The Tradition Consistency. It’s the mark of true excellence in any endeavor. However, in today’s intercollegiate athletics, competition has become so balanced and so competitive that it is virtually impossible to maintain a high level of consistency.
Yet the Atlantic Coast Conference has defied the odds. Now in its 45th year of competition, the ACC has long enjoyed the reputation as one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate conferences in the nation. And that is not mere conjecture, the numbers support it.
Since the league’s inception in 1953, ACC schools have captured 59 NCAA and AIAW championships, including 27 in men’s competition and 32 in women’s. In addition, 100 men and 24 women have earned the coveted title of NCAA champion.
1996-97 in Review The 1996-97 academic year concluded with the league pocketing three more national team titles and four individual NCAA crowns. In all, the ACC has won 26 national team titles the last seven years.
The ACC’s 1996-97 national champions were North Carolina in women’s soccer and field hockey and Maryland in women’s lacrosse. In addition the ACC had two other teams participate in national title games – Florida State in football and Maryland in lacrosse. Overall, the ACC posted a 54-48 (.529) mark in NCAA Tournament play.
The ACC placed at least one team in the Top 10 nationally in 16 of the 24 sports sponsored by the league. Other records of note during the 1996-97 season include 84 teams competing at NCAA Championships, four bowl teams and 35 Top 10 showings.
Eight ACC teams, in six different sports, representing five of the nine member institutions, earned a No. 1 ranking during the course of the past academic year.
The ACC Academic Honor Roll record was broken for the 11th-straight year in 1995-96 as 1,410 athletes were recognized for their work in the classroom.
The Championships With the addition of women’s lacrosse, the ACC conducted championhsip competition in 24 sports during the 1996-97 academic year – 12 for men and 12 for women.
The first ACC championship was held in swimming on February 24, 1954. The conference did not conduct championships in cross country, wrestling or tennis during the first year.
The 12 sports for men include football, cross country, soccer, basketball, swimming, indoor and outdoor track, wrestling, baseball, tennis, golf and lacrosse. Fencing, which was started in 1971, was discontinued in 1981.
Women’s sports were initiated in 1977 with the first championship meet being held in tennis at Wake Forest University, October 6-8. Conference championships for women are currently conducted in cross country, volleyball, field hockey, soccer, basketball, swimming, indoor and outdoor track, tennis, golf, lacrosse and softball.
A History The Atlantic Coast Conference was founded on May 8, 1953, at the Sedgefield Inn near Greensboro, N.C., with seven charter members – Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest – drawing up the conference by-laws.
The withdrawal of seven schools from the Southern Conference came early on the morning of May 8, 1953, during the Southern Conference’s annual spring meeting. On June 14, 1953, the seven members met in Raleigh, N.C., where a set of by-laws was adopted and the name became officially the Atlantic Coast Conference.
On December 4, 1953, conference officials met again at Sedgefield and officially admitted the University of Virginia. The first, and only, withdrawal of a school from the ACC came on June 30, 1971 when the University of South Carolina tendered its resignation.
The conference operated with seven members until April 3, 1978, when Georgia Tech was admitted. The Atlanta school withdrew from the SEC in January of 1964. The ACC expanded to nine members on July 1, 1991, with the addition of Florida State.
July 19, 2019