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News Release

For immediate use

Oct. 22, 2004 -- No. 514

Local angle: Winston-Salem

Coach ‘Big House’ Gaines
to sign books at UNC

CHAPEL HILL — Clarence "Big House" Gaines, Winston-Salem State University men’s basketball coach for 47 years, will sign copies of his autobiography on Nov. 5 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The book signing, at 5:30 p.m. at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, will precede a 7:30 p.m. exhibition basketball game in the Dean E. Smith Center, between the UNC Tar Heels and the Winston-Salem State Rams.

Gaines won 828 college basketball games, 12 conference championships and one national championship, making him one of the most successful coaches in college basketball history. He retired in 1993.

The book signing will be in the Hitchcock Multipurpose Room of the center, at 150 South Road. The event will be free and open to the public; copies of the book, co-written with Clint Johnson, will be on sale at the signing.

Gaines’ autobiography, "They Call Me Big House," reflects on the coach’s life and career. In 1946, he became head coach at Winston-Salem State Teacher's College (the name was changed to Winston-Salem State University in 1969), coaching every sport the school offered: basketball, football, track, tennis and boxing. He also taught at the school -- all for an annual salary of only $2,400.

Gaines writes about how he cut his duties back to athletics director and basketball coach. He began recruiting athletes in his native Midwest and on the inner-city playgrounds of the Northeast. A highly successful basketball program resulted, culminating in a 1967 national championship. 

Gaines writes that, for him, basketball was a means of helping young men build better lives, and of leading people across the divide separating races and cultures.

For more information, contact Antoinette Parker, center public relations officer, at 919-962-9001, or visit

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News Services contacts: Print, Deb Saine, 919-962-8415; broadcast, Karen Moon, 919-962-9585