Part II: Bobby Purcell Q&A

Bobby Purcell, Executive Director of the Wolfpack Club,discusses fundraising issues, facility upgrades, and more in this exclusive Q&A with Pack Pride!

  • Part I: Bobby Purcell Q&A

    Bobby Purcell Bio: Bobby Purcell began his career at NC State in 1981 and has been with the Wolfpack Club since 1987. During his tenure as Executive Director, his responsibilities have included overseeing all facets of the Student Aid Association. He assumed the additional duties of overseeing the Wolfpack Pride Campaign and Endowment Fund for student-athletes when Charlie Bryant retired in March of 1997. Under Purcell's leadership, the Wolfpack Club has had record-breaking donation and membership results.

    A native of Clinton, Purcell has served in a number of capacities within the Wolfpack athletics program. He was originally hired in 1981 as a part-time assistant football coach for Monte Kiffin. Under Kiffin, he helped coach running backs, special teams and the defensive scout team in addition to being the academic coordinator for the football program. When Tom Reed became NC State's head football coach in 1983, he named Purcell as recruiting coordinator/assistant coach, where he quickly gained recognition as one of the ACC's top recruiters. Among his signees was Erik Kramer, the 1986 ACC Player of the Year. Dick Sheridan retained Purcell as his recruiting coordinator when he became State's head coach in 1986. Purcell also handled many administrative duties for Sheridan, including being coordinator of the Dick Sheridan Football Skills Camp.

    Bobby Purcell began his career at NC State in 1981 and has been with the Wolfpack Club since 1987.

    Purcell became assistant director of the Wolfpack Club in July 1987 and coordinated fund-raising efforts in 49 North Carolina counties and various out-of-state areas for four years. He also directed the Wolfpack courtesy car program and oversaw management of the Stroud Center. Purcell attended NC State and North Carolina, where he received his BS degree in business administration in 1977. Following two years with Whirlpool Corporation, Purcell returned to school and earned a master's of education in sports management from the University of Georgia. During his tenure in Athens, he worked as a volunteer graduate assistant under Vince Dooley and later served as an intern in the front office of the Atlanta Falcons.

    Purcell is married to the former Lori Williams, and they have two children, John and Paige. The Purcells reside in Cary.

    Mr. Purcell took some time out of his busy schedule to answer questions submitted by Pack Pride members.

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    Has Lee Fowler and the Athletic Department provided you any insight as to what they would like the Wolfpack Club to raise money for in the future?
    There have been discussions about an indoor practice facility for football that other sports can use as well. That's only been discussed at this point.

    The softball stadium is something we are raising money for, and the soccer/track complex will be mostly funded through the university. There has been discussions about the east side of the stadium, making it more like the west side in terms of concessions and the restrooms, and things like that.

    The reason we're behind is we never did the things we needed to do to stay on top. Historically we would build a nice facility and it would never change for 20 years. You don't buy a new house, move in, and never keep it up.

    The Wolfpack Club is generally viewed as the best, if not the 2nd best fund raising organization in the ACC, and in the top 15 nationally. The amounts of money raised on an annual basis as well as the facilities built in the last 10 years seems to substantiate that. Why do you think that the overall athletic program is not commensurate with the fundraising success?
    We try to compete for championships too. We want to raise more money than everybody. Over the last 10 years we've raised more money than anybody in the Atlantic Coast Conference, in total dollars.

    "I think it will translate into victories, but it doesn't happen overnight."

    It will begin translating into success. The new basketball practice facility, Herb said that started to have an impact in recruiting. It helped women's basketball because now they have their own court in Reynolds. Volleyball and gymnastics have their own court in Reynolds.

    I think it will translate into victories, but it doesn't happen overnight.

    The Rams Club pays part of Roy Williams' salary to the tune of 'X' amount a year. Does/Would the Wolfpack Club ever consider supplementing the salary of a coach?
    Absolutely, if asked to do so by the chancellor and athletic director. The way we operate, we don't decide where our money is spent. We raise money and the university has to request that money.

    For example, let's say we like the baseball coach, and we say we're going to give him a $50,000 bonus. We can't do that. That's got to come from the athletic director and the chancellor. They have to run the department, and we have to be supportive of that.

    If they come to our board and discuss it, we'll vote on it and provide it. Generally, we've not been involved in compensation in the past. We've been involved in providing a lot of perks for coaches, but our main focus is scholarships and facilities.

    The more money we raise, the more we can do for the athletics department.

    What will be the biggest challenge for the Wolfpack Club in the upcoming years?
    I think the rising costs of scholarships. That's continuing to be a challenge. It has never gone down in all the years I've worked here... it's always gone up. We're fully funded now. Every sport has all the scholarships that the NCAA allows.

    The most important thing is we've got to build our endowment... it is small when compared to others. One of the reasons we haven't been able to build it is our focus for the last eight or nine years has been on capital campaigns because of our facility needs.

    The endowment will be our next big challenge. We've got to get our endowment up to $100 million plus.

    Do you anticipate the Pride Campaign affecting the Wolfpack Club's ability to raise capital funds twenty years from now? Why or Why not?
    No I don't. We do need to get to the point where people can catch their breath. We've got to give people a chance to pay off their pledges and catch up a little bit, and hopefully they can give a little more to the annual fund and consider gifts to the endowment.

    "Look at the north endzone, we can come back later and add a second level easily... we can add suites."

    As we grow we will add seats. Our stadium is being built in such a way that we can keep adding seats. Look at the north endzone, we can come back later and add a second level easily... we can add suites. We have the entire east side that we can add suites or club seats we can put on the east side.

    I want to keep us at a full capacity. I don't want a bunch of empty seats.

    How does the Wolfpack Club approach former athletes in the professional ranks?
    We have really tried to focus on that recently. For instance, this weekend Terrence and Torry Holt are having their charity event and our staff is helping out a lot of that.

    I think you've got to get to know the former players the best you can and see their needs and interests. If nothing else but to pay back their scholarships, I think you need to try and get them to give back to their university.

    At every fundraising conference I go to, it is an important question. Nobody seems to have an answer and everyone struggles with it. Nobody has a lot of success with it, and I think part of the reason is because the agent controls so much of the spending habits of their players.

    Overall, we have a high percentage of former athletes giving back to the Wolfpack Club. We don't have a high percentage of pro athletes, but the athletes in general have a very high percentage. We've been very blessed lately with some of them stepping up.

    How much of a priority will an indoor practice facility be after the north endzone project is completed? Couldn't that facility be designed to be utilized by many of the sports programs?
    The priority will be established by Lee Fowler and the chancellor. I'm sure it will be a priority, maybe not right away, but in the near future. I personally think it should only be built if all of our sports can use it.

    I had a discussion with Chuck Amato about that and he supports it 100%. Every sport should be able to use it, and it should be a multi-sport facility. It will probably be located over by the practice fields.


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