Born in Anderson, Indiana, Case graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1923. He compiled a 726-75 record while coaching 23 years in high school basketball, including winning 4 Indiana state championships while coaching in Frankfort, Indiana (1925, 1929, 1936, 1939). Frankfort's Case Arena is named after him. Case is one of only five coaches to win at least 4 state titles in Indiana basketball (the others being Marion Crawley, Glenn Curtis, Jack Keefer with 4 and Bill Green with 6).
Case enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1941. He was commissioned a senior-grade lieutenant and reported to Annapolis for a four-week training course. He then traveled to Chicago for five weeks training before reporting to Naval Pre-flight school at St. Mary's College in California, where he served as assistant athletic director and director of basketball. He also served as athletic director at the Alameda Naval Air Station.
Upon leaving the Navy in 1946, Case took assumed coaching duties at N.C. State. In 18 years, he compiled a 377-134 (.737) record--still the best in school history. He won the last six Southern Conference titles and the first three Atlantic Coast Conference crowns, eventually winning four overall, and seven Dixie Classics. Case himself was aptly rewarded, earning three ACC Coach of the Year awards, in 1954, 1955 and 1958. Case's teams finished third in the 1947 NIT and third in the 1950 NCAA Tournament. The ACC Tournament's Most Valuable Player award is named in his honor.
N.C. State had already begun construction on Reynolds Coliseum in 1941, but all work stopped during World War II. Case persuaded the administration to build a 12,400-seat arena, instead of the 10,000-seat facility originally planned. The ACC's basketball tournament was largely Case's idea, with Reynolds Coliseum hosting the first 13 ACC tournaments from 1954 through 1966. It was Case's idea to get the ACC to recognize the tournament winner as the conference champion--and thus the winner of the conference's lone berth in the NCAA tournament. From 1949 to 1960, it also hosted the "Dixie Classic," a holiday tournament that quickly ascended to the top of the state's sporting calendar.
When Case came to Raleigh, North Carolina was, like most states in the South, enraptured by college football. For example, in his first year in Raleigh, the fire marshal cancelled a game because people were spilling onto the floor of State's tiny gym (Reynolds' predecessor) and climbing in through windows. The other three schools along Tobacco Road--Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest--responded by upgrading their facilities and recruiting budgets to counter the "red menace" in Raleigh. Case is also credited with introducing such practices as cutting down the nets after a championship and shining a spotlight on players as they were introduced.
For a time, it looked as if the Wolfpack would dominate the ACC in the same fashion that Kentucky dominated the Southeastern Conference. However, the Wolfpack's momentum was derailed in 1956, when the NCAA placed N.C. State on four years' probation. Case reportedly gave Louisiana high school athlete Jackie Moreland cash and gifts to entice him away from his previous agreement to attend Kentucky--a charge he denied. Just as that probation ended in 1960, State was placed on probation again--this time for a point-shaving scandal that caused the cancellation of the Dixie Classic.
By this time, Case was in failing health. He stepped down early in the 1964-65 season due to inoperable cancer. He was soon confined to a wheelchair; when the Wolfpack won the 1965 ACC tournament, they wheeled him over from press row so he could cut the last strand of the net. He died a year later, and was interred at Raleigh Memorial Park in Raleigh. Case instructed that his body be laid facing Raleigh's Hwy 70, so that he could "wave" to later Wolfpack teams as they ventured over to UNC or Duke to oppose those teams.
He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1968, Basketball Hall of Fame on May 3, 1982 and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1964. N.C. State's main athletics office is named for him.
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