NC State one of three teams to make College World Series, men's and women's Final Four in same year

There are certain events in college athletics that teams in a given sport spend months and even years dreaming of reaching.

They’re not necessarily all championship games, but a round or two before it — a step in the journey that can feel like a destination. Making it there not only rewards a team’s tireless and diligent work, but it in many ways validates them.

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In college football, it’s the College Football Playoff, which will expand from four to 12 teams for the upcoming 2024 season. In men’s and women’s college basketball, it’s the Final Four. In college baseball, it’s the College World Series.

Advancing to just one of those events is a significant milestone not only for an individual program, but also an entire athletic department. Making two of those in a single year is a remarkable achievement. And three of them in an academic year? Well, that’s a feat few in the history of college sports can claim.

NC State is now one of them.

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By advancing to the 2024 College World Series, where it will begin play Saturday against Kentucky, the Wolfpack’s baseball team continued what has been a stellar 2023-24 athletic campaign for its school. In a span of just two months, NC State has seen its baseball team make the CWS, as well as its men’s and women’s basketball teams march all the way to the Final Four.

Just how uncommon of an accomplishment is that? Here’s a look at the history of schools that have made the CWS, men’s Final Four and women’s Final Four in the same year:

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How many schools have made both Final Fours and College World Series in same year?

This spring, NC State became just the third school ever to reach the men’s Final Four, the women’s Final Four and the College World Series in the same year.

The Wolfpack is joined in that exclusive group by Texas in 2003 and Louisville in 2013.

It wasn’t just those three sports in which NC State excelled in 2023-24, either. The Wolfpack also won the ACC wrestling championship, marking the sixth consecutive time it has done so, and the ACC women’s gymnastics championship. Its football team also went 9-4 and finished the season 21st in the US LBM Coaches Poll.

Schools that made both Final Fours and College World Series same year

Here’s a rundown of the schools that have made the CWS and the men’s and women’s Final Four in the same year, in chronological order.

Texas (2003)

Led by all-American guard T.J. Ford, the Longhorns earned a No. 1 seed in the 2003 NCAA Tournament and advanced to the program’s first and only Final Four since 1947. Once there, they lost to eventual national champion Syracuse and freshman phenom Carmelo Anthony.

Their women’s team, with an All-America selection of its own in Stacy Stephens, won its first four games of the NCAA tournament by a combined 92 points before falling 71-69 against UConn, which would go on to win the championship game two days later to complete a 37-1 season. It was the Huskies’ second-narrowest victory of the season.

Later that spring, Texas’ baseball team made its 30th all-time CWS appearance. Once there, it advanced to the semifinals of the tournament, but lost to in-state foe Rice, its second defeat in the event to the Owls, who went on to claim the CWS title in three games against Stanford.

Louisville (2013)

While Texas’ teams largely made these prestigious events without doing much damage, Louisville’s got some notable victories.

The Cardinals’ men’s basketball team had the signature feat of the bunch, earning a No. 1 overall seed to the NCAA tournament. Once in the Final Four, the Cardinals defeated Wichita State and Michigan to win the program’s third all-time national championship. (Interestingly, current NC State basketball head coach Kevin Keatts was an assistant on that team under coach Rick Pitino).

As Louisville’s men’s program was making that run, its women’s team advanced deep into the tournament, defeating reigning national champion Baylor in the Sweet 16 and knocking off Tennessee in the Elite Eight and Cal in the Final Four. In the title game, it was routed by UConn in what would be the first of four consecutive championships for the Huskies.

The decorated spring was punctuated for the Cardinals that May, when their baseball program made its second-ever CWS. It was eliminated from the tournament with losses in each of its first two games.

NC State (2024)

The Wolfpack earning this distinction could have been easily predicted in two of the sports.

NC State’s women’s basketball team has been an ACC power under coach Wes Moore, making the NCAA tournament in five of the past six years it was held. In 2024, it got an important breakthrough: With a No. 3 seed in its region, the Wolfpack defeated No. 1 seed Texas in the Elite Eight to advance to the program’s second-ever Final Four. There, it lost to No. 1 overall seed and eventual national champion South Carolina.

The school’s baseball program didn’t have a drought quite as long, having advanced to the College World Series in both 2013 and 2021. But like its women’s basketball team, it, too, capitalized on a stellar regular season to advance to the CWS as the No. 10 national seed. That run was capped off by going on the road and defeating No. 7 Georgia in three games in the Athens Super Regional.

The surprise of the group was the Wolfpack’s men’s basketball team, which entered the ACC tournament with a 17-14 record, leading to mounting speculation about Keatts’ job security. After pulling away late to defeat last-place Louisville in the tournament’s opening game, NC State embarked on an unbelievable run, winning each of its next eight games to win the ACC tournament and make its first Final Four since 1983. That streak was punctuated by a 76-64 win against in-state foe Duke in the Elite Eight. That tear came to an end in the Final Four, where it lost to Purdue 63-50.

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This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: How many schools have made CWS and men's and women's Final Four in same year?

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