Author offers her thoughts on a classic tale’s reception

January 18, 2012
By Chris Saunders

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In the winter issue, NC State magazine wrote about two books dealing with Everett Case’s legacy that came out in November 2011. Historian J. Samuel Walker wrote ACC Basketball, The Story of the Rivalries, Traditions, and Scandals of the First Two Decades of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The second one was The Classic: How Everett Case and His Tournament Brought Big-Time Basketball to the South, written by Bethany Bradsher, a Greenville, N.C., freelance journalist.

Bradsher spent the Christmas season on a book tour. (Click here to see a video by NC State’s Don Shea from one of those stops). After the frenzy settled down, we caught up with her to discuss how the book has been received and what she’s heard out on her tour.

So, since last we spoke, describe how the book’s been received? Well, it’s been wonderful, particularly in the month or so before Christmas. It was overwhelming in a way. Reorders, and such. Since Christmas, there’s been a little of a different buzz with people who have read it. The book was under their trees. Some of those are those featured in the book. To me, that’s the kind of buzz that will carry a little further. At the events, one of the highlights has been having players and former assistant coaches from the Dixie Classic appear with me. …It’s funny, I’ve had people say that, “You have covered the basketball player really well.” But I think I hear that you can find what you like in it. You don’t have to be a basketball fan. There’ s the civil rights stuff in there, too.

When you encounter NC State fans, what do they say about it? Well, I get younger fans who didn’t know much about it. Which was my hope when I wrote about it. I’ve been up front that I didn’t know much about the Dixie Classic when I started writing. I came into this with them. In some ways it’s been neat. I kind of understand where they’re coming from. For the older fans, it just brings back good memories. It’s just nostalgia.

After meeting people, has there been a story that emerged concerning the Wolfpack or Case that you wished you had known in writing the book? Somebody told me that there had been club/intramural teams playing like a mini-Dixie Classic at the time. There’s a surgeon there in Raleigh, and he said his father used to host the coaches. He was a little boy, and I would have loved to hear those stories.

What feelings about Case has the book drawn out of readers? It does seem that people are starting to have their eyes open to what his impact was. …His legacy has been a little more highlighted. …Those that were around him are reminded of who he was, a great salesman, a great promoter.

I know you like these historical sports pieces. Do you already have an idea of what’s next for you? I’ve had a couple of ideas. I think I’m just waiting for some of the right doors to open. There’s a couple of ideas that lie with basketball. And maybe one with football.

Bradsher has a handful of signings and appearances coming up in Raleigh. On Feb. 4, she’ll be  at RBC Center, signing and selling books at the Wake Forest men’s basketball game. On Feb. 6, she’ll be at the Rotary Club of Raleigh. And on Feb. 18, she’ll be signing books at a reception for NC State’s Office of Parents & Family Services at Vaughn Towers.

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