Was it the Final Four that Greensboro loved?

“Some claim the phrase Final Four was first used to describe the final games of Indiana’s annual high school basketball tournament. But the NCAA, which has a trademark on the term, says Final Four was originated by a Cleveland Plain Dealer sportswriter, Ed Chay, in a 1975 article in the Official Collegiate Basketball Guide that [called] Marquette University ‘one of the final four’ in the 1974 tournament. The NCAA started capitalizing the term in 1978.”

— From “A Basketball Handbook” by Donald H. Brown (2007)

So you might say the Greensboro Coliseum hosted its only Final Four retroactively. That’s why this pinback button refers to the “NCAA championship” — sounds odd now, doesn’t it?

Regardless, it was a memorable tournament.  N.C. State toppled UCLA in double-overtime, ending the Bruins’ streak of seven consecutive national titles, then defeated Marquette in the championship game.

4 thoughts on “Was it the Final Four that Greensboro loved?”

  1. Lew, your mentioning the 1974 NCAA Championship in Greensboro brought back some great memories. I remember directing a program for WFMY-TV on February 26, 1974 called “NCAA: One Month and Counting.” The program featured Smith Barrier from the city’s original NCAA Committee, Jim Oshust the Coliseum Manager and Bradley Faircloth, Chairman of the Mayor’s NCAA Committee. The program was produced and anchored by WFMY-TV Sports Director Woody Durham.

    This was a huge deal for Greensboro and the Coliseum…an estimated 50 million watched veteran sportscaster Curt Gowdy call the play-by-play on NBC-TV nationwide on March 23 and March 25.

  2. Thanks, Jack. And just two weeks earlier, NC State’s OT win over Maryland for the ACC title — big month for the Coliseum!

  3. You’re right, Lew, the NC State 103 to 100 overtime win over Maryland on March 9, 1974 is considered by many as the greatest game in ACC basketball history.

    Tragically, the videotape of the final 5 minutes and the overtime was destroyed in a fire at the CD Chesley warehouse. (Also lost in that fire was the videotape of the UNC-Duke game the week before on March 2nd. That’s the game where Carolina came from 8 points down in the final 17 seconds to send that game into overtime. UNC won in OT).

    However, there is hope…kinda…

    In 1980, the late Dr. Carl Sagan, noted professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences at Cornell University wrote a book and did a PBS TV Show called “Cosmos.”

    In his book, on pages 286-287, Sagan talks about how “over the air” TV broadcasts are still traveling out into the cosmos. So if someone, sometime can figure out a way to recapture those broadcasts, the live TV events of March 2nd and 9th, 1974, could once again be seen.

  4. I’d never heard about the Chesley warehouse fire, Jack. Add that loss to all the missing kinescopes!

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