Raleigh, NC Feb. 12, 2013 – Each year the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame recognizes and honors “Great Moments” in North Carolina’s sports history. Chosen as this year’s “Great Moments” are the arrival of legendary N.C. State basketball coach Everett Case and the 1974 N.C. State-Maryland ACC Tournament men’s basketball championship game.
Both Case’s career and the 1974 classic game will be highlighted during a gala at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh on Wednesday, May 1, and again at the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet on Thursday, May 2, at the Raleigh Convention Center. At the May 2 event, 11 new members will be inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame. For ticket information go to www.ncsportshalloffame.org.
Case, hired at N.C. State in 1946, has long been lauded as a visionary who brought big-time basketball to North Carolina and the South, creating a culture of unbridled fanfare that has permeated the state for decades.
Case (1900-1966) brought in “Hoosier Hot Shot” recruits from Indiana, where he had been a legendary high school coach. He installed an exciting uptempo band of basketball that dazzled opponents and captivated crowds.
In addition to guiding N.C. State to 10 conference tournament titles and one NCAA Final Four, the “Gray Fox” was a master of marketing the game.
His vision led to the completion of Reynolds Coliseum (a showplace for the time), an added emphasis on conference tournaments, and the highly popular Dixie Classic, once the biggest holiday tourney in the country. Played in Reynolds, the Classic pitted N.C. State, North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest against top national foes.
Case’s dominance forced rival schools to elevate their programs or remain in N.C. State’s sprawling shadow. Without Case the Atlantic Coast Conference might not have become an elite conference or produced a game like the memorable 1974 tournament finals.
When N.C. State and Maryland met in that game in Greensboro, only the conference tournament champion could advance to the NCAA Tournament, which had a much smaller field in those days. The Wolfpack was ranked No. 1 in the nation entering the game, and Maryland was ranked fourth.
Both teams executed at the highest level, creating indescribable tension, suspense and drama. State, which trailed by double digits, rallied to capture a 103-100 overtime thriller that left players, coaches and fans emotionally drained.
In a game that featured a host of future NBA players, the Wolfpack’s 7-4 Tommy Burleson towered above the rest. He scored 38 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and won MVP honors.
State, also powered by All-America David Thompson, went on to win the national championship, ending UCLA’s seven-year reign in the semifinals and beating Marquette in the title game.
This year’s celebration marks the third year of the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame’s “Great Moments” program. North Carolina’s 1957 national championship basketball team was honored in 2010. Last year track star Jim Beatty, the first person to run a sub 4-minute indoor mile, was featured, along with the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes hockey team that brought the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup to North Carolina.