The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

The ACC School Mount Rushmores: North Carolina State FINAL

The support for Everett Case was overwhelming.  As someone from a distant era, we have to rely on historical information, rather than ESPN telecasts.  So here is what the Raleigh Hall of Fame has to say about Case:

Born at the turn of the 20th century, Case, a legendary high school coach in Indiana, had a vision of what college basketball could be and he brought that vision to Raleigh. Where others saw a partially built Reynolds Coliseum, Case saw an arena that would hold 12,500 fans. While others saw football as the major college sport, Case saw arenas full of cheering, loyal, rabid basketball fans.

At first, Case recruited out-of-state basketball players who knew the nuances of the game. Even so, he spent many hours visiting North Carolina high schools and civic clubs, encouraging cities and towns to build better gymnasiums, so North Carolina lads could eventually compete for college basketball slots. He wanted to see hoops tacked up on pine trees, and backboards and baskets on almost every vacant lot. Within five or six years he did.

Case’s first 10 years at N.C. State have to be among the greatest of all time. His teams had 267 wins against 60 losses, six consecutive Southern Conference tournaments, three straight Atlantic Coast Conference tournaments. They won six of seven Dixie Classics. Tired of being doormats to N.C. State, the 1950s found nearby colleges hiring top caliber coaches, and recruiting quality players from around the country, eventually making college basketball “King” in North Carolina.

In addition to being a legendary coach, Case was a skilled promoter. The Dixie Classic, a Case brainchild, was the forerunner of today’s many popular holiday tournaments. Case introduced such practices as cutting down the nets after a championship and shining a spotlight on players as they were introduced. The installation of an applause meter in Reynolds Coliseum, the invitation to high school coaches for clinics, and his open-door policy to the media were other Case trademarks.

Case resigned from N.C. State in 1965 and died in 1966. He was the first basketball coach enshrined in the State of North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1981.

The Naismith Hall of Fame adds that Case was “largely responsible for popularizing basketball in both the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and in North Carolina.”

There was some support for Tab Ramos, Phillip Rivers, and Roman Gabriel, among others.  But Case was influential in North Carolina State developing into the basketball school that it is today.

The Final North Carolina State Mount Rushmore:  David Thompson, Jim Valvano, Kay Yow, and Everett Case.

As we discussed previously, these school-wide Mount Rushmores are limited to sports only–players and coaches.  That being said, athletes that have gone on to have careers that have furthered their legend are rewarded also.   And negative publicity will also be factored in.  We do not believe that USC would put OJ Simpson on its Mount Rushmore.  It is what it is.  Admittedly, there will be a recency bias too.  While historical accomplishments are typically quite impressive, coaching college football (as an example) in 1955 was a lot different than coaching today, where coaches rarely get 5 years to make their mark anymore.  Similarly, in an era of up to 14 college football games or 40 college basketball games, as well as daunting pressure from the fans and media, today’s game is more challenging.  That’s our opinion and we are sticking to it.

The Confidential gives the first spot to David Thompson.  Thompson’s troubles off the court are well-known, but he was one of the all-time greats to ever play at the college level.  He averaged approximately 27 points per game for the Wolfpack during his three-year career.  In 1974, he led North Carolina State to a National Championship.  For several seasons, he was a star in professional basketball (ABA and NBA).  Not only was he a prolific scorer at his peak, he was also one of the most exciting players in pro hoops–paving the way for Julius Erving and Michael Jordan.  He returned to North Carolina State to earn his degree in 2003.     

The #2 spot goes to Jim Valvano.  While a lot of coaches will put up better numbers, we made the case for including Valvano in our list of the all-time great ACC coaches.  We said it fine then:

Jim Valvano won a national championship at North Carolina State.  The image of him running around after that colossal upset is burned in our minds.  While his overall success falls well short of other coaches, his passion is part of the reason that college sports is so popular.  Simply stated, Valvano embodied everything that is great about the college game.  His courageous battle with cancer, leading to the V Foundation is yet another reason why Jim Valvano goes beyond merely wins and deserves a spot.

For all these reasons, we have to give him a spot on the NC State Hall of Fame.

The #3 spot is, as always, a tough one.  The Confidential will select Kay Yow.  She coached for 34 years at North Carolina State, becoming one of five women’s basketball coaches to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame.  She was selected to the first Hall of Fame class for North Carolina State.   She also coached the USA Basketball team in international play, winning a Gold Medal in Seoul in 1988.

And that leads us to the number four spot.  A trio of football players deserve consideration–Jim Ritcher, Ted Brown, and Roman Gabriel.  Two women’s athletes, Julie Shea (Track) and Genia Beasley (Basketball) were part of the first Hall of Fame class for the Wolfpack.  From a coaching standpoint, Everett Case, Earle Edwards, and Norm Sloan are intriguing.  Tab Ramos from the soccer side of life.  Anyway, this is where you come in–let us know who should be #4.

Who will be the Confidential’s fourth North Carolina State icon on its Mount Rushmore?

Other Mount Rushmores:

  1. Maryland Preliminary   Maryland Final
  2. Boston College    Boston College Final
  3. Wake Forest   Wake Forest Final
  4. Miami   Miami Final
  5. Virginia Tech
  6. Syracuse   Syracuse Final
  7. Virginia   Virginia Final
  8. Pittsburgh  Pittsburgh Final
  9. North Carolina State
  10. Clemson   Clemson Final
  11. Georgia Tech
  12. Louisville
  13. Notre Dame
  14. Duke

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