The Way We Were – Remembering Jackie Murdock

The Way We Were – Remembering Jackie Murdock
                Just last week I was sitting in Café Carolina at Cameron Village in Raleigh and in walked Jackie Murdock. He is a little older than he was when he was an All ACC first team basketball guard in 1957 for Wake Forest, but he still looks the same. The face has not changed. He played only one year in Winston-Salem…the first year the school was there and graduated with the first class on what was then the new campus.
                I was a kid when he played and was connected at the hip to Wake Forest, even on the old campus in the town of Wake Forest where we played in Gore Gymnasium in front of a sell-out crowd of about 2,000. But that was a golden time. I remember Jackie hurling down the court for a fast break layup, and I remember in his senior year when he set the NCAA record for consecutive free throws at 39.
                Then there was 1966 when for one year he was the head basketball coach at Wake Forest, taking over from Bones McKinney. The basketball situation was a mess, and one day, after the season was over, he was invited to meet with Dr. Tribble, the school president and was told the school wanted to go in a different direction and would not be hiring Jackie as a permanent coach. Jackie looked at Dr. Tribble, accepted his decision and told him he had hoped he could help the school turn things around, much as Dr. Tribble had had to do. And then he got up and walked out.
                Jackie never looked back and had a successful career in Raleigh with the North Carolina Department of Transportation as the Secondary Roads Officer. But even though he is now a little older, and he probably can’t run down the court quite as fast, he still remembers playing and wanting to beat Carolina. He once said as a student that every Wake Forest freshman learns when he or she first comes to school that that is the great goal.
                And sometimes he did. But then on this day, Jackie left the restaurant with his friend Grey Poole to play golf. Grey played basketball at Carolina. But just for an instant, time stopped and memories went back to when Murdock, Dickie Hemric, Lefty Davis and Ernie Wiggins were just about the best thing around. Jackie Murdock still is.

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