North Carolina, home to more than 120 colleges and universities, 30 professional sports teams and countless championship-winning high schools, can now boast a hearty tribute to its rich sports history.
More than just a collection of names and statistics, Nothing Finer –North Carolina's Sports History and the People Who Made It is filled with extended profiles and delightful stories of the people who make the history of sports in North Carolina so fascinating.
An account as far-reaching and well researched as this is hard to come by, and is the product of the 300+ years of sports writing experience its contributors collectively bring to the table.
Lovers of North Carolina — or of sports in general– will find Nothing Finer an enjoyable and exceptional read, written by those who know the state's sports history personally and passionately.
The idea for Nothing Finer grew out of several years of work by Wilt Browning with the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, specifically the writing of biographies of nominees who would be considered for induction. Again and again, that annual exercise was a reminder of just how deep and how rich North Carolina’s sports heritage is. And again and again came the thought that there ought to be a history of sports in the state, yet how daunting such an endeavor would be.
When it became clear that Nothing Finer would require a deep and rich understanding of the events of perhaps 200 years of various competitions in the state, the scope began to narrow; only one group has served as witness to that history in significant stretches — sports writers. Browning, himself an award-winning editor and columnist, began gathering a team in a manner not unlike a coach on a recruiting mission, and he wound up with a group of writers whose skills and understanding of North Carolina’s sports history are unrivaled.
Jim Sumner, longtime staff member of the North Carolina Museum of History, signed on to write about the genesis of our passion for sports. Browning, who was an editor and columnist for both the Greensboro News & Record and the Asheville Citizen-Times, drew his strong suit of baseball. Al Featherston, formerly of the Durham Herald-Sun, became the point man on basketball (he also is a nationally renowned expert on Civil War history). Rob Daniels, also a Greensboro journalist, presented the football segment and Lee Pace, a longtime journalist and historian, contributed the golf perspective.
Multi-talented Lenox Rawlings, nationally known Hall of Fame sports columnist for the Winston-Salem Journal, provides an unvarnished look at racing’s checkered history, and Tim Stevens of the Raleigh News & Observer offered his contribution as the state’s foremost authority on high school athletics. Former Greensboro sports staff mates Larry Keech and Bill Hass brought their perspectives to the table on the diversity of sports in this state and the stunning number of national championships North Carolina’s collegiate sports teams have won since Wake Forest’s baseball team achieved the state’s first in 1954.
In the words of Nat Walker, two-time NC Sports Hall of Fame board president, “Nothing Finer– North Carolina's Sports History and the People Who Made It is a tour de force that brings alive the sports and the amateur and professional stars who thrilled and captivated us through the decades."
The book can be ordered through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book goes to support the Hall when you order online before March 15, 2015.
This could be a great holiday gift for fans of sports in North Carolina.