Coaching Legends * The Old Gray Fox

Coach Everett N. Case is a legend in basketball coaching circles in Indiana and the Atlantic Coast Conference. He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1968 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.

He accomplished tremendous success as a coach on the high school and college level despite never playing serious competitive basketball.

Coach Case brought a fast break offense and full court press defense with him to NC State from Indiana in 1946. Never having coached beyond the high school level, Case nevertheless enjoyed instant success at NCSU. He quickly made State a major basketball power, winning 20 or more games in each of his first ten seasons. His first seven seasons were in the Southern Conference and then 11 seasons in the ACC. He started his 19th season as head coach at State before having to retire due to multiple myeloma [1], a cancer of plasma cells. He was diagnosed with the illness in 1964. His mother had died of cancer and his father had committed suicide as result (it is thought) of myeloma. Coach Case died in 1966, having lived to be 65 years old.

The life of Coach Case can be presented in a nutshell with the following timeline:

  • Born June 21, 1900 in Anderson, IN
  • 1915 Case was credited with coaching a Methodist Church team
  • Graduated in 1919 from Anderson High School and declared his future career as "basketball coach"
  • 1923 graduate of the University of Wisconsin
  • Coached Columbus (IN) High School (1920-21) as a college student?
  • Coached Smithfield (IN) High School (1921-22) as a college student?
  • Coached Frankfort (IN) High School (1922-31)
  • Coached Anderson (IN) High School (1931-33)
  • Assistant Basketball Coach at Southern Cal (1933 – 35)
  • Coached Frankfort (IN) High School (1935-41)
  • Enlisted in the Navy in 1941
  • Naval Pre-flight school at St. Mary's College in California
  • Athletic Director at the Alameda Naval Air Station
  • While in the service he coached a team at DePauw Naval Training Station in Indiana to a 29-3 record.
  • While in the service, he coached a team at Ottumwa Air Station in Iowa to a 27-2 record.
  • Hired by North Carolina State in 1946
  • 1964, Case was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
  • Died April 30, 1966 in Raleigh, NC

    Everett Case's High School Coaching Career

    In 23 seasons as a high school coach in Indiana, his teams posted a 726-75 record and won 4 state championships in 1925, 1929, 1936 and 1939[2]. He started traditions in Indiana high school basketball that he later brought to NCSU. He began pre-game introductions of his high school players and would cut down the nets after big wins. He held the ball after opponents made baskets to the point that the 10 second rule was implemented. He coached 4 different high schools and still maintained his superb winning tradition. His high school coaching achievement.

  • Compiled an overall 467-124-1 career scholastic coaching record [3]
  • Columbus record: 20-10
  • Smithfield record: 32-6
  • Frankfort record: 385-99-1
  • Anderson record: 30-9
  • His 385-99-1 record at Frankfort included four state championships the (1925, 1929, 1936, 1939)

    At NC State

    Dr. H. A. Fisher (faculty chairman of athletics) and John Von Glahn (business manager of athletics) were looking for a basketball coach early in 1946, just before the 1946 Southern Conference basketball tournament. Dick Herbert the sports editor of the Raleigh News and Observer suggested Everett Case while attending a spring football practice. Chuck Taylor from Converse told Von Glahn and Fisher that Coach Case was the best coach in America. Coach Case accepted the job without ever seeing NC State's campus.

    His ACC winning percentage was 61.7% having won 111 and lost 69 (includes tournaments) in 11 years of coaching. His winning percentage for all ACC games was about 70% in 1960, but he did not have as much success after the Dixie Classic Scandal and then his health deserted him.

    He is still in 9th place on the Southern Conference's all time coaching victories list with 187 wins in 7 years. He is in first place in the Southern Conference category of most wins per season at 26.7 wins per year. He ranks in 4th place in the Southern Conference's all time winning percentage at 80.6%. His State teams won 6 consecutive Southern Conference championships starting in his first year as a college head coach.

    Coach Case was one of the foremost innovators in the game of basketball. Among his innovations:

  • He was the first coach to use a full-court press for extended periods of a basketball game.
  • He brought the fast-break offense to North Carolina State
  • He is responsible for the 10 second backcourt violation because as the head coach of Frankfort High School, he would infuriate opposing coaches by holding on to the ball after every made basket by the opponent.
  • He placed marketing as one of his top priorities. He sold himself, the program and the game of basketball to the general public.
  • Case even brought the traditions of pre-game introductions and the clipping of nets after a big victory over North Carolina. He started the practices as a high school coach in Indiana.
  • He was one of the first coaches to film games and spent much time analyzing the tapes.
  • He was the first coach (in the ACC area) to have music at home games.
  • Coach Case was the first coach in the area to have a live pep band at home games.

    Case was very frugal, putting it kindly. He was once known to give a New York cabby such a small tip that the cabby offered it back suggesting Coach needed the money more than he did. Coach Case said "You know, I believe you are right!" and took the change back.

    Case teams were put on probation twice. Once for the recruitment of Ronnie Shavlik (illegal tryouts) in 1953 and again for Jackie Moreland (alleged cash and gifts) in 1956. He denied the charges both times to no avail.

    The Case - McGuire Rivalry

    Case beat UNC in 15 consecutive games from 1947 – 1952, resulting in UNC hiring Frank McGuire as head coach. State continued beating Carolina to the intense dissatisfaction of Coach McGuire. Called "The Godfather of ACC Basketball" in the superb book, "ACC Basketball; An Illustrated History", McGuire hated losing and was quick to scream about State's pressure defense. After a loss to State in 1954, McGuire angrily denounced Coach Case. "He (Case) ruined the game by using the (full-court) press. It was ridiculous. He could beat us by 25 points without doing it, and he comes over here and tries to beat us by 40. If that's the way he wants to play, I'll fight him right back when we get the boys to compete with him."[4]

    McGuire took every opportunity to create an intense rivalry with NC State.

    McGuire said Case's methods were not appropriate. "I don't mind losing, but when a team takes advantage of your weak spot, especially when it can win by other means, well, that's not cricket in my book. I thought he was my friend, but I know better now. I just can't wait until the day comes when I can meet him on equal terms. I'll get even with that rascal" [ibid]

    A month later the two coaches refused to shake hands after State beat UNC yet again. McGuire said that Case should have come to him to offer a handshake and Case said it was up to the losing coach to make that move. Apparently, McGuire was angry because Case had held the ball for the last six minutes of the game.

    However, much of the animosity was a wish to hype the rivalry to draw the fans to the State-UNC games. McGuire said of Case "He'd always say, 'Don't shake hands on the court. Let the people think we're mad at each other.'" [ibid] The effort to increase the popularity of basketball was needed. When Maryland beat Clemson on 12/03/53, the Associated Press's review of the game gave no hint that the game was the first ever ACC basketball game (81-41).

    In 1953, Maryland had won the national championship in football. The ACC was formed more as a football league than for basketball. Both Maryland and Duke were national football powers (ironic in 2002) allowing the ACC to secure a commitment from the Orange Bowl for an automatic berth for the ACC champion. The ACC was a result of the fact that all 17 Southern Conference teams could not keep up with the two national football powers. The schools with the best football teams were most interested in forming the ACC. Indeed, for the first several years of the league's existence, basketball played second fiddle to football.

    The ascendance of basketball was largely a result of the success of Everett Case. First UNC and later Wake Forest and Duke hired coaches and provided the funds enabling their schools to compete with NC State. When UNC won the national championship in 1957 and Wake along with Duke became basketball powers, the die was cast. The "Big Four" schools competed feverishly in basketball, and their fans filled the arenas.

    The Dixie Classic

    "The House That Case Built" was finished in 1949, also the year that Coach Case established the Dixie Classic. The Dixie Classic was an annual tournament casting the "Big Four" against four of the best teams in the nation. The tournament became huge, attracting teams such as top ranked Cincinnati with Oscar Robertson. NC State won the first four Dixie Classics and six of the first seven. The 1958 Classic featured four teams in the national top ten. Cincinnati (1), UNC (3), State (6) and Michigan State (9) made up a tremendous tournament. State was unimpressed and beat Cincinnati first and finally Michigan State and All-American Johnny Green for the championship.

    UNC won the final Dixie Classic in 1960. The point shaving scandals caused the cancellation of the 1961 game and broke Case's heart.

    Legacy

    Everett Case was "The Father of ACC Basketball". While some UNC supporters believe Dean Smith is responsible for the emergence of ACC hysteria, Case, McGuire, Bones McKinney and Vic Bubas (NC State graduate and assistant coach for eight years under Case) had already made the ACC the best basketball conference in the nation and had the fans coming in droves to the basketball stadiums. Case was responsible for it all. Without Case the ACC would have remained a football conference, and perhaps the great players that became college basketball legends would have played elsewhere.

    Coaching records for NCSU basketball:

    Coach

    Years

    Yrs

    ACC record

    ACC %

    Overall Record

    Overall %

    COY

    Titles

    Everett Case

    54-65

    **12

    111-69

    61.7%

    190-89

    68.1%

    3

    4

    Press Maravich

    65-66

    2

    19-8

    70.4%

    38-13

    74.5%

    1

    Norm Sloan

    67-80

    14

    103-77

    57.2%

    266-127

    67.7%

    3

    3

    Jim Valvano

    81-90

    10

    71-69

    50.7%

    209-114

    64.7%

    1

    2

    Les Robinson

    91-96

    6

    28-66

    29.8%

    78-98

    44.3%

     

     

    Herb Sendek

    97-01

    5

    26-54

    32.5%

    86-74

    53.8%

     

     

       

    Case won 377 and lost only 135 college basketball games in 18 seasons as a head coach (18.7 games per year). 52 of his defeats came in his last five seasons after the point shaving scandals and then multiple myeloma took their tolls. "In his first 13 years, Case's teams won 10 conference championships (six Southern and four ACC) and seven of 10 Dixie Classics." [ibid]

    Coach Case was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 3rd, 1982.

    Press Maravich

    Press Maravich took over the reigns from the mortally ill Everett Case after the second game of the 1965 season, going on to stun the league by winning the 1965 ACC tournament championship game with Duke. Pistol Pete Maravich's dream was to play basketball for his dad at State. His failure to obtain the necessary academic scores lead to him and his dad going to LSU.

    Next week, I'll take a look at Stormin' Norman Sloan.


    [1] Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells. Plasma cells are normally present in the bone marrow and are responsible for antibody production in response to infection and other immune triggering events. In myeloma, a single defective plasma cell (myeloma cell) gives rise to the much larger number of myeloma cells which build up in the bone marrow. This process disrupts the normal immune system as well as displacing the normal bone marrow cells.

    [2] Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and "Four Corners" by Joe Menzer. The book, "ACC Basketball: An Illustrated History also concurred with the 726-75 high school coaching record.

    [3] Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame information differs from the other three sources listed in the previous footnote.

    [4] ACC Basketball: An Illustrated History


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