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The 1983 Intramural Basketball Champs

Team photo of ABC - 1983 Intramural Basketball Champs

NOTE: This article appears in the Fall 2018 issue of the Wellness and Recreation Alumni magazine.

By: Ben Strunk, assistant director, sports programs.

Since its inception in 1924 as the first program of its kind in North Carolina, intramural sports at NC State have provided the opportunity for thousands of Wolfpack students, faculty and staff to enjoy playing sports, blow off steam and de-stress from a hectic academic life and compete for all-campus championships. For many, the impact of their involvement has lasted long after their final Carmichael Gym buzzer or walk across the graduation stage.

For the team members of ABC, the 1983 Dixie Classic champions, playing intramural basketball together was an unforgettable experience, launching lifelong friendships.

Now living in four different states, four members of ABC gathered on a conference call to reminisce on the memories and stories from their time at NC State as students and all-campus basketball champions.

Where it all Started

“All of us grew up playing sports in high school. Playing in Carmichael gym was an opportunity to get out there, compete and de-stress,” said Peter Sigmon (‘84 Textiles). “I loved basketball and the team aspect of it. The camaraderie that you get from team sports, you just don’t get in any other place. Every day we were down at the gym and just felt better after.”

As with any startup intramural squad, ABC was created from scratch a few years before their championship run — an intramural dynasty that would produce championships in six of eight tournaments from 1983-87. Sigmon was one of the early members of the team.

“There was a group of students from Wilson, North Carolina that started ABC in the late 70s. One of my friends lived with them at Bragaw Hall and asked if I would like to come play with ABC? It was a group of great guys, so I said ‘sure.’ After the guys from Wilson graduated, Lindley, Ricky and I recruited Tim, Brandon, Jimmie and Craig and they formed the nucleus of a great team,” said Sigmon.

Recruiting often took place on the Carmichael Gym courts during highly-competitive pickup games. That’s how brothers Lindley (‘83 Textiles) and Tim Jones (‘87 Textiles), along with graduate student Jimmie Reynolds (‘86 Wildlife Biology), were added to the roster between 1981-83.

“What I most enjoyed about that time period was that we spent so much time in Carmichael together playing pickup games,” said Lindley Jones. “We would play against each other more than we’d play with each other.”

“With ABC, I got a chance to play with [my brother] Lindley. Those guys introduced me real quick to intramurals and playing ball down at Carmichael. That’s one of the things I remember the most. We were probably under talented but in the best shape of our lives,”
said Tim Jones.

Amidst the Legends

Due to some hometown connections with celebrated coach Kay Yow, ABC honed their skills by scrimmaging with the perennially successful women’s varsity basketball team in Reynolds Coliseum.

“That was a great experience. When I left that game, I was about as sore and beat up as I’d ever been. Those ladies would block you all the way out to the top of the key. We beat them, but I don’t know how,” said Tim Jones.

The team was at the center of the basketball world in 1983. The NC State men’s team had just won its second national championship with star players Dereck Whittenburg, Thurl Bailey and Sidney Lowe, carrying out instructions from legendary Wolfpack coach, Jim Valvano.

“Being at NC State during the national championship was one of the great blessings of my life,” said Sigmon. “If you work hard and believe in your teammates, you can about do anything. That translated after watching Valvano’s team win it all. We graduated feeling like we could do anything because we saw it happen with a bunch of knucklehead kids that probably shouldn’t have made the tournament.”

A Dynasty in the Making

Comprised of a shallow seven-man roster, ABC advanced to the Fall 1983 Dixie Classic Championship, a large tournament held for intramural basketball teams each semester, by defeating Dennis’ Demons in a come-from-behind 57-56 victory. The nail-biter set up a clash with Sophisticated Gents for the title where ABC’s teamwork and pace proved too much for their opponents in a 74-65 victory.

“Our team passed really well. Even if we got into a half-court game, we passed really well. We were pretty good at distributing the ball around to the most open player to get a lay-up or short shot,” said Reynolds.

“When we would get a rebound, in less than a second the ball was at half court and we were beating someone to a lay-up,” said Tim Jones.

An all-campus championship came with a few perks for the ABC’s players. Keeping with still-followed tradition, each member received a championship T-shirt to show off their valor around NC State’s campus.

“I wore that intramural championship T-shirt for a long time, said Sigmon. “When you were walking around the campus with that T-shirt on, people would ask about it. It was a coveted shirt.”

The Pride of the Carolinas

The ABC team also earned a spot in a Pepsi television commercial, as part of the Pepsi Challenge promotion that aired nationwide. The team, along with other invited actors, gathered at local Broughton High School to film a few “quick” scenes.

“We filmed from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., each scene over and over again,” said Lindley Jones. “The crowd in the background was maybe 20 folks and they too had to film that one stand up and cheer scene many times. The final locker room scene with the player yelling ‘whoa’ took forever to produce. It was filmed from every possible angle and with several of us getting the opportunity to have the speaking line.”

“They really wanted to add somebody that could dunk, and none of us could, so they added someone else from another team to our team so he could dunk,” said Reynolds.

“My great television career is someone stealing the ball from me and going down to dunk in my face,” said Sigmon.

Thirty-five years later, these experiences still live on as cherished memories for the four ABC teammates. They credit their intramural sports involvement with helping them build strong relationships, learn important transferable skills, and develop healthy behaviors.

“The other members of the team were integral parts and we could not have done anything without them,” said Lindley Jones. “Pete and Jimmie and me, we were kind of like a supporting cast. Playing those intramural sports was a good time. I met so many people that I
really enjoyed.”

“We’ve had great friendships and they’re carrying on,” said Sigmon.

“With working out, it’s always important to do something you love to do,” said Reynolds. “I didn’t like running then and I don’t like running now. It was a stress reliever too. Academics and all that were definitely not a stress-free life. Getting to exercise and wind down doing something you love doing was important.”