They Call Me Big Houseby Gaines
Big House. For nearly half a century in college basketball circles, no other introduction was necessary. Clarence E. "Big House" Gaines became head coach at Winston-Salem Teachers College in 1946. He was not just the head basketball coach. He was the head coach. Period. He coached every sport the school offered -- football, basketball, track, tennis, boxing. He taught in the classroom, too, And all for $2,400 a year. He slept in the men's dormitory and ate discounted meals in the cafeteria. How good were his teams in those early days? About as good as you'd expect at a predominantly women's college whose cupboard of male athletes was bare immediately after World War II.
In this book, Gaines tells how he cut his duties back to athletic director and basketball coach and began recruiting athletes in his native Midwest, then on the inner-city playgrounds of the Northeast. For a time, he and his fellow coaches at small black colleges had their pick of black players, who were welcomed at white universities only in small numbers, if at all. Upon arriving in North Carolina, those big-city athletes experienced the culture shock that was the segregated South. But Gaines managed to turn his players' limited opportunities to their advantage. He made them understand that if they came from poor backgrounds, and that if the NBA was closed to blacks, then they'd better make sure they learned a profession and prepared themselves to make their way in the world. At the insistence of their six-foot-five, 265-pound coach, the great majority of them did exactly that.
- Blair, John F. Publisher
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Clarence 'Big House' Gaines should be commended on a job well done. He was instrumental in assisting countless youth in attaining college degrees which is an absolute necessity as well as assisting them in their athletic careers. Many young men with unknown futures went to Winston Salem State University and it was the Big House that helped by guiding these young men (and women) and assisting them. I know because he tremendously helped my son when he was a student there and secondly, he is my 'HOMEBOY'. OUR ROOTS BEGAN IN PADUCAH, KY. I admire him for his pursuit in the education and athletic fields. Excellent memoir!!! One of the best books especially for young men who want a career in sports.He was the one that put WSSU on the map so coaches and players should definitely read this book. Congrats to the HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!