Lail: The Making of 'Glass Slipper'

Four years ago, Triangle news veteran Bob Langford was out west, in New Mexico of all places, when the idea hit him.

"I ought to write a book about the 1983 NC State national championship team," remembers Langford. "Then it occurred to me: I don't write books."

Nonetheless, a seed was planted in Langford's mind, and four years later his idea has come to fruition in the form of a movie called "The Glass Slipper Still Fits."

Just in time for the 20th anniversary of the Pack's historic run.

"You only get one chance to tell the 20th anniversary story," says Langford, the former News & Observer and WRAL fixture who now writes and produces programs for the Discovery Channel. "We said, 'we can't blow this. This has got be good.'

"We wanted to do something that was worthy of that team and lived up to Jim Valvano's memory. I hope we did."

The finished product, written and produced by Langford, takes you through the journey that was the Cardiac Pack's momentous run to Albuquerque, where NC State stunned the University of Houston, 54-52, on Lorenzo Charles' dunk heard 'round the world. Everyone knows the story, but it was up to Langford & Co., to tell it in a fresh way.

"The real thing was trying to find new stuff," says Langford. "Along the way, we stumbled upon all these great stories."

Such as the charismatic Valvano telling his team after its early win over Pepperdine that the Pack was going to win the NCAA title.

Or reserve Mike Warren telling a bemused Charles before the historic final play against Houston, "Yo, Lo, man. We're struggling cuz you ain't had no dunks yet. You gotta get some dunks here."

Says Langford: "Lorenzo looked at him like 'Whatever' because he hadn't touched the ball in about an hour and a half."

Those are just a couple of the amazing moments that "Glass Slipper" captures. (The VHS is available for $19.95, the DVD - with extra interviews - can be yours for $23.95.)

Nine months of hard work resulted in "Glass Slipper," but it was worth it, says Langford. Everyone associated with the film has, in one way or another, been associated with NC State. Langford served as a writing advisor to the student newspaper, Technician, for many years. Robert Newton, the film's editor, was the editor of Valvano's coach's show. (He also served as the editor on MTV's "Real World" during the season of the infamous Puck.) And photographer Martin Brown produced the "Room of Dreams," Valvano's trophy/video recruiting room that has now gained legendary - and urban legend-type - status.

"This was near and dear to everybody's heart," says Langford, who, like many, celebrated the Pack's win in April 1983 on Hillsborough Street.

Langford is quick to commend officials at NC State and the Wolfpack Club for their help. However, the film would not have been completed without the help of the former players themselves. For instance, the crew managed to get Dereck Whittenburg for a brief interview during the summer. The exhausted Whittenburg - who had spent two days traveling from the Bahamas to New York then to Raleigh before the interview and had managed just one hour of sleep - didn't have a lot of time to talk, and he hadn't even had lunch when they began taping.

"The second he starts talking about this, everything changes," says Langford. "You can see him going from this worn out guy with a pack of Fritos for lunch to a different person talking about coming back from his broken foot.

"For basketball fans, this is one of the 10 biggest things they ever saw in their lives. Imagine if you were a player."

To order your copy of "The Glass Slipper Still Fits," go to or call 1-888-983-PACK. A significant portion of the proceeds goes to NC State University.

ACC Football Standings - One Man's Opinion

  1. Florida State: "Payback Tour '02" continues this week in Raleigh.
  2. Maryland: Could a Terp sneak in and win ACC Player of the Year honors? Stay tuned.
  3. Virginia: The Cavs still have some work to do, but things look Peachy.
  4. NC State: How the mighty have fallen.
  5. Wake Forest: Will the layoff affect Jim Grobe's team?
  6. Georgia Tech: Jackets get a much-needed break.
  7. Clemson: A win over the Gamecocks would be just what the doctor ordered.
  8. Duke: A slight edge here to the Devils...
  9. North Carolina: ...though the return of Darian Durant could be huge for the Heels.

This Week's Predictions:

Florida State at NC State: The Pack should be able to refocus in time for FSU. But will it be enough?
FSU 28, NC State 24

South Carolina at Clemson: These two struggling teams will put aside their baggage for one game at least.
Clemson 17, USC 10

North Carolina at Duke: The streak ends for the Blue Devils.
Duke 27, North Carolina 21

Maryland at Virginia: Two of the most dangerous teams will go head-to-head with the superior Terps pulling it out.
Maryland 34, Virginia 28

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Matt Lail is the former Managing Editor of As a student at NC State, he was the Sports Editor of Technician. He has also worked for the News & Observer and as the Managing Editor of The Wolfpacker.

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