A March without Madness . . . a season without banners

When Carolina lost three ACC games in a row early this season, some Tar Heel fans started looking back over their shoulders at that dismal 2001-2002 season.  Coach

Williams and the 2013-2014 Heels righted the ship and won 12 in a row before dropping the final game of the season to Duke; and then came a disappointment at the ACC Tournament quarterfinals with a loss to ACC newcomer Pittsburgh.  Morton volunteer/contributor Jack Hilliard looks back at that ’01-‘02 season . . . a season most Tar Heels would just as soon forget.

One Tar Heel I will never forget is Bill Richards.  Bill passed away two years ago on March 18th while watching the Tar Heels play their “Sweet Sixteen” game against Creighton in the NCAA tournament.  In addition to being an avid UNC football and basketball fan, Bill was the senior digitization technician in the library’s Digital Production Center.  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 Service  in 1998, but continued working for Sports information into the 2000s. Today’s post is dedicated to Bill.

This year’s Tar Heel fans will still have their dose of Madness: UNC made the NCAA Tournament as the 6th seed in the East.

Jackie Manuel (UNC, #5) shooting during the quarterfinals of 2002 ACC basketball tournament, UNC-Chapel Hill versus Duke University basketball game, Charlotte Coliseum, NC. Jason Capel (UNC, #25) boxes out Duke's Mike Dunleavy (#34), while Carlos Boozer (#4) awaits a possible rebound. Duke won 60 to 48.  Boozer and Dunleavy are currently teammates and active players for the Chicago Bulls in the National Basketball Association.

Jackie Manuel (UNC, #5) shooting during the quarterfinals match-up in the 2002 ACC basketball tournament between UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke at Charlotte Coliseum. Jason Capel (UNC, #25) boxes out Duke’s Mike Dunleavy (#34), while Carlos Boozer (#4) awaits a possible rebound. Duke won the game 60 to 48. Boozer and Dunleavy are currently teammates and active players for the Chicago Bulls in the National Basketball Association.

On Friday, November 16, 2001, there were reasons to celebrate on the UNC campus.  The basketball program signed three of the top high school players in the country.  (Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants, and Sean May would lead the Tar Heels to a national championship in 2005.) The “Charlie Justice Era” players were in town for a reunion and would dedicate the “Charlie Justice Hall of Honor” in the Kenan Football Center and were honored guests at halftime of the UNC-Duke football game on Saturday, November 17th,  a game in which Head Coach John Bunting’s Tar Heels beat Duke 52 to 17.  Head Basketball Coach Matt Doherty’s 20th ranked 2001-2002 Tar Heels were scheduled to open the season in the Smith Center with a game against Head Coach Steve Merfield’s Hampton University Pirates, and that game would mark legendary “Voice of the Tar Heels” Woody Durham’s 1,000th basketball broadcast on the Tar Heel Sports Network.

With all of that going on, the sports headline in Saturday’s Greensboro’s News & Record read in large bold type:

HEELS HUMBLED

Hampton, a team that had been picked to finish third in the Middle-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), beat the Tar Heels 77 to 69. Carolina led only once at 2 to 0, attempted 34 shots from the 3-point line but made only 6, and couldn’t handle the Pirates’ packed-back zone.  It was just the second loss in a home opener since the 1928-29 season for Carolina.  To give Hampton due credit, the Pirates went on to compile a 26-7 record, finishing as the 2001-2002 MEAC regular season champions.  They won the MEAC Tournament and were selected as the 2002 National Black College Champions.  To cap off their successful season, they earned the 15th seed in the East bracket of the Division 1 NCAA Tournament.  Hampton lost their first-round contest to Connecticut—who made it all the way to the NCAA final, only to lose to the ACC’s Maryland.

When Davidson came to town four days later, things didn’t get much better and then a loss to Indiana on November 28th in the ACC – Big 10 Challenge and the Tar Heels had set a record three game losing streak to start the season—all at home.  Finally, on December 2nd Carolina beat Georgia Tech in the Smith Center 83 to 77 with a trip to Kentucky looming in six days.

Defeated by twenty points in Lexington at Rupp Arena, Tar Heel fans were at a loss.  What was wrong?  When a one-point-win came on December 16th against Binghamton, Tar Heel fans said OK we regroup at the Tournament of Champions in Charlotte.  Well, not really.  On December 21st, College of Charleston handed the Tar Heels an opening round loss 66 to 60 but the following night, Carolina came back with a win against St. Joseph’s.  That win was followed by two more wins, against North Carolina A&T and Texas A&M.  OK . . . a three game winning streak.

What followed was new territory for Tar Heel fans. From January 5, 2002 until January 23rd, Carolina lost six games—five of them ACC games and a 32-point loss at Connecticut.

On January 27th Carolina beat Clemson on the road—one of only two road wins all season.  Next came five more ACC losses before a home win against Florida State on February 17th.  Ten days later, Carolina won its final game of the 2001-2002 season, a game against Clemson in the Smith Center.

The final two games of the season were both against Duke: a loss in Cameron and a loss in the first round of the ACC Tournament in Charlotte.  The season was finally over . . . no NCAA . . . no NIT . . . it was over and was a record-setter.

Carolina lost

  • 20 games
  • 12 ACC games
  • 9 home games
  • 5 consecutive home games
  • 5 consecutive ACC games
  • and three straight home games to open the season.

Finishing seventh in the ACC was the lowest ever for a Carolina team. Needless to say, there was no March Madness in 2002 (NCAA or NIT) for the first time since 1966 and there are no winning banners in the rafters of the Smith Center for 2001-02 season.

The headline writer at the News & Record could have recycled that “HEELS HUMBLED” headline from November 17th and run it again to close out a season most Tar Heel fans would like to forget.

Editor’s Note: Morton photographed several UNC basketbal games during the 2001-2002 season, but the only photographs in the online collection are images from the Duke versus UNC games in 2002.  See the collection finding aid for a more complete listing.

A medal for Dean

There will be some great Tar Heel news out of Washington, D.C. today—November 20th, 2013.  Morton collection volunteer and blog contributor Jack Hilliard takes a look at an honor for one of the greatest Tar Heels ever.

Dean SmithCan you name two things each of the following has in common?

  • Bob Hope
  • Walter Cronkite
  • Lowell Thomas
  • David Brinkley
  • Andy Griffith
  • Adm. Arleigh Burke
  • John Glenn
  • Arnold Palmer
  • Duke Ellington
  • Richard Petty
  • Dr. Billy Graham
  • Presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan

Each one of these distinguished individuals has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and each one has been photographed by world-class photographer Hugh Morton.  We can now add one more name to that list: UNC‘s legendary basketball coach Dean Edwards Smith.  Sixteen distinguished individuals, including the man who was Carolina basketball from 1961 until his retirement following the 1997 season, will receive the medal today at a White House ceremony from President Barack Obama.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, is presented to those who have “made especially meritorious contributions to security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”  President Obama announced the latest list of recipients on August 8, 2013.

Others to receive the medal this year are President Bill Clinton, Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, senators Daniel Inouye and Richard Lugar, astronaut Sally Ride, and entertainers Loretta Lynn and Oprah Winfrey.  Additionally Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and author; Mario Molina, Nobel Prize-winning environmental scientist; Arturo Sandoval, Cuban jazz musician; Gloria Steinem, women’s rights activist; Cordy Tindell Vivian, civil rights activist; Judge Patricia Wald, the first woman to serve on the federal appeals court in Washington; and Bayard Rustin, gay civil rights activist.

During his 36 years leading the Tar Heels, coach Smith chalked up 879 wins, 11 final four appearances, 13 ACC championships and two national titles . . . along with an Olympic gold medal in 1976.  Along the way he has been awarded membership in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

In making the announcement, President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their lives to enriching ours.  This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world.”

In addition to his basketball resume, Coach Smith was a champion for civil rights, human rights, and academic achievement. The graduation rate for his players is 96 percent.

As a loyal Tar Heel since birth, I was especially pleased to see a positive Carolina athletic story on the evening news and the reaction in Chapel Hill has been likewise, extremely positive.

“I’m so proud of Coach Smith, happy for his family and friends and appreciative to President Obama for this just recognition,” said current UNC Head Basketball Coach Roy Williams who played and coached under Smith’s leadership.

Tar Heel Head Football Coach Larry Fedora said the honor is great news for UNC.  “I can’t imagine how he feels,” Fedora said.  “What a tremendous thing for our university.”

ACC Commissioner John Swofford, a former athletics director at UNC, called Smith, “one of the most successful, honorable and remarkable men I’ve had the privilege of knowing . . . his reach stretches far beyond the sport of basketball.”

Duke University Head Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski said that Smith receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom speaks loudly about Smith as a coach and the game of basketball.  “He used the platform he attained as a coach to have an influence on other areas of our society.  That’s what we should all do,” said Krzyzewski.

There has also been praise for Coach Smith from some of North Carolina’s political leadership in Congress.  “As one of the greatest coaches of the 20th century, Dean Smith revolutionized the game of basketball and brought enormous pride to North Carolina during his 36 years leading the Tar Heels,” said U.S. Senator Kay Hagan. “But while he brought us glorious moments on the court, Dean Smith will forever be known for the sense of equality and justice that he instilled in his players and fought so hard to advance in basketball, in collegiate athletics and in the country as a whole.”  Said Representative David Price: “Dean Smith is known to all North Carolinians for his tremendous success as the coach of the Carolina men’s basketball team, but the Presidential Medal of Freedom recognizes that he has been far more than a coach to his players, his community, and his country.  Throughout his life, Coach Smith has shown courage and determination on some of the most pressing issues of our time, from working to end segregation in college athletics early in his career, to advocating for inclusion in church and community, to supporting equal rights for gay Americans.”

President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton, along with first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy by laying a wreath near his grave site in Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, November 20th.  In the evening on Wednesday, the President and First Lady will host a White House dinner honoring this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients. These annual awards were initiated by President Kennedy in 1963.

Coach Smith will not be able to attend the presentation ceremony at the White House.  He is struggling with a progressive neurocognitive disorder that affects his memory.  He will be represented by his wife Dr. Linnea Smith, his children, long-time coaching assistant Bill Guthridge, and current UNC Head Basketball Coach Roy Williams.

“We know he would be humbled to be in the company of President Clinton, United States senators, scientists, entertainers, the great Hall of Famer Ernie Banks and the other distinguished Americans who are receiving the award,” Smith’s family said. “We also know he would take this as an opportunity to recognize all the young men who played for him and the assistant coaches who worked with him as well as the University. Again, this medal is a tremendous honor.”

The award ceremony is the kind of event that photographer Hugh Morton would have attended and I choose to believe on November 20th, he will be looking down and smiling.

Another view of ’82

Wednesday afternoon was one of those times, like so many others in this line of work, where what you end up working on isn’t even on your radar when you step off the bus and head to the office.  Here’s what happened . . . .

Around 2:30 a new staff member in the the library’s Digital Production Center received a phone call from Yahoo! Sports requesting Hugh Morton photographs.  He asked me who should take the call, and I recommended he transfer the call to Keith Longiotti in our Research and Instructional Services Department.  Keith handles most of the image requests for the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

Shortly after the call I saw an email that I had received before the phone call, but hadn’t seen because I had been away from my desk.  The email was from an associate producer at Yahoo! Sports, and had its beginnings on Tuesday with a referral from The Daily Tar Heel to the journalism school’s librarian Stephanie Brown.

Yahoo! Sports has been producing a series called “Memorable Moments: March Madness.”  Their last episode was to feature the 1982 NCAA men’s basketball championship game between UNC and Georgetown.  They requested photographs or footage from the game, mentioning that they had seen some Hugh Morton photographs in the online collection of Morton images, but nothing from the closing moments of the game.  The producer wrote,

I’m looking for any photos AFTER Michael Jordan’s go-ahead jumper with :17 left in the game.  Specifically Georgetown’s Fred Brown throwing the ball away to James Worthy during the subsequent play.  Anything of Worthy and/or Brown from the final moments (before the steal, during the steal, after the steal, huddles, shooting free throws, etc.) would be outstanding.

Stephanie replied that the Park Library did not hold such materials, and that she should talk to me about the Hugh Morton collection.  I wrote the associate producer immediately after I finished reading her email, telling her that I had read her email shortly after the telephone call.

If you are a regular reader of A View to Hugh, then you know only 8,000 of the 250,000 items in the Morton collection are online.  I told the associate producer that I would look in the remainder of the collection to see if I could locate any images that were not online.  The catch?  They needed images that day, or early Thursday at the latest.  (Luckily their offices are on the west coast so that gave me an additional three hours to work on the request.)  They had seen Morton’s photograph of the team huddle shown above, but not in the online collection.  Did we have it?  Did we have anything else?

Given their tight deadline and the proximity to closing time, we could have settled for the images they already seen and requested.  Keith sent them scans of the images they’d seen so they could get started.  I couldn’t fathom, however, that Hugh Morton would not have photographed the pivotal closing moments unless he had been on the opposite end of the court.  That, coupled with an opportunity to give the Morton collection some national or even international exposure was too good to pass up.  I jumped on it.

First I checked for scans saved on our image server, but not used in the online collection.  (Yes, there are thousands of them!)  To do that, I had to review all the prints, negatives, and slides from the games, because the scan’s file names are written on the storage enclosures.  The huddle scene above was previously scanned, but not included online.

But look at what else I found that wasn’t scanned:

P081_1982NCCAfinal_Worthy 01

After watching the closing moments of the game on YouTube, I was convinced the scene above was James Worthy driving the basketball down court after stealing Fred Brown’s errant pass.  The steal and drive happened right in front of Morton.  He snapped the camera shutter just a moment before Worthy was intentionally fouled by Georgetown’s Eric Smith (#32).  Eric “Sleepy” Floyd (#21) is on the left.  Both Floyd and Worthy are from Gastonia, North Carolina and were good friends.  The turnover happened so unexpectedly on the other end of the court, and so quickly that it may have caught Morton off guard because Worthy is out of focus.  The result, however, means that Morton captured the dismay on Floyd’s face, and the expressions on the bench and cheerleaders are more visible.

(By the way, if you watch the CBS broadcast, you can see Hugh Morton pop into the frame about 25 seconds after the end of the game.  This may be when Dean Smith told Morton, “Stick with me.”)

Below, Morton photographed Worthy taking one of his free throws with only two seconds remaining on the clock.

P081_1982NCCAfinal_Worthy 02

A staff member of the Digital Production Center helped me make the scans of the two 35mm slides.  (I couldn’t do it because they just starting using new software.)  We had the slides finished before 6:00.  I continued to dig Thursday morning, taking advantage of the time zones difference, but didn’t find additional images that fit the hole they needed to fill.  We delivered the scans by their deadline, and Yahoo! Sports was thrilled.

We received the link to the story, “Michael Jordan’s gutsy shot leads to North Carolina title” this morning.  The downside of our efforts is that Yahoo! Sports doesn’t credit their sources after the episodes in “Memorable Moments: March Madness,” so you won’t see Morton or the photographic archives credited.  The upside is that seven Hugh Morton photographs appear in the episode (one of Worthy during the East Regional final game against Villanova in Raleigh, and six from the championship game), and the library did receive a respectable commercial use fee to help support the work that we do with the collections.  The team huddle photograph also opens a one-minute piece, “Memorable Moments: The huddle before Michael Jordan’s shot.“  Another of Morton’s images appears in a second short, “Memorable Moments: James Worthy remembers UNC vs. Georgetown.”

A remaining mystery emerged from this reference request.  I didn’t find a photograph of Michael Jordon’s game winning shot, which occurred near the very spot of the Worthy photograph above.  Did Morton photograph that memorable moment, too?  If so, I didn’t find it.  Yet.

Player, Preacher, Coach, and Commentator

UNC’s men basketball team bowed out of the NCAA tournament over the weekend, but the UNC women’s team continues on its quest for a national championship this evening.  With basketball season still in high gear, Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at a North Carolina basketball legend on the anniversary of UNC’s second place finish in the 1946 NCAA championship game played on March 26, 1946.

Bones McKinney

Wake Forest men’s basketball Head Coach Bones McKinney on bench/sidelines. Possibly during a UNC-Chapel Hill versus Wake Forest University basketball game.

“I don’t remember exactly when everyone started calling me Bones, but with a name like Horace Albert, the sooner the better, right?”

—Bones McKinney from Bones: Honk Your Horn if You Love Basketball (1988)

His resume is like no other.  It goes something like this:

  • High School All-Star Basketball at Durham High
  • Varsity basketball at North Carolina State
  • United States Army, Fort Bragg (basketball coach and player)
  • Varsity basketball at University of North Carolina
  • Basketball Association of America, Washington Capitols
  • National Basketball Association, Boston Celtics
  • Ordained Baptist minister
  • Head coach, Wake Forest
  • Head coach, American Basketball Association, Carolina Cougars
  • TV commentator and analyst, Raycom
  • Newspaper columnist
  • Author
  • Humorist and motivational after-dinner speaker

Folks born on New Year’s Day are special people.

For Horace Albert (Bones) McKinney, born in Lowlands, North Carolina on January 1, 1919, that specialty was his love for the game of basketball.  When he was five years old, the McKinney family moved to Durham and that’s where young Horace began playing his favorite game—starting at Watts Street Grammar School, then to Central Junior High, the YMCA, and finally to Durham High where, under Head Coach Paul Sykes, he led the team to two South Atlantic Prep Tournaments, two Duke-Durham Tournaments, three state championships, and the Interscholastic Basketball Tournament in Glens Falls, New York . . . all the while racking up sixty-nine straight wins.

McKinney graduated a little late from Durham High in the spring of 1940, then headed over to Raleigh for a college career at North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State).  A year of freshman ball was followed by a sophomore year when he led the Southern Conference in scoring with 200 points and was an all conference selection. On Christmas Day, 1941, Bones McKinney married the love of his life, Edna Ruth Stell.

UNC 1946 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship runners-up

Group portrait of UNC-Chapel Hill men’s basketball team after their loss to Oklahoma A&M in the 1946 NCAA championship at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY. Among those pictured are head coach Ben Carnevale (back row, second from left) and Horace “Bones” McKinney (back row, second from right).

A week after the 1942 season ended, on April 2, 1942, he joined the Army.  At Fort Bragg, Bones played, coached, and led the team to wins in the Southeastern Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Tournament in Savannah and the Southern AAU in Raleigh.  While at Fort Bragg, he became good friends with Ben Carnevale the head coach at UNC and on January 9, 1945, Bones McKinney became a Tar Heel—but the UNC basketball team was called the White Phantoms in those days. The highlight of the 1946 season, which was his only season at UNC, was a NCAA national championship game against Oklahoma A&M at Madison Square Garden.  The 43–40 loss was difficult for Bones as evidenced by Hugh Morton’s photograph of the award ceremony following the game.

1946 UNC coach Ben Carnevale receiving runner-up trophy

“In 1946, before the NCAA national championship became known as the Final Four, UNC lost in the championship game, 43 to 40 to Oklahoma A&M. The game was played in the old Madison Square Garden before 18,479 spectators. UNC head basketball coach and Navy lieutenant Ben Carnevale (shaking hands), who had responsibilities as the Navy Pre-Flight School at Chapel Hill as well, accepted the runner-up trophy. Carolina’s Horace ‘Bones’ McKinney (far left) was not pleased at being runner up.” Presenting the award is Harold G. Olsen, who was serving his final year as the NCAA basketball tournament chairman. (Identification obtained from book ON TOBACCO ROAD.)

By the end of the ‘46 season, the McKinney family had grown to three and Bones realized that he needed a paying job to support the family, so he left UNC and went to work for Hanes Hosiery.  It was while there that an unbelievable phone call came.  On the other end of the line was Red Auerbach, who was going to form the “Basketball Association of America”—and he wanted Bones to play for him.  Just when it looked like basketball was over for Bones McKinney, along came an opportunity to play for pay: $6,750 for a season with a $500 advance.  He would play for the Washington Capitols for five seasons, making all pro and led the team to the Eastern Division championship his first season, 1946-47. He led the team into the playoffs each year from 1946 through 1950.

On January 9, 1951 the Washington Capitols folded, and McKinney was sent to the Boston Celtics as a player-coach.  While there he made some NBA history.  He recruited and signed Earl Lloyd, the first African American player in the NBA.  Following the ’52 season, McKinney left pro basketball and enrolled in the Southeastern Theological Seminary at Wake Forest.  While in class on November 8, 1952, Wake Forest Head Basketball Coach Murray Greason walked in and asked Dr. Bill Strickland if he could speak with student McKinney.  Greason needed an assistant coach and offered Bones the job, a job that would last until March 26, 1957 when he took over the head coaching position at Wake.

In February of 1960, a writer for the magazine Life came to Winston-Salem to do a McKinney feature story.  It wasn’t the first time he had made the big time.  There is an action shot by Hugh Morton contemporary Hy Peskin on the front cover of Collier’s dated January 15, 1949.  Life published another article, titled “Basketball’s Incredible Mr. Bones” in its February 22, 1960 issue, which featured the following:

People go to Wake Forest basketball games to see a winning team perform.  For the same price, they get Bones McKinney, the coach with his own private volcano.  Once the game starts, the bench can’t hold him.  The climactic moment arrives when Mr. Bones erupts dramatically from the sideline, looking like a dead ringer for Ichabod Crane.

In 1961 and 1962, McKinney led the Deacons to Atlantic Coast Conference championships, with the ’62 team playing in the NCAA Final Four.  Following the ’64-’65 season, Wake Forest made a coaching change and Bones McKinney took a job with the North Carolina Board of Corrections, but soon after the ’65-’66 basketball season started, he got a call from ACC TV producer Castleman D. Chesley.  It seems that Bones’ good friend Charlie Harville had recommended him as a possible broadcaster with the ACC network.  Bones was eager to get back into basketball, so on January 8, 1966 at the UNC vs. Duke game in Chapel Hill, Bones McKinney became a TV basketball commentator and analyst, working with play-by-play man Jim Thacker, and stat man Charlie Harville.  At first, McKinney didn’t think he was very good as a broadcaster, but when he was invited back, he figured he must be OK.

Then in early 1969 . . . another phone call and another basketball opportunity.  On January 2, 1969, Southern Sports Corporation purchased the Houston Mavericks, a team in the American Basketball Association.  President Jim Gardner was planning to move the team to North Carolina and he wanted Bones as his head coach.  Gardner and McKinney struck a deal and Bones McKinney became to first head coach of the newly formed Carolina Cougars, leading them that year to the ABA playoffs.

One of my favorite Bones McKinney stories came during that ’69-‘70 season. During a hotly contested game, Bones yelled out at an official following a questionable call.

“Hey, you’re either blind or you’re a crook.”
“And you’re out of the game,” yelled back the ref.
“Why?” asked Bones defiantly.
“Because you called me a crook,” replied the official.
“Did not,” yelled Bones, looking back over his shoulder as he departed, “I gave you a choice.”

While still coaching the Carolina Cougars, McKinney was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame with the Class of 1970.

Bones McKinney, Billy Packer, and Jim Thacker, with Castleman Chesley at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Marquette basketball game, 1977 NCAA

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 NCAA finals in Atlanta, Georgia.

The 4th Annual ABA All-Star Game was played in the Greensboro Coliseum on January 23, 1971 and CBS-TV carried the game nationwide, with play-by-play by Don Criqui and Pat Summerall and color commentary by Bones McKinney.

On November 18, 1979 during halftime of the Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys game in RFK Stadium, McKinney was inducted into the Washington Hall of Stars.  In 1985 his longtime friend Charlie Justice joined him in the DC Hall.  McKinney continued to coach all-star games, and was in high demand as an after-dinner speaker during the 1980s and early ‘90s.

When the Greensboro News and Record arrived on Saturday morning May 17, 1997, the front page headline read, “Legendary Wake Coach Dies at 78.”  Staff writer Jim Schlosser related the story of McKinney’s death at 5:05 PM on Friday, May 16th at Wake Medical Rehab Center following a stroke two weeks earlier.  On Sunday, I went out to WFMY-TV and put together a video piece for Monday’s “Good Morning Show.”  As I was putting the piece together, I kept thinking about a Bones McKinney quote that I had read years before in his 1988 book.  The quote was part of the short section about his broadcasting career.  It went like this: “I soon found out that if your director ain’t no good, you ain’t no good.”  He went on to talk about the magnificent Raycom directors, Norman Prevatte from WBTV in Charlotte, John Young from WUNC-TV, and Frank Slingland from WRC-TV in Washington, DC.

During my time in broadcasting, I never had the honor of directing a Bones McKinney game or a Bones McKinney broadcast.  However, I worked several Carolina Cougar games in 1972 after Bones had moved on.  But in 1969, WFMY-TV produced the Carolina Cougar coach’s show.  It was called, of course, “The Bones McKinney Show.”  Veteran WFMY Producer/Director George Leh was director and Woody Durham was producer along with Bones. The show was usually taped on Thursday afternoons for weekend playback.  On this particular Thursday, Leh was not available to direct so production manager Jack Forehand asked me to direct the show. For twenty-eight minutes and thirty seconds on Thursday afternoon, March 5, 1969, I knew I was part of something very special.

Back at the Top . . . Back on the Bayou

UNC basketball team huddles during 1993 NCAA final

UNC basketball team in huddle during the North Carolina versus Michigan basketball game at 1993 NCAA finals in New Orleans.

It’s that time of year again when hundreds of thousands of college basketball fans huddle secretively with their notes on “bracketology.”  The NCAA basketball championship tournaments broke onto the stage this week and, once again, the UNC men’s and women’s teams find themselves in the mix.  Always hard-earned, NCAA tournament appearances are nonetheless commonplace for UNC’s basketball teams.

Readers of A View to Hugh know that Hugh Morton had a great love for UNC men’s basketball, photographing games regularly as far back as his days as a student in the late 1930s and early 1940s.  As the basketball teams head into their championship runs, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at the men Tar Heels’ 1993 trip to “The Final Four” twenty years ago, when Carolina won its fourth national championship under legendary head coach Dean Smith.

It was one year ago today that library staff members learned of the untimely passing of our colleague, Bill Richards. 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 Service  in 1998, but continued working for Sports information into the 2000s. This post is dedicated to Bill who, like Hugh Morton, was an avid UNC basketball fan.

UNC student fans during the 1993 NCAA championship

UNC student fans during the 1993 NCAA championship at New Orleans, Louisiana.

Eleven seasons had come and gone since Dean Smith’s basketball Tar Heels had won the 1982 NCAA championship in the Louisiana Superdome.  But in early April 1993 his team was poised and ready for another run at the big game in “The Big Easy.”

Most UNC fans agree that Smith’s 1992-93 team was one of his best. When all was said and done, their record was 34–4, with 26 wins in the regular season and 8 wins in the post season.  The one post season loss came in the ACC Tournament final, a two-pointer to Georgia Tech.  Following that disappointment, it was on to NCAA March Madness and a number one seed in the East, starting in Winston-Salem.  A twenty-point win over East Carolina and a forty-five-point win against Rhode Island put the Heels in the “Sweet 16” at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.  Then came a six-point win over Arkansas and a seven-point overtime victory versus Cincinnati . . . and it was on to the Crescent City and another Final-Four for Coach Smith (his ninth).

The 1993 Final Four was unique.  Three number one seeds and one number two seed would be playing for the championship: North Carolina, Michigan, and Kentucky along with number two seed Kansas.  The first national semi-final on Saturday, April 3rd would match Dean Smith’s UNC Tar Heels and Roy Williams’ Kansas Jayhawks.  Needless to say, there was plenty of ink and airtime about this rivalry.  Two years earlier, Kansas had beaten Carolina in the national semi-final 79 to 73.  Dean Smith played at Kansas in the early 1950s.  Roy Williams played and coached at Carolina in ‘70s and ‘80s, and one of Williams’ assistants was Matt Doherty who played for Smith during the 1982 NCAA championship season.  If the truth be known, Smith and Williams probably would rather be playing someone else in the semi-final game but they didn’t set the brackets.

Row Williams, Dean Smith, and Bill Guthridge

Row Williams, Dean Smith, and Bill Guthridge prior to the 1993 NCAA tournament semifinal in New Orleans, Louisiana. Cropped by the editor; the full-frame image (click to see photograph without cropping) includes Kansas assistant coach and former UNC player Matt Doherty.  A slightly wider crop, also without Doherty, appears in the book Return to the Top: The Inside Story of Carolina’s 1993 NCAA Championship.

During the warm-up for the game, photographer Hugh Morton got a classic shot, one that he would include in all his future slides shows.  The image shows Smith, Williams, Doherty, and then UNC assistant Bill Guthridge, current and future Carolina coaches from 1961 to the present.

A crowd of 64,151 watched as Kansas took an early 3–2 lead, but Brian Reese hit a driving layup to put Carolina up by a score of 4–3. The Heels would retain a lead the rest of the way.  Kansas kept it close; Carolina led by only four at halftime, 40–36.  In the second half when George Lynch hit a layup at the 17:01 mark, the Tar Heel lead was seven, 48 to 41; but one minute later, Kansas had cut that lead to two at 48 to 46.

Donald Williams’ twenty-one foot three ball made the score 63–55 with 9:35 to play.  But five minutes later, Carolina’s lead was once again down to four, 67–63 and Coach Smith called a time-out to change his lineup.  In the final 2:36, Donald Williams scored seven points as the Heels finally pulled away for a 78–68 win.  Eric Montross and Donald Williams accounted for forty-eight Carolina points.

Coach Williams, in his post-game news conference, said, “I’ll be pulling like the dickens for Carolina Monday night.”

Later that day, Michigan defeated Kentucky to set up a UNC vs. Michigan national final.  It would be only the second time two number one seeds had met for the championship.  (The other time was Carolina and Georgetown in 1982).

Once again there was lots of media coverage, focusing on a Rainbow Classic game between Michigan and Carolina, which Michigan wound up as the 79–78 winner back on December 29, 1992.

Monday, April 5th was a long day for me.  I did my usual morning show shift at WFMY-TV, and then returned in the evening for a “NCAA Countdown” special program just before CBS’ live coverage of the game.  By the time I got home, the game was well underway and Carolina trailed 23–13.  But three-and-a-half minutes later, the Tar Heels had tied the score at 25.  George Lynch, Eric Montross, and Derrick Phelps kept Carolina in front going into the halftime break.

Halfway through the second half, the Wolverines caught the Heels, tying the score at 56.  Chris Webber’s alley-oop at the 8:35 mark gave Michigan a 60–58 lead.  Five minutes later, Derrick Phelps’ fast break layup put Carolina back on top 68–67.  An Eric Montross dunk at the 1:03 mark pushed the UNC lead to 72-67.  Then Ray Jackson’s 18-foot jumper brought Michigan within three at 72–69.  Following a Michigan timeout, Chris Webber’s follow up shot made the score 72–71.  Then with twenty seconds remaining in the game Michigan’s Rob Pelinka fouled Carolina’s Pat Sullivan, who hit one of two foul shots.  Chris Webber got the rebound . . . seemed to travel, then took the ball the length of the court into the corner in front of his bench.  At this point, Carolina had fouls to give, so Lynch and Phelps set up a vicious trap.  Webber picked up his dribble.  With nowhere to go, only eleven seconds left in the game, and the Michigan coaches shouting “NO,” Webber called a timeout—a timeout he didn’t have.  Donald Williams calmly stepped to the line and hit the two technical foul shots, raising the score to 75–71.  Williams would hit two more foul shots following a Ray Jackson miscue, thus giving Dean Smith his 774th win and his 2nd NCAA Championship.  Final score:  Carolina 77, Michigan 71.

Victorious UNC men's basketball team after the 1993 NCAA championship game.

Victorious UNC men’s basketball team after the 1993 NCAA championship game.

As the CBS cameras focused on the team celebration, a celebration of another kind began back in rainy Chapel Hill as 25,000 fans stormed Franklin Street—light blue paint in hand. As the bell from University Methodist Church rang out, a Tar Heel fan was heard to say:
“Dick Vitale, you picked the wrong winner tonight, baby.”  The headline in Tuesday’s Gastonia Gazette read: DEJA BLUE.

About 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6, 1993, a crowd started gathering in the Smith Center on the UNC campus. The crowd would eventually grow to be about 20,000 strong by the time the team bus pulled into the parking lot at 4:47.  As the Marching Tar Heels played the fight song, Pat Sullivan and Senior Matt Wenstrom, with NCAA trophy in hand, led the victorious Tar Heels into the arena.  Each team member was introduced by the “Voice of the Tar Heels” Woody Durham, and each spoke briefly.  Said Eric Montross:  “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

Missing from the festivities was the man who had orchestrated the “Season of Dreams.”  Head coach Dean Smith wanted the celebration to be about his players, so he had scheduled a recruiting trip to Pennsylvania for Tuesday, April 6, 1993.

For those wanting to read more about UNC’s 1992-1993 season, see the book Return to the Top: The Inside Story of Carolina’s 1993 NCAA Championship.  The book contains an ample serving of Hugh Morton photographs made throughout that season.  You may see additional images of the UNC versus Kansas game and the 1993 championship game versus Michigan as part of the more than 8,000 Hugh Morton photographs online (A mere sampling of the 250,00 images in the entire collection!)

Another birthday for Dean Smith

Dan Smith cutting net after winning 1993 NCAA championship

UNC men’s basketball team Head Coach Dean Smith cutting down net at UNC vs. Michigan NCAA championship win at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, 5 April 1993.

We’re celebrating another birthday here at A View to Hugh: today is legendary UNC basketball coach Dean Smith’s 82nd.

This morning’s Daily Tar Heel features a front-page story using two Hugh Morton photographs (unfortunately Morton is not credited): the one above following the 1993 NCAA championship nearly twenty years ago, and the one below after winning the 1967 ACC championship game.  As of 10:15 a.m., there’s no online version of the story, but there is an online readable version of the print edition.

UNC 1967 ACC Tournament champions

UNC-Chapel Hill men’s basketball team celebrating their win over Duke University after the 1967 ACC tournament championship game played in Greensboro, NC. Among those pictured are Head Coach Dean Smith (front row, third from left) and ACC tournament MVP Larry Miller (front row, fourth from left).

The Dunk for the Ages

Over the years, Hugh Morton has taken hundreds of pictures of basketball great Michael Jordan.  There are 124 photographs of Jordan in the Morton online collection so far.  One image, however, stands out from all the others.  As Jordan turns 50 years old today—Sunday, February 17, 2013—Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at that classic image.

Michale Jordan dunk versus University of Virginia

His biography on the NBA website states, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.”

It’s easy to see why.  Michael Jeffrey Jordan’s resume includes the following accolades:

  • An NCAA Championship (at UNC)
  • 2 Olympic Gold Medals
  • 6 NBA Championships (with the Chicago Bulls)
  • 5 MVP Awards
  • 10 All-Pro NBA First Teams
  • 10 NBA Scoring Titles
  • 14 NBA All-Star Appearances

The list doesn’t stop there.

Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes in the history of sports. Thanks to the emergence of the 24/7 cable sports channels—and the Internet in the latter part of his playing career—Jordan’s heroics became all access, all the time.  Michael Jordan has been the subject of a Sports Illustrated cover fifty-seven times (so far), and, according to Lew Powell of “North Carolina Miscellany,” he has had seventy-eight mentions on the TV show Jeopardy!.

When recalling Jordon’s UNC accomplishments, Tar Heel fans will often recall the final basket in the NCAA Championship game against Georgetown in 1982 that gave Head Coach Dean Smith his first national title.  Other folks, however, like to recall a different shot.

On February 10, 1983, in a game against the University of Virginia played in Carmichael Auditorium, the Tar Heels trailed by sixteen with 8:30 left in the game. It was then that the Heels started a classic comeback. By the time there was only 1:20 left on the clock, the Virginia lead was down to three points. Then a Jordan put-back made it a one-point game at 63-62. With under a minute to go, Virginia’s Rick Carlisle had the ball and got past Jordan, but Michael came up from behind and stole the ball.  Jordan drove to the hoop, making the famous basket that North Carolina author and sports historian Jim Sumner termed “the dunk for the ages.”  Heels win 64-63.

Hugh Morton once again was at the right place at the right time, capturing the moment with a classic image that has been reproduced dozens of times.  Morton, in his 1996 book Sixty Years with a Camera, called it his favorite picture of Jordan.  Morton always included the image in his slides shows while he told the story behind the picture. The story goes like this.

In early February 1983 Morton got a call from C.J. Underwood, the longtime anchor and reporter at WBTV, Channel 3, in Charlotte.  Underwood wanted to do a feature for his “Carolina Camera” news segment about Morton and his longtime association with UNC sports.  So they both agreed that the game on Thursday, February 10th in Chapel Hill would be a good time to meet and shoot the feature.

As the teams warmed up for the game, Jordan came over to Morton’s courtside location, as he often did.  During the course of the conversation, Morton told Jordan about Underwood and the WBTV photographer shooting the feature. As the two parted, Morton said, “Have a good game, Michael.”

Following that fantastic shot, Michael ran back up the court, brushed by Morton and asked, “Was that good enough?”

In 2009, Michael Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and is currently the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.

On February 18th when the new Sports Illustrated hits the bookstores, Jordan will once again be pictured on the front cover.  So far he has managed to avoid the legendary “SI Cover Jinx” fifty-seven times. (Fifty times according to the magazine if you don’t count “commerorative and collector’s editions as well as tiny insets or out of focus shots of MJ.”)  If all goes well after next week, you can add number fifty-eight.

A commitment to excellence

Officially it’s “The Dean E. Smith Student Activity Center.”  Some call it simply “The Smith Center,” while others call it “The Student Activity Center.”  And then there are those who lovingly call it “The Dean Dome.”  But whatever name you use, the University of North Carolina’s basketball arena had a most interesting and inspiring beginning.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at the beginning of what has become one of the premier basketball facilities in the country.

Dean Smith in the UNC Student Activity Center, 21 August 1985

Dean Smith in the UNC Student Activity Center, 21 August 1985. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

“The SAC (Student Activity Center) is a visible commitment to excellence in athletics.”—UNC Athletics Director John Swofford, Summer of 1985

The scenario was familiar.  By 1980 Carolina had once again outgrown its basketball facility and talk of a new one was a familiar topic when Tar Heel alumni and friends gathered.  It was just as it had been in 1923 when the Indoor Athletic Center (known as the Tin Can) replaced Bynum Gym—just as it had been in 1937 when Woollen Gym replaced the Tin Can, and just as it was in 1965 when Carmichael Auditorium replaced Woollen Gym.

In the spring of 1980 the University and a very special group of its most loyal supporters began a journey, led by Hargrove “Skipper” Bowles, UNC Class of 1941.  The mission was to raise 30 million dollars in private funds for an arena to showcase head coach Dean Smith’s nationally prominent basketball program.  There were many who said it couldn’t be done, but Bowles never wavered and on April 17, 1982 ground was broken in a wooded ravine near Mason Farm Road.  The fund raising campaign continued until August 1, 1984.  By that date 2,362 people had contributed from $1 to $1 million, and the total came to almost $35 million.  (The single $1 million gift came from businessman Walter R. Davis.)

Aerial view of the Student Activity Center under construction circa 1985.

Aerial view of the Student Activity Center under construction circa 1985. (Hugh Morton photograph, not in online collection at time this post was published.)

While Bowles and his team made its final push, construction at the site was progressing—more than 20,000 cubic yards of rock were dynamited out of the ground and about 150,000 cubic feet of dirt was redistributed to clear and shape the land.  Slowly the bricks and mortar and steel and concrete took shape.  1800 tons of structural steel was brought in to support the 250,000 square foot roof.  After almost four years of construction, the 300,000 square foot octagonally shaped, seven-and-a-half acre Student Activity Center was ready.

On Friday night January 17, 1986, a black-tie dinner was held in the new arena to honor the University’s Arts and Sciences Foundation.  Broadcaster Woody Durham, master of ceremonies, introduced UNC’s Chancellor Christopher C. Fordham III.

Fordham speaking at Dean Smith Center opening

UNC Chancellor Christopher Fordham III speaks during a black-tie dinner to honor the University’s Arts and Sciences Foundation. During his speech, Fordham announced that the Student Activity Center was to be named in honor of Dean Smith. Seated behind Fordham (left to right) are Gillian T. Cell, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, John Swofford, Director of Athletics, and Woody Durham, Master of Ceremonies. (Hugh Morton photograph, not in the online collection at the time this post was published.)

“This magnificent building stands as both a tribute to what Dean Smith has created at the University and a promise that what he has developed will continue. . . .  We are a better university and a better state because he is one of us.”  The Chancellor then added the following announcement.  “From now on, this building shall be known as the Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center . . . .”

Hargrove "Skipper" Bowles watches UNC vs. Duke in Smith Center

Hargrove “Skipper” Bowles watching the UNC vs. Duke basketball game during the Smith Center’s debut. Seated to Bowles’ right is his wife Deziree and grandson Sammy Bowles. (Hugh Morton photograph, not in the online collection at the time this post was published.)

During the fund-raising campaign, “Skipper” Bowles had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.  When he entered the Smith Center on Saturday afternoon January 18, 1986, Bowles was on a respirator and in a wheel chair.  One of the first persons to greet him was North Carolina Governor Jim Martin.

Then it was time for Dean Smith’s number one ranked Tar Heels (17-0), led by senior James Daye, to take the floor for the first time in their new home.  The third-ranked Duke Blue Devils (16-0) followed.  At exactly 1:18 PM, Coach Smith walked into the arena and walked directly over the where Bowles was seated, took both his hands, leaned close and whispered, “Skipper, this wouldn’t have happened without you.”  Bowles smiled broadly and then was helped to mid-court for the ceremonial toss to begin the game.  Skipper’s grandson Sammy was there to help his grandfather.

Ceremonial jump ball, Duke versus UNC before first game at Dean Smith Center

The ceremonial “jump ball” toss before the first game at the Dean Smith Center, played between hosting UNC and visiting Duke University.  Hargrove “Skipper” Bowles is seated in the wheelchair, with Skipper’s brother Richard Bowles behind and Skipper’s grandson Sammy Bowles (Erskine Bowles’ son) at his side. Carolina players in white are (left to right) guard Kenny Smith, jumping center Brad Daugherty, forward Warren Martin, and forward Joe Wolf (#24). Duke players in blue: jumping center Danny Ferry, forward Mark Alarie, guard Tommy Amaker (#4). (Hugh Morton photograph, not in the online collection at the time this post was published.)

The official toss to start the Duke versus UNC game in Smith Center (Note: Scoreboard 0-0.) Carolina players in white: (left to right) guard/forward Steve Hale (#25), forward Joe Wolf (#24), Brad Daugherty jumping center, forward Warren Martin (#54), and guard Kenny Smith. Duke players in blue: (left to right) guard Tommy Amaker (#4), forward Mark Alarie (#32), jumping center Danny Ferry (#35), and guard David Henderson (#12). (Hugh Morton photograph, not in the online collection at the time this post was published.)

It was a historic moment in North Carolina sports. With a packed house of 21,426 looking on, Carolina defeated Duke 95 to 92.  The record book shows that Tar Heel Steve Hale scored a career high 28 points, and Kenny Smith and Jeff Lebo combined for 50 points.  Brad Daugherty and Joe Wolf led a 38 to 30 rebounding advantage.  The Heels went to 18 and 0.

Following the game several fans left the arena and headed out into what would become “Skipper Bowles Drive”; many others, including Bowles, stayed around just to take in the moment. “I was overwhelmed,” said Bowles softly. “I knew how big it was going to be, and I still was overwhelmed.”

American flag hanging from rafters of Dean Smith Center.

American flag hanging from rafters of Dean Smith Center. (Hugh Morton photograph made in January 1994.)

When photographer Hugh Morton entered the building for the first time he noticed that the American flag imported from Carmichael to the new facility was dwarfed in the spacious new building.  So Morton took a flag catalog over to the basketball office and asked them to pick out a new, bigger one.  Once in hand, Morton flew the flag over Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell, the Biltmore House, the State Capitol, the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and the Wright Brothers National Monument.  Satisfied that the flag now suitably represented the state of North Carolina, Morton handed it over to UNC, and it now hangs proudly over center court.

Smith Center Dedication Pro-Alumni Game particiapants

Notable UNC basketball alumni (left to right) Sam Perkins (#41), Michael Jordan (#23), Lenny Rosenbluth (#10), Mike O’Koren (#31), James Worthy (#52), Phil Ford (#12), and Charlie Scott (#33), who participated in the Smith Center Dedication Pro-Alumni Game, September 6, 1986.

The formal dedication ceremony for the Smith Center was held on September 6, 1986.  A pro-alumni game was staged that afternoon, because Coach Smith wanted to celebrate the players who made the program great: Lenny Rosenbluth, Sam Perkins, James Worthy, Phil Ford, Michael Jordan, and many others came back to be a part of the dedication game.  In his dedication remarks,  Athletics Director John Swofford remembered what he called a sharp image from that first game in the Smith Center.  “The image of “Skipper” Bowles and his grandson sharing a ceremonial ball toss just seconds before game time.  It was altogether a nice moment for Bowles, his family, and all the people pulling for him.  I was thrilled he could be there even if I did have a hard time keeping my own composure.”

The day after the dedication game, Sunday September 7, 1986, Hargrove “Skipper” Bowles, Jr. lost his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He was 66 years old.

“Skipper” Bowles’ fingerprints are all over the Dean E. Smith Student Activity Center and the donors’ room is called Hargrove “Skipper” Bowles Hall.  In an interview in early January, 1986 with Carolina Blue editor John Kilgo, Bowles looked back on the SAC effort.  “That project was fun and I wouldn’t take anything for the experience.  I don’t want but two things. I’d like to toss up the first ball in the building, and I’d like to see it named for Dean Smith.”

Both wishes came true.

Editor’s note: In the process of preparing this post, several images of the Dean Dome’s opening night festivities—both represented and not represented in the online collection— have been been discovered that were not previously identified.  Not all of the descriptions for these images could be updated in the online collection and finding aid in time for publication.  Once that work is completed they will be described in a more accurate manner to make them more easily discoverable.  For an example, several pre-game photographs, including a photograph of Governor James Martin and others along the sidelines during the national anthem, can been seen by searching on their current title, “UNC basketball, wide-angle.” (<—click to see them!)  Once the descriptions for these new discoveries have been cleaned up, this editor’s note will be updated; the work is likely to be gradual, however, so diehard Tar Heel fans may want to check back from time to time.  More mysteries solved; more wishes coming true.

The Madness of March: Two Championships Uniquely Remembered (Part Two)

This is part two of A View to Hugh contributor Jack Hilliard’s personal look back at two of Carolina’s NCAA basketball championships.  The Tar Heels championship aspirations for 2012 fell short, with a loss in its “Elite Eight” match-up against Kansas last week.  Thirty years ago today, the Tar Heel squad made it all the way to the top.

A dear coworker of mine, Bill Richards, passed away on March 18th while watching the Tar Heels play their “Sweet Sixteen” game against Creighton in the 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.  His knowledge and skills with scanning technologies, Photoshop, and high-end inkjet printing were formidable, and he taught me most of what little (by comparison) that I know on those topics.  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 Service  in 1998, but continued working for Sports information into the 2000s. This post is dedication to one of the best colleagues with whom I have ever worked.

1982 NCAA trophy and the UNC Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower

1982 NCAA trophy and the UNC Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower

Twenty five years after Frank McGuire’s 1957 miracle, the University of North Carolina was in position to win another NCAA championship.  Like the 1957 team, the 1982 team won 30 games going into the final four.  The only difference: the ’57 team hadn’t lost, while the ’82 team had lost twice.  Unlike 1957 championship game, however, Hugh Morton was there.

On the night of March 29, 1982 many Tar Heel fans will remember hearing Woody Durham, the voice of the Tar Heels, exclaim:

“The Tar Heels are going to win the National Championship.”

Those words triggered a Franklin Street celebration of epic proportions.  30,000 fans and alumni came out to celebrate.  The party had been 25 years in the making.  I recall working that night at WFMY-TV and we had our microwave truck on Franklin Street.  News 2 Anchor Sybil Robson reported as the celebration surrounded her.  It was good TV.  Eddie Marks, writing in the Greensboro Daily News, on March 30th described the celebration:

“Pandemonium, hysteria, fireworks and beer.  This is the stuff national championships are made of.”

The celebration finally ended about 4:00 a.m.

University of North Carolina men's basketball head coach Dean Smith on sidelines during Final Four, March 1982

University of North Carolina men's basketball head coach Dean Smith on sidelines, with Assistant Coach Roy Williams and Assistant Coach Eddie Fogler sitting on bench in background. (Cropped by the editor.)

The 1981-82 UNC Tar Heel team was head coach Dean Smith’s 21st team, and was his best to date. The semifinal win over Houston and the national championship victory over Coach John Thompson’s Georgetown Hoyas marked Smith’s 467th and 468th wins.  It was his first National Championship.  (Smith would go on to win a second NCAA championship in 1993 and would win a total 879 games before his retirement on October 9, 1997.)

Wide-angle shot of the Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, March 1982

Wide-angle shot of the Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, site of UNC's NCAA men's National Championship games, March 27-29, 1982

The 1982 NCAA final game was played before 61,612 fans in the Louisiana Superdome.  It was the 44th NCAA tournament final and it marked the first game to be televised by CBS Sports under a new NCAA contract.  That contract is still in effect, and CBS marks the 31st anniversary of NCAA championships this month. (NBC had carried the championship game since 1969.)  But on this night in ‘82 Gary Bender and Billy Packer brought the game to fans across the country.

With 32 seconds left and trailing by one, Coach Smith called a time out, set a play, and told Michael Jordan to “knock it down.”  Jordan did just that, providing the margin for the 63-62 victory.

University of North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball player Michael Jordan cutting basketball net after winning the 1982 NCAA championship.

University of North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball player Michael Jordan cutting basketball net after winning the 1982 NCAA championship.

Morton remembered the confusion after the game as the security folks tried to get Coach Smith and his team off the court.  Morton said Smith grabbed him by the arm and said, “Stick with me.”  He then turned to the security guard, pointed at Morton and said, “He’s with us.”  This provided Hugh Morton a unique opportunity for some fantastic pictures.

Former UNC Head Coach Frank McGuire (right) congratulates Head Coach Dean Smith after winning the 1982 NCAA championship.

Former UNC Head Coach Frank McGuire (right) congratulates Head Coach Dean Smith after winning the 1982 NCAA championship.

Frank McGuire was one of the first to congratulate Coach Smith and Morton got the shot.  In the aftermath of the victory hugs and smiles, there were some tears.  Georgetown All America Eric “Sleepy” Floyd could not hold back his emotions.  His 18-point effort simply had not been enough.  He congratulated his friend and fellow Gastonian Tar Heel All America James Worthy.  Again, Morton captured the emotion of the moment.

James Worthy and Eric "Sleepy" Floyd after the 1982 NCAA Championship game.

James Worthy and Eric "Sleepy" Floyd. Coach Dean Smith looks on. (P081_NTBR2_002047_22; cropped by editor.)

The headline in the Greensboro Daily News on Wednesday, March 31st described the Tar Heel Tuesday afternoon welcome back to Chapel Hill as a “Blue Frenzy.”  20,000 cheering fans packed the north side of Kenan Stadium long before the scheduled 3:00 p.m. celebration.  There were T-shirt vendors selling souvenirs from the back of station wagons parked at the Stadium gate.  A Franklin Street bakery was set up selling Carolina blue gingerbread men.

The official party began when “Voice of the Tar Heels” Woody Durham ran onto the field and yelled, “How ‘bout them Heels!”  Then the team bus arrived from Raleigh-Durham Airport and each team member spoke to the delight of the crowd.

As the homecoming celebration began to wrap up, Sky 2, Sky 5 and Chopper 11, helicopters from three of North Carolina’s TV stations jockeyed for position overhead, trying to get that perfect aerial crowd shot for the evening news.  That too was good TV.

The Madness of March: Two Championships Uniquely Remembered (Part One)

The “Sweet Sixteen” round of March Madness begins today, so  A View to Hugh contributor Jack Hilliard takes a personal look back at a very special time in Carolina basketball history—1957— in part one of a two-part series.  Part two will recall UNC’s 1982 championship.

Update on 3/28/2012: Working on part two today,  I discovered that I inadvertently omitted a dedication request by the author when I was constructing this post.  The post is dedicated to the 1957 team manager, Joel Fleishman,  who passed away earlier this month.  As a News-Record.com news brief put it, “Joel Fleishman was the manager of the 1957 North Carolina Tar Heels until the day he died.”

UNC men's basketball coach Frank McGuire posed with basketball hoop, net, and ball

UNC-Chapel Hill men's basketball coach Frank McGuire posing with basketball hoop, net, and signed ball commemorating 1957 NCAA Championship win.

It was 55 years ago . . . March 23, 1957, that we heard this call from WPTF radio play-by-play announcer Jim Reid:

. . . we win 54 to 53.  North Carolina did it . . . Great day in the morning.

This radio broadcast has become a classic, but the television coverage of that championship game played a significant role in television sports history as well.

Friday, March 15, 1957 was career day at Asheboro High School.  Representing careers in television was Jack Markham a producer/director from WFMY-TV in Greensboro.  I remember how excited he was that his station was going to carry Carolina’s Eastern Regional game that night against Canisius from the Palestra in Philadelphia.  Many of us at Asheboro High had seen the ’57 Tar Heels when they came to town to play the McCrary Eagles in an exhibition game on December 1, 1956—a game that Carolina won but did not become part of the 32 and 0 season.

The day before, on March 14th, WFMY’s general manager Gaines Kelley had announced the station would follow Carolina in both its East regional games.  (In those days the first-round loser played a consolation game the next day.)  Said Kelley: “We at WFMY-TV are as proud of the Tar Heels as anybody else, and we are happy to be able to give fans in our coverage area a chance to see the game on live television.”  The Greensboro station had a special interest in carrying the UNC games because WFMY-TV produced the weekly Frank McGuire Show.

This regional NCAA network had been set up by station WPFH-TV in Wilmington, Delaware with Matt Koukas, a former Philadelphia Warrior NBA star, doing the play-by-play.  Of course the NCAA was in full control of the telecasts with their man, Castleman D. Chesley, leading the broadcast team.  Other North Carolina TV stations on the network included WBTV in Charlotte, and WTVD in Durham.

The undefeated Tar Heels were 28-0 and Coach Frank McGuire, upon arrival in Philadelphia, told the press, “This is a road club . . . winning 21 games on the road.”  The coach was then reminded that it was really only 20 road games.  McGuire added: “But I still count McCrary as a game because nobody can tell me that we didn’t have a really tough night down there in Asheboro.”

Road wins continued as the Tar Heels beat Canisius that Friday night and then beat Syracuse the following night.  It was on to Kansas City, Missouri for the final four (although it wasn’t called “The Final Four” in those days.)  Carolina was 30 and 0 going into Kansas City, but it hadn’t always been easy.  There had been close overtime games at South Carolina and Maryland—and then there was Murray Greason’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons.  The Tar Heels and Deacons had met four times during the 1956-57 season and each one had been close.  Two regular season games, a game in the Dixie Classic, and a two-point game in the ACC Tournament.  Coach Frank McGuire had great respect for Wake and he often spoke of it in interviews.

Before the games in Philadelphia started, C.D. Chesley was already working on a NCAA network for Kansas City.  On Wednesday, March 20, WFMY General Manager Kelley made another announcement.  Again Chesley had put together a network of five North Carolina TV stations for the games in Kansas City, and WFMY, WBTV, and WTVD would be a part of it.  He added that his Sports Director Charlie Harville and his Chief Photographer Buddy Moore would be traveling with the Tar Heels.  Kelley also liked to plug his game sponsors which were Carolina Steel, Guilford Dairy, and Security National Bank.

Hugh Morton didn’t travel to Kansas City for the championship weekend, but when he heard that the games were going to be on TV, and since the coverage area didn’t extend to the North Carolina coast, he and wife Julia headed to Raleigh, checked into the Sir Walter Hotel and watched the games there.

Both the National Semifinal with Michigan State and the National Final with 7-foot, 2-inch Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas in Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium turned out to be classics.  Triple overtimes each night, with UNC Center Joe Quigg hitting two foul shots with six seconds remaining in the final overtime against Dick Harp’s Kansas Jayhawks to win the National Championship. The telecast had some other memorable moments.  At halftime, WFMY-TV Sports Director Charlie Harville interviewed North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges, who predicted a Carolina win. Hodges had flown in along with his private secretary Ed Rankin, Lt. Governor Luther Barnhardt, and several other members of the NC legislature.  Their flight, on a DC-3 owned by Burlington Industries, left Raleigh-Durham Airport at nine o’clock on Saturday morning.  A police escort met the Governor’s party at the Mid-Continent International Airport and took them to a Tar Heel gathering at Hotel Continental in downtown Kansas City.  Then it was off to Municipal Auditorium where they joined 10,500 other fans.

Back in the WFMY-TV studios in Greensboro, staff announcer Lee Kinard, who had been with the station less than a year, prepared to do his live Guilford Dairy commercial.  Kinard recalls the sponsor wanted the commercial to feature ice cream, but under the hot TV lights, ice cream didn’t hold up very well, and since there were no TV-times-outs in those days, the Greensboro crew didn’t know when the commercial was going to come.  Said Kinard, “We kept putting out fresh ice cream and it just kept melting during those three overtimes.”

Lee Kinard would go on to become a legendary hall of fame broadcaster with a career spanning more than 45 years.

Following the broadcasts, both radio and TV, a celebration broke out on Franklin Street with thousands of students and alumni.

Chapel Hill author and historian Roland Giduz writing a special report for the Greensboro Daily News described what he saw along Franklin Street:

A zany bedlam enveloped this usually quiet college community shortly past the stroke of midnight…The celebration was the biggest in Chapel Hill since the night before—following the Tar Heels’ triple-overtime win over Michigan State.  And the latter was the wildest spontaneous rally local officials could recall since V-J night 12 years ago.

Crowd at Raleigh Durham Airport greeting the UNC men's basketball team after winning the NCAA championship.

Crowd at Raleigh Durham Airport awaiting the UNC men's basketball team after winning the NCAA championship (P081_PRBP5_006878).

The celebration in Chapel Hill wasn’t close to the size of the one at Raleigh-Durham Airport.  About 2:10 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, 1957, Eastern Airlines Flight 527 was on final approach to RDU when the pilots got a message from the tower: “Go around while the police clear the runway.”  About 15,000 Tar Heel well-wishers had gathered to welcome the 32 and 0 Tar Heels home.  Among the 15,000 was photographer Hugh Morton with camera in hand.

UNC 1957 Basketball team deplaning at RDUAbout 15 minutes later the Eastern DC-7 carrying the victorious Tar Heels landed to thunderous cheers.  Coach McGuire and team captain Lennie Rosenbluth were not part of the celebration.  Rosenbluth was headed to New York as a member of the Look magazine All America team, which was scheduled to be on “The Ed Sullivan Show” that night. Coach McGuire had been on the “Sullivan Show” the Sunday before as the United Press national coach of the year.  This weekend he stayed in Kansas City to coach in the All-Star game with his old buddy, Navy Head Coach Ben Carnevale, as his assistant. (Carnevale was UNC’s Head Basketball Coach from 1944 to 1946.)  Rosenbluth was to fly back in time for the Monday night All-Star game.

In the middle of the crowd at RDU was UNC Chancellor Robert B. House who had a speech prepared, but wasn’t able to give it because of the noise.  About thirty minutes later, the Hodges’ group landed.  Said the Governor: “It was great but I don’t think I could take another game like that one.”

While Coach Frank McGuire was in Philadelphia for the Eastern Regional, he had received a special telegram from back home.  He read it to his team before the Eastern Regional final with Syracuse.  He then put it in his jacket pocket. He carried it with him to Kansas City and decided to read it again before the NCAA final game with Kansas.

The telegram read:

Best wishes and all the luck in the world.  You proved it to us; now prove it to the nation.

It was signed by each member of the Wake Forest basketball team, Head Coach Murray Greason and Assistant Coach Bones McKinney.  In the early morning hours of Sunday, March 24th, the victory bell in the old Wake Forest administration building rang out celebrating the Tar Heel win.

And, as for Jack Markham and that career day at ASH . . . well six years later Markham had risen to program director and production manager and in January of 1963 he hired a young UNC grad as a production assistant at WFMY-TV.  I would work there for 42 years.

For more photographs from the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives of the UNC 1956-1957 basketball season, visit the webpage McGuire’s Miracle.