Birth of the Atlantic Coast Conference, 1953

The program or the first annual ACC Men’s Basketball Championships, held in March 1954. Image from NCSU Libraries.

On May 8, 1953, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) was created during a meeting of representatives from the Southern Conference in Greensboro. The initial members of the conference were Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest. Virginia was accepted as a member later that year.

Wallace Wade, the former Duke football coach who was commissioner of the Southern Conference, agreed to serve as the ACC’s interim commissioner. Jim Weaver, the athletic director at Wake Forest, was named commissioner the following year.

The seven schools pulled out of the Southern Conference for two reasons. The Southern Conference’s 17-institution membership had made scheduling games very difficult. Additionally, the Southern Conference had banned post-season bowl games because of gambling and financial scandals. The budding conference elected to allow schools to play in bowl games.

A number of names were proposed for the new conference including Dixie, Tobacco, Blue-Gray, and the Southern Seven. Duke’s Eddie Cameron ultimately suggested the name that stuck: the Atlantic Coast Conference.

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