NC State

How former Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian once recruited a golfer for NC State

Coach Ara Parseghian salutes the Dyche stadium crowd with the game ball as his Northwestern Wildcats carry him off the field following their 21-0 victory over Ohio State on Nov. 1, 1958.
Coach Ara Parseghian salutes the Dyche stadium crowd with the game ball as his Northwestern Wildcats carry him off the field following their 21-0 victory over Ohio State on Nov. 1, 1958. TNS

The death on Wednesday of former Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian spurred a memory for retired N.C. State golf coach Richard Sykes.

As Sykes recalled: “I was at Wendell County Club one day. I answered the phone ‘Wendell Country Club’ and a man says, ‘This is Ara Parseghian.’ So I said, ‘Well, this is George Washington, what can I do for you?’”

It didn’t take long for Sykes, who coached the Pack for 46 years, to realize it wasn’t a prank call, that he was speaking to the Ara Parseghian, the one at Notre Dame.

“He chuckled a little and convinced me who it was,” Sykes said. “It was pretty exciting to be sitting in the Wendell golf shop and suddenly be talking to one of the top football coaches in the country.

“He said he had a next-door neighbor who had a son who wanted to play golf in the South.”

Sykes said David Heckman played for the Pack for a couple of years in the ’70s.

Sykes, known for his humor, did have one parting comment for Parseghian that day.

“I told him we’d rather have him send down some football players,” Sykes said.

Chip Alexander: 919-829-8945, @ice_chip

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