Jimmy V’s Farewell Speech In Reynolds

Jimmy V Week is underway on ESPN, and while my wife and I were out at dinner, we saw V’s incredible speech at the ESPY Awards in 1993 replayed on the World Wide Leader.  It was moving, as always, but the farewell speech I remember the best from Jim Valvano was one far more direct and personal for State’s fans — his last visit to Reynolds Coliseum on February 21, 1993, the night that NC State honored the tenth anniversary of the 1983 NCAA Champions:

Fans Flashback NCS Basketball Sidney Lowe Tradition

16 Responses to Jimmy V’s Farewell Speech In Reynolds

  1. Sweet jumper 12/03/2008 at 8:25 PM #

    Wow, that brings back memories. I had to watch the ESPY speech also. V was a dynamic personality who made great in-game adjustments. He was also brillant with a PhD. in English. He brought incredible excitement to Wolfpack basketball and was admired by fans of all teams, even bitter rivals. He was handed such a raw deal by the NCSU administration but was able to come back and say goodbye with such eloquence and dignity. He is gone but not forgotten. RIP Coach Valvano and go Wolfpack!

  2. wufpup76 12/03/2008 at 8:40 PM #

    RIP Jim Valvano

    A special person who accomplished special things …

  3. rky 12/03/2008 at 8:41 PM #

    Just sat my daughter on my lap, watched the clip and told her that her Daddy was in the crowd that night. I am striving to bring her up a proud Wolfpacker . . . despite her mother getting degrees from Wake and EweNC. She enjoyed clapping and cheering each time the crowd did in the clip. That speech has always been a great memory for me and I was glad to share it with my daughter. Thanks for posting!

  4. BJD95 12/03/2008 at 9:15 PM #

    I was in the crowd. It was by far the toughest ticket of my college years. At least a quarter of the students in attendance left before the opening tip. They just wanted to see V.

  5. SaccoV 12/04/2008 at 8:23 AM #

    After watching this speech, I still can’t help but feel a sick feeling in my guts that both NC STATE and IONA, two schools where the Valvano coached, have not been allowed to participate in the “Jimmy V Classic” which ESPN has filled its pre-season basketball coffers with. How shameful is it that ESPN seems to get monetary compensation for the memory of a damn good coach and a better person, when the two schools he brought to prominence get nothing. I still miss Jimmy to this day, and I still feel so lucky as a kid to have met him and shook his hand and hear him speak. He was truly one of a kind.

  6. LRM 12/04/2008 at 8:44 AM #


    While I would love to see State as the centerpiece of the Jimmy V Classic, I respectfully disagree that ESPN exploits it.

    Without ESPN and guys like Dick Vitale and even Coach K, Jimmy V’s legacy is left burried in the vitriol spewed upon him for so many years by the shameless local media. Even worse, the Jimmy V Fund would be a shell of itself without ESPN’s promotion.

    And that Reynolds speech still gets me every time.

  7. Par Shooter 12/04/2008 at 9:01 AM #

    I was a senior and in attendence that day. It remains, by far, my most memorable time in Reynolds. I’m always struck by how close Sheridan and Jimmy V were even after V had left State. I’ve also wondered whether V’s passing was part of what convinced Sheridan that his health was more important than staying on to coach here. I know there may have been other factors but I think losing V at such a young age may have really hit home with Sheridan and his health issues. Didn’t he resign within months of V’s passing? In fact, was the V speech Sheridan’s last real public appearance as our head coach?

  8. skywalkerdt 12/04/2008 at 9:27 AM #

    i most definitely agree that this speech was the one that hit the wolfpack nation most closely, as it is always the one i think back to first. that is not to discount from the espy speech because either one makes me, a grown man, cry like a baby!

    but i must say Coach V we know your out there and I think I echo the sentiments of all State students, alumni, and fans when I say: WE LOVE YOU COACH!

  9. wufpup76 12/04/2008 at 12:09 PM #

    I have plenty of issues w/ ESPN, but I don’t think they exploit the ‘Jimmy V Classic’ for money … I think nearly all the money that comes in from both ‘Jimmy V week’ and the ‘Jimmy V Classic’ goes directly to the V Foundation

    I would certainly like to see State and even Iona involved – at least once in a while – in the Jimmy V Classic, but I applaud ESPN for their respective efforts when it comes to the V Foundation … You could even say that ESPN embraced V and his legacy so much more than NCSU did (or has) … As much as it pains me to say that, I think it’s true … That’s not the case for most of our fans and alumni, but the University itself really distanced itself from V, unfortunately

    The curse of Valvano will live on until one of our brillant University leaders figures out a way to honor this man more than in just passing … He needs to embraced by the University, not just remembered

    0 ACC Titles, 1 Sweet Sixteen appearance since V was our coach / AD

  10. SaccoV 12/04/2008 at 2:24 PM #

    LRM, I will concede the point about the V foundation with ESPN’s backing; however, Valvano, whether in life or death, doesn’t need Vitale or ESPN to remember him–State fans have always been the real torch-bearers. And even if Valvano did, why does ESPN consistently refuse to let NC State be a part of the tournament? That tournament gets national attention, and could do a great deal in bringing back the national rapport that NC State held while Valvano was coach and AD. Their refusal for the entire life of the tournament is inexcusable, especially when their 1st awards show is the one Valvano’s speech made memorable. Not one other ESPY’s ceremony has come close to matching the one with Valvano’s eloquence.
    Lastly, when I checked last, Peter Golenbock was NOT a local writer, nor was John Feinstein. Valvano is very easy to praise if you knew him or were around him, like Feinstein was, and very easy to villify if you kept your distance like Golenbock and Dick Vitale, who at the time of the investigation, wasn’t exactly supportive of Jimmy V. Regardless, we State fans know for ourselves who Jim Valvano was, and I would never let ESPN, Vitale, the N&O, The Charlotte Observer or anyone else tell me what he is or what he means to me.

  11. wufpup76 12/04/2008 at 2:49 PM #

    Kay Yow had a chat on espn.com for V week … here’s the wrap if you’re interested:


  12. redfred2 12/04/2008 at 4:50 PM #

    Thanks for posting that Alpha.

    It’s like I said before, Valvano’s personality was, and still is, admired by countless people who aren’t even BB fans. He transcended the game. Fortunately, for us Wolfpack fans, he somehow ended up coaching basketball at one NC State University. Fortunately for Jim Valvano, he was also able to transcend that one NC State University when he was later shown the door.

    I could not believe when he came back and gave that speech. NC State University did not deserve his presence at that time.

    Sorry SaccoV, but Jim Valvano was bigger than the simpletons he was surrounded by at NC State University. There is no reason for anyone to feel obligated in the least in inviting the Wolfpack of NC State to something that has Jim Valvano’s name attached. NC State turned it’s back, shunned him and gave up any and all rights to everything that was Jim Valvano, a long, long, time ago.

    NC State had it all, but the overwhelming fear of public perception ruled, and still rules, the day.

  13. OwenDorm83 12/04/2008 at 6:19 PM #

    Sorry SaccoV, but Jim Valvano was bigger than the simpletons he was surrounded by at NC State University. There is no reason for anyone to feel obligated in the least in inviting the Wolfpack of NC State to something that has Jim Valvano’s name attached. NC State turned it’s back, shunned him and gave up any and all rights to everything that was Jim Valvano, a long, long, time ago.

    No offense intended to SaccoV, but I have to agree with redfred. I still cannot believe that the lame administration at NC State during this time treated V as badly as they did. Saying that they threw him under the bus doesn’t even come remotely close to describing it. What a bunch of spineless cowards – Monteith, Spangler, UNC System Board of Directors, and so on.

    Thanks to alpha for posting the youtube. Jim V. What a great man. What an outstanding man!

  14. SaccoV 12/05/2008 at 8:28 AM #

    I agree completely that NC State’s administration buckled to local media pressure. We’ve discussed ad naseum the ineptitudes of the administration at ALL levels of the UNC system, and NC State has been no exception for many years now. Their treatment of Valvano was abhorrent and cannot be justfied. My point is that NC State SHOULD HAVE at some time been a part of that tournament. I can’t pinpoint that the blame entirely goes to ESPN, but they have been the network to broadcast the entire event; therefore decisions on the teams involved must lie with them somehow. If the NC State administration (especially the AD) has had the hand in the team’s conspicuous absence, then, of course, we have one more reason to ask for their removal.

  15. redfred2 12/05/2008 at 9:54 PM #

    SaccoV, I understand what you’re saying, but there is also the fact that the story of Valvano when he was SURROUNDED BY THE NUMB NUTS at NC STATE UNIVERSITY, and the legacy of Jim Valvano as it applies to the V foundation, are so diametrically opposing that they DO NOT MIX well in conversation at all. Especially when the idea for the week long event is to promote an image of Jim Valvano that the good folks at NC State haven’t ever seemed to quite agree with, much less embrace.

    What gets me is, that while folks everywhere around the nation see Jim Valvano’s example as an nothing but inspirational, there are still many people around here, at NC State, who beat themselves to death because they were suckered into forming an impression of Jim Valvano that was totally shaped by a local media that was, and still is, biased as hell.

    Too bad the guy wasn’t qualified enough, or politically correct enough, to meet the NC State/milktoast/yes man criteria for the vaulted title of “Class Act”. Strange how Valvano is BIGGER than life elsewhere, just never quite good enough for West Raleigh, nosireee.

  16. turfpack 12/06/2008 at 1:14 AM #

    I really hate the younger crowd didn’t see him coach,speak and enjoy how much V loved being around people.
    I trully still miss his love for life.
    Still have hard feelings for the way the N&O and State Admin.treated him.

    We miss you coach! But, hope to see you one day.

Leave a Reply