1 of 13 Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
Jim Valvano would've turned 65 on Thursday. The former N.C. State coach was diagnosed with bone cancer in June 1992 and died less than a year later. He is best known for leading the Wolfpack on an improbable run to the 1983 National Championship and famously running up and down the court after the victory, looking for someone to hug. Here are some rare photos of Jimmy V:
2 of 13Andy Hayt/SI
Moments after winning the national title, Valvano embraces Dereck Whittenburg, who threw up the last-second airball that was caught by Lorenzo Charles for the game-winning dunk.
3 of 13AP
The Wolfpack barely qualified for the 1983 NCAA tournament. The team finished the regular season in a tie for third place in the ACC with an 8-6 record (17-10 overall). They did not lose again, winning a bid to the NCAA tournament by capturing the conference tournament, and upsetting higher-ranked teams to reach the final against Houston.
4 of 13Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
Valvano was known for his large presence, both on and off the court. "I want to do other things, learn about other professions," he said when asked of his outside pursuits. "I refuse to limit myself to whatever boundaries you may think surround a coach's position. Very simply, I enjoy diversity."
5 of 13 Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
During his tenure at N.C. State, Valvano made himself into one of the state's biggest media attractions, appearing almost incessantly on a statewide radio hookup, accepting speaking engagements in various towns and cheerfully promoting a soft drink, health club, fast-food chain and bank.
6 of 13Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
Before arriving at N.C. State, Valvano coached at Johns Hopkins, Bucknell and Iona. He led the Wolfpack for 10 years (1980-89) and retired with a career record of 346-210.
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Valvano played point guard at Rutgers and led the Scarlet Knights to a third-place finish in the 1967 NIT.
8 of 13Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
Valvano got his coaching start at Rutgers, where he spent a year as an assistant before becoming head coach at Johns Hopkins in 1970 at the age of 22. In his one season with the Blue Jays, he led the team to a 10-9 record, its first winning season in 24 years.
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Valvano poses with point guard Vinny Del Negro. The point guard spent four years playing for Valvano and led the Wolfpack to the 1987 ACC Tournament championship, where he was named MVP.
10 of 13Manny Millan/SI
Valvano smiles from the sideline during a game against North Carolina. The coach posted a 209-114 record in 10 seasons with the Wolfpack, including seven appearances in the NCAA tournament.
11 of 13Ronald C. Modra /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
After leaving N.C. State, Valvano worked as a broadcaster for ESPN and ABC Sports. He was occasionally paired with close friend Dick Vitale and the duo was dubbed the "Killer Vees" for their enthusiasm and unique style.
12 of 13Ronald C. Modra/SI
Valvano poses with his wife, Pam, and three daughters, Jamie, Nicole and Lee Ann. in January 1993. He passed away three months later.
13 of 13 Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
Valvano's legacy still lives on through The V Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. The group's motto is "Don't give up. Don't ever give up," a message Valvano delivered during his famous speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards.
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