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Four Corners: How UNC, N.C. State, Duke, and Wake Forest Made North Carolina the Center of the Basketball Universe Paperback – October 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803283008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803283008
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,160,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you want to major in Carolina basketball, this is certainly the primary text. Breezily written, well researched, and rich with anecdotes, Four Corners solidly surveys a remarkable sporting phenomenon: the concentrated quartet of hoop dreamers--UNC, NC State, Duke, and Wake Forest--that dominates the ACC, and, for that matter, the NCAA tournament. Menzer, a sportswriter for the Winston-Salem Journal, tips off in the pre-ACC era of Coach Everett Case at State, and then looks at the teams and programs molded over time by such outsized presences as Frank McGuire, Dean Smith, Jim Valvano, Bones McKinney, and Mike Krzyzewski. "People can talk all they want about the Big Ten," says Duke's charismatic Coach K. "About Michigan and Ohio State and Indiana and Kentucky or whatever, but there's no way that compares. They're in different states. Here, we share the same dry cleaners." Four Corners carefully examines what comes out in the wash and, in the process, airs some pretty good dirty laundry. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

People in North Carolina have long been convinced that nothing else in sports even approaches the excitement of college hoops in their state. In this methodical account of the storied basketball history of the Big Four schools listed in the subtitle, Menzer, a sportswriter for the Winston-Salem Journal, details more than 50 years of coaches, competitors and roundball culture. He looks at modern legends such as recently retired UNC coach Dean Smith, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Michael Jordan, whose high school principal encouraged him to attend the Air Force Academy instead of North Carolina so he would have a job after college. But tales of the schools' early histories provide the greatest rewards. Everett Case, the innovative N.C. State coach of the 1950s, was nicknamed the Old Gray Fox and was the first to make a spectacle of pregame introductions and to install an applause meter at his home court. His rival was the dapper UNC coach Frank McGuire, whose "underground railroad" of top recruits from his hometown of New York culminated in an undefeated national championship season in 1957. But as the programs grew, so did the pressure. Bones McKinney, a lanky Wake Forest coach who brought his team to the NCAA Final Four in 1962, gulped a case of Pepsi and, eventually, a handful of barbiturates daily just to try to endure the pressure. For all Menzer's exhaustive reporting, however, the book lacks the powerful writing needed to let the reader feel what is being described. Much like the stalling offense devised by Dean Smith from which the book takes its name, Four Corners is effective but less than thrilling.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
There is nothing like ACC basketball. For those of us who moved to Tobacco Rd and weren`t raised here, Joe Menzer`s book is a must. I hadn`t known much about the history of this, the premiere league in college hoops, and this well researched book with an abundance of anecdotes really helped me have an appreciation of it. As great as the players have been in the ACC, what struck me in reading Four Corners is how much the coaches have always played perhaps the dominant role in the conference. From the colorful characters like McGuire, Case, and McKinney to the intensity of Smith and Krzyzewski no other conference can match the ACC. If you are a fan of any or all of the Big Four schools you owe it to yourself to read Joe Menzer`s Four Corners.
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By Z. Blume on March 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Four Corners is a thorough history of basketball in North Carolina--a very interesting subject for basketball fans everywhere (it is home to more dominant programs than any other state in the country)--but unfortunately Menzer's book is like the four corners defense in that it really slows things down. He is not a particularly good writer and his anecdotes often fall flat because he does a poor job of explaining the story. Another problem is that he relies on very few sources, so his book is terribly biased and its stories are limited. For instance, Menzer relies on Billy Packer to essentially tell Wake Forest's story. While Packer is amusing, he is arrogant and is only one person so Wake's history is not three dimensional at all and really doesn't seem particularly interesting. Despite these flaws, which would prevent me from recommending this book to anyone who doesn't love college basketball and particularly the Carolina schools, this book is a good companion for a fan and will give them some interesting historical context that will allow them to appreciate their team that much more. Also, it will provide some nice trivia for those who like to bring up obscure facts during arguments about who is the best player, team, coach, etc. in the history of these programs.
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Format: Hardcover
To many fans of college basketball, the ACC can be defined most seasons by what happens within the confines of the state of North Carolina. With four teams growing up within 50 miles of each other, and each one featuring a host of truly unique and competitive individuals as their coaches, the North Carolina teams have continually dominated the scene in college basketball for the past 50 years.
The book follows the story of Duke, North Carolina, NC State, and Wake Forest from their days in the Southern Conference to the formation of the ACC, right up until today. Each era is defined by the men who coached and played for each of these teams throughout the years. The book provides an excellent history lesson on what has become the center of power in the most competitive conference in college basketball.
I have been a fan of ACC basketball for the last ten years and this book helped me to learn the history of the most storied teams within the league. If you are a fan of NCAA basketball, this is an excellent book and should be highly recommended.
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By A Customer on May 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Does either the Winston-Salem Journal or Simon & Schuster have a copy editor? Does anyone know grammar at either place? Dozens and dozens of times, the author writes things such as "Duke continued their run ...." Noun and verb agreement, anyone? Then Joe Menzer has Johnny Green playing for Michigan State University on page 58 (yup) and for University of Michigan on page 139 (nope). About the same thing as writing Michael Jordon played for N.C. State. The book has some interesting stuff on the early ACC history, but overall John Feinstein has covered much of the material far better in a couple of his books. For ACC diehards in North Carolina only.
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By A Customer on May 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book has some interesting early history of the ACC, but overall John Feinstein has covered much of the material far better in a couple of his books. And does either the Winston-Salem Journal or Simon & Schuster have a copy editor who knows grammar? Dozens of times, the author writes things such as "Duke continued their run ...." Noun and verb agreement, anyone? Then the author has Johnny Green playing for Michigan State University on page 58 (yup) and for University of Michigan on page 139 (nope). That's about the same thing as writing Michael Jordan played for N.C. State. This one is for ACC diehards in North Carolina only.
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By A Customer on June 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Growing up in the Carolinas, Atlantic Coast Conference basketball not only becomes a way of life at an early age, but is something you can't live without. The richness and rarity of the rivalries within the league make it like no other. From stories about the legendary Frank McGuire and the forming of the Underground Railroad to the humorous ramblings of former Wake Forest coach Bones McKinney this book captures the richness of the unique rivalry of the four schools that make up Tobacco Road. Not just a must read for ACC fans, but basketball fans in general.
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By "dadorama" on May 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Borrowed this from the library and brought it back late because I read it twice. I am planning to get it again and read it again. I have grown up with ACC basketball, but I never had the whole historical context laid out for me. This book does that. It is well written (thank you, but I understand "Duke continued their run" just fine) informative, chatty, and obviously written by someone who loves, lives, and breathes his subject matter.
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