ACC Basketball

The Story of the Rivalries, Traditions, and Scandals of the First Two Decades of the Atlantic Coast Conference

By J. Samuel Walker

416 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 40 halftones, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-1908-8
    Published: August 2014
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-6912-3
    Published: November 2011
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8338-4
    Published: November 2011

Buy this Book

For Professors:
Free E-Exam Copies

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit
Since the inception of the Atlantic Coast Conference, intense rivalries, legendary coaches, gifted players, and fervent fans have come to define the league's basketball history. In ACC Basketball, J. Samuel Walker traces the traditions and the dramatic changes that occurred both on and off the court during the conference's rise to a preeminent position in college basketball between 1953 and 1972.

Walker vividly re-creates the action of nail-biting games and the tensions of bitter recruiting battles without losing sight of the central off-court questions the league wrestled with during these two decades. As basketball became the ACC's foremost attraction, conference administrators sought to field winning teams while improving academic programs and preserving academic integrity. The ACC also adapted gradually to changes in the postwar South, including, most prominently, the struggle for racial justice during the 1960s. ACC Basketball is a lively, entertaining account of coaches' flair (and antics), players' artistry, a major point-shaving scandal, and the gradually more evenly matched struggle for dominance in one of college basketball's strongest conferences.

About the Author

J. Samuel Walker is a prize-winning historian and author of several books, including Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs against Japan. He has been a devoted fan of ACC basketball for over 40 years.
For more information about J. Samuel Walker, visit the Author Page.


"A lively account of the ACC's rise as a basketball powerhouse."--The Wall Street Journal

"A must for any sports-history collection in ACC territory."--Booklist

“These are the stories that laid the foundation for the most dominant conference in the sport. Any reader curious about how it got that way will find the book well worth their time.”--SLAM Magazine

“Recommended. All Readers.”--Choice

"This is serious (though fun) history. One hopes that a sequel is in the works."--Star-News

"A timely and enjoyable text that exposes tensions endemic to big-time college athletics and is a must-read for serious fans of men's college basketball and the ACC."--Journal of American History

Multimedia & Links

Read: In a guest blog post, Walker looks back 40 years to tell the story of one of the greatest games in the history of the ACC tournament. Read "The ACC’s Greatest Game."

Read: In another guest blog post, he writes about his “voyage of discovery” and why others might find it equally enlightening and entertaining. Read "Why ACC Basketball Fans Should Care about the Early History of the Conference."