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definition - Sports_in_North_Carolina

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Sports in North Carolina

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Despite having over eight million people, the disbursement of North Carolina's population over three major metropolitan areas precluded attracting any major professional sports league teams until recently. North Carolina remains without a Major League Baseball team despite numerous efforts to attract a team to the state (including the 2010 push to relocate the Florida Marlins to Charlotte). Much of this has to do with North Carolinians preference of college athletics.

On June 19, 2006 the Carolina Hurricanes, a National Hockey League (NHL) franchise based in Raleigh, won the Stanley Cup. The Hurricanes are the first professional sports team from North Carolina to win their sport's highest championship. Home games are played in RBC Center. The now defunct AFL team, the Carolina Cobras, played in the RBC Center from 2000 to 2002.

The National Football League is represented by the Carolina Panthers, who play home games in the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The National Basketball Association is represented by the Charlotte Bobcats; home games are played in the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte which was also home court to the defunct Women's National Basketball Association team, the Charlotte Sting.

The Carolina RailHawks are a men's professional soccer team in the USL First Division, due to compete in their first season in 2007. Home field is the SAS Stadium in Cary. North Carolina has two teams in the USL Second Division, the Charlotte Eagles (who have won multiple titles) and the Wilmington Hammerheads. The state also boasts two teams from the Premier Development League, the Carolina Dynamo playing out of Greensboro, and the Cary RailHawks U23's who groundshare with the RailHawks. Like in other sports, soccer enjoys popularity at the college level.

The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame was established in February, 1963, with the support of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, "to honor those persons who by excellence of their activities in or connected with the world of sports have brought recognition and esteem to themselves and to the State of North Carolina." The Hall of Fame inducted its first five members in December of that year.

Michael Jordan (Wilmington), a famous basketball player, is a North Carolinian. Professional wrestler Ric Flair (calls Charlotte home) is also well worth mentioning.


College athletics

2007 Appalachian State vs. Michigan football game

On September 1, 2007 Applachian State had perhaps the biggest win in program history with a road upset of the #5 Michigan Wolverines, 34-32. With the win Appalachian became the first ever FCS (I-AA) team to defeat an AP nationally ranked FBS (I-A) team. This victory was seen by some analysts to be one of the greatest upsets in NCAA football history.[1][2][3][4]

North Carolinians are generally very passionate about college athletics, particularly college basketball.

North Carolina vs. Duke

North Carolina is home to what many consider the best rivalry in American sports, North Carolina vs. Duke. Chapel Hill (UNC) and Durham (Duke) are only 8 miles apart. This rivalry reaches its climax in basketball but often spills over to other sports including football where the teams play for the Victory Bell. The soccer rivalry is also substantial due to the fact that the two teams are always near the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings.

At the end of the school year the school which has beaten the other more times in all sports is awarded the Carlyle Cup.

Other rivalries

As UNC and Duke are not the only college athletic powers in the state other big rivalries exist. Among these include the other two North Carolina-based ACC schools, NC State (Raleigh) and Wake Forest (Winston-Salem). As with UNC-Duke, the rivalry is mainly in basketball but exists in the other sports as well. N.C. State also has a traditional football rivalry with East Carolina (Greenville).

A recent source of pride for North Carolinians has been the football success of Appalachian State (Boone). The Mountaineers won the Division I FCS (I-AA) championship in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Appalachian enjoys a rivalry with fellow high country school Western Carolina (Cullowhee). This rivalry is mainly in football though it also extends to other sports.

Recently two schools from Mecklenburg, UNC Charlotte and Davidson, have started to meet regularly in basketball despite being in separate conferences.

List of Division I schools

InstitutionLocationEstablishedConferenceSchool typeUndergraduate EnrollmentVarsity sports
Appalachian StateBoone1899SoConPublic (UNC)13,44718
CampbellBuies Creek1887A-SunPrivate (Baptist)2,84319
DavidsonDavidson1837SoCon*Private (Presbyterian)1,70021
East CarolinaGreenville1907C-USAPublic (UNC)17,72819
ElonElon1889SoConPrivate (United Church of Christ)4,84916
Gardner-WebbBoiling Springs1905A-SunPrivate (Baptist)~4,00019
High PointHigh Point1924Big SouthPrivate (Methodist)2,69914
North CarolinaChapel Hill1789ACCPublic (UNC)16,76428
North Carolina A&TGreensboro1891MEACPublic (UNC)9,73511
N.C. CentralDurham1910IndependentPublic (UNC)8,60016
North Carolina StateRaleigh1887ACCPublic (UNC)23,73026
UNC AshevilleAsheville1927Big SouthPublic (UNC)3,4539
UNC CharlotteCharlotte1946A-10Public (UNC)16,58412
UNC GreensboroGreensboro1891SoConPublic (UNC)12,29116
UNC WilmingtonWilmington1947CAAPublic (UNC)10,58119
Wake ForestWinston-Salem1834ACCPrivate (Baptist)4,23118
Western CarolinaCullowhee1889SoConPublic (UNC)8,89113
Winston-Salem StateWinston-Salem1892MEACPublic (UNC)5,56714



North Carolina has a proud history in motorsports and claims to be the home to 80% of American racing teams, mostly from NASCAR. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is being built in uptown Charlotte. Many of the sports legends started out as moonshine runners in the North Carolina high country.


Richard Petty (Level Cross) and Dale Earnhardt (Kannapolis) were both born in North Carolina and are a great source of pride for Carolinians (both North and South) and Southerners in general. Both men won the Winston Cup a record 7-times.

Earnhardt's son, Dale Jr. (also Kannapolis) has become the face of NASCAR and is a sports hero in the Carolinas. Fellow current drivers Brian Vickers (Thomasville), and Scott Riggs (Durham) are also very popular with local fans.

Dale Sr. is the son of Ralph Earnhardt (now passed) and the father of Kerry Earnhardt (also both Kannapolis).

Petty's father Lee (passed) and son Kyle (both Randleman) are also very popular. Kyle's son Adam (High Point) was killed when his car crashed during a practice at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire.

Outside of the Earnhardt and Petty clans North Carolina is home to many other NASCAR legends such as Junior Johnson (Wilkes County), Richard Childress (Winston-Salem), Ned and Dale Jarrett (both Newton), Andy Petree (Hickory), and Rick Hendrick (Warrenton).


Once a major part of the NASCAR circuit North Carolina now only has one track on the schedule, Charlotte. The 167,000-seat Charlotte track is arguably the heart and soul of NASCAR. The track, actually in Concord, hosts three Sprint Cup events every season, including the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (formally The Winston). Charlotte also hosts NASCAR's longest and most grueling race, the Coca-Cola 600, every May. The winner of the race earns tremendous respect among peers and fans due to the distance (the longest on the circuit) and the weather (North Carolina is known for extremely humid and hot summers). During race weeks Concord is said to balloon from its normal population of just under 56,000 to over 300,000.

Tracks that formerly hosted Cup Series events include North Wilkesboro Speedway, Rockingham Speedway, and Metrolina Speedway. North Wilkesboro and Rockingham are used for local racing, and Rockingham is one of the most important test tracks for NASCAR teams. Metrolina, however, would require serious investment to ever host any level of racing again.


Sprint Cup SeriesMay 17, 2008NASCAR Sprint Open1Lowe's Motor Speedway
May 17, 2008NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race1Lowe's Motor Speedway
May 25, 2008Coca-Cola 600Lowe's Motor Speedway
October 11, 2008Bank of America 5002Lowe's Motor Speedway
Nationwide SeriesMay 24, 2008Carquest Auto Parts 300Lowe's Motor Speedway
October 10, 2008Dollar General 300Lowe's Motor Speedway
Craftsman Truck SeriesMay 16, 2008North Carolina Education Lottery 200Lowe's Motor Speedway
Hooters Pro CupApril 28, 2007TBAConcord Motorsport Park
July 21, 2007TBASouthern National Raceway Park
August 4, 2007TBAHickory Motor Speedway
Whelen Southern Modified TourApril 14, 2007TBACaraway Speedway
April 24, 2007TBACaraway Speedway
July 6, 2007TBACaraway Speedway
August 4, 2007TBABowman Gray Stadium
September 3, 2007TBAAce Speedway
September 8, 2007TBACaraway Speedway
September 15, 2007TBASouthern National Raceway Park
September 22, 2007TBACaraway Speedway
October 6, 2007TBACaraway Speedway
1Non-Points event; 2Chase for the Cup

Team list

Australian Rules FootballNorth Carolina TigersUSAFL/EAFL
BaseballAsheville TouristsMinor League Baseball (A); South Atlantic League
Burlington RoyalsMinor League Baseball (R); Appalachian League
Carolina MudcatsMinor League Baseball (AA); Southern League
Charlotte KnightsMinor League Baseball (AAA); International League
Durham BullsMinor League Baseball (AAA); International League
Greensboro GrasshoppersMinor League Baseball (A); South Atlantic League
Hickory CrawdadsMinor League Baseball (A); South Atlantic League
Kannapolis IntimidatorsMinor League Baseball (A); South Atlantic League
Kinston IndiansMinor League Baseball (A); Carolina League
Winston-Salem DashMinor League Baseball (A); Carolina League
BasketballCharlotte BobcatsNational Basketball Association
Wilmington Sea DawgsPremier Basketball League
FootballCarolina PanthersNational Football League
Ice hockeyCarolina HurricanesNational Hockey League
Charlotte CheckersMinor league hockey; ECHL
Fayetteville FireAntzMinor League Hockey; Southern Professional Hockey League
Roller DerbyCarolina RollergirlsWFTDA
Rugby UnionAsheville RFC
Cape Fear RFC
Charlotte Royals
Charlotte RFCRugby Super League
Eno River RFC
Gastonia RFC
Raleigh RFC
Triad RFC
SoccerCarolina DynamoUSL Premier Development League
Carolina Lady DynamoW-League
Carolina RailHawksUSL First Division
Carolina RailHawks WomenW-League
Cary RailHawks U23'sUSL Premier Development League
Charlotte EaglesUSL Second Division
Charlotte Lady EaglesW-League
Wilmington HammerheadsUSL Second Division


See North Carolina sports venues by capacity

External links

Notes and references


All translations of Sports_in_North_Carolina

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