74 final, Sloan ordered the bus to pull up to Case's grave, and the boys saluted him in return.