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Jim Valvano

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Sport(s)  Basketball
1969–1970  Johns Hopkins
Siblings  Bob Valvano
1967–1969  Rutgers (asst.)
Role  Basketball Player
Position(s)  Point guard
Name  Jim Valvano
1964–1967  Rutgers
1970–1972  Connecticut (asst.)

Jim Valvano Survive and Advance ESPN Films 30 for 30

Born  March 10, 1946Queens, New York (1946-03-10)
Died  April 28, 1993, Durham, North Carolina, United States
Spouse  Pamela Levine (m. 1967–1993)
Children  Jamie Valvano, Nicole Valvano, Lee Ann Valvano
Similar People  Stuart Scott, Bob Valvano, Lorenzo Charles, Dick Vitale, Dereck Whittenburg

Nc state s jim valvano hosts radio show in 1983 acc hidden gem

James Thomas Anthony Valvano (March 10, 1946 – April 28, 1993), nicknamed Jimmy V, was an American college basketball player, coach, and broadcaster.


While the head coach at North Carolina State University, his team won the 1983 national title against improbable odds. Valvano is not only remembered for running up and down the court seemingly in disbelief and looking for someone to hug after winning the game against the heavily-favored Houston Cougars, but also for his inspirational speech ten years later at the ESPY Awards. He gave the speech less than two months before his death from adenocarcinoma, a type of many glandular cancers.

Jim Valvano Jim Valvano The Fighter Lori Weintrob

Motivation from jim valvano basketball legend

Early years

Jim Valvano Sports Soup with Gary the Souper Fan A Powerful

Valvano was the middle child of Rocco and Angelina Valvano, and was born in Corona, Queens, New York. Valvano was a three-sport athlete at Seaford High School in Seaford on Long Island and graduated in 1963.

Jim Valvano Head Coach James quotJimquot Valvano Quentin Jackson and men39s

Football coach Vince Lombardi was Valvano's role model. Valvano told an ESPY audience, on March 3, 1993, that he took some of Lombardi's inspirational speeches out of the book Commitment to Excellence, and used them with his team. Valvano discussed how he planned to use Lombardi's speech to the Green Bay Packers in front of his Rutgers freshman basketball team prior to his first game as their coach.

College playing career

Valvano was a point guard at Rutgers University in 1967, where he partnered with first-team All-American Bob Lloyd in the backcourt. Under the leadership of Valvano and Lloyd, Rutgers finished third in the 1967 National Invitation Tournament (NIT), which was the last basketball tournament held at the third Madison Square Garden. (The 1967 NCAA Tournament field was just 23 teams and the NIT invited 14 teams.) He was named Senior Athlete of the Year at Rutgers in 1967, and graduated with a degree in English in 1967.

Coaching career

Following graduation, Valvano began his coaching career at Rutgers as the freshman coach and assistant for the varsity. His 19-year career as a head basketball coach began at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for a season; he was then an assistant at Connecticut for two years. Following that, he was the head coach at Bucknell, Iona, and North Carolina State. Following Norm Sloan's departure to Florida, Valvano was hired at NC State on March 27, 1980, and made his debut on November 29, when the Wolfpack defeated UNC-Wilmington 83-59. During his ten seasons at NC State, Valvano's teams were the ACC's tournament champions in 1983 and 1987 and its regular season champions in 1985 and 1989. The Wolfpack won the NCAA championship in 1983, in addition to advancing to the NCAA Elite 8 in 1985 and 1986. 'Coach V' was voted ACC Coach of the Year in 1989. Valvano became NC State's athletic director in 1986. His overall record at NC State was 209–114 (.647) and his career record as a head coach was 346–210 (.622).

Valvano is most recognized for his reaction of running around on the court looking for somebody to hug in the moments after the Wolfpack victory came after the game-winning shot in the 1983 NCAA finals. Dereck Whittenburg heaved a last-second desperation shot that was caught short of the rim and dunked by Lorenzo Charles as time expired. By a score of 54–52, NC State beat a top-seeded University of Houston team that was on a 26-game winning streak and was led by future Hall of Famers Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon. NC State had won the college title nine years earlier in 1974 under Sloan; led on the court by David Thompson, the Wolfpack ended UCLA's streak of seven consecutive national titles when it beat the John Wooden's Bruins and Bill Walton 80–77 in double overtime in the national semifinal game.


In 1990, accusations of rules violations surfaced in the book Personal Fouls by Peter Golenbock. These accusations centered mostly on high school All-American Chris Washburn, who managed only a 470 out of 1600 on his SAT (with 400 being the starting score). A 1989 NCAA investigation cleared Valvano, but found that players sold shoes and game tickets. As a result, NC State placed its basketball program on probation for two years (the maximum) and was banned from participating in the 1990 NCAA tournament. The state-appointed Poole Commission issued a 32-page report that concluded that there were no major violations of NCAA regulations, and that Valvano and his staff's inadequate oversight of players' academic progress violated "the spirit, not the letter of the law."

After this report, Valvano was forced to resign as the school's athletic director in October 1989. He remained as basketball coach through the 1989–1990 season. Under subsequent pressure from the school's faculty and new Chancellor, Valvano negotiated a settlement with NC State and resigned as basketball coach on April 7, 1990. Six separate entities investigated Valvano and the NC State basketball program including the NC State Faculty Senate, the North Carolina Attorney General, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, the NC State Board of Trustees, and the NCAA. None of them found any recruiting or financial improprieties. However, a school investigation did reveal that Valvano's student-athletes did not perform well in the classroom, as only 11 of the players that he coached prior to 1988 had maintained an average of C or better. This was perhaps due to his persistence in recruiting students deemed to be "academic exceptions."

Valvano's version of these events can be found in his 1991 autobiography, Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead.

After coaching

After his coaching career, Valvano was a broadcaster for ESPN and ABC Sports, including a stint as a sideline reporter for the inaugural season of the World League of American Football. In 1992, Valvano won a Cable ACE Award for Commentator/Analyst for NCAA basketball broadcasts. From time to time he was paired with basketball analyst Dick Vitale, dubbed the "Killer Vees", with similar voices and exuberant styles. The two even made a cameo appearance, playing the role of professional movers (V&V Movers), on an episode of The Cosby Show.

Valvano created JTV enterprises to guide many of his entrepreneurial endeavors. He gave hundreds of motivational speeches across the country and was a featured guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman.


In June 1992, Valvano was diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma, a type of glandular cancer that can spread to the bones.

One of Valvano's most memorable motivational speeches was delivered at NC State's Reynolds Coliseum, less than 10 weeks before his death, during the ten-year commemoration of the 1983 NCAA championship. It was during this speech on February 21 that Valvano stressed the importance of hope, love, and persistence, and included his famous "Don't give up, don't ever give up" quotation.

ESPY speech

Eleven days later on Thursday, March 4, 1993, he spoke at the first ESPY Awards at Madison Square Garden, presented by ESPN. While accepting the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award, he announced the creation of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. He announced that the foundation's motto would be "Don't Give Up . . . Don't Ever Give Up." During his speech, the teleprompter stated that he had thirty seconds left, to which Valvano responded, "They got that screen up there flashing 30 seconds, like I care about that screen. I got tumors all over my body and I'm worried about some guy in the back going '30 seconds'." His speech included this statement:

To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special.

Valvano's ESPY acceptance speech became legendary. He closed by saying that "Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever. I thank you and God bless you all."

He received a standing ovation from the ESPY crowd.

Valvano's hair was expected to fall out with chemotherapy treatment, but it didn't. Along with his ever-positive outlook, this masked to the public how serious his sickness was and the amount of pain he was dealing with. He preemptively had his head shaved and was prepared to use a variety of whimsical wigs on his broadcasts, but his own hair remained.


New York native Valvano had always wanted to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium. He had been given that honor for the 1993 season opener to be held on April 12, but he was too ill to do so. Coaching rival and friend Dean Smith, one week removed from leading North Carolina to the national championship, substituted for Valvano.


Valvano died at age 47 on Wednesday, April 28, 1993, less than two months after his famous ESPY speech, following a nearly year-long battle with metastatic cancer. Valvano died at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, ten years to the month after winning the national championship in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament. He is buried in the Cedar Hill Section of Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh. His tombstone reads: "Take time every day to laugh, to think, to cry."

Lorenzo Charles, the player who scored the winning basket in the 1983 NCAA championship game, died in a crash while driving a bus on June 27, 2011, and was buried near Valvano in Oakwood Cemetery. Charles was 47 years old at the time of his death, the same age as Valvano.


In 1983, Valvano coined the term "Survive and Advance"

A 1996 TV movie titled Never Give Up: The Jimmy V Story, starred Anthony LaPaglia as Valvano. The movie was filmed in various locations including Wilmington, North Carolina and on the campus of the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

In 1993, Valvano was inducted into the Rutgers Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1999, Valvano was inducted into both the Hall of Distinguished Alumni at Rutgers University and the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2004, Valvano was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. In 2012, he was named to the first class of the NC State Athletics Hall of Fame.

On March 17, 2013, ESPN broadcast Survive and Advance, a documentary on North Carolina State's 1983 championship run, as part of its 30 for 30 Volume II anthology series. Along with the 1983 season, it also covered the final months of his life during his battle with cancer. The documentary was first broadcast on the 30th anniversary of the Wolfpack's double overtime victory vs. Pepperdine in the first round of the 1983 NCAA tournament.

On March 1, 2016, a new book by John Feinstein, titled The Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and an Epic College Basketball Rivalry was released to critical reviews. Krzyzewski arrived at Duke the same season as Valvano did at North Carolina State.


Valvano married his high school sweetheart, Pamela Levine, and they had three daughters - Nicole, Jamie, and Lee Ann. His younger brother, Bob, is a sportscaster and former basketball coach.


Jim Valvano Wikipedia