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The 10th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on March 6, 2008

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Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Location: Winston Salem, North Carolina

Nickname: Demon Deacons

Reason For Nickname: In 1923, Wake Forest played what would later become Duke University in football. Because of the fighting spirit of the Wake squad, they decided to call them the Demon Deacons.

Colors: Old Gold and Black

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference

Arena: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum (built 1989, capacity 14,665)

Old Gold Spirit: Wake Forest has one of the strongest basketball traditions in the South, beginning as a program in 1906. In 102 years of basketball, the Demon Deacons have gone to 20 NCAA Tournaments and six NITs. Along with those accomplishments, the Deacons have won the ACC regular-season title in 1960, 1962, 1995, and 2003 plus the ACC Tournament championship in 1961, 1962, 1995, and 1996.

Coaching Legacy: Wake Forest’s two greatest coaches would be Bones McKinney, who led the Demon Deacons to success in the early 1960’s, including the school’s only Final Four appearance in 1962 and Dave Odom, who turned around the fortunes of the program in the 90’s winning two regular-season championships and laying the groundwork for the late Skip Prosser, who led the Demon Deacons to their first #1 ranking as well as the ACC Championship in 2003.

Big Man On Campus: Wake Forest boasts such players as Tim Duncan, Randolph Childress, Memphian Robert O’Kelley, Darius Soniglia, Josh Howard, Mugsy Bogues, Chris Paul, Eric Williams, and your favorite basketball announcer, Billy Packer, who played on Wake Forest’s only Final Four team in 1962. Out of all those players, Duncan is the most celebrated Demon Deacon player in history.

Rivalries: While Duke-North Carolina remains the most heated and well-known rivalry along “Tobacco Road”, the Demon Deacons hold a heated rivalry with Duke in basketball, going back over 100 years. Recently, the Demon Deacons have been a thorn in the side of the Blue Devils’ conference title hopes as well as their national title chances.

Did You Know?: Wake Forest and Duke played in the first basketball game in the state of North Carolina on March 7, 1906 in Durham.

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