Jim Valvano

Jim Valvano (1946-1993)

Teams coached: Bucknell Bison, Iona Gaels, NC State Wolfpack
Bucknell record: 33-42 (.440)
Iona record: 94-45 (.676) **
NC State record: 209-110 (.655) **
Overall record^: 346-206 (.627) **

Career Accomplishments:


  • ACC Coach of the Year:  1  (1987)
  • Arthur Ashe Courage Award (1993)
  • USBWA Most Courageous Award (1993)
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 2023)

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1980-1990 NC State
1975-1980 Iona
1972-1975 Bucknell
1970-1972 Connecticut (asst)
1969-1970 Johns Hopkins
1967-1969 Rutgers (asst)

Jim Valvano Facts

  • James Thomas Anthony Valvano
  • Born March 10, 1946
  • Died April 28, 1993
  • Hometown: Queens, New York
  • Alma Mater: Rutgers University (BS, 1967)
  • Three-sport star athlete at Seaford HS on Long Island, before going on to play point guard at Rutgers under head coach Bill E. Foster
  • Started his coaching career as an assistant/freshman coach under Foster at Rutgers, then spent one season as head coach at D-III Johns Hopkins
  • Spent two years as an assistant at Connecticut under Dee Rowe before getting the head coaching position at Bucknell
  • Went 33-42 in three seasons at Bucknell, then 94-45 (including two trips to the NCAA Tournament) in five years at Iona before becoming the head coach at NC State in 1980
    • Won 209 games in ten seasons, the most memorable being the 1983 NCAA Championship victory over the heavily-favored Houston Cougars
    • Valvano memorably ran onto the court following the last second buzzer-beater from Lorenzo Charles, desperately looking for someone to hug
    • Served as NC State’s athletic director for three years 1986-89 in addition to his role as head basketball coach
    • Resigned as AD in 1989, then as head coach in 1990 following a financial and academic scandal within the program
      • Though cleared by the NCAA of wrongdoing, he accepted a settlement and resigned under pressure from leadership
      • NC State’s 1987 and 1988 NCAA Tournament appearances were vacated, as was the 0-2 record accrued during those appearances
  • Worked as a broadcaster for ESPN and ABC Sports following his coaching career and in 1992 was given the Cable ACE Award for Commentator/Analyst on NCAA basketball broadcasts
  • Diagnosed in June 1992 with metastatic adenocarcinoma (bone cancer)
    • Valvano announced the creation of The V Foundation for Cancer Research on March 3, 1993 during the first ever ESPY Awards, during his acceptance speech for the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award
    • His speech, which received a standing ovation, is re-played every year during ESPN coverage of college basketball and particularly during Jimmy V Week and the Jimmy V Classic tournament
  • Valvano passed away on April 28, 1993, not even two months after his ESPYs speech, following a nearly year-long battle with cancer; he is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, NC
    • Survived by his wife, Pamela, and their three daughters
    • His younger brother, Bob Valvano, was also a college head coach and now works in sports radio

Jim Valvano Coaching Tree

  • Tom Abatemarco (Lamar, Drake, Sacramento State)
  • Chucky Brown (Los Angeles D-Fenders)
  • Vinny Del Negro (Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls)
  • Marty Fletcher (UCCS, Denver, Southwestern Louisiana, VMI)
  • Pat Kennedy (Pace, Towson, Montana, DePaul, Florida State, Iona)
  • Sidney Lowe (NC State, Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • Nate McMillan (Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle SuperSonics)
  • Clay Moser (Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Treasure Valley CC, overseas)
  • Jeff Ruland (Iona, District of Columbia)
  • Dereck Whittenburg (Fordham, Wagner)


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at both the Division I and Division III levels

** Listed accomplishments for this coach do not include wins or appearances later vacated by the NCAA