The Atlantic Coast Conference Was Created

An ACC football trophy from 1968

An ACC football trophy from 1968

On May 8, 1953, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) was created during the meeting of representatives from the Southern Conference in Greensboro. The initial members of the conference were Clemson, Duke, the University of Maryland, the University of North Carolina, N.C. State, the University of South Carolina and Wake Forest. The University of 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 as well.  Jim Weaver, the athletic director at Wake Forest, was named commissioner the following year.

The seven schools decided to pull out of the Southern Conference for two primary reasons. First, the Southern Conference’s 17-institution membership was making scheduling games in all sports very difficult. Additionally, the Southern Conference had banned post-season bowl games due to gambling and financial scandals, but some of the schools disputed the ban. The nascent conference elected to allow schools to play in bowl games as long as they did not profit greatly from the participation.

A number of new 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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