NC State Legend Bobby Speight, 76, Passes Away
BY TIM PEELER
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Bobby Speight, an Everett Case-era All-America forward who led NC State to back-to-back Southern Conference championships in 1951 and ‘52, died Thursday night after a long battle with cancer in Richmond, Va. He was 76.
Speight, a native of Raleigh who spent his high school years living in New Jersey and Ohio, scored 1,430 points and grabbed 1,057 rebounds from 1950-53. His rebounding total still ranks as the fourth most in school history.
Speight’s jersey No. 80 is among those honored in the rafters of the RBC Center.
“Bobby Speight was one of our greatest players,” said Bobby Purcell, executive director of the NC State Student Aid Association. “Beyond that, he was a great man. He loved NC State and he loved people. He was always upbeat and positive.
“It didn’t matter how tough things were going or what kind of season we were having, he always had some words of encouragement for our staff and our players. He was a true man of his word. If Bobby Speight told you that he would do something, it would get done.”
On Jan. 26, Speight was honored with the 2007 Ronnie Shavlik Award of Merit, which goes annually to the former NC State student-athlete, manager, coach, administrator or staff member for contributions of leadership, time and finances to the university.
Speight’s middle daughter, Elizabeth, was the first woman to receive an athletic scholarship at NC State, to play basketball for Kay Yow.
After two years of professional basketball and two years in the Army, Speight began ES Contract Carrier, a trucking firm in Richmond, Va., and worked their until he retired in 2006.
In 2005, Speight’s three children – Chris Brown of Charleston, S.C.; Elizabeth Cooley of Wagram, N.C., and Bobby Speight Jr. of Richmond, Va. – donated the money to name the lobby of the NC State’s basketball practice facility in their father’s honor.
“It surprised the daylights out of me,” Speight said in a 2005 interview. “It all kind of got to me a little bit.”
The family will host a visitation Sunday from 2-5 p.m. at Bliley’s Funeral Home at 3801 Augusta Ave, Richmond, Va., 23230, and a private funeral on Monday. Condolences can be sent via www.blileys.com.
You may contact Tim Peeler at email@example.com.