Campbell University’s 125th year was filled with big news and even bigger events.
This week, as we enter Year 126, our Communications staff is taking one last look back on the year that was as we’ve voted on the Top 10 Campbell stories for 2012.
We will reveal a few stories a day this week before naming our top story of the year on Friday. Happy New Year from all of us at Campbell University.
10: CAMELS GO VIRAL
“Viral” has taken on a completely new meaning in the past few years. The once-negative term can now mean something positive, depending on what exactly you’ve done that’s gone “viral.”
In Internet-speak, “going viral” means becoming popular in a very short amount of time.
Campbell basketball forward Eric Griffin went very viral in 2012, thanks to a slam dunk that actually occurred in 2011.
On Nov. 17, 2011, against North Carolina A&T, Griffin delivered a one-handed tomahawk slam against a helpless defender that captured the attention of basketball fans across the country. Not long after Griffin’s dunk, a clip of his aerial feat was posted to YouTube.
Before long, it garnered nearly a half-million hits and vaulted Griffin into several “Dunk of the Year” Internet polls and contests in 2012, the most high profile being the “Dunk of the Year” show which aired multiple times on ESPN2 during March Madness.
The dunk attracted producers of the ESPN2 “Dunk of the Year” show to Buies Creek to film what amounted to a five-minute feature on the senior from Orlando, Fla. In it, Griffin talked about how he was cut from several middle and high school basketball teams until a growth spurt before his senior year landed him on the high school varsity squad.
After a successful senior campaign, Griffin earned a spot with the Los Angeles Lakers’ summer league. He’s currently averaging 18 points per game and leading the Aurora Basket Jesi squad of the Italian League 2 in steals and blocks.
Actors, authors and more
Professor Adam English hit the national circuit in December thanks to his book, “The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus.” English’s biography on St. Nick has made him one of the world’s leading experts on all things Santa Claus, and because of this, he spent December on national news programs like Fox News and performing interviews for Christianity Today, BookExpo America and more. His book also received favorable reviews from the Wall Street Journal and Publisher’s Weekly.
It was also a breakout year for Campbell alumnus and actor Eric Mendenhall. The 2004 graduate appeared in big budget Hollywood films like “Trouble With the Curve,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” and “Lawless.” He also earned praise for his small role in NBC’s new hit TV show, “Revolution.” In 2013, he has a part in the Jackie Robinson biopic “42,” which also stars Harrison Ford.
Mike McKee began drumming while a teenager in Apex, and during his time at Campbell, he built on his skills playing with countless cover bands and other rock and Christian music groups. He and his bandmates of the Durham-based folk rock group Delta Rae hit it big in 2012 with the release of their debut album, “Carry the Fire.” Rolling Stone called the band’s effort a “unique blend of blue-eyed soul and Americana rock from a house in the woods.” Delta Rae, which will perform tonight in Raleigh for the New Year’s Eve “First Night Raleigh” celebration, appeared on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” twice in 2012, and will tour with ZZ Ward in 2013.