As one of the smallest arenas in the nation, Cameron Indoor Stadium has a charm drawn from its preservation of history.
But some things eventually require renovation.
There are five national championship banners hanging in Cameron, each one commemorating the memories of a specific team and their road to victory. The banners represent an illustrious 25-year period of Duke basketball history in which the Blue Devils cut down the nets five times—in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015. They have become a symbol of Duke’s reputation for success as a basketball program under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
But as Coach K has aged in Cameron Indoor Stadium, his banners have too. Although he has continued to stay with the times throughout the years, the original banners have slowly become outdated, and the banners commemorating the first three Duke titles were replaced after the Blue Devils claimed their fourth championship nearly 10 years ago.
“The first three (1991, 1992, 2001) were replaced when the 2010 banner was hung. The 2015 banner was created to match the current look,” wrote Mike DeGeorge, director of sports information for men’s basketball, in an email to The Chronicle.
Although vinyl replicas now hang in the Cameron rafters, the original first three banners will still be kept around. DeGeorge noted that the vintage banners are in Duke basketball’s inventory, where they await future use.
The renovation was done by Atlantic Sign Media in Burlington, N.C., in an effort to keep size, font and material consistent among the five banners. The first three banners were made of silk, yet the new look is composed of a heavy-duty, fire-rated vinyl.
Duke isn’t the only university that values a uniform banner look. In 2007, North Carolina's Dean Smith Center went through a big change, as banners were replaced and rearranged due to space constraints.
DeGeorge explained that a renovation in the historical stadium isn’t a spontaneous decision, as there is a process to follow when making these types of changes.
“Aesthetic changes in Cameron are approved by Athletics Department leadership and the basketball staff,” he wrote.
There’s a bit more thought that goes into the national championship banners, even far after they’re earned. So, the next time you find yourself counting Duke’s national championship wins along with the pre-game hype video, pay close attention to the banners that hang above you.
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