Everett Case

Everett Case

The confetti rained down from the heavens as Tom Brady grabbed the Lombardi Trophy and hoisted it into the air.

“What a waste of paper,” chirped my nature loving friend.

“It’s too bad My-Homie didn’t win.”

“It’s Ma-Homes,” I replied with a sigh.

Watching the Super Bowl with non-football fans can be a unique experience. 

Apparently, Will Ferrell punching a globe is hilarious because Norway has more electric vehicles than America (Ferrell is neither funny nor amusing).

Personally, I preferred watching Antonio Brown haul in a touchdown pass before halftime to give the Tampa Bay a massive lead.

Whether you enjoy watching sports for the commercials or for the actual sport itself, I think we can agree there are some time-honored traditions that we all enjoy.

It’s always a challenge to rank the best sports traditions.  But there is no debate on the best playoff postgame tradition, especially in high school sports — cutting down the nets. 

It is simply magical to watch an athletic director lug a ladder onto the hardwood and weave through a boisterous group of players, fans and coaches celebrating a sectional championship like they won an Oprah giveaway. 

So how did this time honored tradition get started? According to my research, this incredible idea originated in the Hoosier state (no surprise). 

Everett Case, nicknamed “Gray Fox,” coached Frankfort High School (Indiana) for 17 seasons starting in 1922. Case was accustomed to winning as his teams won 14 regional tournaments and 4 state championships (1925, 1929, 1936, 1939) during his tenure. 

The “Gray Fox” started the tradition of cutting down the nets because he wanted his teams to have a souvenir to remember their experience. 

Coach Case knew how to promote the game of basketball and motivate his players. In addition to cutting down the nets, Case is credited with introducing other innovations to the game including the playing of music before games, shining a spotlight on players as they were introduced, inviting the pep band to play at games, placing numbers on players jerseys and introducing the time clock.

Case left Frankfort in 1942 and coached at North Carolina State for the next 18 seasons. While at the helm of the Wolfpack, Case’s teams dominated the early years of the ACC with a modern fast-paced style of play, winning 10 conference championships and 1 Final Four appearance in 1950.

Case is often regarded as the Father of ACC Basketball and became the fastest college basketball coach to reach many “games won” milestones during his coaching days. 

The Gray Fox is largely credited with making basketball a craze in the state of North Carolina. Case persuaded the administration at N.C. State to build a 12,400-seat arena after World War II, and the ACC basketball tournament was largely Case’s idea with Reynolds Coliseum hosting the 1st 13 ACC tournaments from 1954 to 1966. 

Late in his career, the NCAA placed N.C. State on probation twice due to illegal benefits offered to players and a point-shaving scandal.

At the beginning of the 1964-65 season Case was suffering from inoperable cancer and stepped down in favor of assistant Press Maravich, the father of Pistol Pete Maravich. The Wolfpack went on to win the 1965 ACC tournament. Although Coach Case was in a wheelchair and sitting in press row, the Wolfpack wheeled him over to the hoop so he could cut down the last strand of net. 

He died a year later in Raleigh. 

Case was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. 

The next time you see the best postgame ritual in sports, remember the Hoosier great, Everett Case, for creating this legendary tradition. ο

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