Jim Valvano

Jimmy V
Birth Name:
James Thomas Anthony Valvano
Birth Date:
March 10, 1946
Birth Place:
Queens, New York, New York
Death Date:
April 28, 1993
Place of Death:
Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
Cause of Death:
Metastatic adenocarcinoma
Cemetery Name:
Oakwood Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Nicknamed Jimmy V, Jim Valvano was a successful college basketball player, coach, and sports broadcaster. Valvano had a successful coaching career with multiple schools, culminating at North Carolina State University. While the head coach at NC State, his team won the 1983 NCAA Division I men's basketball title against improbable odds. Valvano is remembered for his ecstatic celebration after winning the national championship game against the heavily favored Houston Cougars (featuring, among others, future legend Clyde Drexler). Valvano is also remembered for an inspirational and memorable speech delivered at the 1993 ESPY Awards while terminally ill with cancer. Valvano implored the audience to laugh, think, and cry each day and announced the formation of The V Foundation for Cancer Research whose motto would be "Don't give up. Don't ever give up". He gave the speech less than two months before his death from adenocarcinoma (an aggressive type of glandular cancer).

The Accusations of Rules Violations

Spoiler Alert! It was all bullshit!

In 1989, accusations of rules violations surfaced in the book Personal Fouls by Peter Golenbock. These accusations centered mostly on high school All-American Chris Washburn, who managed only a 470 out of 1600 on his SAT (with 400 being the starting score for just showing up). A 1989 NCAA investigation cleared Valvano, but found that players sold shoes and game tickets. As a result, NC State placed its basketball program on probation for two years (the maximum) and was banned from participating in the 1990 NCAA tournament. The state-appointed Poole Commission issued a 32-page report that concluded that there were no major violations of NCAA regulations, and that Valvano and his staff’s inadequate oversight of players’ academic progress violated “the spirit, not the letter of the law.”

After this report, Valvano was forced to resign as the school’s athletic director in October 1989, but remained as basketball coach through the 1989–90 season. Under subsequent pressure from the school’s faculty and new chancellor, Valvano negotiated a settlement with NC State and resigned as basketball coach on April 7, 1990. Six separate entities investigated Valvano and the NC State basketball program including the NC State Faculty Senate, the North Carolina Attorney General, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, the NC State Board of Trustees, and the NCAA. None of them found any evidence of recruiting violations or academic or financial impropriety on the part of Valvano or his staff.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Oakwood Cemetery

701 Oakwood Avenue

Raleigh, North Carolina, 27601


North America


Map of historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina
Map of historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina

Grave Location:

Section Cedar Hill, Lot 135, Grave 1

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery stay to the right as you drive towards the center of the cemetery, parking at the intersection of Willow Avenue and Locust Avenue. Walk down Locust Avenue about 200 feet towards the stairs leading down the hill and you will see the final resting place of sports legend Jim Valvano on the road.

Grave Location GPS

35.787539, -78.625596



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