Corchiani: "We Got Under His Skin"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Karl Hess, what in the world were you thinking when you ejected Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta?

Karl Hess, what in the world were you thinking?

With 6:40 remaining in Saturday's game and NC State trailing Florida State 59-41, Hess stopped the ballgame, walked over to the scorer's table and ejected Wolfpack legends Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta from the game.

Stunned, the ex-NC State teammates were asked to leave by security and promptly exited the venue to a load cheer from the student section and fanbase.

What exactly was said that prompted the ejection?

"We really don't know," said Corchiani after the game. "It's undeniable that Googs and I were very vocal on a number of different calls, but I've been that way for the last 20-25 years.

"Listen, I was there with my wife and daughter, and Googs was there with his his daughter. We're not going to say anything profane and we did not use any profanity or say anything that could be taken as extremely offensive or unwarranted."

According to Corchiani, there was another incident that happened before his where Hess attempted to have a student removed but was unsuccessful at doing so.

"About 10 minutes prior to that a student was yelling for the referees to quit looking at our dance team," said Corchiani. "[Hess] went down to security and tried to have him thrown out. Security asked around about the situation and was told nothing really happened so the student was allowed to stay.

"So, we weren't the first episode that he had in today's game."

Corchiani reiterated that he and Gugliotta were questioning calls throughout the game, but that was the case for all 17,000+ fans that were in the RBC Center. He believes that because their seats are only a few feet away from the floor, Hess could hear their specific comments and just had enough.

"We're not denying that happened," said Corchiani. "Sure, we questioned some of the calls. We were saying things like, 'how do you not call that foul' or 'he's getting banged... be more consistent...' things of that nature. But, never once was there anything even questionable directed at him.

"The thing is, we were probably within five feet of him, and he heard exactly what we were saying. To me, I think we got under his skin, and he had enough of it, but that doesn't change the fact that there was no profanity or offensive remarks."

Following the game, Hess reportedly declined to comment on the situation when questioned about the incident by reporters and NC State officials.

"The thing that is more bothersome than anything was him apparently not commenting," Corchiani said. "I was told by some folks that he wouldn't comment on it and the reason is because there isn't anything he can say."

Corchiani had a stellar career at NC State, leaving in 1992 as the Wolfpack's all-time assists and steals leader. His 1,038 assists rank No. 2 all-time nationally, and his 328 steals is the 19th-most in NCAA history. Gugliotta spent 13 seasons in the NBA after a standout career in Raleigh where he scored 1,536 points.

A lot of folks may not know it, but Hess, who is also reportedly a psychologist, was a legendary hoops player at Liberty before becoming a referee. He is the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,373 points and capped his four-year career at Liberty by leading the Flames to a 28-11 and an NCCAA national championship in 1980, earning tournament MVP honors during the event.

Hess was an inaugural member in Liberty's Hall of Fame and had his No. 11 jersey retired in 2006.

But, none of that matters now and even though he is considered by some to be one of the top referees in the ACC, his actions today were inexcusable.

Maybe Hess didn't like the fact that two former Wolfpack stars were riding him hard for another poorly-officiated game. Maybe he thought he heard something from the duo that they didn't say. We won't know his reasons until he states them.

Hess needs to publicly comment on why he asked two of NC State's greatest players to exit for doing what every single Wolfpacker in the arena was doing Saturday afternoon... simply being a die-hard fan.

"I believe Debbie [Yow] and Chris Kingston are trying to find out what led him to do what he did," said Corchiani. "I hope they are able to do so."

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