The Heels vs. The Irish: A dominating past

Cover of the 1960 UNC versus Notre Dame football game program, from the author's collection.

Cover of the 1960 UNC versus Notre Dame football game program, from the author’s collection.

On Saturday, October 7, 2017, a very special event will take place in UNC’s Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Tar Heels will meet the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The game will mark the seventh meeting between the two in Kenan and the twentieth meeting overall. While the Irish have dominated the series, a Carolina–Notre Dame game will always be something special. Morton collection volunteer/contributor Jack Hilliard takes a look at some storied past meetings between these two great universities.

The love that people have for Notre Dame can’t be explained.

—Lou Holtz, Notre Dame head football coach 1986- 1996.

Growing up in North Carolina during the late 1940s and early 1950s, football Saturdays were special. There was Duke and State and Wake and Carolina, and we followed their every game.  But there was always news in the papers and on the radio about Notre Dame; they seemed to always be a step ahead of our “Big Four.”  Maybe it was because they seemed to always win. (Following a loss on December 1, 1945 to Great Lakes Navy, the Fighting Irish didn’t lose again until Purdue beat them on October 7, 1950.)

So it’s easy to imagine our excitement when we heard that Notre Dame would play Carolina on November 12th, 1949 in New York’s Yankee Stadium.  In three previous blog posts, we have recounted that game on A View to Hugh and sister blog North Carolina Miscellany:

In those posts we noted Hugh Morton’s classic images from that day, even though it turned out to be the worst loss the Tar Heels would suffer during the “Charlie Justice Era.”  The reason for the disaster was likely that Justice wasn’t able to play due to an injury he suffered the week before the big game in the Big Apple.  But even without Justice, the game was special. The Daily Tar Heel published two air editions and flew them to New York. The headline in that first edition will always be remembered by Tar Heels who made the trip:

“Notre Dame And N.C. Tied 6-6 At Half.”

The second meeting between the two came less than a year later on September 30, 1950. . . . this time in South Bend, Indiana.  This game will forever be remembered, not for Notre Dame’s 14 to 7 win, but the fact that it was the first live network television program of any kind ever transmitted into North Carolina.  The ’49 game in NYC had been televised, but the signal did not reach North Carolina.  But on this day, WBTV in Charlotte and WFMY-TV in Greensboro carried the game live across the Tar Heel state via the Dumont Television Network.  The Greensboro Daily News reported that the estimated viewership in North Carolina was 200,000—nationwide it was 35 million.

Hugh Morton didn’t make the trip to South Bend in 1950, but was on hand back in Chapel Hill when the Irish made their first trip to Kenan on November 17, 1951.  Editor’s note: most of Hugh Morton’s football negatives from the 1950s and 1960s are not identified, but Morton’s game credential survives.  As negatives are identified in the future, we will add a selection of them to this post.

Carolina Sports Information Director Jake Wade, writing in the ’51 game day program called Notre Dame “the mighty and fabulous men from Indiana.”  A full house of 44,500 football fans sat in cold, clear weather “amid Chapel Hill’s wonderland of fall colors,” as The Alumni Review reported. Those fans saw the Tar Heels put on a fourth quarter drive which fell three yards short of victory. Connie Gravitt’s fourth down pass into the end zone was batted down by Notre Dame’s Gene Carrabine, preserving the 12-to-7 Irish victory.

On October 25, 1952 head coach Carl Snavely and his Tar Heels returned to Notre Dame Stadium for the fourth meeting between the Heels and the Irish. 54,338 fans (most of them dressed in green and gold) saw a 7-to-7 tie at the end of the first quarter, but the Heels eventual fell 34 to 14.

Notre Dame head football coach Frank Leahy.

Notre Dame head football coach Frank Leahy.

When Notre Dame returned to Chapel Hill on November 14, 1953 for its second visit, Carl Snavely had moved on and the Heels were coached by George Barclay.  When this one ended, that familiar 34-to-14 score appeared on the scoreboard.  The 1953 game would be Notre Dame’s College Football Hall of Fame coach Frank Leahy’s fifth and final win against the Tar Heels.  At this point in the series, the two teams had met on five occasions with the Irish winning all five. Two games in Chapel Hill, two games in South Bend, and one in New York—with a total audience of 265,000.

The Charlotte News published this photograph tightly cropped on the runner and soon-to-be tackler with the caption, 'KEN KELLER . . . gains 12 for UNC against Notre Dame (Hugh Morton Photo.)"

The Charlotte News published this photograph tightly cropped on the runner and soon-to-be tackler with the caption, ‘KEN KELLER . . . gains 12 for UNC against Notre Dame (Hugh Morton Photo.)”

The week before the 1954 game, Notre Dame was made a 26-point favorite and when it ended they had a 29-point victory, 42 to 13.  The game on November 12, 1955 in Kenan Stadium is often compared to that first meeting between the Heels and the Irish played in New York.  The ’55 game was tied at half 7 to 7, but Notre Dame dominated the second half to win the game 27 to 7. Seated among the 33,000 in Kenan that afternoon was Tar Heel football legend Charlie Justice with his son Ronnie, and on the sideline in his usual spot was photographer Hugh Morton.

Another Morton photograph, cropped on the runner and two pursuers, published by The Charlotte News, and captioned "WHILE THE MOMENTS WERE STILL GLORIOUS North Carolina's Ed Sutton gains 11 yards to the Notre Dame six-yard line in the second quarter before being hauled down by Paul Nornung (5) closing in." Fans of the era will quickly recognize that typo because he is Paul Hornung, the 1956 Heisman Trophy winner and later NFL Hall of Fame star for the Green Bay Packers.

Another Morton photograph, cropped on the runner and two Notre pursuers, published by The Charlotte News with the caption, “WHILE THE MOMENTS WERE STILL GLORIOUS North Carolina’s Ed Sutton gains 11 yards to the Notre Dame six-yard line in the second quarter before being hauled down by Paul Nornung (5) closing in.” Fans of the era will quickly recognize that typo because he is Paul Hornung, the 1956 Heisman Trophy winner and later NFL Hall of Fame star for the Green Bay Packers.

The game on November 17, 1956 back in South Bend marked the end of the first series of contracted games between Carolina and Notre Dame, and the first game under new Tar Heel head coach Jim Tatum.  56,793 fans saw a thriller as the game was tied with seventy-seven seconds to play, but Notre Dame took the lead as 1956 Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung scored the winning touchdown.  Notre Dame’s eighth win made the series look like an all-Irish sweepstakes with an aggregate attendance of more than 410,000.

In 1958, the series returned with two more games in South Bend and two more Irish wins: 34 to 24 in ’58 and 28 to 8 in ’59.  In that game on September 26, 1959, Nortre Dame held Carolina, under new head coach Jim Hickey, scoreless for three quarters.

Coming into Chapel Hill on October 8, 1960, Notre Dame had won all ten of the previous meetings, but on this day things were about to change. Homecoming in Chapel Hill is always fun, but on this day it was more fun than usual, as coed Jane Allen from Lambert, Mississippi was crowned Homecoming Queen, to the delight of 41,000 fans, mostly Tar Heels. The cheering crowd saw Carolina lead Notre Dame 12 to 0 well into the fourth quarter, thanks to the efforts of junior-quarterback Ray Ferris, who completed 6 passes for 115 yards and a first quarter TD pass to Skip Clement. Notre Dame completed 8 passes of 32 attempts and the Heels interested 5 of them.  With the score 12 to 7, the final gun sounded and coach Jim Hickey got a ride on the shoulders of his team to midfield for a handshake with Notre Dame head coach Joe Kuharich.

In his post game interview, coach Hickey was asked how it felt to be the only UNC head coach to beat a Notre Dame team.  “It would feel good to beat them anytime, anywhere,” Hickey said with a wide grin.

Fifteen seasons would pass before Notre Dame returned to Chapel Hill.  During that span the two teams would meet four times in South Bend, ’62, ’65, ’66, and ’71—and Carolina would have only seven points to show for all four efforts: a 21-to-7 loss on November 17, 1962, while Notre Dame tallied three straight shutouts in ’65, ’66, and ’71.

Notre Dame’s return to Chapel Hill on October 11, 1975 proved to be one of the most exciting games of the series. After a scoreless first half, the Tar Heels took the lead at the 10:03 mark of the third quarter on Mike Voight’s 12-yard run. On their next possession, Quarterback Billy Paschall hit Mel Collins with a 39-yard touchdown pass to make the lead 14 to 0, and that lead continued well into the final quarter. With six minutes left in the game, Notre Dame head coach Dan Devine called on his second string quarterback . . . a fellow named Joe Montana, who led the Irish on two quick scoring drives to tie the score at fourteen.  Then with less than two minutes to play, Carolina had an opportunity to take the lead, but missed its third field goal of the day and the Irish took over at their own 20 yard line.  On second down, Montana hit Tom Burgmeier on a spectacular 80-yard scoring play that spelled defeat for the Tar Heels.

In the Carolina locker room following the game, UNC head coach Bill Dooley said, “To have a team like Notre Dame down 14 to 0 in the fourth quarter and then lose is really tough.”  Notre Dame coach Dan Devine called it his “best win ever.”

During the 1975 season, the Tar Heel Sports Network invited former players to be game analysts to assist play-by-play Hall of Fame broadcaster Woody Durham.  For the ’75 Notre Dame game the guest was UNC All-America end Art Weiner, who played a key role in the first meeting between the Heels and the Irish back in 1949.

Thirty-one years would pass before Carolina and Notre Dame would meet again.  On November 4, 2006 it was yet another blowout Irish victory, this time, 45 to 26.  Two years later, Notre Dame would make its most recent visit to Kenan on October 11, 2008.  Carolina’s 29-to-24 win has one of those dreaded asterisks in the record book.  An NCAA ruling in 2011 vacated that win.  Six years later to the day, on October 11, 2014, Carolina made its most recent visit to South Bend.  Alas, the Heels came away with yet another loss, this time 50 to 43 in a game that set a total points record for the series.

So, on Saturday, October 7th, head coach Larry Fedora’s Tar Heels will try once again to take down the Fighting Irish, but win or lose, there will be a certain excitement in the air in Kenan Memorial Stadium.  Saturday’s game will also be featured on ABC/ESPN, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 3:30.  After the game it will be five more years until Carolina and Notre Dame are next scheduled to play in South Bend in 2021, with a return match in Chapel Hill in 2022.

A Benny Goodman mystery . . . that leads to two more Morton mysteries

The post “A Benny Goodman Score” on June 3, 2017 brought back some fond memories for our volunteer contributor Jack Hilliard.  As we prepare for tomorrow’s annual Carolina–Duke game, Jack shares a childhood memory of a Benny Goodman mystery that began sixty-eight football seasons ago . . . and that led to a couple other Morton mysteries . . .

ONE SONG LEADS TO ANOTHER—Charlie Justice (left) stands next to Orville Campbell beside a piano at an unknown event. The State published a tightly cropped headshot of these two gentlemen in its September 15, 1951 issue of the magazine. The photograph accompanied an article titled "Yankeeland Hears 'It'" about Campbell and Hank Beebe's song, "Way Up in Carolina." The caption in The State reads, "Charlie Justice, subject of Orville Campbell's first popular song, "All the Way Choo-Choo." Charlie owned a piece of that song, but didn't make any money. (Morton Photo)" Another mystery, however, appeared when viewing the full negative, which has no accompanying information. Is that Hank Beebe on piano? We believe so. The occasion? Still unknown.

ONE SONG LEADS TO ANOTHER—Charlie Justice (left) stands next to Orville Campbell beside a piano at an unknown event. The State published a tightly cropped headshot of these two gentlemen in its September 15, 1951 issue of the magazine. The photograph accompanied an article titled “Yankeeland Hears ‘It'” about Campbell and Hank Beebe’s song, “Way Up in Carolina.” The caption in The State reads, “Charlie Justice, subject of Orville Campbell’s first popular song, “All the Way Choo-Choo.” Charlie owned a piece of that song, but didn’t make any money. (Morton Photo)” Another mystery, however, appeared when viewing the full negative, which has no accompanying information. Is that Hank Beebe on piano? We believe so. The occasion? Still unknown.

In late spring of 1949, I remember reading in one of the Greensboro newspapers that Chapel Hill publisher Orville Campbell and UNC music student Hank Bebee had written and recorded a song called “All the Way Choo Choo,” a song about my boyhood football hero Charlie Justice.  The recording featured a UNC student group, the Sigma Chi Sextet.  Campbell also published the sheet music through his publishing company, Colonial Press.

Over the next five months, Campbell and Bebee campaigned the major record labels trying to get the song recorded for greater distribution. In the September 17, 1949 issue of the Greensboro Daily News, Sports Editor Smith Barrier called it “the football song of the season.”  Ed Danforth of the Atlanta Journal and Shirley Povich of the Washington Post, during trips to Chapel Hill also commented. Said Danforth: “Greatest college football song since ‘The Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech,’” and Povich added, “It can’t miss.  It’ll go all the way.”  Povich added the story in his “Post” column on Sunday, September 18, 1949.

In Greensboro, leading up to WFMY-TV’s official sign-on as North Carolina’s second TV station, which was September 22, 1949, the station presented a special one-hour variety show and the Sigma Chi Sextet group from UNC sang “All the Way Choo Choo.”

UNC student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, in its September 22nd edition had this:

Heard the fast-circulating Orville Campbell-Hank Beebe hit “All the Way Choo Choo”?  Benny Goodman is definitely scheduled to do a recording of it that should be on sale nationally in approximately two weeks.

Those attending the UNC vs. NC State game in Kenan Stadium on September 24th, 1949 heard the song over the public address system and could also read in their Daily Tar Heel that morning about the Campbell-Goodman progress for the recording:

Orville Campbell, Carrboro publisher turned song-writer received a bit of news a few days back that has made him all smiles.  A note penned from an executive of Capitol Records informed the likeable Colonial Press head that Benny Goodman and his orchestra has signed to record “All the Way Choo Choo.” Veteran musicians rate the Campbell-Hank Beebe ditty as a good bet to catch on all over the nation, and the Goodman waxing will make the Carolina Choo Choo one of the first if not the only grid star to be honored in such a manner.”

The next day, the “DTH” added this:

Alumnus Orville Campbell, still a wheel about campus, has been conducting his own promotion campaign, and apparently is enjoying great success in his efforts to make the song “All the Way Choo Choo” popular.  Campbell has succeeded to the extent that Benny Goodman has made a recording of it.  Also a local version was in evidence at a number of beach juke boxes this summer.  The ditty, with music by the talented Hank Beebe, was sung two or three times at this weekend’s pep rally.  The song is good, and the more one hears it, the better he likes it.

When the magazine Life ran a cover-story about Justice in the October 3, 1949 issue, the editors included a picture of Orville Campbell’s “All the Way Choo Choo” sheet music.  Life captioned the picture “Lyrical Choo Choo.”

Two days later, there was in the October 5, 1949 issue of The Sporting News another article about the song by Smith Barrier with the headline. “All the Way Choo Choo Inspires King of Swing.”  Barrier added: “When Benny Goodman, the orchestra leader, heard ‘All the Way Choo Choo,’ he hurried to New York to make a recording.”

Goodman had performed in concert at the ORD Arena (Overseas Replacement Depot, from Basic Training Camp 10 during World War II) in Greensboro on September 16th, 1949 and Orville Campbell was in the audience. Following the show, Campbell played the song for Goodman . . . and Benny liked it.

I haven’t found any evidence that Hugh Morton was at that 1949 Greensboro concert but when Goodman came to Raleigh four years earlier in 1945, Morton was there.

A SECOND MYSTERY—Benny Goodman, front and center, playing clarinet as captured in Hugh Morton's unidentified negative (the top portion of the image is cropped here). Morton mentions in his 1988 book Making a Difference in North Carolina that he went to a Goodman concert in Raleigh. This previously unscanned negative has a WRAL banner displayed on stage (lower left). Piecing together clues from the sheet music on Goodman's music stand in this and three other negatives, coupled with Goodman's touring history and list of band members, unlocks part of the mystery. That's Red Norvo at the vibraphone behind Goodman.

A SECOND MYSTERY—Benny Goodman, front and center, playing clarinet as captured in Hugh Morton’s unidentified negative (the top portion of the image is cropped here). Morton mentions in his 1988 book Making a Difference in North Carolina that he went to a Goodman concert in Raleigh. This previously unscanned negative has a WRAL banner displayed on stage (lower left). Piecing together clues from the sheet music on Goodman’s music stand in this and three other negatives, coupled with Goodman’s touring history and list of band members, unlocks part of the mystery. That’s Red Norvo at the vibraphone behind Goodman.

Morton was also on hand when Goodman played in Wilmington on February 23, 1983, and when Benny came back to Greensboro in early May, 1979 to play a concert with the Greensboro Symphony, Hugh Morton was on hand to photograph Goodman back stage and during his performance on May 3, 1979.  That Greensboro Concert was recorded by CBS-TV for a special telecast on May 30, 1979 to pay tribute to Goodman on his 70th birthday.

The exact date of Goodman's Raleigh performance is yet to be determined, but it's probably during the summer or fall of 1945. The sheet music on the music stand provides the best clue. On the left is Goodman's signature opening song, "Let's Dance" from the mid 1930s, but on the right is "I Wish I Knew." That song, with lyrics by Harry Warren and music by Mack Gordon, debuted in the movie "Diamond Horseshoe" released in May 1945. The song does not appear on any playlists available to the editor, but its history can be reviewed on the webpage https://songbook1.wordpress.com/fx/1945-standards/i-wish-i-knew/. Red Norvo (seen in the photograph above this one) left the Goodman band for good in January 1946.

The exact date of Goodman’s Raleigh performance is yet to be determined, but it’s probably during the summer or fall of 1945. The sheet music on the music stand provides the best clue. On the left is Goodman’s signature opening song, “Let’s Dance” from the mid 1930s, but on the right is “I Wish I Knew.” That song, with lyrics by Harry Warren and music by Mack Gordon, debuted in the movie “Diamond Horseshoe” released in May 1945. The song does not appear on any playlists available to the editor, but its history can be reviewed on the webpage https://songbook1.wordpress.com/fx/1945-standards/i-wish-i-knew/. Red Norvo (seen in the photograph above this one) left the Goodman band for good in January 1946.

Following Goodman’s 1949 Greensboro performance and the Daily Tar Heel reports, we waited for the news when the Benny Goodman Capitol recording of “All the Way Choo Choo” would be released.  The week before the Carolina–Duke game on November 19th came the news that the recording would go on sale on November 23rd . . . but the recording released was a 10-inch King record (15030) by band leader Johnny Long—a Duke alumnus of all things.  What happened to the Benny Goodman recording?  Don Maynard’s Daily Tar Heel story about the release on November 23rd, said: “The recording would be available at Ab’s Bookstore and the Carolina Sports Shop.  Maynard added, “Benny Goodman made the first recording of the tune on a Capitol recording, but to date the number has not been released by the Capitol Recording Company.”

From the Daily Tar Heel, November 23, 1949, page 1.

From the Daily Tar Heel, November 23, 1949, page 1.

The Maynard article was supported by a photograph of Johnny Long presenting Justice with the first copy of the recording.  The picture was taken by student photographer Jim Mills, a Hugh Morton contemporary, and was included with the record purchase.  Long had paid a visit to Chapel Hill on November 13, 1949 and made the presentation.

"All the Way Choo Choo" record label, from the album in North Carolina Collection.

“All the Way Choo Choo” record label, from the album in North Carolina Collection.

Johnny Long was from Newell, North Carolina and attended Duke from 1931 until 1935.  He had played a concert on the Duke campus the weekend of October 28-29, 1949.  That’s likely when Campbell played the song for him.

As time went by, we loved and listened to the Johnny Long version, which featured vocals by Janet Brace, the Johnny Long Glee Club and the Longshots. Several of the verses of the song depict actual Justice moments on the gridiron. On the reverse side is an instrumental medley of the “Carolina Victory March,” “Here Comes Carolina,” “Tar Heels on Hand,” and “Hark the Sound.” The Johnny Long record was produced by Johnny Murphy a UNC alumnus from Charlotte and New York City.

On November 26, 1949 when Charlie Justice played his final UNC regular season game against Virginia in Kenan Stadium, the game day program book carried two ads for the Johnny Long version of the song.  On page 62 it was described as “the perfect Christmas gift,” and was supported by the Jim Mills photograph.  Then on page 71 the record was offered at the Varsity shop. The record sold for one dollar and the sheet music for fifty- cents.  According to Orville Campbell, “Justice modestly feels that it is a joke that anyone would want to write a song about him, but at the same time feels honored.”

As years passed, the mystery Goodman version of the song continued to pop up.  Bob Quincy and Julian Scheer, in their 1958 Justice biography Choo Choo: The Charlie Justice Story on page 122 put it this way: “Benny Goodman, the famed jazz clarinetist and Johnny Long, a Duke grad who plays a violin from the port side, were among the top recording artists who found ‘All the Way . . .’ worth their time.”

On December 15, 1978, Campbell released a very limited edition album titled, “Thanks for the Memories.” (811054-A 2890)  The one-sided album, which has two different front cover designs, contained six of Campbell’s hits, including “All the Way Choo Choo”—both the Sigma Chi and the Johnny Long versions.

The Benny Goodman record mystery lingered.  Then in 1979, I read in the Nostalgia Book Club newsletter that a revised edition of a book titled “BG—On the Record:  A Bio-Discography of Benny Goodman” by Russell Conner and Warren Hicks had been released. When I got my copy I went through it page by page—all 708 of them—and there was no mention of “All the Way Choo Choo.”

On July 28, 1979, I wrote Conner a letter and asked about the song. His reply on September 4th said, “I have no knowledge of Benny’s playing that tune.  But there is a further reference that will become available.  The great bulk of the arrangements Benny has used through the years, stored for long time in a warehouse on Broadway, is now being cataloged. . . If the tune was played by the ‘big band,’ the title should crop up.”

Connor was right: when the cataloging had been completed, there it was, listed between “All the Things You Are” and “All Through the Night.”

  • File 01/21     “All the Way Choo Choo” 1949
  • O’Farrill, Chico
  • BG
  • No:  A203
  • Score:  Yes
  • Parts:  none
  • Key:  A flat

We now know that Goodman performed the tune live in concert.  But was a Goodman recording ever released for sale? Some of Goodman’s live concerts were recorded onto electronic transcription discs (ETs) and distributed to radio stations for broadcasts, but I have not been able to determine if “All the Way” was ever distributed in this manner.  And of course, there is always that possibility that some black-market recording was made in a venue where Goodman was performing live. There is an interesting observation on the web site “Football Profiles.”  In Charlie’s profile, there is this quote:

The hype reached a crescendo for Charlie’s senior season.  Orville Campbell, a Chapel Hill music publisher, and Hank Beebe, a graduate student in music, produced a song about Charlie, “All the Way Choo Choo.”  The Johnny Long Orchestra recorded it, and the Benny Goodman Orchestra played it on the radio.

Not quite sure how Benny “played it on the radio.”  Was it a live broadcast or one of those radio ETs?

The Goodman recording mystery was finally solved in 1995 when Charlie Justice biographer Bob Terrell interviewed Charlie for the book, “All Aboard.”  Justice said that Goodman recorded “All the Way Choo Choo,” before Johnny Long did, but the management team at Capitol records thought the tune was too localized for national distribution, so they never released it. (What about that “executive” who sent Orville Campbell that note the “DTH” reported in their story on September 24th, 1949?)

According to Orville Campbell, the tune sold over 32,000 copies.

In 2013 as part of its Carolina First campaign, the UNC Office of University Development issued a compact disc titled “Echoes of Carolina,” and on the disc is the Johnny Long version of “All the Way Choo Choo.”

There are still mentions of the Goodman recording from time to time.  An example: The New York Times in its Justice obituary on October 20, 2003 has this line: “Benny Goodman paid tribute in his recording of ‘All the Way Choo Choo.'”

Sheet music cover, from the author's collection.

Sheet music cover, from the author’s collection.

I mentioned that Orville Campbell published the sheet music in 1949. One of the two editions has a Hugh Morton image on the front cover.  Recently I found a third version of the sheet music which has a Regent Music Corporation copyright.  A quick check of Regent finds that the company was founded in the late 1930s or 1940 at the Brill Building in New York City.  Regent founders were Gene Goodman and Harry Goodman—brothers of Benny Goodman.  Small world.

Three years before Campbell and Bebee and Long and Goodman started their “All the Way” journey, a writer at The Daily Tar Heel published a Charlie Justice song called “Tiny’s Choo Choo Song.” It was written by Tiny Hutton and published in the November 23, 1946 issue, just hours before Carolina met Duke for the 33rd time.  Ironically, the lyrics of Tiny’s tune are set to the music of the 1941 classic “Chattanooga Choo Choo” made famous by Glenn Miller, a contemporary of Benny Goodman.  Indeed, a small world.

Sidebars

Over the years, the song title “All the Way Choo Choo” has been used to title other things like two television documentaries, one in 1973 and one in 1984. The ’84 program, produced by David Soloman Productions in Winston-Salem, featured an “All the Way Choo Choo” T-shirt to promote the program.

On March 30, 2006, as part of UNC General Alumni Association’s “College of Lifelong Learning,” the late Dr. Ron Hyatt presented a program titled “All the Way Choo Choo” that featured an extensive Charlie Justice memorabilia display and a panel discussion that included Justice teammates, Walt Pupa, Joe Neikirk, and Bob Cox.

The game program for the 1953 Dixie Classic basketball tournament, which was played in Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, carried a full page back cover ad for the Washington Redskins vs. Green Bay Packers preseason game to be played in Raleigh’s Riddick Stadium on September 11, 1954 with the heading “All the Way Choo Choo.”

Five days after Charlie Justice led his Tar Heels into the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, The Daily Tar Heel published a full page Charlie Justice profile with seven pictures under the headline “All The Way Choo Choo: Charlie Justice Makes Last Run.”  That January 7, 1950 issue hit the streets just hours before he led the South to victory in the first annual Senior Bowl game, played that year in Jacksonville, Florida.

On October 2, 1949, Rev Dr. Samuel Tilden Habel, Jr. at the Baptist Church of Chapel Hill (Columbia & Franklin) delivered a sermon titled “All the Way Choo Choo.”  The headline in the Greensboro Daily News on October 4, 1949: ‘All the Way Choo Choo’ Becomes Sermon Topic.  There is a related picture in the 1958 Justice biography by Bob Quincy and Julian Scheer on page 122.

According to author Jackie Helvey at the web site Carrboro.com there was a board game by the same name.

On page 16 of that UNC vs. Virginia game program from 1949, is an advertisement for the Wm. Muirhead Construction Co. in Durham.  The ad shows a train approaching a bridge “on Southern Railway and Highway No. 87 & 100 at Glen Raven, NC.”  The bridge has a number 22 at the top with the words “All the Way Choo Choo!”

Rollie Massimino (1934–2017)

Rollie Massimino photographed by Hugh Morton, image cropped by the author.

Rollie Massimino photographed by Hugh Morton, image cropped by the author.

In today’s news we learned of yesterday’s passing of famed Villanova University basketball coach Rollie Massimino.  Above is a detail from a photograph of Massimino made by Hugh Morton on March 17, 1991 during the NCAA East Regional played in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY.  A View to Hugh post from 2009 titled UNC vs. Villanova: 1982 and 1985 recounts two Tar Heel encounters against Massimino, and another post, “When Carolina’s Roy Williams and Villanova’s Jay Wright were assistants” includes another Morton photograph of Massimino made during the same game as this photograph.

A final Wallace Wade win in Kenan

When Carolina met Duke on November 25, 1950 in historic Kenan Memorial Stadium, we didn’t know it at the time, but it would be Duke Head Football Coach Wallace Wade’s last coaching appearance against his rival from Chapel Hill. Over a 16 year period from 1934 through 1950, UNC Coach Carl Snavely met Duke Coach Wallace Wade seven times on the gridiron. Snavely won 5 of those games. Wade won in 1935 in Durham and his only win against Snavely in Kenan Stadium came on a cold day in November of 1950.

As official football practice gets underway today for Carolina’s 2017 football season—the 91st in Kenan Stadium, and the 104th meeting with Duke on September 23rd—Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard recalls that famous game from 66 seasons ago.

Stadium program for the 1950 Duke versus University of North Carolina football game (Courtesy Jack Hilliard).

Stadium program for the 1950 Duke versus University of North Carolina football game (Courtesy Jack Hilliard).

I remember, as a little kid, my dad telling my mom, as he left for work early Saturday morning, November 25, 1950, “I guess Carolina and Duke will play in the snow today.” Had it not been for the covering on Kenan’s turf, my dad would have been right.  On Friday the 24th, high winds, snow and bitter 15-degree temperatures moved into North Carolina.  The headline in Saturday’s Durham Sun, read: “Vicious Icy Storm Batters East.”

A check of the 1950 UNC football media guide, which was actually published in August, indicated the game was already a sellout. 40,000 of those ticket-holders braved the weather and came out for the game . . . the other 6,000 decided to stay home by the fire and the radio.  Photographer Hugh Morton was one of the former.

Head coach Carl Snavely’s North Carolina Tar Heels had beaten head coach Wallace Wade’s Duke Blue Devils the past four seasons and the Heels were made a slight favorite in this, the 37th meeting between the two rival schools.  Wade and Snavely had tremendous respect for each other.  In July of 1950 the two rival coaches appeared together in the North Carolina outdoor drama “The Lost Colony.”  They were special guests as part of Kay Kyser’s and Emma Neal Morrison’s “Celebrity Night” celebrations.  Going into the 1950 “battle of the blues,” the darker blue, Blue Devils were 6 and 3 on the season, while the lighter blue Tar Heels were 3-3-2.

As one might guess, wind was to be a factor in the game, so when the Tar Heels won Referee Orrell J. Mitchell’s toss, they elected to defend the west goal with the wind at their backs.  The Tar Heels moved the ball inside the Duke 25-yard-line twice in the first half, but couldn’t score.  Duke’s only first-half threat came near the end of the second quarter.  The Blue Devils went on a 44-yard drive to the Carolina 36-yard-line, mainly through the efforts of Duke captain Billy Cox’s running and passing, but they couldn’t score. The score at halftime was 0-0.

Because of the weather, there was no halftime entertainment on the field.  Fans had to be content reading through their game-day programs, which on this day featured a front cover Lon Keller image of radio and TV personality Arthur Godfrey.  You could read a column by UNC’s Jake Wade or Duke’s Ted Mann, and get their takes on the game.

Hugh Morton's photograph published in the November 27, 1950 issue of the Charlotte News with the caption, "Dick Bunting fights his way to the Duke 22 in the fourth quarter of the North Carolina game at Chapel Hill, but Blaine Earon is there to slam him down.  This threat, like five others, failed."  A search for this negative in the Morton collection did not turn up the negative.

Hugh Morton’s photograph published in the November 27, 1950 issue of the Charlotte News with the caption, “Dick Bunting fights his way to the Duke 22 in the fourth quarter of the North Carolina game at Chapel Hill, but Blaine Earon is there to slam him down. This threat, like five others, failed.” A search for this negative in the Morton collection did not turn up the negative.

At the 2:58 mark of the third quarter, Coach Wade decided to gamble.  Duke with the ball, fourth down at the Carolina 34 and needing seven yards for a first down, tailback Billy Cox took the direct snap from center J. E. Gibson . . . looked down field . . . spotted wingback Tommy Powers . . . and threw a perfect shot which Powers caught as he crossed the goal line.  Mike Souchak’s point-after made the score 7-0.

Scan of Hugh Morton's negative (as shot) of Duke's Billy Cox holding the game ball after a 7-0 win over UNC at Kenan Stadium, 25 November 1950. This image appears in the sports sections of the Wilmington Morning Star and the Charlotte News. The latter identified the woman next to Cox as Mona Booth, Miss Durham of 1950. Other Morton photographs appeared in those newspapers (shown below), but the negatives either have not yet been located in the collection or have not survived.

Scan of Hugh Morton’s negative (as shot) of Duke’s Billy Cox holding the game ball after a 7-0 win over UNC at Kenan Stadium, 25 November 1950. This image appears in the sports sections of the Wilmington Morning Star and the Charlotte News. The latter identified the woman next to Cox as Mona Booth, Miss Durham of 1950. Other Morton photographs appeared in those newspapers (shown below), but the negatives either have not yet been located in the collection or have not survived.

During the final quarter and a half, Carolina had three great opportunities, but the score remained 7-0.  The final game stats showed that Carolina had first downs at the Duke 22, 17, 28, 9, 7, and 20, but could not score.  In his post game interview, Wade praised Duke’s incredible defense.

As the game ended and the late November sky began to turn a darker shade of gray, the Duke players rushed to hoist their victorious coach on their shoulders; but as we had come to expect, Coach Wade wanted no part of anything like that.  Wade told his players, “No, no, boys there’ll be none of that. Let’s go shake their hands.” He then walked calmly across field for a final time and shook Snavely’s hand, just as he had done on six previous occasions when the two coaches had played one another.  It would be Wade’s first, final, and only win in Kenan Stadium against a Snavely-coached Tar Heel team.

Two post-game images by Morton appeared in the November 27th Wilmington Morning Star.

Two post-game images by Morton appeared in the November 27th Wilmington Morning Star.

When the field cleared, the Carolina cheerleaders, led by head man Joe Chambliss, rolled the Victory Bell across the cold Kenan turf to the Duke section on the North side of the stadium, as the Blue Devil fans cheered.  It was their first opportunity to ring the bell since its introduction following Carolina’s 1948 win. (That respectful type Victory Bell transition seems to have been forgotten in today’s world of overwrought fan and player hostility.)

The headline in Sunday’s Charlotte Observer, read: “Blue Devils’ Gamble Pays Off for Score in High Wind and Freezing Temperature.”  Coach Snavely, when asked in his Monday morning news conference about his impression of Saturday’s game, had this to say: “Duke was hotter than we were in several crucial moments. . . . You must remember that Duke played in the same weather we did.”

Four days after the game, Wade married Virginia Jones and after a honeymoon in New York, he announced his resignation from Duke in order to take the position of Commissioner of the Southern Conference. He would hold that position for ten years. Upon his retirement from the Southern Conference in 1960, words of praise came from media outlets across the country. One of those tributes came from an avid UNC Tar Heel, who broadcast UNC football games on the Tobacco Sports Network…Bill Currie, then the Sports Director of WSOC-TV, Channel 9, in Charlotte once said: “Nobody ever gets over being a Tar Heel. He also said this about Coach Wade:

“The true measure of Wallace Wade’s greatness as a man is not fully reflected in his overwhelming won-lost record on the field, nor in his patriotic devotion to our country in combat during two world wars: rather, it is reflected in the dignity and bearing of the man, which makes him a giant among his peers and successors.”

William Wallace Wade was inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame with the Class of 1955. Twelve years later, in 1967, Duke Stadium was renamed Wallace Wade Stadium in his honor.

He died on October 7, 1986. He was 94-years-old.

 

Always on call for his alma mater

May 13, 1989 groundbreaking ceremony for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. (L to R): Ralph Strayhorn, fund raising chairman; George Watts Hill; Doug Dibbert, General Alumni Association Executive Director; Robert C. Eubanks, UNC Board of Trustees chairman; Tom Lambeth, chairman of the area campaigns; Chancellor Emeritus Christopher C. Fordham III; and Chancellor Paul Hardin.

May 13, 1989 groundbreaking ceremony for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. (L to R): Ralph Strayhorn, fund raising chairman; George Watts Hill; Doug Dibbert, General Alumni Association Executive Director; Robert C. Eubanks, UNC Board of Trustees chairman; Tom Lambeth, chairman of the area campaigns; Chancellor Emeritus Christopher C. Fordham III; and Chancellor Paul Hardin.

On Tuesday, June 7, 2016—one year ago today—a special memorial service was held at the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on Raleigh Road. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had lost one of its strongest supporters. Three days before, Ralph Strayhorn Jr. had passed away in Winston-Salem. He was 93-years-old.  On this anniversary, Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at Strayhorn’s amazing list of accomplishments.

Ralph Nichols Strayhorn Jr. at one time or another served his university as

  • cocaptain of the varsity football team;
  • member of UNC Board of Trustees;
  • President of the General Alumni Association;
  • General Counsel for the Rams Club;
  • chairman of the search committee charged in 1987 with finding a replacement for Head Football Coach Dick Drum (he and his committee found Mack Brown);
  • President and General Counsel of the Educational Foundation, Inc.; and
  • Fund Raising Chairman for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center building project.

As you will see later in this post, this list will continue.

A native of Durham, Strayhorn was recruited by UNC assistant football coach Jim Tatum and played three seasons with the Tar Heels before he entered the United States Navy and served in the Pacific theater from 1943 until 1946, completing his active service as a sub-chaser commanding officer.  He served twenty years in the U. S. Naval Reserve, retiring in 1962 as a lieutenant commander.

He returned to Chapel Hill in time for the 1946 football season where he was a cocaptain along with Chan Highsmith.  In a 2010 interview, Strayhorn described his returned: “It was a delightful time to be in Chapel Hill.  Everyone was glad to be home from the war, back in school where they belonged.”

The 1946 Tar Heels under Head Coach Carl Snavely won eight games during the regular season while losing only to Tennessee and tying VPI (formally Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, known today as Virginia Tech).  That record was good enough to earn a Southern Conference championship and Carolina’s first bowl game, the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1947. Strayhorn’s trip to New Orleans was not a joyous occasion as it should have been. His father had suffered a heart attack back in Durham and was unconscious.

“My mind wasn’t focused on the game, needless to say.  I thought about not going.  My first cousin was a doctor and was very close to our family.  He said my father would want me to go and play in that game.  I stayed behind when the team left and then caught the last train to New Orleans. . . I was on the first train back out of town.  I returned to my father’s bedside but he never recovered.”

Strayhorn could have played one more season with the Tar Heels.  The 1943 season didn’t count against his eligibility because he had gone off to World War II; he chose, however, to graduate with the class of 1947 with a degree in commerce and enter law school.  He got his law degree in 1950 and joined the firm of Newsom, Graham, Strayhorn, Hedrick, Murray, Bryson and Kennon as a senior partner.  He held that position until 1978 when he assumed the executive position of general counsel of the Wachovia Corporation and the Wachovia Bank and Trust Company.  Strayhorn retired from that position in his 1988 retirement.  He then joined the law firm Petree Stockton & Robinson.

Throughout his professional career, Ralph Strayhorn remained active in the life of his alma mater, especially its athletic programs and his beloved football Tar Heels. From 1973 until 1981 he was a member of the UNC Board of Trustees, serving as chairman in 1979 and 1980.  Additionally, he served on the Central Selection Committee of the Morehead Foundation, the Board of Visitors, and the NC Institute of Medicine.  In 1989 the UNC Board of Trustees awarded Strayhorn the William Richardson Davie Award.

Over the years, Strayhorn kept in touch with Coach Jim Tatum and in 1955 he wrote Tatum a four-page letter asking him to return to Chapel Hill to take over the football program.  “The football situation at Chapel Hill seems to have reached an all-time low,” Strayhorn wrote. The following year Tatum returned and led the program until his untimely death in July of 1959.  Ironically, in 1957 Strayhorn had prepared Tatum’s will and delivered the document to him the week before the Tar Heel were to meet Maryland for the first time since Tatum left—the famous “Queen Elizabeth” game. As the coach was signing the document, he asked Strayhorn if he was going to the game on Saturday.

“I told him I didn’t have tickets, transportation, a room or a baby-sitter.  He said, ‘Well, find yourself a baby-sitter.  I’ll take care of the rest. You be at the airport Friday at 2 o’clock.’ We got to the airport and everything was arranged for us.”

FOUR TAR HEELS—Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan, and Charlie Carr gathered on the sidelines before the 1997 Sugar Bowl. At that time Carr was the associate director of athletics at Florida State, which played against Florida in the bowl game.

FOUR TAR HEELS—Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan, and Charlie Carr gathered on the sidelines before the 1997 Sugar Bowl. At that time Carr was the associate director of athletics at Florida State, which played against Florida in the bowl game.

In December 1996 Carolina’s 1947 football team celebrated the 50th anniversary of their ’47 Sugar Bowl game with a train trip to New Orleans for the 1997 Sugar Bowl game.  An on-the-field pre-game ceremony included Charlie Justice and Ralph Strayhorn along with Charlie Trippi of Georgia.  Hugh Morton was a special invited guest at the ceremony.

Joe Neikirk, Georgia's legendary Bulldog Bill Hartman, Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Crowell Little, and Georgia All-American Charley Trippi.

Joe Neikirk, Georgia’s legendary Bulldog Bill Hartman, Ralph Strayhorn Jr., Charlie Justice, Crowell Little, and Georgia All-American Charley Trippi.

Seven years later, on November 5, 2004, Ralph Strayhorn and Hugh Morton were featured speakers at the dedication of Johnpaul Harris’ magnificent Charlie Justice statue which now stands just outside of Kenan Stadium.

The next time you visit the “Charlie Justice Hall of Honor” in the Kenan Football Center, notice the Harold Styers’ portrait of the 1947 Sugar Bowl coin toss featuring UNC’s Cocaptain Ralph Stayhorn #62, and Georgia’s Captain Charlie Trippi, also #62.

And oh yes . . . that list.  Ralph Strayhorn Jr. was President of the North Carolina Bar Association in 1971-72, and a member of the

  • Legal Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange;
  • American College of Trial Lawyers;
  • American Bar Association;
  • International Association of Defense Counsel;
  • Newcomen Society of the United States; and the
  • Board of Visitors of the Wake Forest School of Law.

He also argued a case before the Supreme Court of the United States and served in the North Carolina General Assembly in 1959.

Ralph Nichols Strayhorn Jr., a Tar Heel treasure like no other.

UPDATE: caption for second photograph revised to reflect identification received in a comment on June 12.  Previously the caption began with “THREE TAR HEELS.”

UPDATE: On June 13, the caption was once again update with the discovery of more recent information about Charlie Carr.  Mr. Carr was a member of the UNC Class of 1968 and he received a master’s degree from there in 1970.  In 1971 he became a UNC assistant football coach.  He also served in various roles at East Carolina, Mississippi State before joining Florida State  in 1995. Carr left Florida State on October 1, 2007, when he became the athletic director at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.  On May 17, 2017 Mr. Carr entered phased retirement from MSU, and he will officially retire on August 31.  Also updated was the caption for the final photograph with the identification of Bill Hartman, the Georgia Bulldog’s team captain in 1937.  (Thanks, Jack Hilliard, for new info on Charlie Carr and the identification of Bill Hartman!)

Back at the track

Lining up for the start of the 1983 Mello Yello 300.

Lining up for the start of the 1983 Mello Yello 300.

NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600, will be run at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 28, 2017.  This year’s event will mark the 58th running of the race that started back in 1960 when it was called the World 600.  That name continued until the 1985 race when Coca-Cola became a major sponsor.

In 1978 NASCAR held a supporting race, a Late Model Sportsman Series 100-mile race the day before the 600 miler. The following year NASCAR held the Sun Drop 300, and beginning in 1980 the Mello Yello 300.  In 1982 the 300-mile race became part of the Busch Series, with another sponsorship name change to the Winston 300 in 1985.  Today the race is called the Hitense 4K TV 300.

Back on May 7, 2010, Jack Hilliard wrote a post about the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, and Hugh Morton’s wife Julia added this comment: “I remember how anxious Hugh was to have Stock Car Racing ‘declared a sport.’”  Four years later, Jack wrote a post about the 1971 National 500 at Charlotte’s famous mile-and-a-half oval.  He wrote in the article that while High Morton is famous for his sports photography, there aren’t many NASCAR events represented in his portfolio.

Fast forward to earlier this year, when Jack noted in the Morton collection finding aid the following entry:

  • Slide Lot 008864: “World 600, Viaduct,” (NASCAR), June 1983 #P0081, Subseries: “Other events, 1940s-early 2000s”

With the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 approaching, Jack wrote an article looking back thirty-four years to the then World 600 of May 29, 1983.  This morning, as I was assembling the image scans and writing captions for the World 600 posting, all was well . . .

Neil Bonnett in car number 75 (front left) and car number 7, which in the World 600 would have been Kyle Petty, lead a pack of fourteen cars, with car number 32 separated from the pack ahead.

Neil Bonnett in car number 75 (front left) and car number 7, which in the World 600 would have been Kyle Petty, lead a pack of fourteen cars, with car number 32 separated from the pack ahead.

I dropped in another image . . .

. . . and moved on to the next.

In the World 600, Hueytown, Alabama’s Neil Bonnett edged out Richard Petty by 0.8 seconds for the victory.  Could this image be the two dueling as they came out of the last turn?  Alas, no because the car is yellow and Jack’s article had a quote by Bonnett from after the race:

Richard was dictating how fast I had to run.  I knew I had to pick up the pace because every time I looked in my rear view mirror I saw that red-and-blue car and I knew that man meant business.

This slide, #17, shows a yellow "Wrangler" car (number not visible) with a slight edge on Neil Bonnett in car #75, the white car on the left.

This slide, #17, shows a yellow “Wrangler” car (number not visible) with a slight edge on Neil Bonnett in car #75, the white car on the left.

The next slide, #18, shows the yellow Wrangler car with a wider lead on Neil Bonnett.  The following cars are number 7, 28, and 17.

The next slide, #18, shows the yellow Wrangler car with a wider lead on Neil Bonnett.  The following cars are number 7, 28, and 17.

Then I placed the following photograph, Morton’s slide #19, and something was awry . . .

Slide number #19 depicts a pack exiting turn four lead by car 23, followed by cars 34, 76, and 5.

Slide number #19 depicts a pack exiting turn four lead by car 23, followed by cars 34, 76, and 5.

The above photograph, Morton’s 35mm color slide #19, depicts a pack of cars exiting turn four with car 23 in front of cars 34, 76, and 5.  To write a caption, I looked up on the Internet and found the race results with a list of the drivers’ names and car numbers.  That’s when I discovered that none of those car numbers raced in the World 600.  Digging a bit more, I learned about the Mello Yello 300 and found a list of drivers and car numbers for that race, then emailed the news and webpage links to Jack.  He found footage of the entire race on YouTube, and by comparing the beginning minutes of the film footage to Morton’s wide angle photograph shown at the top of this post, we confirmed that Morton’s photographs are of the Mello Yello 300 and not the World 600.  The race broadcaster mentions (at 4:20 on the video), “Dale Earnhardt in the Wrangler car, number 15.”  As the results webpage shows, Dale Earnhardt defeated Neil Bonnett to win the Mello Yello 300.

There’s still a little “Morton Mystery” left, though: some of the car numbers seen in slide 19 are unknown.  According to the list on the website Ultimate Racing History, the driver for car number 23 was Davey Allison while Joe Kelly drove the following car, number 34.  The next car, 76, is not listed . . . nor is car 47.  In between those two cars is car 5 driven by John Anderson.  Dale Jarrett is next in car 32, followed by Slick Johnson in car 46.  With two car numbers unaccounted for, is it possible that Hugh Morton attended the qualifying race the day before?  That’s not likely because car number 7 in the second photograph above is probably pole sitter Morgan Shephard. Or, more likely, is the list of drivers on the Internet list incomplete or contain some errors?

That’s what I could piece together this morning before today’s 1:00 starting time.  Any race fans out there who can add more to the story?

Addendum: May 28, 2017

Jack found a website, Racing-Reference.info, with the results of the 1983 Mello Yello 300 that include cars 76 and 47 driven, respectively, by Butch Lindley and Randy Tissot.

Another “Morton Mystery” (that we didn’t know we had) has been solved!

THE Voice of the Tar Heels

Tar Heel Sports Network play-by-play announcer Woody Durham (right) with son Wes Durham (play-by-play announcer for Georgia Tech) after receiving Marvin "Skeeter" Francis Award at 2002 ACC basketball tournament, Charlotte, NC.

Tar Heel Sports Network play-by-play announcer Woody Durham (right) with son Wes Durham (play-by-play announcer for Georgia Tech) after receiving Marvin “Skeeter” Francis Award at 2002 ACC basketball tournament, Charlotte, NC.

Today, April 22, 2017, Carolina’s Woody Durham will receive the Lindsey Nelson Broadcasting Award at the University of Tennessee Orange and White spring football game in Knoxville. This will be just the latest in a long line of awards that fill his trophy case. Woody’s son Wes will be on hand to accept the award for his dad.  On this special day, Morton volunteer contributor, Jack Hilliard, reminisces about his long-time friend and UNC classmate.

Many of the recent reports in the media of Woody Durham’s health issues have described him as “The Voice of the Tar Heels for 40 Years.” While that is true, there is far more to it than that. Woody Durham was, is, and forever will be The Voice of the North Carolina Tar Heels, period. Others will broadcast the play-by-play of the Tar Heel games and will do it well, but none will ever come close to what Woody Durham was able to accomplish . . . the bar is just too high.

I came to work for WFMY-TV in Greensboro on February 6, 1963 and worked until July 24th, when I left for a short tour of active duty with the US Army. When I returned in January, 1964, WFMY’s long-time sports director Charlie Harville had left for the new station in High Point and taking his place was Woody Durham, a classmate from UNC. While at Carolina, I had often watched Woody and news anchors Ray Williams and Dave Wegerek from the WUNC-TV control room in Swain Hall as director Wayne Upchurch directed the evening news. I decided then that I wanted to direct a show like that someday.  But I never imagined that my path would cross with Woody’s and Dave’s down the road.

Woody Durham and Ray Williams on news set, April 19, 1961. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection Photographer: Bill Prouty.)

Woody Durham and Ray Williams on news set, April 19, 1961. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Photographic Laboratory Collection Photographer: Bill Prouty.)

When I returned to WFMY in ’64, I got a promotion from the floor crew to a control room job—audio and technical director, then assistant director.  And in early November of 1966, I got to direct my first newscast and for me it was magical.  As had been the case back at WUNC-TV, Dave Wegerek anchored the news and Woody Durham anchored the sports.  I had the honor and privilege of working with Dave for four years, and with Woody for almost fourteen, until August of 1977.  During that time with Woody, I saw a master at work.  From a ten-second promotional announcement to a one-hour documentary it was always the same: carefully research, then script it and deliver it with dignity, class, and style. That’s the way Woody has lived his life, with perhaps a bit less emphasis on the scripting part.  And that’s the way he’s approaching his current health struggles.

As most of the Tar Heel Nation will recall, Woody delivered a letter to his many friends and fans on June 1, 2016.  In it he explained his current health condition with primary progressive aphasia, a neurocognitive disorder that affects language expression:

I can still enjoy the company of friends and traveling with my wife, Jean, but I am not able to address groups as I did in the past,” Durham said. “While learning of this diagnosis was a bit of a shock for Jean and me, and yes, quite an ironic one at that, it also brought a sense of relief to us in terms of understanding what was happening to me and how best to deal with it.

Goodness knows, Tar Heel fans have heard him often over the years telling the Tar Heel story for the Athletic Department, the General Alumni Association, the Tar Heel Sports Network, and you name it, Woody has been there. And as you would likely guess, Woody is using his health issue to help people become aware of aphasia and how it affects individuals and families.

As in the past, I will continue to attend Carolina functions and sporting events as my schedule permits, and be part of civic and other charitable endeavors throughout the state. As part of these events, we want to make people more aware of primary progressive aphasia, and the impact that these neurocognitive disorders can have on individuals, families and friends.

Along with raising awareness, we hope to encourage financial support for continued research and treatment in our state, as well as nationally.

Over the years, Woody has urged us to “go where you go, and do what you do” when a close game was on the line.  As Woody’s friend for more than 50 years, I would urge all to take Woody’s game advice because he is involved in yet another difficult struggle. And in the end, when he wins this battle, (and I choose to believe he will), he can say, as he often has said following a big Tar Heel victory: “Act like you’ve been there before.”

Woody Durham interviews King Rice following win over Duke in the 1991 ACC Tournament. Also in the frame is #32 Pete Chilcutt, and Rick Fox (right). Jim Heavner, Tar Heel Sports Network and CEO of The Village Companies of Chapel Hill can be partially seen in extreme left of the frame.

Woody Durham interviews King Rice following win over Duke in the 1991 ACC Tournament. Also in the frame is #32 Pete Chilcutt, and Rick Fox (right). Jim Heavner, Tar Heel Sports Network and CEO of The Village Companies of Chapel Hill can be partially seen in extreme left of the frame.

I think it’s appropriate that we update Woody’s progress on the web site which is everything Hugh Morton. Woody was a Hugh Morton photo subject often and during the 2005-2006 UNC basketball season, Woody gave us periodic reports on Hugh’s condition.

On October 5, 2013, there was a very special event at the Turchin Center on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone. I was honored to be a panelist along with Betty McCain, Robert Anthony, and Woody Durham.  Our topic: “Hugh Morton and His Photography.”  It was a magical afternoon . . . one to forever remember.

So on this special day I say: “Best wishes, dear friend, our thoughts and prayers are with you, Jean, and family.”

Morton photographs of Augusta National

Yesterday while looking through Sheet Film Box P081/C-24 in the Hugh Morton collection, I came across the above color negative labeled “Augusta Nat’l for John Wms.”  Today, coincidentally, is the opening round of the Masters Tournament, so I had the negative digitized for posting on A View to Hugh.  Turning to the finding aid to see what additional material on Augusta National might be in the collection, I found the following:

Roll Film Box P081/35C-6

  • Envelope 6.4-6-1, “Golf, Augusta,” 1971, Color 35mm roll film negatives, 35 images

Roll Film Box P081/120C-5

  • Envelope 6.4-4-1, “Augusta” (mostly scenic golf course), 1971?, Color 120 roll film negatives, 31 images
  • Envelope 6.4-4-10A, “Augusta National for John Williams” (golf course), 1970s-early 1980s, Color 120 roll film negatives, 6 images

Some of the images depict a foursome and others playing the course; many other negatives are scenic views.  The images didn’t seem to merit scanning them all just to select a few to use for the blog, but if anyone is ever looking for images of the Augusta National circa 1971 (the 35mm negatives are labeled Spring 1971 but the reaming dates are estimates), you may aways request to see them or have them digitized.  One of the negatives, however, depicted a gentleman sitting outside a door with the nameplate “John H. Williams.”

So two question remained: Who is John Williams and what is his connection to Hugh Morton? According to his obituary from May 2013, Williams “was recognized nationally as one of the great financial minds and deal-makers in America during the 1960s and 1970s.”    The portrait of Williams in his obituary looks very much like the man pictured above, so it’s safe to say this is photograph of Williams at Augusta National.

Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Williams was co-founder, president, and chief executive officer of The Williams Companies from 1949 to 1971, and chairman and CEO from 1971 to 1979.  When he retired, the company’s assets were $2 billion.  Listed among his many accomplishments and associations: Williams served on the board of Augusta National Golf Club . . . and “Grandfather Golf and Country Club and Linville Golf Club of Linville, NC.”  At the time of his death, Williams and his wife resided in both Tulsa and Linville.  And therein lies his connection to Hugh Morton.  Turning back to the Morton collection finding aid, there are thirty-one entries for John Williams spanning the 1960s through the 1980s.

That’s what I discovered after a little investigation.  Please leave a comment if you would like to add to the story.

Putting a “value” on the Gate City

Interior of Greensboro Coliseum before the March 4, 1977 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament semifinal game between UNC and NC State.

Interior of Greensboro Coliseum before the March 4, 1977 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament semifinal game between UNC and NC State.

There has been an ample amount of media ink and airtime since Syracuse University Head Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim made his comments about Greensboro and the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament back on March 8.  Following his team’s loss to Miami in the quarterfinals, Boeheim went before the media and bashed the “Gate City” as the ACC Tournament site, saying: “. . . There’s no value in playing Greensboro, none. It’s there because the league’s been there and the office is there, and they have 150 people that the ACC needs. That’s why it’s there. It should not be there.”

As one would expect in this day and age, Greensboro city officials—including Mayor Nancy Vaughn—came back in force on Twitter tweeting, “We kindly disagree. But I guess you can lose in the 1st round anywhere. At lease it’s a quick ride home.”  In a later statement Mayor Vaughn added: “Unfortunately for Syracuse they didn’t stay around long enough to experience the Greensboro value.”

It seems history might be on the Gate City’s side.  Greensboro has hosted the ACC Tournament twenty-eight times going back to 1967 and has hosted the NCAA Tournament first and second round games twelve times going back to 1976. And two weeks after the Greensboro Coliseum hosted the 1974 ACC event, they hosted the thirty-sixth annual NCAA semifinals and championship game. So as the UNC Tar Heels head to Phoenix for the 79th annual NCAA Final Four, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at that 1974 tournament that put Greensboro in the national spotlight on March 23rd and 25th, 1974.

NC State cheerleaders displaying a banner that reads"You are in Wolfpack Country" before the start of the NC Stave versus UCLA 1974 NCAA Mens' Basketball National Semifinal at the Greensboro Coliseum, on March 23.

NC State cheerleaders displaying a banner that reads”You are in Wolfpack Country” before the start of the NC Stave versus UCLA 1974 NCAA Mens’ Basketball National Semifinal at the Greensboro Coliseum, on March 23.

It wasn’t called the “Final Four” in 1974—that term would first appear a year later—but in mid-March, four regional-winning teams came into the Greensboro Coliseum to compete in the thirty-sixth annual NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.  The road to Greensboro started on March 9 with twenty-five teams looking to upset defending NCAA champion, UCLA.  Two weeks later the list was down to four teams headed to the Gate City to do battle: UCLA from the West Region, North Carolina State from the East, Marquette from the Mideast, and Kansas from the Midwest.

NBC-TV Sports was in the house with legendary broadcaster Curt Gowdy calling the game.  At the media table was the Coliseum’s announcer Johnny Phelps, a sports anchor at Greensboro’s WFMY-TV.  Hugh Morton, typically on the floor for basketball games, photographed from the stands.

A moment before tip-off of the 1974 NCAA National Semifinal basketball game at Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC. North Carolina State University played the University of California at Los Angeles, March 23, 1974.

A moment before tip-off of the 1974 NCAA National Semifinal basketball game at Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC. North Carolina State University played the University of California at Los Angeles, March 23, 1974.

Head Coach John Wooden’s UCLA squad had won nine of the last ten NCAA tournament championships and opened play against Norm Sloan’s NC State Wolfpack, a team the Bruins had beaten earlier in the season by eighteen points, snapping a twenty-nine-game winning streak for the ‘Pack.  State was accustomed to winning in the Greensboro Coliseum, having won the ACC Tournament a couple of weeks earlier with a 103-to-100 overtime victory over “Lefty” Driesell’s Maryland Terps.  Hugh Morton and Smith Barrier, in their 1981 book, The ACC Basketball Tournament Classic, called the 1974 ACC final the “Greatest Game Ever.”  I believe most of the 15,451 screaming fans in attendance would have agreed.

The NCAA semifinal game between State and UCLA turned out to be a classic as well. It was a two-overtime affair with State, led by All-American David Thompson, finally winning 80 to 77. UCLA lost a five-point lead near the end of regulation play and a seven-point lead in the second overtime.  The game is number thirteen on the USA Today “Greatest 63 games in NCAA Tournament history.”  UCLA’s All-American Bill Walton, who scored twenty-nine points and grabbed eighteen rebounds in the semifinal game, calls it, the most disappointing loss of his entire basketball career.

UCLA All America center Bill Walton shoots over the outstretched arm of NC State's Tommy Burleson, as NC State's Moe Rivers (#10) focuses on Walton. In the foreground, NC State's David Thompson tries to out position UCLA's Dave Meyers. Hugh Morton's game-action photographs focused on the two seven-foot centers, this being his best shot.

UCLA All America center Bill Walton shoots over the outstretched arm of NC State’s Tommy Burleson, as NC State’s Moe Rivers (#10) focuses on Walton. In the foreground, NC State’s David Thompson tries to out position UCLA’s Dave Meyers. Hugh Morton’s game-action photographs focused on the two seven-foot centers, this being his best shot.

The second semifinal game pitted Kansas, coached by Ted Owens, against Al McGuire’s Marquette Warriors (they’re called the “Golden Eagles” today.)  Marquette came away a winner 64 to 51, thus setting up the championship game between the Wolfpack and the Warriors. Most fans would say that State and UCLA played the championship game on March 23, but two days later, State met Marquette for the real championship.  The contest was close in the first half, but State pulled away in the second.  The Wolfpack led by nineteen at one point, finishing with a twelve-point win, 76 to 64.

UCLA won the “Third Place” game, 78 to 61, as Bill Walton closed out his college career. In a 1987 interview with then basketball broadcaster Billy Packer, Walton said of the lost to State: “We were incredibly disappointed. You just don’t have the opportunity to win championships that often and when you do and lose, it changes your life.”

NC State finished the ’73-’74 season as national champion for the first time with a 30-and-1 record.  They became only the fifth school in history to win the national championship playing in its home state—in Greensboro, NC—slightly more than seventy-five miles from its home court in Raleigh.

And, oh yes, Greensboro is scheduled to host the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament again in 2020.  Coach Boeheim, who said he would likely retire following the 2017- 2018 season, has now signed a contract extension beyond the end of that season.  So it looks like he might once again have the opportunity to enjoy—or endure—yet another ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament in Greensboro—a city he said he loves, backtracking the day after his March 8 postgame remarks.

The Razorbacks are back

UNC head basketball coach Dean Smith on sidelines during national semifinal match-up against Arkansas in the Kingdome in Seattle, Washington on April 1, 1995. (Hugh Morton photograph cropped by the author.)

UNC head basketball coach Dean Smith on sidelines during national semifinal match-up against Arkansas in the Kingdome in Seattle, Washington on April 1, 1995. (Hugh Morton photograph cropped by the author.)

On March 18th, 2012 Bill Richards, a colleague who worked in the library’s Digital Production Center, passed away unexpectedly while watching the Tar Heel’s basketball team defeat Creighton University in the “Sweet Sixteen” round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  In 1982, Bill was the Chief Photographer for the Chapel Hill Newspaper.  In 1988, he began working as a photographer and graphic designer in the UNC Office of Sports information.  In 1998 he started working in Library Photographic Services, but continued shooting for Sports Information into the 2000s.  I am dedicating this blog post, as I have each year since his departure, to Bill who, like Hugh Morton, was an avid UNC basketball fan.

Here we are again . . . it’s March Madness time and UNC is in the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament for the forty-seventh time.  Yesterday’s 103 to 64 first-round win against Texas Southern, coupled with Arkansas’ 77-to-71 defeat of Seton Hall, set up the sixth tournament meeting between the Tar Heels and Razorbacks.  Hugh Morton photographed three of those contests in 1990, 1993, and 1995. In the latter two face-offs, the victors continued on to play for the national championship.

North Carolina's Donald Williams (#21) and Arkansas' Corliss Williamson (#34) battle under the basket during the East Regional Semifinal at 1993 NCAA tournament in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

North Carolina’s Donald Williams (#21) and Arkansas’ Corliss Williamson (#34) battle under the basket during the East Regional Semifinal at 1993 NCAA tournament in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The first of these two encounters was the 1993 tournament’s East Regional Semifinals played at East Rutherford, New Jersey.  Arkansas was fueled by eleven three-pointers, but but UNC’s sophomore guard Donald Williams scored the last nine Tar Heel points—including three foul shots at the end—to clinch the game 80 to 74.  At one point in first half Arkansas led by eleven, but the game was often close.  The score at halftime was 45 to 45, and with 6:30 left to play it was 69 to 69.  It was then that North Carolina’s Brian Reese bucket gave the Tar Heels a  lead that would not give back.

A monstrous dunk by 245-pound Razorback freshman Corliss Williamson bought  Arkansas to within two points, 73 to 71, and their fans leapt to their feet.  With just over a minute to play in the game, Carolina held onto a 75-to-74 lead.  UNC’s legendary coach Dean Smith called a time out at the 0:51.7 mark and drew up play.  Rather than stall in a patented four-corners set, he designed a quick-scoring backdoor pass from George Lynch to Williams for a lay-up that extended the score to 77 to 74 with 0:42 seconds left.  An Arkansas turnover forced the Razorbacks to foul Williams.  He iced the free throws and capped the Tar Heel victory.  George Lynch led UNC in scoring with twenty-three points and ten rebounds.  Eric Montrose added fifteen points.  The win sent the Tar Heels to the East Regional Finals against Cincinnati.

UNC's Jerry Stackhouse guarded by Arkansas' Scotty Thurman during their 1995 national semifinal game played on April 1, 1995 in Seattle's Kingdome. (Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.)

UNC’s Jerry Stackhouse guarded by Arkansas’ Scotty Thurman during their 1995 national semifinal game played on April 1, 1995 in Seattle’s Kingdome. (Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.)

April Fools Day was no laughing matter for UNC in the 1995 NCAA tournament when the Hogs beat the Heels 75 to 68 in the tournament semifinal played at the Seattle Kingdome.  UNC had returned to the Final Four after exiting early in 1994, and Arkansas was the returning national champion.  UNC led at the half 38 to 34.  The score would normally have been 38 to 31, but Arkansas’ Dwight Stewart heaved a 55-foot shot at the buzzer that found nothing but net to end the first half.  The bomb enlivened the lackluster Razorbacks and left the Heels stunned.

The energy boost carried Arkansas well into the second half, reeling off an early 17-to-5 run.  UNC suffered twelve-and-a-half minutes without a score until a three-pointer by Stackhouse with 15:14 left to play.  Carolina closed the deficit to one, 69 to 68, with 47.7 seconds left, but the Tar Heels scoring ended there.  They made only seven shots in the closing half after hitting fifteen in the opener, including seven threes.  Equally domineering, Arkansas made ten shots from close-range inside the paint in the second half, compared to Carolina’s two.  Donald Williams, now a senior, finished with nineteen points, but Corliss “Big Nasty” Williamson scored the same amount in just the second half, finishing with twenty-one. UNC’s Jerry Stackhouse scored eighteen.

Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson said afterward, “We’re called the ‘Cardiac Kids’ and we tried to do it again.” With their victory Arkansas earned the right to defend their title against UCLA, which defeated Oklahoma State 74 to 61. UCLA, however, denied the Razorback repeat by scoring an eleven-point win, 89 to 78.  After the season, as a junior, Williamson declared for the 1995 NBA draft and was the thirteenth pick overall by the Sacramento Kings.  From UNC, Jerry Stackhouse was the third overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Washington Bullets selected Rasheed Wallace next as the fourth selection.  Both Stackhouse and Wallace left UNC as sophomores.

Post Script

Morton also photographed the North Carolina versus Arkansas regional semifinal in March 1990 won by Arkansas 96 to 73, but there are no images of that game in the online collection of images.

Correction

A previous version incorrectly stated “In the latter two face-offs, the victors continued on to win the national championship.”  This has been corrected and now reads “to play for the national championship.”