Winston-Salem State received plenty of mileage in terms of exposure in playing North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Nov. 1 in an exhibition basketball game.
The school is also looking at possibly playing an exhibition closer to home against Wake Forest.
George Knox, the interim athletics director of WSSU, says he has talked with John Currie, the athletics director at Wake Forest, about playing in the next couple of years.
“We’ve discussed it with some opportunities between both universities,” Knox said. “I met John, and he’s a great guy. His first day on the job he came over here we talked for a little bit, so eventually I think we will get something done.”
WSSU received $25,000 for playing the exhibition game. The Tar Heels rolled to a 96-61 victory, but the experience for the Rams playing in the Smith Center was a big deal, according to Coach Cleo Hill Jr. and several players.
“It was a great benefit for us on the court because we were able to kind of see what we really needed to work on,” Hill said last month. “It was a great experience for our guys to kind of see what it takes at that level.”
The Deacons did not schedule an exhibition game this season, electing to play two closed-door scrimmages. To start the 2018-19 season the Deacons played an exhibition game at Joel Coliseum on Nov. 2, 2018, and beat Belmont Abbey 106-74 in front of 3,800.
Currie, who took over for Ron Wellman in May, said: “We had a pretty extended conversation about making something happen this season where Winston-Salem State and Wake Forest would play a doubleheader at Joel, but their schedule couldn’t work out because of a conference game so that’s something that is a priority to do something like that in the future.”
Playing an exhibition game also was discussed, Currie said.
“It’s certainly something we would look at,” Currie said. “Playing an exhibition game across town with Wake Forest makes sense for local interest. The two programs have played four regular-season games from 2007 to 2009 when WSSU was in transition to go to Division I. They ultimately decided to go back to the CIAA and Division II.
The last time the two programs played was Nov. 24, 2009, when Wake Forest won 76-42. Wake Forest has won all four games against WSSU.
“We are going to look at future years,” Knox said. “On our end of it with our schedule we don’t have one as of yet because the CIAA just goes one year at a time, but I know we are flexible with having exhibition games so that would work for us, no doubt.”
Knox will be the interim AD until Jan. 1 when Etienne Thomas takes over.
“I haven’t met Mrs. Thomas yet but I have reached out to her,” Currie said. “I think it makes sense that we discuss working together and I’m excited about that prospect.”
Knox said there would be a lot of interest if the two schools played at Joel Coliseum.
“There would be some interest and it was a great crowd at the North Carolina exhibition that we were a part of,” Knox said. “I thought it went well in Chapel Hill. But to have a game against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem would be big for us, and I think it would draw a big crowd over there at their arena.”