Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

ACC Theme Song - Remember?

Posted March 9, 2007

Wow! What an opening day of the ACC Tournament. Four games. Four upsets. Even though I think the tournament hurts many of the better teams by tiring them out for the more important NCAA Tournament run I do enjoy watching the action.

I was raised on ACC basketball with Jim Thacker and Billy Packer. I remember the black and white days of CD Chesley and Charlie Harville. I remember shooting baskets with my Burke County buddies during halftime and between games dreaming of the day when we might star for the Wolfpack, Tar Heels, Deacons or Devils.

I think back to the heroics of players including Larry Worsley, Larry Miller, Skip Wise and Jeff Mullins. But if there is one thing that reminds me of ACC tournament action more than anything else, it is a commercial jingle. I have the lyrics but I would give just about anything to get a video or audio copy of the song.

What are your favorite memories of the ACC Tournament? Please share!  While you're thinking see if you can remember the melody associated with the following lyrics:

Sail with the Pilot at the wheel
On a ship sturdy from its mast to its keel.
He guides through storm and wave,
Insures you while you save.

Sail with the Pilot o'er the seas,
He's got plans for every growing family.
Worries are far behind you
There's really peace of mind, too.

When you sail with the Pilot all the way,
So get on board the Pilot ship today!


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  • scbartee Mar 11, 2007

    The Pilot jingle really takes me back! I was at WUNC-TV in the late 50's, and C.D.Chesley would rent our equipment and crew to do the ACC games. Mr. Chesley would most often sit in the bus and watch the proceedings.

    Joe Ragland and I would be courtside with a camera for floor shots, and when commercial time came, we would dolly the camera up to a 16mm projector and run the Pilot spot.

    Frank Slingland from WRC-TV directed the games, and over the intercom I would hear "Roll the Pilot" and listen to Frank sing along as the spot ran!

    What times we had!

    Charlie B.

  • mammothman53 Mar 11, 2007

    Oh Man! Do I remember that commercial. Remember the tune also. That brings back memories of nervous sweating and nail-biting when my beloved Tar Heels were in a close game.Thanks Bill for that memory.


  • scooter Mar 10, 2007

    I grew up in the 70's in eastern NC a rabid State fan. I remember the pilot song well but when I first saw the post on the main page I thought about the old C.D. Chesley theme song with the highlights at the beginning of the game. I was ticked when they stopped using it.

  • brant58 Mar 10, 2007

    That Jefferson Pilot song has been running through my head since I read your blog! It's a good memory however, so I guess I can put up with it. It will probably hum it when the game comes on just for old times sake.

  • deepriver Mar 10, 2007

    Thanks for posting all the words to the song If you get a video or audio of the original commercial please post it. Loved Thacker tolerated Packer. Great memories of ACC Basketball!

  • jetset Mar 9, 2007

    How ironic. The words "sail with the pilot all the way, get on board the pilot ship today" popped into my head before the tournament the other day. Good memories!!

  • brant58 Mar 9, 2007

    Not only do I remember it, I miss it. It's not ACC related, but this time of year around the time farmers hit the fields, an ad for ANL fertilizer used to air. "Ring the bell for ANL,
    genuine arcadian ANL, open the bag and watch it flow to wake up crops and make them grow. Vigorous fields and healthy too, producing bigger yields for you". then a bell would ring. Do you remember that tune?

  • urbudelar Mar 9, 2007

    from a viewer:
    In 1973, Wake was #8 and Carolina was #1. They met in the first round at noon. At game time, I was in sociology class at Wake. I carried a small transistor radio and held it to my ear during the game while I halfway listened to the lecture. On my class composition book, I recorded a play-by-play so the kids behind me could see the score. The game went into overtime at 48-48 about the time the professor asked me a question. I remember telling him something stupid about how the students could learn more about social stratification if we listened to the ball game and heard about the underdogs challenging the champs.Then I turned up the radio for all to hear. As classes on the hallway were dismissed, the students stopped in the doorway of our class to listen. Soon the classroom was packed.Wake won 54-52!! We were so excited we wanted to shout and jump around but the classroom was so crowded we could not get to the door. We crawled out the first floor windows and

  • packandcanesfan Mar 9, 2007

    Bill I re-read your blog again and saw the mention of Charlie Harville. I grew up in Winston-Salem and watched him on Channel 2, WFMY TV forever. Great memories. :)

  • urbudelar Mar 9, 2007

    Bill Curry was at his best quoting Shakespeare in the slowdown games prior to the shot clock.

    Hi Bud Coggins! Thanks for the nice note and background on the jingle.

    Thanks to all of you for your interesting remarks.





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