Former Pulaski, Wake Forest head basketball coach Carl Tacy dies at 86

Tacy led the Pulaski High School Orioles to the state championship in 1962; Demon Deacons to the NCAA Elite Eight in 1977 and 1984

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Former Wake Forest basketball coach Carl Tacy, who guided the Demon Deacons for 13 seasons from 1973-85, has died at the age of 86. Tacy passed away Thursday, April 2.

A member of the Wake Forest Hall of Fame, “Gentleman Carl,” as Tacy became known during his career, compiled a record of 222-149 at Wake Forest, the third-most wins in school history. His 13 seasons ranks as the second-longest tenure of any Deacon coach, trailing only Murray Greason’s 24 seasons. Tacy led the Deacons to three NCAA Tournaments and two NITs and led the program to five 20-win seasons including four of his final five seasons.

Tacy led the Demon Deacons to two NCAA Elite Eight appearances as he guided the program to five NCAA Tournament victories. Wake Forest finished the 1976-77 season ranked No. 9 nationally, posting a 22-8 record before falling to eventual NCAA Champion Marquette in the Midwest Regional Final. In 1983-84, Tacy guided the Deacs to a 23-9 record, breaking the school record for wins in a season. That team produced one of the finest moments in Wake Forest history when it defeated nationally ranked DePaul in overtime to advance to the NCAA Midwest Region Final.

Other memorable games of the Tacy era of Wake Forest basketball include a 1975 victory over top-ranked and reigning NCAA Champion NC State in the Big 4 Classic, snapping the Wolfpack’s 34-game win streak and a 1982 victory in Chapel Hill over a top-ranked North Carolina team headlined by Michael Jordan.

Tacy guided Wake Forest to four Big 4 Classic titles in Greensboro, including three straight titles from 1975-77. He coached three players who have their numbers hanging in the rafters of the LJVM Coliseum, Skip Brown, Rod Griffin and Muggsy Bogues.

Inducted in the Class of 1985, Tacy is one of four basketball coaches in the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame, joining Bones McKinney, who led Wake to its first two ACC titles in 1961 and 1962; Murray Greason, the school’s all-time leader in wins with his 288-243 record from 1934 through 1957; and Dave Odom, who captured two ACC championships in 1995 and 1996.

A native of Huttonsville, W.Va., Tacy graduated from Davis & Elkins College in 1956 and was inducted into his alma mater’s Hall of Fame in 1989. He coached 10 years on the high school level and compiled a 67-14 record in three years at Ferrum (Va.) Junior College, and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2007. After one season as an assistant coach at Marshall University, Tacy guided the Thundering Herd to a 23-4 mark and an NCAA appearance in 1972. He replaced Jack McCloskey as Wake Forest’s head coach in April of 1972.

Carl Tacy was born on June 18, 1932. He is survived by his wife Donnie, son Carl Tacy, Jr., and daughters Beth Tacy Kelly and Carla Tacy.

From Wake Forest University