The Hall’s “Great Moments in North Carolina Sports History” series in 2015 honored the remarkable achievements of the Wake Forest men’s golf program, specifically the glory decades of the 1970s and 1980s under the leadership of legendary coach Jesse Haddock.
While Arnold Palmer was the Demon Deacons’ first bona fide star (he won the inaugural Atlantic Coast Conference men’s golf tournament in 1954), it was his housemate, Haddock, who turned the program from good to great.
Haddock officially was named head coach in 1960, and the self-proclaimed “country boy from Pitt County” began building a powerhouse. His Wake Forest teams won national championships in 1974, 1975 and 1986, and from 1967 through 1980 the Demon Deacons won 13 out of 14 conference titles. Haddock retired in 1991 with 15 ACC championships total under his belt.
His best team was the 1975 squad, which featured Curtis Strange, Jay Haas, Bob Byman and David Thore. Those Deacons obliterated the field in the NCAA championships at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course, winning by a record 33 shots. In 2001, GolfWorld magazine named the 1975 Wake team as the greatest in the history of college golf.
The “Great Moments” series debuted in 2011. Previous honorees include the 1957 North Carolina Tar Heels’ undefeated national championship men’s basketball team (2011); track star Jim Beatty’s 1962 sub-four minute indoor mile run (2012); the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2006 Stanley Cup championship (2012); N.C. State’s hiring in 1946 of Everett Case as its men’s basketball coach (2013); the Wolfpack’s 1974 men’s basketball national championship team (2013); and the creation of Pinehurst Resort and the building of the famed Pinehurst No. 2 course (2014), recognized in conjunction with the 2014 men’s and women’s U.S. Opens.