Many great athletes and teams have their roots in the Triangle and fans can celebrate that history in a variety of places. Here are five Triangle sports museums and halls of fame open to the public.
Carolina Basketball Museum
Whether you are a University of North Carolina basketball fan or you just like to learn about a storied program, it's easy to appreciate all the history collected inside the Carolina Basketball Museum. Located on the first floor of the Ernie Williamson Athletics Center on campus, the museum includes 8,000 square feet of memories. Visitors can stroll through 40 cases of trophies, basketballs and championship rings and see how uniforms have changed from one era to the next.
If you want to feel immersed in all the Carolina Blue memories, there are several interactive presentations that highlight all 10 of Carolina's Final Four appearances and 18 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament titles—and all six of the school's national championships.
The museum also highlights many of the greatest games, fantastic finishes and buzzer beaters in Tar Heel history, as well as top players and coaches like Dean Smith, Michael Jordan, Tyler Hansbrough, Phil Ford and Bill Guthridge. The artifacts on display have been donated by current and former Tar Heel coaches and players from the 1950s to the present.
North Carolina State Athletic Walk of Fame and History
North Carolina State University recently brought together the history of Reynolds Coliseum with its Athletic Hall of Fame to give Wolfpack fans something to celebrate.
The school has given the venerable basketball arena a makeover that includes the new NCSU Athletic Walk of Fame and History. The basketball floor has been shifted within the building to accommodate the new exhibits that celebrate the history of Wolfpack sports. Visitors can take a closer look at memorabilia and stories from the greatest NCSU athletes in all sports, including quarterback Roman Gabriel, soccer star Tab Ramos, cross country all-American Betty Springs Geiger and basketball great Ronnie Shavlik.
The new facility includes another tribute to NCSU's celebrated athletic past. Coaches Corner acknowledges the contributions of the most admired coaches in Wolfpack history with statues of Jim Valvano, Everett Case, Norm Sloan and Kay Yow located outside Reynolds Coliseum.
The reconfigured Reynolds now holds 6,000 fans for events like women's basketball, volleyball and wrestling, and with the exhibit in the same building, fans can enjoy the past and present in one visit.
Duke Basketball Museum
Cameron Indoor Stadium might be the most venerated college basketball facility in the U.S., but the Duke University basketball program houses its most treasured memories in the Duke Basketball Museum, located adjacent to Cameron in the Schwartz/Butters Athletic Center.
Visitors can delve into the basketball program's remarkable success under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has led the school to all five of its national championships. Fans can stand in the middle of a ring of glass cases that display the NCAA title trophies. Another favorite exhibit celebrates all nine players selected national player of the year. And don't forget the Duke fans, who are as legendary as the players. The museum pays tribute to the tent city known as Krzyzewskiville and the Duke students who make up the rowdy Cameron Crazies. The jerseys of all the Blue Devil greats are on display too.
But that's just part of the Blue Devils' athletics story. Next to the museum is the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame, which includes Olympic swimmer Nancy Hogshead, baseball and basketball star Dick Groat and linebacker Mike Curtis among more than 100 members. The museum features portraits of all the athletes enshrined from Duke's 27 sports. Collectively, they have won 16 national championships since 1986.
North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
If you're looking for one place to take in all the memorable moments and athletes in North Carolina history, then plan a visit to the the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Located on the third floor of the North Carolina Museum of History in downtown Raleigh, the museum offers self-guided tours with free admission. Learn about the state's legends in auto racing, basketball and other standouts in a wide variety of sports.
The museum serves as a reminder of the how many world class athletes have roots in North Carolina: Gaylord Perry and Buck Leonard in baseball, golfer Arnold Palmer and NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. Some of the greatest coaches in history are synonymous with their time coaching in the college ranks: Wallace Wade, Sylvia Hatchell and Clarence Gaines are all enshrined for their long and successful careers. Banners of all the inductees hang from the rafters.
The museum also honors moments on the North Carolina sports timeline. The creation of Pinehurst Resort, UNC's undefeated national championship men's basketball team (2012), and the Carolina Hurricanes 2006 Stanley Cup—the only major league championship in state history—are all noted at the museum which has more than 350,000 visitors annually.
North Carolina Baseball Museum
Located at Fleming Stadium in Wilson, the North Carolina Baseball Museum has more than 3,000 square feet of space filled with memorabilia from North Carolina natives who made their mark in baseball. The museum includes showcases dedicated to all seven North Carolina natives in the Baseball Hall of Fame: Luke Appling, Rick Ferrell, Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Gaylord Perry, Buck Leonard, Enos Slaughter and Hoyt Wilhelm.
Serving as the home for minor league teams in the 1950s and 1960s, Fleming Stadium was a stepping stone to the major leagues for players like Rod Carew and Richie Ashburn, and they are remembered in the museum as well. The stadium currently serves as the home of the Wilson Tobs, an NCAA summer baseball team in the Coastal Plain League.