Final Four frenzy 40 years later

It’s Final Four weekend over in North Texas. While the action this year may lack a North Carolina presence, Greensboro editor and photographer Tom Lassiter posted an interesting video on his Facebook wall last night. Forty years ago NC State shocked the world with an upset of the UCLA dynasty, led that year by future NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton.

According to Wikipedia: “North Carolina State, coached by Norm Sloan, won the national title with a 76-64 victory in the final game over Marquette, coached by Al McGuire. This result ended UCLA’s record streak of seven consecutive titles. David Thompson of North Carolina State was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.”

Lassiter uses audio and stills to tell the story of a veteran photographer from the Fayetteville Times. He lets Ken Cooke tell his story of using the technology of the era to get photos out on deadline, even overcoming an overzealous NC State player who ripped a photo off a UPI transmitter.

Lassiter gave permission to share his video here. He says:

“I made it because it’s a story worth sharing. I first heard it from Ken soon after I went to work as a feature writer at The Fayetteville Times in 1976. Cooke was and is the consummate professional photojournalist and had a crackerjack staff at the Fayetteville papers.

He’s mentored scores of photojournalists through the years and was a selfless proponent of the profession , helping bring cameras into North Carolina courtrooms and serving as president of the National Association of Press Photographers. After living away from the state for a number of years, he has moved back to Raleigh (where he was a newspaper photographer before becoming photo chief in Fayetteville.) On the 40th anniversary of Greensboro being in the limelight for a Final Four, it’s a good time to hear Ken’s take on being part of that historic event.

And as noted on the YouTube page, my apologies for the crackly audio. Our Skype connection was terrible that day.”