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NC State coach Elliott Avent has ‘no thoughts of retiring’

image_6483441 (3)by:Noah Fleischman06/18/24


After NC State coach Elliott Avent finished his press conference following the Wolfpack’s 5-4 loss to Florida at the College World Series on Monday afternoon, he was asked if he knew what his decision-making process about his future would look like.

“I don’t have one,” Avent said. “I’m not good at processes. I’m not a process guy. I’m a day-to-day guy. I don’t run things down the road. I’ll figure out where I’m going tomorrow.”

Tomorrow arrived in the form of a travel day Tuesday, and when Avent and the Wolfpack returned to Raleigh, he cleared the air on his future at the helm of NC State, where he’s been the last 28 seasons. 

“I always said I’d retire here when I felt I’ve done everything I can do,” Avent said. “Part of that everything I can do is to make sure the stadium is built. Until that stadium is built, I have no thoughts of retiring. As long as I feel like I’m making a difference in their lives and I’m more of a help than a hindrance. Right now, they make me feel like that, whether they’re fooling an old man or not. I have no thoughts of leaving.”

The stadium project that Avent is alluding to is a renovation project that was approved in 2022 after the Wolfpack’s run to the College World Series in 2021. At the time, it was a $15-million construction project that was set to include new locker rooms and fan-facing upgrades, among other things set to be improved. 

NC State began the project in 2023 with a new playing surface, video board, new bullpens and lighting updates. But the plan had to be amended after the Wolfpack Club raised $20 million, which was approved this past April.

The project is expected to continue this offseason and Avent’s goal is to see it out through completion. 

With Avent staying in the fold leading the Pack, NC State’s program will likely continue to stay on the upward trajectory he has it on.

Avent, who took over in Raleigh before the 1997 season, has taken the Wolfpack to new heights since he took the top step at Doak Field. The 65-year-old coach is fresh off his third trip to the College World Series with the Wolfpack after he took the team in 2013 and 2021 in addition to this spring. 

Before Avent was pushing the buttons at NC State, the Wolfpack hadn’t been to Omaha since 1968. But he has been able to build off the foundation set by former coaches Sammy Esposito and Ray Tanner before Avent was able to take his dream job. 

Avent eclipsed 1,000 career wins at NC State earlier this year and he has led the Wolfpack to 49 of the program’s 68 NCAA Tournament wins in his tenure. He was able to add five postseason wins this year with the dominant Raleigh Regional and the three-game Athens Super Regional series last weekend. 

Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan, who is a close confidant of Avent in the coaching industry, complemented what he has been able to do with the Wolfpack.

“Elliott’s done this for a really long time,” O’Sullivan said after the Gators sent the Wolfpack home Monday in Omaha. “He’s built their program into — they’re in the postseason every year and got to the World Series a couple of years ago. But he and his staff do a terrific job, a terrific job.”

But for Avent, who has seen college athletics change dramatically with the transfer portal’s rise in popularity (though he only uses it sparingly), the coach still has the same affection for his job as he did nearly 50 years ago.

And his staff, like O’Sullivan alluded to, is a difference maker as well, Avent pointed out.

“I love this,” Avent said “I don’t feel different about this game and the players today than I did when I got into it 43 years ago. This is what I do and I love it. Part of it is having a great staff. You can do a lot more things when you have a great staff. Sometimes I wonder what I really do. … What I do is very simplistic and I’m blessed to have a really good staff that work their tails off and make a difference in these guys’ lives. It’s easy for me.”

Avent is set to begin his 29th season at the helm next spring, but in the meantime, he will begin to plug holes left by several likely MLB Draft picks, including junior catcher Jacob Cozart and sophomore outfielder Eli Serrano III, and the five starters that exhausted their eligibility. 

The Wolfpack has already started that process with the addition of Campbell transfer Dalen Thompson earlier this month. That will continue over the next few weeks as NC State prepares for the 2025 season. 

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