The Irvin Legacy
Cal became a recreation supervisor in the Department of Recreation in East Orange, NJ. before he started his teaching and coaching career at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC.
As the head basketball coach (and assistant football coach), he guided the basketball team to their first CIAA championship. After four years at JC Smith, he coached at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem, where he won a state championship.
His next stop was at North Carolina A&T State University, where he spent 35 years as a teacher, assistant football coach and head basketball coach.
Cal started a winning tradition in his 18 years as the Aggies head basketball coach, and never experienced a losing season while compiling a 348-105 record.
His Aggies were the first black college to earn a bid to the NCAA Small College Final Four Division Tournament in 1959. They advanced to the Final Four and finished third in the country. This was repeated in 1964.
In 1971, N.C. A&T became NAIA district 26 champions and placed third in the championship game in Kansas City, MO.
He won five CIAA championships and the first MEAC championship in 1972 with a 71-62 victory over the Howard Bisons.
He sent eighteen players to the professional basketball leagues; most notable Alvin Attles, former All-star player and coach of the Golden State Warriors, where he became the only coach from an HBCU to win a National Basketball Association championship.
He was the first African American to serve as the commencement speaker at his alma mater, Orange High School.
An astute mentor and teacher, Cal authored three publications on basketball techniques: “Developing a Low Post Offense,” “A Pressing Defense,” “Our Basketball,” and “The Value of a Low Post Offense.”
After his coaching career, he was appointed athletic director and chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation for seven years.
When he retired from N.C. A&T, he worked as a scout for the NBA Charlotte Hornets and later as a scout for college officials for the NFL.
Cal received numerous honors and awards:
North Carolina Hall of Fame
Guilford County Hall of Fame
Guilford Wall of Fame
National Association of College Athletic Directors Hall of Fame.
Hall of Fame:
Johnson C. Smith University
Morgan State University
New Jersey Athletic Hall of Fame
A scholarship was established by the Greensboro community for his dedicated services as a teacher, coach, athletic director and outstanding citizen.
The Aggie Basketball Court was named in his honor in 2006.
Cal was involved in many professional and civic organizations.
Some of them include:
NC Hall of Fame Board of Directors
NC Coaches Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association of Basketball Coaches
Treasurer, The Tourist and Convention Bureau
The Greensboro Coliseum Commission
Greensboro Sports Council
Parks & Recreation, Human Relations Committee
Hayes Taylor YMCA Board
President, Trinity AME Zion Church Men’s Fellowship Forum
Member, Board of United Way,
Life member, NAACP,
Member, Sigma Pi Phi fraternity
Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
(North Carolina A&T basketball began its legacy under Cal Irvin and saw continued growth with Don Corbett at the helm.)