Thanks, guys, for the memories


Best Seat in the House column by Chris Graham

I had Dwight Clark on the other line, and what I wanted to know most was …

“The Catch.” Tell me all about “The Catch.”
“Amazingly, it happened just the way we practiced it,” said Clark, the former San Francisco 49er tight end who was the receiver on “The Catch” – the play that sent the Niners to the Super Bowl in 1982 and made Clark and quarterback Joe Montana famous.

Talking to Clark about “The Catch” was a highlight for my time on “ACC Nation,” a radio show that I helped launch in 2005.

Sadly, it was also my last act as a member of the “ACC Nation” team.

I’m moving on from “ACC Nation” – but the good memories from the show will also be a part of me.

For example, there’s the time that I found myself in the next urinal from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Hey, we weren’t above toilet humor on the “Nation” – and this one was based on a true story.

As is the encounter that I had with CavMan on my way to cover the UVa.-N.C. State game at this year’s ACC Tournament.

And how I got written up on the College Sports TV blog for the, shall we say, unpleasant facial expressions that betrayed my UVa. alumdom afterward.

I was able to play golf at Pinehurst this summer – and even had a shot to remember, on the water hole, I believe No. 7, when I let loose a drive 275 yards straight down the middle; and anybody who’s ever had the misfortune of playing with me or behind or in front of me on a golf course knows that those kinds of shots don’t happen to me all that regularly.

But my “ACC Nation” memories are about a lot more than peeing beside Coach K and bumping fists with CavMan and pulling a drive out of my rear at the nation’s most storied golf club.

In fact, the best memories are the ones that nobody other than cohost Patrick Hite and me got to hear. We always said that we should just keep the mics hot between segments – because the best part of “ACC Nation” was our banter off the air.

Now that I’ve taped my last show for “ACC Nation,” I’ll miss that.

The show, of course, goes on – as do I.

Augusta Free Press Productions is launching a new weekly sports-radio show, “SportsDominion,” on Oct. 3 – with a focus on prep, college and pro sports in and around the Commonwealth.

But even when it debuts, I’ll never tire of talking about my time on “ACC Nation” – same as Dwight Clark, in that interview with me this week, said he never tires of talking about “The Catch.”
“The truth? Absolutely not. I don’t know that I can get tired of talking about it. In my opinion, I can’t believe people are talking about it 25 years after. I mean, it’s been over 25 years now, because it was January of ’82 when that happened,” said Clark, who was on the show to promote something that he is doing with Alltel and Clemson, where he played his college football.

“People say that to me all the time – Oh, are you upset that people only remember one of your catches? And to me, my answer is, At least they remember something I did. And the something I did was positive, and helped my teammates and all the fans around San Francisco. So at least they remember me for something – and that’s something that’s positive. So no, I never get tired of talking about it,” Clark said.

Thanks Dwight – and “ACC Nation” fans – for the memories.



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Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

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