At the time, league officials thought that no city in the state was large enough to support a team on its own, so the team became a "regional" team, playing home games at the Charlotte Coliseum, the Greensboro Coliseum, Dorton Arena and Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh and Winston-Salem Memorial Coliseum. Carolina was the first professional basketball team to use this "regional" concept, and at least for a while, it worked. The team had a decent following, especially in Greensboro and Charlotte.
Carolina was mediocre early on, so it an attempt to draw fans, the team made a habit of drafting players who had played college basketball in the Carolinas. In their first year, the team drew over 6,000 fans per game and made it to the playoffs - eventually losing to the Indiana Pacers.
In 1972, the Cougars hired retired ABA player Larry Brown and former Cougar Doug Moe as coaches. The team that year was talented, with three members appearing in the ABA All-Star Game and one bring named the league's Most Valuable Player. Carolina posted a 57-27 record, the best in the league. The Cougars bested the New York Nets in the first playoff round four games to one, but lost the next round four games to three to the Kentucky Colonels. The final game of that last series was played in Charlotte, a fact that upset many Greensboro fans. The team had developed a very large following there (more so than Charlotte). Of the 42 home games that season, only 12 were played in Charlotte. There was a clearly defined ranking order. Cougar management had the choice of city to play game 7, and it chose the slightly less familiar court in Charlotte. Many Cougar fans believed the team would have won the game in Greensboro, interest in the Cougars would have skyrocketed, and the franchise would have stayed.
1974 ultimately proved to be the last year for the Cougars. Injuries and internal strife decimated the team. At one point the team was unable to scrimmage for more than a month because of a lack of players. The team put up a 47-37 record, but was swept in the division semifinals four games to none by the Kentucky Colonels. During the entire season, there were rumors that the team would be sold and relocated - despite generally attendance and above average fan support. Later that year, the Cougars were moved to Missouri and became the Spirits of St. Louis until the ABA merged with the NBA in 1976.