All about Tobacco Road: The big three in NC college sports


Duke players Elliott Williams (20), Kyle Singler (12), John Scheyer (30) and Gerald Henderson (15) against North Carolina. IN Chapel Hill, March 2009. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ralph Philips, Sports writer

There are three things that come to mind when one hears Tobacco Road in North Carolina. One, a very popular trail people run in the triangle of NC. Two, a well-known restaurant in Durham, NC, located at the top of the left field wall at the Durham Bulls Goodman Field. And finally, one of the most historic places for college sports rivalries.

The Tobacco Road rivalry revolves around three teams that all play in the same division of NCAA sports. In the ACC there´s Duke, UNC, and NC State. All have their respective areas of fans, as Duke owns Durham, NC State controls Raleigh, and Chapel Hill is under the rule of UNC. These teams have had so many great battles over the years as they carry on their traditions of hating each other and playing hard every single time they meet.

This year is no different than any other year. Duke is having a great season as they´re second in the division, UNC is keeping it interesting in fourth place, and then NC State in dead last. But that doesn’t stop NC State fans from cheering for their beloved Wolfpack.

Katherine Waller is an English and Creative Writing teacher at Fuquay Varina High School. Not a lot of people know this, but she is a former student of NC State and grew up a Wolfpack fan her whole life.

¨I grew up watching NC State sporting events with my family, and it brought us closer together,” she said. “I grew up hearing about the great Jim Vilvano and those awesome teams he coached. And my fandom only grew as I went to NC State and had so much fun at those basketball game and tailgating at so many football games; it was a blast.¨

Now to their rival, UNC. Currently, they’re in fourth place in the ACC and still fighting to get in the ACC tournament and the NCAA March Madness tournament. Their fans have just as love for their team but are hated by everyone else around the state.

Lance Edwards, a health/PE teacher at Fuquay, is an avid UNC fan and talked a little about his fandom of the Tar Heels.¨I got into UNC as my family members were fans, and it became a tradition. I respect NC State as they are the more historical rival to us (UNC), but I NO DUKE.¨

If you thought UNC gets hate, Duke gets their fair share. They’re always good and always winning ever since they hired coach Mike Krzyzewski in 1980. He’s won five National Championships with the program in his tenure, and this year looks to add one more to the collection before retiring after the season.

Edwards won’t be shedding tears over Krzyzewski retiring after this season. ¨I’m glad  he’s retiring,” he added.

Sam Prestipino, FVHS junior,  but more importantly is an avid Duke basketball fan. “They’re just always great,” he stated. “What more is there to say?”

And there you have it. If you haven’t yet, this rivalry is so amazing to see in person. This season looks like it’s going to have an exciting end.