Duke versus UNC Basketball

Duke versus UNC basketball, undated, circa 1957?

I couldn’t let today go by without posting this image, A color slide made during a Duke—UNC basketball game circa 1957. Without time to research it today, I ask you: what game is it?

UPDATE 7 February 2008

Here’s a cropped detail to help with identifying the players:

DUke versus UNC basketball, undated, circa 1957? (cropped detail)

24 thoughts on “Duke versus UNC Basketball

  1. I can help some with this one. We know it’s Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh because of the red “fencing” along the sides…in looking through the Carolina media guide for this season, UNC played Duke several times in Raleigh during the 50′s…so you’d think it’s either a Dixie Classic game from 12/54, 12/55, 12/56, or 12/57 – or, an ACC Tournament game from 3/60 or 3/64…however, #32 in white looks like Billy Cunningham from behind, and he was a Tar Heel from 1962-65. So – in conclusion, I think it was taken March 6, 1964 during a (gulp) Duke win over UNC in the ACC Tournament, 65-49. Whew!

  2. Thanks, Jack, that’s a start! I guessed 1957 because in that year, #32 was Bob Cunningham and #35 was Pete Brennan. Take a peek at our Web gallery, “McGuire’s Miracle: UNC’s 1956-1957 Championship Basketball Season” (http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/mcguire/index.html).

    One key identifier may be in the uniform style. The trim on the leg of the shorts differs from those seen 1957 photographs. I put up yesterday’s post so fast at the end of the day that I didn’t have time to scrutinize.

  3. Sure! Thank you, again, for all that your doing with my granddad’s collection. An amazing job on a mountainous task!

  4. I just poured through the Yackety Yacks for the time period and the Tar Heel emblem replaced the NC emblem on the leg around that time, so 1964 date is very likely. I also looked through a few books on Duke basketball to identify those players, but to no avail.

  5. Stephen:

    You and Jack Morton have done some great research work on this photograph. If I may, I’d like to add my 2 cents into the mix.

    We know it’s a game between Carolina and Duke, and I believe Jack Morton is correct when he says it’s Reynolds Coliseum with it’s red fencing. Now, Carolina played Duke in Reynolds Coliseum on the following dates:

    December 29, 1954 (Dixie Classic)
    December 30, 1955 (Dixie Classic)
    December 28, 1956 (Dixie Classic)
    December 27, 1957 (Dixie Classic)
    March 6, 1959 (ACC Tournament)
    December 29, 1959 (Dixie Classic)
    March 4, 1960 (ACC Tournament)
    December 31, 1960 (Dixie Classic)
    March 6, 1964 (ACC Tournament)
    March 4, 1966 (ACC Tournament)

    Going back to the picture, I believe #32 is Bob Cunningham who, according to the 57-58 Media Guide was 6-4 and weighed 190. (According to the 64-65 Media Guide, Billy Cunningham was 6-5 and a half and weighed 215). I don’t believe #32 is big enough for Billy Cunningham.

    I believe #35 in the picture is Pete Brennan. Check the hair.

    There is a third Carolina player in the picture on the right side of the frame. My first thought was that the third Carolina player was Dick Kepley. But the only year the three players have in common was 1958, and Carolina didn’t play Duke in Reynolds in 1958. So, perhaps the third Carolina player in the picture is Bob Young. He played on the ’57 Championship team. Check out the media guide photos of Young and Kepley and see the similarity.

    But let’s assume for a minute that #32 in the picture is Billy Cunningham. The player who wore #35 during the Billy Cunningham years was Bill Galantai. I don’t have any other information on him, and I don’t know of any player from that era who looks like player #3.

    Bob Cunningham 1956-1958
    Pete Brennan 1956-1958
    Dick Kepley 1958-1959, 1961
    Billy Cunningham 1963-1965
    Bob Young 1955-1957

    So, that would lead us to believe the picture was taken at the Dixie Classic on either December 28, 1956 or on December 27, 1957. And since the 1956 date is really part of the ’57 Championship season with the red and white strip on the uniform and since the strip isn’t visible in the picture, I would vote for December 27, 1957.

    One additional thought: Is the fact that Carolina is wearing white (Home Uniform) and Duke is wearing Dark Blue (Road Uniform) say anything about the Dixie Classic seedings?

    Thanks very much, Stephen, for letting me add my thoughts.

  6. As the NFL referee would say: UPON FURTHER REVIEW…I have some serious second-thoughts about my theory as to when this photograph was taken.

    (1) Bob Young’s playing career at Carolina was 1955-1957; therefore, he would have graduated in May or June of 1957 and would NOT have been around to play in the December Dixie Classic that year.

    (2) I identified the Carolina player in the center of the frame as Pete Brennan #35. Further study of the picture shows that the 5 is visible in the picture but not the 3. It certainly could be something else.

    (3) I identified Carolina player #32 as Bob Cunningham by his physical appearance. That at best is a judgement call.

    (4) Stephen, I made my post last evening before I read you entry about the uniform style and logo.

    I checked out a 1981 book titled “The ACC Basketball Tournament Classic” by Hugh Morton and Smith Barrier, former Executive Sports Editor of the Greensboro Daily News. In the book, Barrier recounts all the tournaments from 1953 through 1981, backed up with great Morton photographs. In the book. on page 40, there is a picture of the 1957 Carolina team. The uniform clearly has the interlocking NC on the shorts. Then on page 60, in the story about the 1964 game, there is a Morton photo of Duke’s Jay Buckley shooting over Billy Cunningham, and the Tar Heel logo is clearly visible on Cunningham’s uniform. Both teams’ uniforms in this picture are identical to the ones in the photo in question.

    All this would tend to solidify Jack Morton’s theory that the game in the photo is the March 6, 1964 game.

    So, as it turns out, my 2 cents worth wasn’t worth 2 cents,

    Again, Stephen, you and Elizabeth are doing a magnificent job in cataloging this collection. And thanks for letting a rank amateur like me participate.

  7. Thanks, Jack H. for your thorough checking and cross checking!

    One oddity with this slide is that, for now at least, there doesn’t seem to be other slides of the game. One possible clue is the the slide mount, which is atypical compared to others in the collection. the slide was processed by Authenticolor, a lab in New York City. Of the hundreds of loose slides, there are only seven with the lab’s slide mounts–and the topics represented are dissimilar. Authenticolor seems to have filed for bankruptcy in 1994, so that route has been a dead end thus far. Looking around the boxed slides in 1957 and 1964 yielded no other slides from the game, nor slides processed by the lab. So there are two sides to this mystery!

  8. Very interesting, Stephen. After reading your blog, a couple of questions come to mind. (You guys have most likely already looked into this) but for what it’s worth…

    Wonder why Hugh was using a lab in New York when there were labs much closer…Foister-Palm in Chapel Hill, and Nelson’s in Durham come to mind. I’m sure there were others closer than NY. Perhaps there was something unique about the film type or something special that Authenticolor offered that no one else did. If you were to take the film frame out of the mount, you might find along the edge of the film the film type. Then compare it to the film in the other Authenticolor mounts as well as the film in the other kind of mounts. As I recall in the 1950′s, when you bought some film types you paid for the processing as well. That would require that you send the film back to the lab that made the film. Also, in the case of Kodak processing, there was a date stamped on the slide mount indicating when the film was processed.

    Did Hugh ever do his own processing and mounting? If so, he might have purchased the mounts from Authenticolor. Or since there are so few of them, they may have been samples.

    In any case, I enjoy playing “wonder why and what if.”

  9. Not sure what it is worth, but there are Duke players numbered 32 and 40 in the original slide. Those would indicate either Jay Beal and Merril Morgan (on Harold Bradley’s late 50′s teams) or Joe Kennedy and Jim Liccardo (on the ’66 team). I don’t think both #32 and #40 applied to any other year later than ’57.

    Admittedly it is not very thorough research. So it very well may not work with other information already provided.

  10. Those Duke uniforms are pre-1962-1963 season, when Duke got rid of the belts and went with waistbands and jazzed up the jerseys and added names on the back.

  11. In the zoomed in version there also appears to be a number 20 for Duke. My best guess is that it is Jack Mullen. He is listed on the 60 and 62 teams (but isn’t listed in the 61 season). In the 59-60 season he played with Beal and Morgan.

    That leaves me with December 29, 1959 or March 4, 1960. Is that possible with the UNC players involved? No memory here, just uniform number research.

  12. So maybe I jumped the gun declaring the 59-60 season. It appears that earlier years with Bucky Allen and Bob Lakata, 1955-1956 and 1957-1958 also apply. Larry Batement was #20 in 58. That would make the Dixie classic game in December 1957 an option as well.

  13. Stephen:

    One more comment about the UNC-Duke Basketball picture. I ran across an interesting item on ebay this evening. It’s a basketball game program from February 9, 1966 when Carolina played NYU in Madison Square Garden. What makes it unique is that it has a picture of UNC sophomore Larry Miller wearing jersey #32…and the description says: “…THIS PROGRAM SPORTS A PHOTO OF LARRY MILLER WEARING NUMBER 32. RUMOR HAS IT THAT THE COACHING STAFF THOUGHT THE NUMBER, PREVIOUSLY WORN BY THE GREAT BILLY C, WOULD INSPIRE MILLER’S PLAY.”

    In the 1965-1966 UNC Basketball Media Guide it says that Miller worn #44 and that junior Mark Mirken wore #32. Carolina did play Duke in Reynolds Coliseum on March 4, 1966 in the ACC Tournament. So, could #32 in Hugh’s picture be either Miller or Mirken?

  14. Stephen…
    I just came across this blog and wanted to add my thoughts. I have been researching 100 years of UNC basketball in various libraries (Wilson, Duke, Davidson, UCLA, USC Sports Library in Los Angeles) since 2004. I also worked with Ron Morris and Art Chansky on ACC Basketball: An Illustrated History back in 1987-88.

    The above photo is from the 1957 Dixie Classic. The game was played on December 27, 1957. UNC defeated Duke, 76-62.

    #32 is Bob Cunningham, #35 is Pete Brennan, and the third UNC player in the photo is Dick Kepley. For Duke, #32 is Bob Lakata. Don’t mean to come across as a know-it-all but I have LITERALLY been studying/identifying UNC basketball photos since my dad took me to my first game in 1965 when I was 9 years old.

  15. Stephen: Ron Smith, in his July 5th post, has nailed a three pointer on the basketball picture in your post of February 6. Ron has tied all of the elements together that we have struggled with and made it all fit.

    The element that I could not fit in was Dick Kepley in a 1957 game. I knew he wasn’t a member of the ’57 Championship team and the Tar Heel web site lists him as lettering in 1958-59, 61. What I didn’t realize was that he could have played in that part of the ’57 season between October 15 and the end of the year and his letter would have been given in 1958. A check of Hugh’s 1981 book, “The ACC Basketball Tournament Classic,” on page 41 shows that Kepley played in the 1958 ACC Tournament, and therefore, would have been a player in the ’57 Dixie Classic in December of 1957.

  16. Many many thanks, Ron, for tying up all the loose threads . . . and to all the contributors to this popular post!

    I’ve been through thousands of slides from the 1950s and no others from this game have turned up . . . yet!!!

  17. Pingback: Duke versus UNC Basketball A View to Hugh | Uniform Stores

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  19. #32 in this photo is indeed my father, Bob Cunningham, and that handsome young man in #35 is Pete Brennan, I grew up with photos of the games, and attest to the accuracy of my claim!

  20. I am a huge UNC fan and was a UNC student during the ’57 Championship season. I whole heartedly agree UNC #’s 32 and 35 are Bob Cunningham and Pete Brennan. Also, being from Durham I was a little familiar with the Duke teams then and I feel pretty sure the airborne Duke player (# 3?) is Bobby Joe Harris and that # 40 in the uncropped photo could possibly be Bucky Allen.
    I don’t know if anyone is still interested in this photo, but I just ran across it and thought I’d put in my two cents worth.

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