Picture Day 1946: When Hugh met Charlie

The summer hiatus here at A View to Hugh is winding down as students begin appearing on campus this weekend.  Hot August days have returned to Chapel Hill and football practice is underway for the 2016 season.  Expectations are high for the Tar Heels just as it was seventy seasons ago.  Today, on this anniversary of the birth of a very special friendship, Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back to August 17, 1946.

Charlie Justice standing with Hugh Morton. Justice is wearing the #22 jersey recovered in November 1948 by UNC President C. D. Spangler during a UNC-Virginia football game. This photograph dates from the late 1990s to early 2000s.

Charlie Justice standing with Hugh Morton. Justice is wearing the #22 jersey recovered in November 1948 by UNC President C. D. Spangler during a UNC-Virginia football game. This photograph dates from the late 1990s to early 2000s.

It was early August, 1946, and it was hot. The annual preseason football magazines had just hit the stands and judging from those traditional predictors, Carolina was going to be something special. Sportswriter Jack Troy wrote in the 1946 issue of Street & Smith Football Pictorial Yearbook:

. . . the Tar Heels are about ready to step back into the picture as a national football power.  During the winter the Tar Heels snatched Charlie Justice from under the noses of South Carolina coaches, and Justice is supposed to be one of the best ball carriers in the business.

On August 17, 1946, Head Coach Carl Snavely greeted 104 Tar Heel candidates along with Kay Kyser, headline radio star and considered Carolina’s greatest all-time cheerleader. Also present was University President Dr. Frank Porter Graham. Of the 104, only 18 were returning lettermen, but Snavely said he expected about 10 additional lettermen by August 26th. By the time editor Jake Wade got the ’46 Football Media Guide published, the lettermen count was 31.

One of the most welcomed lettermen returning was Hosea Rodgers, a 200-pound fullback who led Carolina to a 9 to 6 victory over Pennsylvania back in 1943. Many of the freshmen were returning World War II veterans in their 20s—like freshman Charlie Justice, sometimes called the “Bainbridge Flash.” Justice was the one player who was going to make a good Carolina team great.

With the stage set, practice got underway.  Although classes had not officially begun, there were many students already on campus.  It wasn’t unusual for two or three hundred students to show up for Carolina’s practices.  One of the early official team functions was called picture day, when the players dress out in their game day uniforms and talk with the media and pose for photographs. Of course one of those photographers present was Hugh Morton.  Here’s how Justice described the scene that day for biographer Bob Terrell in a 1995 interview:

The first time I saw Hugh Morton was in August of 1946. The weather was hot and we were practicing twice a day. Sunday was an off day and Snavely and his staff decided that was the day they’d have the press come in and take pictures, get interviews, and so forth. . . We started at two o’clock, and it seemed that everybody in the country was there to shoot pictures. I noticed Hugh Morton on the sidelines, paying no attention to me at all, taking pictures of everybody else.

After about two and a half hours, Snavely said “that’s it guys,” and told the players they could go inside out of the heat.  As the Tar Heels were leaving the field, UNC Publicity Director Robert Madry’s Assistant Jake Wade came over to Justice and said: “Charlie, I’d like for you to meet Hugh Morton. He’s a great friend of the University. He’d like to take a few more shots.”  According to Justice, “We stayed there another two hours, hot as it was, and everything had to be just perfect.”

Finally Morton finished up and as the August sun was setting behind the west end zone, Charlie began the long walk to the Kenan Field House dressing room at the other end of Kenan Stadium. “I didn’t say anything at the time,” Justice said, ”but when I got in the dressing room, everybody had already left. I said, ‘I hope I never see him again.'”

Charlie Justice photograph of Charlie Justice in a posed portrait while punting, circa 1946-1947.

Charlie Justice photograph of Charlie Justice in a posed portrait while punting, circa 1946-1947.

But Charlie did see Hugh again . . . often . . . at practice and on the Kenan sideline almost every Saturday afternoon. They would often carry on extended conversations, and in the end they became friends, a friendship that lasted 57 years. Justice often participated with Hugh at the Azalea Festival in Wilmington and at the Highland Games and other events at Grandfather Mountain. When Hugh Morton announced his candidacy for governor on December 1, 1971 Charlie Justice was with him in front of the Capitol in Raleigh.

“He supported me wholeheartedly,” said Justice, “not just at Carolina, either. When I got to the Redskins, I turned around on the field and there was Hugh shooting pictures. Because of him, I suppose my football career was preserved on film as well as anybody’s ever was. . . . When I went into the [College Football] Hall of Fame, he got Governor Luther Hodges’s plane and flew Sarah, me, and his wife Julia to New York—when we got there we discovered that the girls couldn’t got to the banquet. So Sarah and Julia went over to Broadway and saw My Fair Lady that night. Then we flew back to Raleigh.”

Justice treasured men like Hugh Morton as his friends, and the honor was returned. “We didn’t have ESPN or the Internet back then,” Justice said. “But we didn’t need ’em. We had Hugh Morton. What a great friend he was to our team and to Carolina.”

Hugh Morton photograph of UNC fullback Hosea Rodgers (#70) and left end Bob Cox (#49), late 1940s.

Hugh Morton photograph of UNC fullback Hosea Rodgers (#70) and left end Bob Cox (#49), late 1940s.

“I can close my eyes and still see him with that camera around his neck,” said Bob Cox, an end and place-kicker from the 1946 Tar Heels, “Hugh was always around the team, around the program. He gave meaning to what we were doing. If anyone ever stood for the Carolina tradition, it was Hugh Morton. He helped build the pride and spirit and love for Carolina as much as anyone on the team.”

On a day in late May of 2001, Hugh Morton, along with several Tar Heel friends visited Charlie and Sarah Justice at their home in Cherryville. Of course Hugh was taking pictures, but at one point he stopped and said, “Charlie Justice inspired more loyalty at a key time following the war that was reflected in a huge amount of support for every facet of the University, not just athletics. It would be impossible to put a value on his contributions to the University—it would be in the real big millions.”

On Monday, October 20, 2003, my wife Marla and I, along with 200 plus others, attended the memorial service for Charlie Justice at The Cathedral of All Souls in Asheville. We were seated on the right side of the church where we could see many of the special guests from the Tar Heel Nation seated in the center. Among that group was Hugh Morton. He, like all of us, was obviously emotionally shaken. I think it was the first and possibly the only time I ever saw him at a Charlie Justice event without his camera.

A climb to the bridge

During Memorial Day weekend 2016, two great auto racing events took time to remember and honor troops: the Indianapolis 500 at Speedway, Indiana, which ran its 100th race, and the Coca-Cola 600 at Concord, North Carolina, which ran its 57th race.  The latter, held at Charlotte Motor Speedway ran its first event on June 19, 1960 and was called “The World 600.”  Fifteen days before that first run, on June 4th, another racing event in North Carolina ran its 8th annual event at Grandfather Mountain.

Usually when one thinks of events at Grandfather Mountain, the Highland Games and Singing on the Mountain immediately come to mind.  But during the 1950s and early 1960s, there was another event that drew considerable attention.  Today, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at the Grandfather Mountain Sports Car Hill Climb.

Car #22 racing to the top during the 1957 Grandfather Mountain Sports Car Hill Climb. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

Car #22 racing to the top during the 1957 Grandfather Mountain Sports Car Hill Climb. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

On a June day in 1953, nine months after Hugh Morton and his team at Grandfather Mountain dedicated the Mile High Swinging Bridge, a small group of sports car enthusiasts from the Greensboro-Burlington-Winston chapter of the Sports Car Club of North Carolina gathered on the road at the foot of the historic mountain.  They, along with Morton, wanted to see how fast they could climb the winding two-and-a half-mile road with an elevation increase of 1,000 feet during a race to the top against the clock.  An average tourist driver would take about ten minutes to maneuver the 28-turn trip to the Swinging Bridge, but these sports cars, with their tremendous horsepower, could do it much faster.  On that June day a Jaguar made the run in 4 minutes, 55 seconds—and the idea for a “hill climb” caught on.  A new event would be added to the Grandfather Mountain summer calendar.

In late May, 1954, Hugh Morton sent out the following press release:

Two events you’re likely to enjoy take place at Grandfather Mountain the weekend of June 5-6. . . The mile-high kite flying contest was the idea of Fox-Movietone News and has met with such enthusiasm that now it promises to be a show of great proportions . . . .  A sports car race is something that was tried with great success last year at Grandfather on a relatively small scale . . . this year the Greensboro-Burlington-Winston chapter of the Sports Car Club of North Carolina will be joined by MG and Jaguar fanciers from the Charlotte area and all over for a really big affair.  The Grandfather Mountain road gains elevation in a hurry and has one or two curves, so it’s a natural for the sports car folks.  Mystery-thriller writer Mickey Spillane, who sells by the millions those books your wife won’t let you read, is scheduled for pace-setter in the race.

On Saturday night, June 5, 1954, Spillane made the 400-mile trip from Myrtle Beach in time for the first run up the mountain, scheduled for 10 o’clock on Sunday morning.  Thirty-four drivers competed, and a crowd estimated at 1,000 cheered them on.  At the end of the day Maurice Poole, Jr., from Greensboro, was the overall winner driving a Riley touring car in a record time of 3 minutes, 55 seconds.

Hugh Morton labeled this negative "Sports Car Hill Climb" but he did not provide the date. After examining a high resolution scan of the negative, the third line of inscription on the trophy on the left appears to end in "1954." If so, the overall winner that year was Maurice Poole, Jr. of Greensboro, North Carolina. The Class A competition winner was Tony Haigh of Hampton, Virginia. Maurice Poole, Jr. was the Class B winner, and the Class C winner was John Belk of Hickory, North Carolina. Do those names match up with these faces? And is the person on the left Mickey Spillane? That's a mighty low part on the right side of the awards presenter's head and might be a good feature for comparing against known portraits of the famed detective novelist. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

Hugh Morton labeled this negative “Sports Car Hill Climb” but he did not provide the date. After examining a high resolution scan of the negative, the third line of inscription on the trophy on the left appears to end in “1954.” If so, the overall winner that year was Maurice Poole, Jr. of Greensboro, North Carolina. The Class A competition winner was Tony Haigh of Hampton, Virginia. Maurice Poole, Jr. was the Class B winner, and the Class C winner was John Belk of Hickory, North Carolina. Do those names match up with these faces? And is the person on the left Mickey Spillane? That’s a mighty low part on the right side of the awards presenter’s head and might be a good feature for comparing against known portraits of the famed detective novelist. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

A year later, the third annual Grandfather Mountain Hill Climb was staged on June 3rd and 4th, 1955—third annual if you count that unofficial run in 1953.  This time sixty drivers were on hand with more than twenty-five of them driving Jaguars.  ’54 winner Maurice Poole was the man to beat on this day, but he had changed his winning Riley for a ’55 modified Jag.  When the dust had settled on Sunday afternoon, a Chevrolet-powered V8 MG driven by Jimmy Kaperoms had set a new record of 3 minutes, 33 seconds.

In the June ’56 hill climb, Winston-Salem’s Ed Welch, driving a Mercury-powered Bob Davis Special set yet another record over the crushed-gravel course, climbing the hill with a time of 3:25.3.  Welch, having won three class races at Grandfather over the years, was awarded the Dennis Strong Memorial Trophy, which was named for one of the founders of the Grandfather Mountain race.  Strong was killed in 1953 during a sports car race in Greensboro.

Almost 100 drivers registered for the 1957 hill climb, and Hugh Morton brought in his old friend from Morganton, golfer Billy Joe Patton to make the trophy presentations.  Helping Patton was “Queen of the Hill Climb” Betty Jean Goodwin from Spartanburg, South Carolina, a Wake Forest coed. The ’57 winner was once again Ed Welch and again he set a record of 3:23.1 to the delight of the more than 3,000 spectators.

Spectators watching woman kissing man on cheek who is receiving trophy, probably for winning the Sports Car Hill Climb event at Grandfather Mountain, N. C. Golfer Billy Joe Patton at left. From a negative labeled "Sports Cars '57" by Hugh Morton.

Spectators watching woman kissing man on cheek who is receiving trophy, probably for winning the Sports Car Hill Climb event at Grandfather Mountain, N. C. Golfer Billy Joe Patton at left. From a negative labeled “Sports Cars ’57” by Hugh Morton.

A unique situation occurred at the 1958 hill climb: the new winning driver drove the defending champion’s old car.  When Billy Joe Patton, along with 1958 Queen Judy Kincaid, presented the winning trophy to Phil Styles of Burnsville, he stood beside that same Mercury-powered Davis Special that Ed Welch had driven in ’57.  Styles continued the tradition by setting a record run of 3:19.9.

The first weekend in June of 1959 proved to be a busy time at Grandfather Mountain.  The Carolina Golf Writers Association held a tournament at the Linville Country Club and that was followed by a second tournament sponsored by the Carolinas Golf Association pros—and fifty drivers ran the Grandfather Mountain Hill Climb, now in its sixth year.  The late arrival of the radio car delayed the start of the race, and overcast skies and windy conditions prevented a record run, but 5,000 spectators saw Phil Styles of Burnsville power his Davis Special to a winning time of 3:28 to receive the Julian Morton Cup by Queen Norma Jean McMillan.

The 1960 race was interrupted by showers, but the 4,000 spectators didn’t seem to mind as they cheered Austin-Healey driver J. T. Putney from Asheville as the overall winner.  Hill Climb Queen Jane Joyner from Raleigh, and UNC football legend Charlie Justice presented the Julian Morton Cup to Putney.

The Grandfather Mountain Hill Climb became the oldest sports car event in the south with the 1961 event as drivers from six states competed.  The estimated crowd of 6,000 saw a whopping 17.8 seconds clipped off Phil Styles’s 1958 record.  Orlando, Florida driver Bill Stuckworth set the new mark of 3:02.1 driving a Siata-Corvette.

The 1962 Grandfather Mountain Hill Climb was originally scheduled for June 9-10, but on May, 11, 1962, Hugh Morton made an important announcement.  “We have been pleased with the sponsorship of the sports car hill climb at Grandfather Mountain for the past eight years, and are quite relieved that in those years we have not had an accident in which either driver or spectator was seriously injured.  We have decided to quit the event while we are ahead.

Spectators watching the Grandfather Mountain Sports Car Hill Climb circa the early 1960s. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

Spectators watching the Grandfather Mountain Sports Car Hill Climb circa the early 1960s. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

“As the Grandfather Mountain climb became more popular, it became increasingly difficult to run it without having spectators too close to the road while the sports cars were racing against the clock at high speeds and spectators were climbing to precarious places to watch the event. . . . Our principal concern has always been that a thoughtless spectator could be seriously hurt, since we could not control spectator behavior along the two and a half mile road leading to the parking area near the Mile High Swinging Bridge.”

In early June, the Sports Car Club of America announced the scheduling of a four-hour endurance race for June 10, 1962 in Columbia, South Carolina to replace the Grandfather Mountain event.

Twenty four years later, in the spring of 1985, Morton was approached by a group of sports car drivers from the Chimney Rock Hill Climb, wanting him to revisit the climb at Grandfather.  Although he knew it would be a challenge, Morton wanted to help the guys so he set up a modified course and scheduled an early June race date. The new course would be one-mile in length from the parking lot at the habitat area to the parking lot at the Mile High Swinging Bridge. It would have a vertical rise of 600 feet, and feature thirteen turns that sports writer John Davidson described as ranging from fast sweepers to first gear ‘creepers.’

Race day dawned wet and foggy, but Mike Green, driving a “Chap-Mazda Special” was able to post a winning time of 1:13.982 on the short course.  As Morton suspected, the day was far from a success.  Grandfather Mountain’s Harris Prevost, Vice President of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, described that race day situation:

“Obviously, we could not have anyone else on the summit road when they were racing. Thus, everywhere there was a chance a car could pull out on the road, we had to have someone there to keep them where they were . . . people at the two picnic areas, Black Rock Parking Lot, Nature Museum and Top, all had to stay in place until all the cars made their run. This did not sit well with our guests, to say the least. . . . Being told to wait 30-45 minutes did not work.”

Before the race day ended, discussions were already underway about the future of the race. It was agreed to move the 1986 event to a September time when normal Grandfather traffic would be less. The September time was a goodwill gesture but it didn’t work much better, plus the number of spectators had dwindled to just a few friends of drivers.  So, the event was once again discontinued and those Chimney Rock drivers moved to Beech Mountain where they started a new event.

In 2014, Arcadia Publishers of Charleston, South Carolina published a Grandfather Mountain book as part of their “Images of America” series.  On the front cover, the editors chose an action photograph of the Bob Davis Special at one of the 1950s climb to the top. (The image was taken by Hugh Morton photographic contemporary Sebastian Sommer).

The Morton collection finding aid lists more than 300 photographs of the Grandfather Mountain Sports Car Hill Climb, 17 of which are viewable online.

When Carolina’s Roy Williams and Villanova’s Jay Wright were assistants

The anguished facial expression of UNC Head Basketball Coach Dean Smith (second from left) makes you wonder if assistant coach Roy Williams, far left, is doing his happy dance . . . or not . . . during UNC's 1982 East Region Final played at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 21, 1982. Others on the UNC bench (L to R) are unknown, #43 Jeb Barlow, Chris Brust, #32 John Brownlee, and Warren Martin. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

The anguished facial expression of UNC Head Basketball Coach Dean Smith (second from left) makes you wonder if assistant coach Roy Williams, far left, is doing his happy dance . . . or not . . . during UNC’s 1982 East Region Final played at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 21, 1982. Others on the UNC bench (L to R) are unknown, #43 Jeb Barlow, Chris Brust, #32 John Brownlee, and Warren Martin. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

UNC’s ascent to the 1982 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship included a confrontation with Villanova in the East Region Final won by the Tar Heels, 70 to 60.  In 1991 the two universities squared off again in the East Region bracket, an 84 to 69 UNC win in the second round, played in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse, New York.  On the sidelines of those two respective games were assistant coaches who will find themselves as helmsmen during tonight’s contest for the 2016 national championship in Houston: UNC’s Roy Williams seen above as assistant to Dean Smith in 1982, and Jay Wright, seen below, as assistant to Rollie Massimino in 1991.  (A similar photograph by Morton can be seen in the online collection.)

Villanova Head Coach Rollie Massimino (left) and Assistant Coach (and current Villanova Head Coach) Jay Wright. Photograph by Hugh Morton, copped by the author. A similar photograph can be seen in the online Morton collection.

Villanova Head Coach Rollie Massimino (left) and Assistant Coach (and current Villanova Head Coach) Jay Wright. Photograph by Hugh Morton, copped by the author. A similar photograph can be seen in the online Morton collection.

In between those two face-offs was Villanova’s victory over UNC for the 1985 Mideast Region Final, won by Villanova 65 to 44 on the Wildcats way to winning the national championship.  At that time Wright was coaching in Division III at the University of Rochester, and Williams was still the assistant coach at UNC.  Hugh Morton photographed that game but only a shot from the UNC locker is in the online collection.

Back in 2009 Jack Hilliard wrote a post titled “UNC vs. Villanova: 1982 and 1985.” when these school faced each other during the opening round of “Final Four” play.  UNC won handily, 83 to 69.  Those who prefer the lighter shade of blue will be rooting for another Tar Heel title tonight.

Back to the future: 1992–1993?

Walking to my office from the bus stop this morning while talking with a fellow bus rider, I wondered if Duke and UNC ever won national titles back-to-back.  Checking the records books (okay, Wikipedia), I learned that the answer is yes!  Duke won the national title in 1991 and 1992, followed by UNC in 1993.

Victorious UNC men's basketball team after the 1993 NCAA championship game. Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.

Victorious UNC men’s basketball team after the 1993 NCAA championship game. Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.

Hugh Morton traveled to Indianapolis in 1991 when both schools reached the Final Four.  UNC lost its national semifinal to Kansas, coached by Roy Williams, 79 to 73.  Morton hung around town and returned for the championship game to witness Duke’s downing of Kansas 72 to 65.

1991 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions Duke Blue Devils celebrating with trophy, in Indianapolis, IN. L to R on podium: #5 Bill McCaffrey, #32 Christian Laettner (background), #33 Grant Hill, Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski, #23 Brian Davis, #12 Thomas Hill, #11 Bobby Hurley, and Clay Buckley (far right). Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.

1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions Duke Blue Devils celebrating with trophy, in Indianapolis, IN. L to R on podium: #5 Bill McCaffrey, #32 Christian Laettner (background), #33 Grant Hill, Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski, #23 Brian Davis, #12 Thomas Hill, #11 Bobby Hurley, and Clay Buckley (far right). Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.

Morton did not make the trek to Minneapolis for Duke’s championship at the 1992 Final Four with UNC’s Southeast Regional loss to Ohio State in Lexington, Kentucky, but he certainly was not going know what it means to miss New Orleans in 1993.  Follow the “1993” link to our story about that game, published in March 2013.

Duke was last years’s national champion.  Will UNC follow in their footsteps this year and make history repeat itself?

 

 

When last they met here

Indiana's Dan Dakich guards UNC's Michael Jordan during the 1984 NCAA East Regional Semifinal in Atlanta, Georgia. Indiana head coach Bob Knight watches the action in the background. In those days UNC wore Converse shoes. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

Indiana’s Dan Dakich guards UNC’s Michael Jordan during the 1984 NCAA East Regional Semifinal in Atlanta, Georgia. Indiana head coach Bob Knight watches the action in the background. In those days UNC wore Converse shoes. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

It was his last college game.  An upset that still rankles a quarter-century later, like a large pebble in his Air Jordans.

—Mike Lopresti, sportswriter, March 3, 2009

This coming Friday night, the UNC Tar Heels will face the Indiana Hoosiers’ in the East Regional Semifinal of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The two schools last met in the East Regional semifinal round thirty-two years ago today on March 22, 1984 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Michael Jordan played his last game as a Tar Heel that day, because the Hoosiers emerged with a 72-68 victory.

According to sportswriter Mike Lopresti, who wrote an article in 2009 titled “After 25 years, Jordan still frustrated by loss to Hoosiers in tourney,” Indiana head coach Bobby Knight made a few strategic changes that led to their upset win over the number one seed UNC: “He ditched his beloved motion offense and spread the floor, to better combat Dean Smith’s trapping defenses . . . and . . . put a blue-collar defender named Dan Dakich on Jordan. Dakich was ordered to deny Jordan the backdoor cut, the post-up and offensive rebounds. Fail at any, and he was on the bench.  Dakich learned of his assignment a few hours before the game. Already ill, he went back to his room and threw up.”

Jordan fouled twice early in the game and it was he who spent unexpected minutes on the bench.  Jordan told Lopresti in an interview: “When I got back in the second half, I felt like I was trying to cram 40 minutes into 20 minutes,” he said. “I could never find any sync in my game.”

A post last week listed all the NCAA basketball tournaments photographed by Hugh Morton.  The list did not include 1984.  Once I heard that these two teams would play against each there once again, I immediately flashed on a photograph I’ve had on my office door for several years until very recently:

Michael Jordan takes a jump shot during the 1984 NCAA East Regional semifinal. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

Michael Jordan takes a jump shot during the 1984 NCAA East Regional semifinal. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

I lived in Indiana for fourteen years before moving to North Carolina to work in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, so it was a fitting photograph—my new state rising above my old state.  What stuck in my mind’s eye, though, was the 1984 banner in the lower right corner.  That’s when I knew I could add another tournament to Morton’s list.  Checking the finding aid revealed that he also photographed the opening rounds played in Charlotte.

In the Morton collection there is one roll of 35mm black-and-white film and second roll of color transparencies.  The latter are mostly substandard as Morton missed focused on most of his exposures.  Only one color image is online; the description, however, did not mention that the game was in the NCAA tournament so it did not turn up in my search.

Today we (that is, our scanning technician) scanned the roll of black-and-white negatives and present three of Morton’s better photographs from the game.

Matt Doherty dribbles toward the lane while Indiana forward Mike Giomi defends. Tar Heel guard Buzz Peterson looks on, (Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.)

Matt Doherty dribbles toward the lane while Indiana forward Mike Giomi defends. Tar Heel guard Buzz Peterson looks on, (Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.)

Hugh Morton photographs the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Four years ago today, my fellow co-worker Bill Richards passed away while watching the Tar Heels play their “Sweet Sixteen” game against Creighton in the 2012 NCAA tournament.  In addition to being an avid UNC football and basketball fan, Bill was the senior digitization technician in the Carolina Digital Library and Archives.  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.  He began working in the Library Photographic Services unit in 1998, but continued working for Sports information into the 2000s.  Each year at this time I dedicate a post about UNC basketball to Bill.

Tar Heel Eric Montross lofts a shot as Kansas Jayhawk Greg Ostertag defends during the 1993 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament National Semifinal matchup. Will the Tar Heels and Kansas face one another again in 2016? (Hugh Morton photograph cropped by the author.)

Tar Heel Eric Montross lofts a shot as Kansas Jayhawk Greg Ostertag defends during the 1993 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament National Semifinal matchup. Will the Tar Heels and Kansas face one another again in 2016? (Hugh Morton photograph cropped by the author.)

By my count, Hugh Morton photographed during seventeen eighteen more than twenty NCAA men’s basketball tournaments—in some years at multiple locations, such as 1991 when Morton traveled to East Rutherford for the East Regional and to Indianapolis for the Final Four.  In last year’s post I counted fourteen, so below is an updated list with several new links to images in the online collection.  Bill Richards would have loved this much detail!  Did I miss any this time around?

The man responsible for transmitting The Madness


Prolog

It’s a curious malady that sweeps the ACC nation just before most of us catch spring fever.  Many of us deal with the disorder by sitting in front of our TV sets for hours listening to basketball announcers and analysts drone on with a strange and curious language that only those who are infected with the ailment can understand:

“With the game on the line, he tickles the twine with the 3-ball from downtown, to get the “W” and advance to the next level of the big dance and now with a chance to win all the marbles up for grabs . . .”

It’s known as “March Madness” and there is no known cure.

Castleman D. Chesley, circa 1970s-1980s. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

Castleman D. Chesley, circa 1970s-1980s. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)


The Madness is upon us with the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament on RayCom Sports and ESPN, but what would it be like without that wall-to-wall TV coverage?  There was a time in the early days when ACC basketball was only on radio, but one man saw a bright future for the sport on TV.

Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard profiles the man who is often called the father of ACC basketball on television, C.D. Chesley.

He put ACC basketball on the map, about 10 years ahead of everyone else, and they are still trying to catch up.

Hugh Morton, March 8, 2003


In the early 1950s sports television was nothing like it is today.  I remember as a little kid watching the Washington Redskins on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 on the Amoco Redskins Network.  There were no replays, so in order to see a favorite play for a second time, I had to wait until the following Friday night when the local TV station ran a program called National Pro Highlights.  The program, produced by a company in Philadelphia called Tel Ra Productions, showed filmed highlights of the preceding Sunday’s games.

Castleman DeTolley Chesley was a member of the production team at Tel Ra.  Chesley had a football background having played freshman football at UNC in 1934.  He then moved to the University of Pennsylvania where he was football captain and was also a member of the Penn traveling comedy troupe.  Following graduation he became Penn’s athletic director, but he kept his finger on broadcasting’s pulse.  Chesley later worked with both ABC and NBC coordinating college football coverage with the NCAA.

During the 1956–1957 college basketball season, Chesley became intensely interested in the UNC Tar Heels coached by Frank McGuire as they worked their way through an undefeated season.  The 27 and 0 Tar Heels then beat Yale in Madison Square Garden during the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  At this point, Chesley made his move. Being familiar with the NCAA ins and outs, he was able to set up a three-station regional network for the finals of the Eastern Regional played at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Although station WPFH-TV in Wilmington, Delaware was the switching point, the three stations were in Durham, Greensboro, and Charlotte.  Matt Koukas, a former Philadelphia Warrior NBA star, called the play-by-play.

Even before Carolina had won the two-game regional in Philly, Chesley was already setting up the network for the national finals in Kansas City, Missouri and added two additional stations.  The semi-final with Michigan State and the final with Kansas were both triple-overtime games.  Some folks who watched those two games say that the madness for ACC basketball was born that weekend.  Castleman D. Chesley would most likely agree with those folks.

The next logical step was to approach athletic directors at ACC schools about the possibility of doing weekly football and basketball games during the regular season. In the beginning, ADs and head coaches were not in favor of adding TV to the schedule. They were afraid that people would stay home and watch on TV, rather than attend the games. Chesley was able to convince them otherwise, pointing out how television could be used as a recruiting tool as well as fund raising opportunities.

On October 12, 1957 the first ACC football TV game was broadcast, a game from Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland between the University of Maryland and Wake Forest. Charlie Harville and Jim Simpson made up the on-air broadcast team. Three other games were telecast during the ’57 football season: one from NC State, one from UNC, and one from Duke. While the football games were successful, Chesley had his eye on basketball. On December 7, 1957, the first ACC regular season basketball game was telecast on a regional network. The game was Carolina vs. Clemson from Woollen Gym on the UNC campus.

Seated are (L to R) Bones McKinney, Billy Packer, and Jim Thacker, with Castleman Chesley (standing) behind the scenes at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Marquette basketball during the 1977 NCAA finals in Atlanta, Georgia.

Seated are (L to R) Bones McKinney, Billy Packer, and Jim Thacker, with Castleman Chesley (standing) behind the scenes at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Marquette basketball during the 1977 NCAA finals in Atlanta, Georgia.

In those early days, the C.D. Chesley Company consisted of three people: Irving “Snuffy” Smith, Peggy Burns, and Mr. Chesley.  From the beginning Chesley used equipment from WUNC-TV and students from the University’s Radio, Television, and Motion Picture Department.  WUNC-TV’s director John Young managed the personnel and equipment. Play-by-play broadcasters like Harville, Simpson, Dan Daniels, Woody Durham, and Jim Thacker, and analysts like Bones McKinney, Billy Packer, and Jeff Mullins were brought in to handle the on-air while directors like John Young from WUNC-TV, Norman Prevatte from WBTV in Charlotte, and Frank Slingland from NBC-TV in Washington called the shots, often from an old converted Trailways bus that UNC-TV used in the early days.

Television coverage of ACC basketball caught on just like Chesley said it would, and his main sponsor Pilot Life Insurance Company became about as famous as the ACC teams.  People across the ACC nation could sing along . . .

Sail with the Pilot at the wheel,
On a ship sturdy from its mast to its keel . . .

C.D. Chesley was pleased with ACC basketball but he was always looking for additional challenges. In 1962 and ’63 he produced TV coverage of the Miss North Carolina Pageant to a regional network of station across the Tar Heel state, and in 1964 he produced regional coverage of the Greater Greensboro Open Golf Tournament.

Chesley was always on the lookout for more football coverage.  In the mid-1960s he started Sunday morning replay coverage of the preceding Saturday’s Notre Dame games; in 1967 was able to get Hall of Fame Broadcaster Lindsey Nelson to do the play-by-play and Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung to do the color commentary.  At one point the Notre Dame games were featured on 136 stations and Nelson became known as that “Notre Dame announcer.”

Football commentator and former quarterback Paul Hornung (left) and sportscaster Lindsey Nelson (right), while doing play-by-play for a UNC-Chapel Hill vs. Notre Dame football game. Sports broadcast producer Castleman D. Chesley at center. The year 1975 appears to be printed on Hornung's employee tag. Notre Dame scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Tar Heels 21-14 at Kenan Memorial Stadium on October 11, 1975.

Football commentator and former quarterback Paul Hornung (left) and sportscaster Lindsey Nelson (right), while doing play-by-play for a UNC-Chapel Hill vs. Notre Dame football game. Sports broadcast producer Castleman D. Chesley at center. The year 1975 appears to be printed on Hornung’s employee tag. Notre Dame scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Tar Heels 21-14 at Kenan Memorial Stadium on October 11, 1975.

C.D. Chesley started small but his broadcasts were always first class productions.  By the 1970s he was broadcasting two ACC basketball games a week.  On January 14, 1973 just before the Washington Redskins met the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII, Chesley put together a patch-work national network for the ACC basketball game between North Carolina State and Maryland.  It was big time and NC State All America David Thompson became a national sensation.

The C.D. Chesley Company and ACC basketball continued as household names for twenty-four years through the 1981 season.  At that point ACC basketball was so big that other broadcasters with bigger budgets wanted in on the action.  Chesley’s one million-dollar rights fee could not compete with the likes of MetroSports who offered three million for the 1982 season and RayCom Sports of Charlotte who paid fifteen million for the rights for three seasons starting in 1983.  RayCom continues today as the network for ACC basketball.

At the 1977 Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament, Castleman D. Chesley received a plaque from ACC Commissioner Bob James in recognition of Chelsey's vision in establishing the ACC Television Network. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

At the 1977 Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament, Castleman D. Chesley received a plaque from ACC Commissioner Bob James in recognition of Chelsey’s vision in establishing the ACC Television Network. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

“His place in the history of ACC basketball is phenomenal, getting the sport out there in front of the public,” said Tar Heel broadcaster Woody Durham in a 2003 interview.  “We all knew how exciting ACC basketball was, but here was a guy who came along and let the public see it.”

On April 10, 1983, Castleman D. Chesley lost his battle with Alzheimer’s.  He was laid to rest in a small cemetery near his home at Grandfather Mountain.  He was 69 years old.
Four years later the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame inducted Chelsey in the spring of 1987.  Hugh Morton and Ed Rankin, in their 1988 book, Making a Difference in North Carolina, devoted eight pages of words and pictures to “the man who put ACC basketball on the map.”

 

Charlie’s angel

Charlie Justice, Sarah Justice, Mrs. Chan Highsmith, and Chan Highsmith during a 1949 Sugar Bowl party in New Orleans.

Charlie Justice, Sarah Justice, Mrs. Chan Highsmith, and Chan Highsmith during a 1949 Sugar Bowl party in New Orleans.

On this day twelve years ago, the state of North Carolina lost a treasure—and Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard and his wife Marla lost a dear friend.  Sarah Alice Hunter Justice passed away in Shelby, North Carolina at age 79.  Today, Jack Hilliard takes a look at the life and times of a very special lady.

She was an angel here on earth, the epitome of a lady, always a gleam in her eye, and she never raised her voice.          —Jane Browne, Justice family friend, 2/18/04

It was early in the spring term, 1942, at Lee H. Edwards High in Asheville.  Football star Charlie Justice knew he was going to be late for class, so he applied some of his football skills and began to run down the hall.  In the process he ran over Sarah Alice Hunter.  She laughed and didn’t make anything of it.  Charlie was impressed, and later asked her out.  A notation in the campus newspaper’s “Rumors Afloat” column on March 20th said, “Charlie looks like he’s finally settled down to one girl—Nice going Sarah.”

Following her graduation in May 1942, Sarah headed to Appalachian State in Boone, but decided to return home to Asheville at Christmas.  Charlie finished at Lee Edwards on May 28, 1943, and was off to the Navy at Bainbridge Naval Training Station in Bainbridge, Maryland.  He continued playing football, while Sarah took a job with the Naval Observatory in nearby Washington, D. C.

Ten days after Charlie led Bainbridge to a 46 to 0 win over the University of Maryland, he went on a well deserved leave.  At the same time, Sarah took a brief leave from her job. The two headed to Asheville, where they were married at Trinity Episcopal Church on November 23, 1943.

Following his military obligation, Charlie and Sarah moved back to North Carolina and enrolled at UNC on Valentine’s Day, 1946.  Since Charlie was eligible for the GI Bill, Sarah got his football scholarship, thus becoming the first female to attend Carolina on a football scholarship.  In Chapel Hill, Charlie’s football heroics became legendary and on football Saturdays Sarah was always in the stands, cheering him on wearing her special good luck hat.  On August 23, 1948, the Justice family increased by one with the birth of son Charles Ronald. (They called him Ronnie.)

SMU All America football player Doak Walker, Doak's wife Norma, Sarah Justice, UNC All America football player Charlie Justice, Julia Morton, Hugh Morton, on the stoop of the Mortons' home in Wilmington. Walker and Justice were participants in the 1950 Azalea Festival.

SMU All America football player Doak Walker, Doak’s wife Norma, Sarah Justice, UNC All America football player Charlie Justice, Julia Morton, Hugh Morton, on the stoop of the Mortons’ home in Wilmington. Walker and Justice were participants in the 1950 Azalea Festival.

Following his playing days at Carolina, Charlie signed on with the Washington Redskins for four seasons.  In 1952, daughter Barbara joined the family and they returned to North Carolina in 1955, where they were often Hugh Morton’s guests at events in Wilmington and Grandfather Mountain.  They especially liked the Highland Games and Gathering of the Scottish Clans each July.

Over the years, Charlie and Sarah offered their name, their time, their talent, and their money to just about every cause in the Tar Heel state from Chapel Hill to Asheville to Greensboro . . . from Hendersonville to Flat Rock and Cherryville.  They were there when needed.  Sarah gave much of her time to the causes that improve the lives of the mentally challenged.  In Cherryville, she helped raise funds for Gaston Residential Services, which provides housing for the handicapped. The Special Olympics program was also close to her heart.  In 1989, when the Charlotte Treatment Center named a wing of its facility for Charlie, they also named a wing of the facility for Sarah.

Sarah and Charlie justice during their 50th wedding anniversary party.

Sarah and Charlie justice during their 50th wedding anniversary party.

On June 11, 1993, Charlie and Sarah lost their son Ronnie…the victim of a heart attack. He was 44 years old.  Following Carolina’s win over Duke 38 to 24 on November 26, 1993, a special celebration was held in the Carolina Inn on the UNC campus. While the win was celebrated, the real reason for the celebration was to offer sincere congratulations to Charlie and Sarah Justice on their 50th wedding anniversary, which was actually on November 23rd but game day three days later gave everybody a good reason for a celebration. The invitation for the event set the stage for the event:

A Golden Anniversary

Should be shared with family and friends.

Please join Billy, Barbara, Emilie

And Sarah Crews, Leah, David

And Beth Overman and in spirit

And loving memory Ronnie Justice,

In celebration of the fifty year

Marriage of Sarah and Charlie Justice.

 

There were family members, teammates, friends, and fans in attendance. Following a family toast by Barbara, Tar Heel Head Football Coach Mack Brown offered congratulations and spoke about the importance of Carolina’s football heritage. And throughout the ceremony, Hugh Morton was there with camera in hand documenting every phase of the event.

You didn’t need to be around Charlie Justice very long before it became very clear that his asking Sarah to marry him was the most important event in his life.  Although she was often thought of as Charlie’s wife, Sarah Justice didn’t fit the old saying, “Behind every great man stands a great woman . . . .” Charlie and Sarah stood side by side . . . they were a team.  They were connected. Their love story was the stuff of storybooks.  Sarah was always there . . . but chose to be just outside the spotlight.

In a 1995 interview with Justice Biographer Bob Terrell, Charlie talked about how the “Hand of Providence” placed him at the right place at the right time: “If I hadn’t knocked Sarah Hunter down while scuffling in the hall in high school, she might never have noticed me.  You bet that was providential!”

Soon after the Terrell biography was published in early 1996, Charlie began a seven-year battle with Alzheimer’s—a battle he would lose at 3:25 AM on Friday, October 17, 2003.  A memorial service celebrating his life was held at The Cathedral of All Souls in the Biltmore section of Asheville on Monday, October 20th.  Asheville Citizen-Times senior writer Keith Jarrett beautifully described the scene outside the church following the ceremony.

“It was one of several warm, touching scenes on a beautiful, cloud-free day with a sky the color of you know what.  Sarah sat in a wheelchair just outside the Cathedral as the UNC Clef Hangers, an all-male a cappella group, softly sang James Taylor’s ballad ‘Carolina in My Mind.’  Sarah tilted her head and was just inches away from the singers.  For a brief moment she closed her eyes, soaking in the words and perhaps recalling the memories of a marriage of love and devotion of 60 years.”

On November 4, 2003, I received a note from Barbara Crews: “Mother and I are at the beach.  Mom loves the ocean.  I think she has such peace now, she feels her job is done, and she did it well. . . . She is the best person I have ever known.”

There was a message on my answering machine when I arrived home from work on Monday, February 9, 2004.  It was from Billy Crews telling me that his mother-in-law had passed away earlier that day.  It had been 115 days since Charlie died. Marla and I had visited Sarah two days before on Saturday, February 7th at Hospice at Wendover in Shelby.  Sarah Justice was 79-years-old.

In an article in The Charlotte Observer issue of Wednesday, February 18, 2004 titled “Caregiver more than Mrs. Choo Choo,” Gerry Hostetler talked with some of Sarah’s family.  Son-in-law Billy Crews said, “She was always full of grace, and for her whole life a caregiver. She enjoyed doing things for other people and being out of the limelight.”  Granddaughter and namesake Sarah Fowler added, “She was a very giving person who always put others’ needs in front of her own. She was the backbone of this family and kept us going.”

Finally, Barbara ended the interviews with this: “She was just a saint, the kind of person you want to be around.”

A bowl of bitter sugar and an impromptu New Year’s Day truck ride in the Big Easy

The 2015 Tar Heels season ended disappointingly Tuesday evening at the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Florida.  The game marked Carolina’s 32nd bowl appearance, but sadly for Tar Heel fans it became their 18th bowl loss.  Of the 31 previous bowl games, the Tar Heels won 14 and lost 17—and of those losses, the one on January 1, 1949 was “one that got away.”  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at the final three games of the 1948 regular season and the 1949 Sugar Bowl.

The University of North Carolina Marching Band performing on the field inside expansive Tulane Stadium during halftime of the 1949 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

The University of North Carolina Marching Band performing on the field inside expansive Tulane Stadium during halftime of the 1949 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

When UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely walked off the Kenan Stadium sideline on November 6, 1948, Carolina’s bowl-game-future wasn’t likely on his radar.  His third ranked, undefeated Tar Heels had just played William and Mary to a 7-7 tie. His team was looking at three tough games remaining: Maryland in Washington, D. C.; Duke in Chapel Hill; and Virginia in Charlottesville.

On Sunday, November 7th Snavely was back at his home on Tenney Circle in Chapel Hill screening film of head coach Jim Tatum’s Maryland Terrapins.  A record Washington football crowd of 34,588 turned out for the game at Griffith Stadium, with an estimated 6,000 Tar Heel fans in attendance.  Carolina was able to reverse the proceedings from the previous week’s 7-7 tie, and dominated Maryland 49 to 20.

An interesting oddity from that Maryland game was the game day program.  There were two different programs: one cover showed a standard Lon Keller designed football player, while a second one offered a Hugh Morton image of Charlie Justice and Coach Snavely.  The inside front cover page of that program also differed from the standard program.  It featured a Bill Harrison cartoon biography of Justice.

SugarBowlProgram1949_AltCov

Charlie Justice and Carl Snavely, negative by Hugh Morton.

Charlie Justice and Carl Snavely, negative by Hugh Morton.

SugarBowlProgram1949_AltIns

The weekend following the Tar Heel victory over Maryland saw another record-breaking crowd packed into historic Kenan Stadium for the 35th meeting between Duke and Carolina.  44,500 fans saw Charlie Justice’s 43-yard touchdown run break a 0-0 tie in the 3rd quarter as Carolina went on to claim the first Victory Bell win 20 to 0. Following the game, Coach Snavely said “I never saw a better run.” In a time long before the internet, Hugh Morton’s shot of Justice being carried off the field went viral and has been reproduced numerous times over the years.

Hugh Morton's photograph of Charlie Justice on the shoulder of teammates after the 1948 UNC–Duke game appeared on the cover of The State two weeks later.

Hugh Morton’s photograph of Charlie Justice on the shoulder of teammates after the 1948 UNC–Duke game appeared on the cover of The State two weeks later.

Next up . . . the ‘Heels and the ‘Hoos in Charlottesville.

The week before the UNC–UVA game on November 27th, bowl-talk filled the newspapers.  The Orange, Cotton, and Sugar Bowls all showed an interest in the Tar Heels.  On November 22nd the Carolina team voted to accept a bowl bid if they could beat Virginia in the final game of the ’48 regular season. The players liked the idea of playing SMU in the Cotton Bowl or Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, but a New Year’s Day game all hinged on a win in Charlottesville.

An overflow crowd of 26,000 jammed into Scott Stadium in Charlottesville on November 27, 1948 to see the UNC’s number four ranked Tar Heels take on the Cavaliers of Virginia.  Carolina scored on its first possession and added two additional touchdowns to lead at halftime 21 to 6.  That additional touchdown was spectacular.  Carolina had the ball at its own 20-yard line.  Justice took the snap, paused momentarily, then ran through a huge hole between left guard and left tackle supplied by Bob Mitten and Ted Hazelwood.  Justice then outran Virginia’s Billy Marshall to the end zone 80-yards away.

Colorful halftime entertainment was provided by the Lenoir NC High band.  The Tar Heels couldn’t score in quarter number three, but picked up two touchdowns in the final stanza.  The final Tar Heel TD was another Justice beauty: a 50-yard run down the sideline behind fantastic blocking to seal the 34 to 12 win and complete an undefeated season, the first one since 1898.

Following the game at the Albemarle Hotel, which was UNC headquarters while in Charlottesville, head coach Carl Snavely announced that his Tar Heels would meet the Sooners of Oklahoma on January 1, 1949 in the 15th annual Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Said the coach, “We got what we wanted . . . .”

An interesting sidebar to the ’48 Carolina–Virginia game involved a future president of the UNC system.  C. D. Spangler, Jr. became president of the consolidated university system in 1986.  Following Dr. William Friday, Spangler continued in that position until 1997; on November 27, 1948, however, he was an 11th grade student at Woodberry Forest, and was one of the 26,000 fans that jammed into UVA’s Scott Stadium to see Carolina play Virginia.  Leading the Tar Heels that Saturday afternoon was junior sensation Charlie Justice.  On one of Charlie’s plays, his number 22 jersey was torn.  Equipment manager “Sarge” Keller quickly got out a new one, tossing the torn one over behind the bench. Spangler quickly called a Carolina cheerleader over and made a deal to get the torn jersey.  He kept the prized souvenir for over fifty years. Then on November 20, 1999, during halftime of the Carolina–Duke game, Spangler presented the jersey to then UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour and it is now in the Charlie Justice Hall of Honor at the Kenan Football Center on the UNC campus.  And of course Hugh Morton photographed the jersey presentation ceremony.

Off to New Orleans

According to a January 2010 article in St. Charles Avenue Magazine on myneworleans.com, there is a tradition of opposing Sugar Bowl coaches mixing lots of sugar with coffee to make Café Brulot on New Year's Eve to cap off a party at Antoine's Restaurant "for Sugar Bowl notables and the press." You can read the short article at http://www.myneworleans.com/St-Charles-Avenue/January-2010/Coaches-and-Caf-eacute-Brulot/. On December 31st, 1948, it was Carl Snavely and Bud Wilkinson who got to make the concoction. (Negative by Hugh Morton.)

According to a January 2010 article in St. Charles Avenue Magazine on myneworleans.com, there is a tradition of opposing Sugar Bowl coaches mixing lots of sugar with coffee to make Café Brulot on New Year’s Eve to cap off a party at Antoine’s Restaurant “for Sugar Bowl notables and the press.” You can read the short article at http://www.myneworleans.com/St-Charles-Avenue/January-2010/Coaches-and-Caf-eacute-Brulot/. On December 31st, 1948, it was Carl Snavely and Bud Wilkinson who got to make the concoction. (Negative by Hugh Morton.)

The majority of the ’48 Tar Heel football squad arrived by plane at its Sugar Bowl training site in Hammond, Louisiana at 4:30 PM on December 19th…the additional 15 members of the traveling party arrived by train later that evening.  In the second group was Tar Heel end Art Weiner and his bride of three days. Southeastern Louisiana College played host the Heels. Training started on the 20th and continued through the 24th.  A quick trip to New Orleans for Christmas Day…then it was back to Hammond for more practice.

Many Tar Heel fans traveled to the Crescent City, too.  As an earlier post recounted, several, including Hugh Morton, managed to have some exotic fun in New Orleans.

SugarBowlProgram1949

An early Saturday morning return to New Orleans on January 1st signaled the start of the big day as a record 85,000 fans jammed into Tulane Stadium, including photographer Hugh Morton who had working arrangements with several North Carolina newspapers including the Charlotte News, Greensboro Daily News, and High Point Enterprise.

Carl Snavely’s third-ranked UNC Tar Heels were primed and ready for Bud Wilkinson’s fifth ranked Oklahoma Sooners as was ABC’s national television audience. (The TV was not available back in North Carolina because the AT&T long lines had not been completed into the state and wouldn’t be until September 30, 1950, so the folks back home were tuned to Harry Wismer on the ABC Radio Network).  Prior to the kickoff, Coach Snavely and Justice, who had been a bit under the weather all week, posed for Morton’s camera along with ABC broadcaster Wismer.

UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely, UNC tailback Charlie Justice, and ABC Radio play-by-play announcer Harry Wismer prior to the start of the 1949 Sugar Bowl.

UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely, UNC tailback Charlie Justice, and ABC Radio play-by-play announcer Harry Wismer prior to the start of the 1949 Sugar Bowl.

Then it was time for some football.

Charlie Justice running in the open field with two Sooners, including Paul Burris (#67), in pursuit. (Morton negative, cropped by the editor.)

Charlie Justice running in the open field with two Sooners, including Paul Burris (#67), in pursuit. (Morton negative, cropped by the editor.)

Carolina’s first-possession-drive started at its own 37, and with Justice leading the way moved swiftly down to the Oklahoma 15 on seven plays.  Then, Justice’s pass to Bob Kennedy in the flat was a bit late, and Oklahoma’s Myrle Greathouse intercepted and was off to the races.  Tar Heel Eddie Knox finally caught him 72 yards later at the Carolina 13.  It took the Sooners eight plays to score and take a 7-0 lead at the 8:10 mark.

On Oklahoma’s next possession, Lindell Pearson fumbled and Carolina’s Joe Romano recovered at the Sooner 30.  Four plays later, Hosea Rodgers scored—after being set up by a nine-yard run by Bob Kennedy to the Oklahoma three.  Bob Cox’s PAT attempt was wide right so the score at the 13:55 mark was 7 to 6.

The Greensboro Daily News published this Hugh Morton photograph (cropped similarly as seen below) of Bob Kennedy (#74) scampering a double reverse for nine yards and a first down. In the center of the photograph is blocking back Eddie Knox (#34).

The Greensboro Daily News published this Hugh Morton photograph (cropped similarly as seen below) of Bob Kennedy (#74) scampering a double reverse for nine yards and a first down. In the center of the photograph is blocking back Eddie Knox (#34).

A cropped detail from the above negative.

A cropped detail from the above negative.

With four minutes left in the second quarter, Carolina started a 10-play drive that ended up at the Oklahoma 7.  The big play in the drive for the Heels was a Charlie Justice 23-yard run plus a lateral to Chan Highsmith that added 11 more yards to the Sooner 7.

Chan Highsmith catches a lateral from Charlie Justice (on the ground). Also in the photograph is Ted Hazelwood (#42) and Oklahoma's Buddy Burris (#67), who made the tackle on the play. Published in several newspapers with different cropping, this print is cropped by this blog's editor.

Chan Highsmith catches a lateral from Charlie Justice (on the ground). Also in the photograph is Ted Hazelwood (#42) and Oklahoma’s Buddy Burris (#67), who made the tackle on the play. Published in several newspapers with different cropping, this print is cropped by this blog’s editor.

Then four passes failed—one of which many old time Tar Heels will never forget.  As time was running out in the first half, Justice went back to pass.  He had Art Weiner wide open in the end zone, but Weiner was not able to make the catch.  “Justice threw me a perfect pass,” Weiner recalled in a 1976 interview.  “I was supposed to cut toward the sideline on the left.  Darrell Royal (a future University of Texas head coach) was the defensive back and I had to get away from him.  Charlie threw perfect, I was more concerned where Royal was than the ball.  I took my eye off the ball. . . Had I known Royal actually fell down . . . it was a sure touchdown.”

Santa Claus made an appearance in one of the student card sections during halftime at the 1949 Sugar Bowl. Both schools had card section, one each per end zone.

Santa Claus made an appearance in one of the student card sections during halftime at the 1949 Sugar Bowl. Both schools had card section, one each per end zone.

Oklahoma led 7 to 6 at the half.

UNC's Johnny Clements (#20) tackling Oklahoma running back George Thomas (#25) with the ball during the third quarter. Other Oklahoma players are #70 tackle Wade Walker, #67 guard Paul Burris, #40 fullback Leon Heath, #81 end Jimmy Owens, and #26 quarterback Jack Mitchell. UNC players are #62 left guard Bill Wardle and #51 right tackle Len Szafaryn.

UNC’s Johnny Clements (#20) tackling Oklahoma running back George Thomas (#25) with the ball during the third quarter. Other Oklahoma players are #70 tackle Wade Walker, #67 guard Paul Burris, #40 fullback Leon Heath, #81 end Jimmy Owens, and #26 quarterback Jack Mitchell. UNC players are #62 left guard Bill Wardle and #51 right tackle Len Szafaryn.

During the first nine minutes of the second half, nothing much happened.  Then, with the ball near midfield, Oklahoma halfback Darrell Royal threw long for end Frankie Anderson who was finally tackled by Johnny Clements at the Carolina 10.  Ironically, this would be Oklahoma’s only pass completion of the game.  Two plays later, the Sooners scored at the 9:40 mark of the third quarter.  The remainder of the game became a punting duel between Justice and Royal…a duel that Justice won easily with punts of 65, 65, 57, and 53 yards.

One of the seven Morton photographs printed in the 1949 Yackety Yack, the UNC student yearbook. The caption places the scene within the closing minutes of the contest. Carolina coaches Carl Snavely and Max Reed are at left. The player at far left is unidentified; identifiable players are Kenny Powell (#53), Bobby Weant (#33), Bob Mitten (#42), Charlie Justice (#22), and Paul Rizzo (#66).

One of the seven Morton photographs printed in the 1949 Yackety Yack, the UNC student yearbook. The caption places the scene within the closing minutes of the contest. Carolina coaches Carl Snavely and Max Reed are at left. The player at far left is unidentified; identifiable players are Kenny Powell (#53), Bobby Weant (#33), Bob Mitten (#42), Charlie Justice (#22), and Paul Rizzo (#66).

A tighter crop of the same photograph as run by the Charlotte News.

A tighter crop of the same photograph as run by the Charlotte News.

With two minutes left in the game, Hugh Morton turned his camera toward the Carolina bench.  His remarkable picture of a dejected Charlie Justice tells the story of the entire afternoon. The picture has been reproduced numerous times over the years.

This photograph ran in The High Point Enterprise with the caption, "DEJECTED—Two minutes before the end of the the Sugar Bowl last Saturday this remarkable picture of Charlie Justice was snapped in front of the Tar Heel bench. The expression on the dejected "Choo-Choo's" face tells a whole story of an unsuccessful afternoon of football for one great All-American." The photograph as presented here is cropped by blog editor with a slightly different composition as published in The High Point Enterprise. For photographers who use the "Rule of Thirds," the upper third line runs straight through Justice's eyes.

This photograph ran in The High Point Enterprise with the caption, “DEJECTED—Two minutes before the end of the the Sugar Bowl last Saturday this remarkable picture of Charlie Justice was snapped in front of the Tar Heel bench. The expression on the dejected “Choo-Choo’s” face tells a whole story of an unsuccessful afternoon of football for one great All-American.” The photograph as presented here is cropped by the blog editor with a slightly different composition than published in The High Point Enterprise. For photographers who use the “Rule of Thirds,” the upper third line runs straight through Justice’s eyes.

The High Point Enterprise for January 4, 1949 published two Morton photographs for its coverage of the Sugar Bowl.

The High Point Enterprise for January 4, 1949 published two Morton photographs for its coverage of the Sugar Bowl.

Following the game, both head coaches weighed in on the proceedings.  Oklahoma Coach Bud Wilkinson said, “There is no question that Charlie Justice is great.  He was the player we feared the most and he showed that he is a great back.” Carolina head man Carl Snavely said, “Oklahoma had a big, fine, rugged team and played smartly.”

High Point Enterprise Sports Editor Bill Currie, writing colorfully in the late edition on January 1st said, “Errors in execution, judgment, and strategy on the part of the North Carolina Tar Heels helped the rapacious red-jersied hoard of Oklahoma Sooners to a 14-6 victory in the 15th annual Sugar Bowl game here today . . . .”

After all the interviews were completed, the weary UNC Tar Heels made their way slowly to their locker room as darkness fell on Tulane Stadium.  Justice took the defeat hard: once in the dressing room, he sat in the corner with a blanket over his head and cried.  That picture of the Tar Heel hero turned up in the 1949 University of Oklahoma Yearbook, “Sooner.” The caption: “Grief-stricken . . . Charlie Justice . . . .”

About ten minutes later, he looked up and told the reporters who had gathered around him, “Well, I threw that one away. I gave them that first touchdown with that bad pass.  You can say that.”

The Carolina players took their time in getting dressed, hoping the upset sting would go away.  There was a post-game party scheduled but nobody was really in a party mood. Finally, long after the Oklahoma team had left, the Tar Heels came outside to a dark, deserted parking lot. The busses that had been scheduled to take the Tar Heels back to the hotel had mistakenly taken the Sooners.  Then when the Oklahoma busses arrived and the drivers learned that their victorious Sooners had already left, they too left.

After a futile search, coach Snavely along with his assistants flagged down a passing truck.  The team stood in the open back end as the driver headed toward the hotel.  As the truck got close to the St Charles Hotel, the driver told Snavely, “Ya’ll have to get off a couple of blocks from the hotel.  I’m not allowed to drive to the entrance.”

So, in the New Orleans darkness, UNC’s 1948 Tar Heels slipped in a hotel side entrance unnoticed, and showing the good sportsmanship that Coach Snavely demanded of his players, celebrated with their Sugar Bowl opponent. Viewing Hugh Morton’s photographs from the celebration in the Greensboro and High Point papers, it’s hard to tell who won and who lost.

An unidentified couple, presumably a UNC player and his girlfriend or spouse, at a party for UNC and Oklahoma. (Negative by Hugh Morton.)

An unidentified couple, presumably a UNC player and his girlfriend or spouse, at a party for UNC and Oklahoma. (Negative by Hugh Morton.)

"Special news photo by Hugh Morton" as it appeared in the Charlotte News on January 4th, 1949. The caption reads, "Carl Snavely pays compliments of the night to Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma mentor, after the latter's team had stopped the Tar Heels on the Sugar Bowl turf, 14-6, on New Year's Day. The two coaches got together for a brief bit of conversation at the party held for both squads in the smart St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans. Needless to say, Canny Carl's expression shows he was in no mood for jokes."

“Special news photo by Hugh Morton” as it appeared in the Charlotte News on January 4th, 1949. The caption reads, “Carl Snavely pays compliments of the night to Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma mentor, after the latter’s team had stopped the Tar Heels on the Sugar Bowl turf, 14-6, on New Year’s Day. The two coaches got together for a brief bit of conversation at the party held for both squads in the smart St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans. Needless to say, Canny Carl’s expression shows he was in no mood for jokes.”

Hugh Morton's full negative of the published photograph shown above. Did Wilkinson and Snavely each bring only one suit and tie? Both seem to be wearing the same combinations on different days at Antoine's Restaurant (before game day) and St. Charles Hotel (after the game). Or, was someone cooking up some creative captioning?

Hugh Morton’s full negative of the published photograph shown above. Did Wilkinson and Snavely each bring only one suit and tie? Both seem to be wearing the same combinations on different days at Antoine’s Restaurant (before game day) and St. Charles Hotel (after the game). Or, was someone cooking up some creative captioning?

At 4:15 on January 4th, the majority of the Tar Heel team landed at Raleigh-Durham Airport and boarded busses for Chapel Hill. Two weeks later, Athletic Director Bob Fetzer received a check for Carolina’s participation in the 1949 Sugar Bowl, a check for $103,081.48.

Meadow George Lemon III, 1932–2015

Booklet, His Home Town's Tribute, with inscription on cover from Hugh Morton to Sam Ragan. Copy in the North Carolina Collection.

His Home Town’s Tribute, with inscription on cover from Hugh Morton to Sam Ragan. Copy in the North Carolina Collection.

The moon is not ready for us yet, so we must live together here on earth . . .

I woke up this morning to the news that Meadowlark Lemon passed away yesterday.  I logged into A View to Hugh to create a blog post.  Jack Hilliard had already left a comment about Lemon’s passing in Susan Block’s essay, “Wilmington: Faded Glory to Fresh Achievement” and he mentioned the above booklet.  I retrieved it from the stacks first thing after arriving in my office.  Leafing through its pages alludes to why the city conveyed the honor to Lemon when it did—but it never even mentions the exact date, only “on a day in March 1971.”  Lemon’s visit to Wilmington lasted forty-eight hours (maybe more) and took place only six weeks after the February 6th firebombing of Mike’s Grocery and the rioting that followed, and the arrest of suspects that became known as The Wilmington Ten.  Lemon’s autobiography, Meadowlark (1987) tells part of the story, too, a story that extends beyond an honorific day.

Born Meadow George Lemon III on April 25, 1932 in Wilmington, North Carolina (though some sources state he was born in South Carolina and his family moved to Wilmington when he was about six years old).  When Lemon was eleven years old he saw a newsreel at The Ritz movie theater about the Harlem Globetrotters.  Lemon’s heart raced as he watched the players handle a basketball, passing it around their “Magic Circle” with faking and mugging while dancing to the music of “Sweet Georgia Brown.”  He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “In a flash,” he wrote in Meadowlark, “I knew I wanted to be on that team, the Harlem Globetrotters.”  As soon as the newsreel ended, Lemon ran out of the theater, skipping the feature films, to his father’s house.  He had had a life-changing experience and he had to tell his dad—but he wasn’t home.  Rummaging around he found a nearly empty onion sack and threaded it onto a wire hanger, which he nailed the crudely made hoop to a neighbor’s tree.  He went back to his dad’s house and found a Carnation Evaporated Milk, which he scrunched for his ball.  He played basketball this way for hours until his father came home.

Meadowlark Lemon’s story of his basketball origins proceed through Wilmington’s Community Boy’s Club where he played his first organized basketball just after finishing sixth grade and continued learning the game there into his freshman year at Williston Industrial High School, the city’s only black high school.  During his first basketball game as a freshman he played as a substitute center for an injured teammate against Laurinburg Industrial with their star forward and guard Sam Jones—a future Boson Celtic and NBA Hall of Fame inductee.  Lemon was green and outplayed by the Laurinburg center; the next year, however, Lemon was named all-state and continued to be a star player throughout high school.  He graduated from Williston in 1952

After graduation Lemon was indecisive about going to college despite dozens of scholarship offers.  His father decided for him and sent off Meadow by train to Florida A&M.  Lemon thought he had also earned a football scholarship there but he had not.  Unhappy and unwilling to wait until basketball season, after just a few weeks he returned to Wilmington, prepared to serve in the U. S. Army having received his draft notice while away.

Upon Lemon’s return from Tallahassee his high school coach told him the Globetrotters would be playing in Raleigh in two weeks.  His coach had previously written a letter requesting a tryout on behalf of Lemon to his friend Abe Saperstein, owner of the Globetrotters, but had never heard back.  Lemon asked his coach to call Saperstein and secure a tryout for the Globetrotters while they were playing in Raleigh.  His call was successful: all Lemon had to do was get to the arena in Raleigh and ask for Marques Haynes.  Much to Lemon’s surprise, he tried out by suiting up for the game.  Haynes was nursing an injured knee and decided Lemon could show him what he had on the court during the game.  As he enter the gym wearing the colors he had only seen as black-and-white in a newsreel, the announcer read from a slip of paper: “For the first time in a Globetrotter uniform, the Trotters present Meadow Lemon, from our own Wilmington, North Carolina.”

Full frame scan of Hugh Morton's negative used for the cover of the souvenir program His Home Town's Tribute.

Full frame scan of Hugh Morton’s negative used for the cover of the souvenir program His Home Town’s Tribute.

There’s plenty more to Lemon’s story, which indeed took him around the world as a Harlem Globetrotter.  In 1971, however, Wilmington needed Lemon back home.

According to the booklet His Home Town’s Tribute, talk of having a Meadowlark Lemon Day dated as far back as 1965.  So in late 1970 when the Wilmington Jaycees scheduled the Globetrotters for a date at Brogden Hall for March 1971, the Chamber of Commerce was quickly able to form a special committee that included city and county government officials, and educational and civic leaders.  Shedding more light on those developments, Hugh Morton wrote in his profile of Meadowlark Lemon in Making a Difference in North Carolina (1988):

Tom Jervay, editor and publisher of the black-oriented Wilmington Journal refers to [Lemon] not as the “Clown Prince of Basketball” but as the “Clown Apostle of Interracial Good Will.”  Jervay, whose newspaper office was one of several places bombed or burned in the spring of 1971 during a period of racial violence, remembers that his son, Tom Jervay, Jr. and former Wilmington Jaycee Ed Godwin telephoned from the Journal office to Lemon, whose Globetrotters were playing in Charleston, S. C. at the time, to invite the basketball star to help Wilmington.  Goodwin arranged for a private plane to bring Lemon to the trouble city.

Editor Jervay says, “Meadowlark really cooled things down here when we needed him.”  Looking back on the strife in Wilmington which he helped defuse, Meadowlark says he would do it again, but that he will never have to, because things like that happen due to ignorance on the part of both whites and blacks, and “all of us have grown.”

Meadowlark Lemon Day was Friday, March 19, 1971.  The previous day’s editorial column in the Wilmington Star News began with the headline, “The trouble here must stop now!” Earlier that week racial tensions erupted into riots at Williston Junior High School (Lemon’s former high school, then recently integrated), Hoggard Junior High School, and New Hanover High School.  The school district closed the three schools for Thursday and Friday.

According to a photograph’s caption the tribute booklet, Wayne Jackson interviewed Lemon on television Thursday evening.  On set with Lemon was Earl Jackson and Walter Bess of the Community Boys Club, and Hugh Morton as a member of the Chamber of Commerce committee. (For context, in December 1971 Morton would begin his short-lived Democratic Party gubernatorial race.)  On Friday Lemon appeared for a press conference, followed by a luncheon with city and county officials at the Timme Plaza ballroom.  He then visited schools, including Williston, and the Community Boys Club.  Lemon stressed the need to work together to get the schools open.  In Meadowlark, Lemon says he told students, “Get the education. Stay in school.  Let’s get things together and get this trouble over.”

The tribute booklet includes a letter from Lemon in which he acknowledges the importance of the Community Boys Club in his life.  He noted that in two to three years the club’s outdated facility would fall inside the Urban Renewal area and would be torn down.  He added,

At that time a new and better home for the Club must be built.  I am grateful to Tom Jervay, Jr. and Hugh Morton for contributing, without cost, the pictures and text of this book, and to the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce for publishing it.  All profits from the sale of this souvenir book of the greatest day of my lifetime will go to begin the capital account that has been established in the Wachovia Bank in Wilmington to help build a new Community Boys Club.

There is so much good to be done in the world, I know I cannot do it all, but in the part of it I can do I want Community Boy’s Club to be included.  The moon is not ready for us yet, so we must live together here on earth, and the Boy’s Club makes life mean more to a lot of young boys. . . .

Meadowlark Lemon at the foul line during the Harlem Globetrotters game at Brogden Hall in Wilmington, North Carolina on March 19, 1971.

Meadowlark Lemon at the foul line during the Harlem Globetrotters game at Brogden Hall in Wilmington, North Carolina on March 19, 1971.

In Meadowlark, Lemon devoted about three pages to his account of events and circumstances surrounding Meadow Lark Lemon Day.  He recalled being flown into Wilmington five straight days before the game.  Despite concerns that violence may break out during the game, none occurred.  Lemon wrote in his autobiography, “No threats, no staring down.  Blacks and whites sat together, laughed together, sang together.  I felt it was one of the best things I ever accomplished.”

Closing Note: Were you living in Wilmington during this time?  Do you have recollections about Meadowlark Lemon’s visit?  If so, what level of importance do you place on his role at that crucial time?  Please share your experience by leaving a comment.  I believe there’s more to be learned about this topic!