April 22, 1902 - On this day in history in the NCSHOF, Eddie Cameron was born in Pittsburgh. His 43-year career at Duke University included stints as the football and the basketball coach and 22 years as athletic director. Cameron Indoor Stadium on the Duke campus is named for him. He joined the NCSHOF in 1969.
Johnny Moore, NCSHOF Board and former Duke Sports Information shared this story about Eddie Cameron. Edmund McCullough “Eddie” Cameron is one of the most important people in the success of basketball at Duke University. So significant was he to the program that the University chose to name Duke Indoor Stadium in honor of Cameron in 1972.
Cameron did everything in the world of athletics as a player, coach and administrator. Cameron attended Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana before he became a fullback at Washington and Lee University where he served as captain of both the football and basketball teams.
As a coach he served one year at Washington and Lee, 1924-25 and then at Duke for 1928 to 1942 as the head basketball coach compiling a career record of 234-104. He also served as football coach at Duke from 1942 to 1945, putting together a 25-11-1 mark and a Sugar Bowl title and served as the director of athletics form 1951 to 1972.
Under Cameron the basketball team surged to a new level of success as the Blue Devils. His teams at Duke ran up a 226-99 overall record and a 119-56 record in conference play. In his 14 seasons as head coach at Duke the Blue Devils won Southern Conference Championships in 1938, 1941 and 1942.
While he played most of his games in Card Gymnasium it is ironic that Duke Indoor Stadium, later to be named Cameron would be finance due to Cameron's coaching in football as Duke used money earned in the school's first Rose Bowl appearance in 1939 to partially finance the construction of the dramatic new indoor stadium and would finish paying off the note with money from the 1945 Sugar Bowl when Cameron was the head coach. Cameron coached the dedicatory game and first victory in the stadium on January 6, 1940, when Duke defeated Princeton University 36 to 27.
After Wade entered the military service in World War II, Cameron became the head football coach. In four years Cameron's teams won three conference championships, compiled a record of 25–11–1 and won the 1945 Sugar Bowl by beating Alabama, 29–26. Cameron became permanent Director of Physical Education and Athletics in 1946 when Wade returned and resumed coaching football.
Cameron's active participation in Duke athletics spanned forty-six years, from 1926 to 1972—the second- longest tenure in the school's history. However, according to stories in the Duke archives his unofficial contribution continued sixteen more years after retirement until his death in 1988 at age 86. He held more different positions and exercised greater responsibility in athletics on and off campus than any other Duke administrator.
Cameron's record was equally impressive when he became head football coach in 1942 when Wallace Wade entered military service in World War II. In four years, Cameron's teams won three conference championships while compiling a record of 25-11-1. Eight of the losses were to service teams which were more like professional teams in the war years. Cameron's teams lost only one game to the Big Four in the state and he never lost to North Carolina even defeating them twice in the 1943 season. The 1943 team led the nation in scoring with 335 points and in defense giving up just 34 points in nine games. However, the climax of Cameron's football career came with Duke's first post season victory when Duke defeated Alabama, 29 to 26, in the 1945 Sugar Bowl. Cameron became permanent Director of Physical Education and Athletics in 1946 when Wade returned and resumed coaching football.
Cameron was one of the nation's most influential athletic administrators. He was a founder of the Atlantic Coast Conference. He chaired the basketball committee of the Southern and ACC conferences for decades, where he steadfastly supported the crowning of a champion by an end-of-the-year tournament. He also served on the selection committee for the national Football Hall of Fame and the governing committee of the Olympics.
However, he took the greatest pride in the changing face of Duke athletics. He was most excited at opening new facilities such as the move from Hanes Football Field on East Campus to the new 35,000 seat stadium on West, or the move from Card Gym to the new indoor stadium for basketball. But he was equally pleased with the planning and opening of a long-awaited 18 hole golf course, expanded baseball and track facilities, and the construction of a new indoor swimming pool.
Cameron died at his home in Durham on November 25, 1988.
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