UNC’s first NCAA Division I Tournament in Charlotte

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

Walter Davis shooting jump shot

Walter Davis elevates and shoots beyond the reach a New Mexico State defender during first round action in the 1975 NCAA Division I Championship Tournament played at the Charlotte Coliseum. UNC’s Mitch Kupchak watches Davis’s shot in anticipation. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

In 1975, the UNC men’s basketball team found itself in the NCAA Tournament once again—not because it was yet another year in a long string of consecutive appearances, but because the team did not make the big dance the previous two years. Charlotte hosted the East Regional games in 1973, which was the final year of the NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament; UNC, however, was MIA because they played in the NIT in NYC.  There they finished in third place, making it to the semifinals but losing to Notre Dame 78–71, but defeating the other semifinal loser, Alabama, 88–69.  The next year, 1974, also found the Tar Heels playing in the NIT, but they were one-and-done with an eleven-point loss to Purdue, 82–71 in their first contest.

UNC entered the 1975 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament after capturing the ACC Tournament as the second seed with three narrow victories.  They defeated, in order, seventh seed Wake Forest in overtime, 101–100; third seed Clemson in overtime, 76-71; and fourth seed North Carolina State, 70–66.

The 1975 NCAA Tournament was the first to field thirty-two teams without first round byes, and the second that officially determined the Division I champion.  Two cities hosted the first round games for the East region: Charlotte and Philadelphia.  UNC played its first round opponent, New Mexico State, at the Charlotte Coliseum on March 15.  New Mexico State had finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference behind Louisville.  Also playing in Charlotte that day was Furman University against Boston College.  The winners of both these games would head to Providence, Rhode Island for the Eastern Regionals.

With the game just down the road, Hugh Morton was court-side in the coliseum with his camera, capturing Phil Ford, Mitch Kupchak, Mickey Bell, and Walter Davis on black-and-white film.  Eleven negatives survive, five of which can be seen on the online collection of Morton’s photographs.  The Tar Heels easily handled the Aggies, 93–69.  Boston College was also victorious, defeating Furman, 82–76.  Both victors headed off to the Ocean State for their Thursday Eastern Regional semifinals: UNC versus Syracuse and Boston College against Kansas State.

UNC and Syracuse hadn’t played against each other since the Tar Heel’s perfect 32–0 season in 1957.  The twentieth ranked Orangemen from Syracuse upset the sixth ranked Tar Heels in a close game, 78–76.  Boston College fell at the hands of Kansas State 74–65.  Back then, the regional losers played a third-place game, so both teams hung around until Saturday, when UNC whipped BC 110–90.

Morton did not make the journey to Providence, so the only 1975 NCAA Tournament photographs in the collection are those from the first round game played in Charlotte.

Correction 20 March 2018: The post initially stated UNC defeated number-one seed Maryland, 87–85 in the second round of the 1975 ACC Tournament.  UNC defeated Clemson, 76–71, not Maryland.  North Carolina State defeated Maryland, 87–85.

A drive to Washington DC with Barrier: part 3

Negative strips from the 1987 ACC Tournament

SLIM PICKINGS: Hugh Morton’s only black-and-white negatives from the 1987 ACC Tournament semifinals. The lower left images are likely from Dean Smith’s press conference after the Virginia game, because the next frame is a shot from the Wake Forest vs. North Carolina State game. The strip on the right contains more action from that game.

This is the third and final entry summarizing Hugh Morton’s drive to Washington D.C. with Smith Barrier to photograph the Jesse Helms, the ACC Tournament, and David Brinkley.  The series was to be four parts long, but the collection materials just didn’t rise to the occasion.  What happened?

Saturday, March 7: “ACC”

Strip of black-and-white negatives from 1987 ACC Tournament final

SLIMMER PICKINGS: The only extant black-and-white negatives from the 1987 ACC Tournament final won by North Carolina State over UNC, 68–67.

Morton, as you might expect, photographed the semifinals played between UNC and Virginia, and NC State and Wake Forest.  As noted in the previous post in the series, the images from this ACC tournament are a bit scattered in the collection. Negatives and slides from March 7 are very scarce and can be found here in the collection:

  • Roll Film Box P081/35BW-17 (35mm black-and-white negatives)
    • Envelope 6.1.1-5-304: includes UNC vs. Virginia (5 negatives), but only four shots on the sidelines of a young person next to a water cooler, and a shot of the scoreboard showing a 72–72 tie with 0:22 on the clock, plus two frames during Dean Smiths’s press conference.  There are no game action black-and-white negatives.
  • Slide Lot 009598 (35mm color slides)
    • UNC vs. Virginia (31 slides): Morton’s slides from this game are uncharacteristically under exposed.

Penciled into his calendar was a dinner with “Babb, Cookerly, Thigpen, Sachs” suggesting that the dinner gathering was planned after the initial entry of ACC in ink.  I searched the collection finding aid and online images and found nothing.  Does anyone know who these people were? With some more details we might be able to figure out if images exist under a topical description.

David Brinkley, 1987.

David Brinkley sitting at table in ABC Newsroom, Washington bureau, Sunday, March 8, 1987.

Sunday, March 8: “ACC”

Sunday morning at 9:30, Hugh Morton photographed fellow Wilmington native David Brinkley on the set of ABC News Washington.  Photographically speaking it was the highlight of his day.  That afternoon, UNC lost to NC State 68–67, and Morton’s 35mm slides were once again mostly underexposed.  The day’s end? “Drive Gbo.”  Unlike today’s digital days when you can instantaneously review of your exposures on the back of your camera, Morton would’t know until after he sent off his film to be chemically processed in a lab and reviewed the results on his light table that he had underexposed his ACC tournament color slides.

UNC doesn’t always win basketball tournaments, and even Hugh Morton had a bad couple days court-side.  Fortunately for us today, his trip to DC produced excellent results with several photographs of two of North Carolina’s most notable people of their time.

A drive to Washington DC with Barrier: part 2

Today’s post is part two of a four-day, four-post series covering a trip Hugh Morton made to the Washington D.C. area between Wednesday, March 4 and Sunday, March 8, 1987.  Part one of this series covered March 5th, when Morton photographed United States Senator Jesse Helms.  Today’s post covers the March 6th, the first day of the 1987 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Friday, March 6: “ACC Landover”

As is the case today in 2018, March 6th was the first day of the 1987 ACC Tournament, played in Andover, Maryland at Capital Centre.  Morton photographed the following game between Virginia and Georgia Tech . . .

Action during Georgia Tech versus Virginia ACC Tournament between Virginia and Georgia Tech

Action during the Georgia Tech versus Virginia game in the 1987 ACC Tournament, 6 March 1987.

and UNC’s matchup with the local favorite, Maryland.

Action during UNC versus Maryland in 1987 ACC Tournament

Caught in the action is UNC’s J. R. Reid. Behind Reid is #21 Michael Norwood. Players for Maryland are #4 Ivan Powell and #23 Dave Dickerson.

Most of Morton’s work from this opening quarterfinal round has not been digitized. The negatives and slides in the collection for the various games of the tournament are a bit jumbled.  Below is a list of black-and-white negatives and color slides for games played on March 6, excerpted from the Morton collection finding aid:

  • Roll Film Box P081/35BW-17 (35mm black-and-white negatives)
    • Envelope 6.1.1-5-302: Georgia Tech vs. University of Virginia (3 negatives)
    • Envelope 6.1.1-5-303: UNC vs. Maryland (6 negatives)
    • Envelope 6.1.1-5-304: includes UNC vs. Maryland (11 negatives).  This envelope includes loose strips from all three days of the tournament.
  • Slide Lot 009600 (35mm color slides)
    • UNC vs. Maryland (3 slides)
    • Virginia vs. Georgia Tech (2 slides)
    • Clemson vs. Wake Forest (7 slides)
    • Duke vs. North Carolina State (5 slides of game action, 4 slides of post-game press conference—3 of NC State coach Jim Valvano and 1 with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski).

Sorting out the above was very confusing!  Since I took the time to figure out what was what, I decided to record it here for anyone’s future reference.  There were some errors in the finding aid, too, so I submitted corrections for those.

 

Four ACC Tournament firsts from 1967

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 65th annual Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball tournament will be staged in Brooklyn, New York beginning today, March 6th, 2018.  The tournament will return to North Carolina next year when the event will play out in Charlotte. In 2020 the tournament will return to Greensboro for the 28th time, a series that began in 1967.

Morton collection volunteer/contributor Jack Hilliard takes a look back at the ’67 UNC season and an ACC Tournament which was one for the record books.

Carolina’s 1966-67 basketball season got off to a routine start, but finished in a flurry of firsts.  An eleven-point win in Chapel Hill against Clemson for the nineteenth straight time tipped off the season, but was hardly anything to write home about.  Next was a trip to the Greensboro Coliseum for a thirty-point victory against Penn State, followed by seven straight wins—including a win at Kentucky and two more visits to the Greensboro Coliseum with wins over NYU and Furman.  As the season played out, the Tar Heels lost only four regular season games, and they headed into the 1967 ACC Tournament as the regular season conference champion with an ACC record of 12–2.

For the first time since its beginning in 1954, the ACC played its conference tournament away from Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh.  In 1966 the conference established a rotation arrangement for tournament hosts, electing to play the 1967 tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum—much to delight of UNC Head Basketball Coach Dean Smith.  Smith had favored a neutral site for the tournament and he thought Greensboro was a good fit, even though the coliseum, at that time, had 3,600 fewer seats than Reynolds Coliseum.

Coach Smith and his North Carolina Tar Heels came into the tournament as the number one seed. This was only the second time UNC had been seeded as tournament number one, the first time being the year of “McGuire’s Miracle” after the 1956-57 regular season.

Photographer Hugh Morton made the trip up from his home in Wilmington to document this first Greensboro ACC tournament. (Morton was a fixture courtside at the ACC Tournaments and much of his work can be found in the 1981 book The ACC Tournament Classic by Hugh Morton and Smith Barrier.) Currently there are sixteen photographs made by Morton during the tournament available for viewing in the online collection.  The Morton collection finding aid indicates that thirty-four black-and-white and eight color photographs from UNC’s games versus North Carolina State, Wake Forest, and Duke.

UNC versus Wake Forest during 1967 ACC Tournament

Larry Miller (UNC #44) going up for shot during UNC-Chapel Hill versus Wake Forest University basketball game in the 1967 ACC Tournament.

Three days before the tournament, Greensboro Daily News sports editor Smith Barrier predicted Duke would take the tournament despite the fact that Carolina had beaten Duke twice during the regular season.

The 1967 ACC Tournament, the 14th annual event, tipped off at 1:30 PM on Thursday, March 9th with 8,766 fans watching South Carolina beat Maryland 57–54.  Duke defeated Virginia 99–78 in the second afternoon game.

The first round evening game pitted North Carolina against North Carolina State—a game that turned out to be much closer than most expected. Since Carolina was 12—2 in the ACC and State was 2–12, most folks thought the Tar Heels would have no trouble.  Head coach Norman Sloan and his Wolfpack had a different idea. At the half the score was tied at 26. Carolina was able to hang on and win 56–53.  The second evening contest saw Wake Forest defeat Clemson 63–61 in double overtime.

On Friday, March 10th, the first semifinal game had Smith’s Tar Heels playing Jack McCloskey’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons.  Wake led by four at half, 38–34, but thanks to Larry Miller’s 29-point-second-half, the Tar Heels came away with 89–79 victory.  The second Friday game had coach Vic Bubas’ Duke Blue Devils beating coach Frank McGuire’s South Carolina Gamecocks 69–66 and set up a Duke–Carolina final.

UNC All American Larry Miller had cut out Smith Barrier’s newspaper column predicting a Duke championship, and on championship game day he put the clipping in his shoe.

At 8:30 PM on Saturday, March 11, 1967 it was the “Battle of the Blues.”  Carolina, for the first time in the tournament, played like most Tar Heel fans thought the number one seed should play and led 40–34 at half.  Thanks to Larry Miller’s 32 points, the Tar Heels held on to win 82–73, but the game was really closer than the nine point difference. Coach Smith got a ride on the shoulders of his winning players and called the Duke win “the greatest victory I’ve had as a coach.”

Miller took home the Outstanding Player award.  Following the post game press conference, he presented the clipping to Smith Barrier.  According to author Art Chansky in his 2016 book Game Changers, Barrier “took it in good spirit.”  Sandy Treadwell, Managing Editor of The Daily Tar Heel wrote in the March 12th issue, “The Tar Heels ended a long road of twenty-eight basketball games.  It was a road that took them into national prominence, and which last night earned them a ticket to the NCAA Eastern Regional Tournament in Maryland later this week.”

When the 14th annual Atlantic Coast Conference ended, a total of 35,064 fans had witnessed a tournament for the record books.  Historians of the game went to work and discovered it was the first time that:

  • the conference played the tournament outside Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh.  (The tournament hasn’t been played in Raleigh since 1966, but there is currently talk of playing the tournament, or part of the 75th anniversary tournament in Raleigh in 2028.)
  • the conference played the tournament in the Greensboro Coliseum.  (Since then, Greensboro has hosted the tournament twenty-seven times.)
  • UNC’s Dean Smith won the ACC Tournament Championship.  (Smith’s teams went on to win a total of thirteen ACC Tournaments before his retirement following the 1997 season.)
  • UNC had beaten the three other members of the “Big Four” (Duke, N.C. State, and Wake Forest) during an ACC Tournament—a fete that hasn’t happened since.

A drive to Washington D.C. with Barrier: part 1

It’s often useful when researching Hugh Morton images to check his executive planners.  I’ve used examples of this practice before, and for today’s post this tactic provided some insight into one particular journey in March 1987.

Executive planner page, 5–7 March 1987

The page for March 5 through 8, 1987 in Hugh Morton’s executive planner.

Wednesday, March 4: Drive Wash DC with Barrier

One of Morton’s two entries for March 4th reads, “Drive Wash DC with Barrier.”  Henri Smith Barrier Jr. was a member of the UNC class of 1937—just six years ahead of Hugh Morton’s class of 1943—but he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 1940 when Morton was UNC student.  Barrier was sports editor of the Concord Tribune, his hometown newspaper, for two years before he joined the Greensboro Daily News in 1941.  Just six years before this road trip, in 1981, Barrier wrote and edited the book The ACC Basketball Tournament Classic that featured Morton’s photography.  Barrier passed away a little more than two years after this DC journey on 2 June 1989.

Thursday, March 5: “Jesse Helms”

That’s Morton’s plain and simple entry, but why did Morton schedule a photography session with Jesse Helms?  I suspect it was a self-assignment for his collaborative book with Ed Rankin titled Making a Difference in North Carolina. Rankin and Helms were roommates in 1941 when they were newsmen at The News and Observer and The Raleigh Times, respectively.  In 1987 Helms was serving his third term as North Carolina’s senior United States Senator.  The state’s junior senator was Terry Sanford, elected just a few months earlier in November 1986.

Terry Sanford and Jesse Helms

North Carolina’s United States Senators Terry Sanford (Democrat) and Jesse Helms (Republican) on March 5, 1987 in the hallway outside of Helms’ office. (Photograph cropped by the author.)

The Morton collection finding aid states there are seventy-six black-and-white 35mm negatives in Subseries 2.1, which is devoted to the negatives Morton pulled together during the making of Making a Difference in North Carolina. There are thirteen 35mm color slides of from this same date in Subseries 2.6. “People, Identified.” Currently there are twelve of these images related to Morton’s coverage Helms available in the online collection.

A caption in Making a Difference in North Carolina notes that one event Morton photographed that day was a confirmation hearing for Jack F. Matlock Jr. held by the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.  Matlock was a native of Greensboro and a Duke University alumnus.  From the extant negatives and slides, it appears Morton did not photograph Matlock.  On another note of interest, Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Senator Edward Zorinsky, Democrat from Nebraska, died the next day, March 6th, at the 1987 Omaha Press Club Ball.  In the photograph below, is that Senator Zorinsky on the right?  It may be hard to tell for certain because there is not a full resolution scan online to zoom in and look more closely, so below is a cropped detail.

Senator Jess Helms

Senator Jess Helms (left) during a meeting of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Possibly Edward Zorinsky

A cropped detail from the photograph above that might be Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky talking with Virginia Senator John Warner. If not, does anyone recognize who he and others may be?

Another similar photograph for a different angle . . .

Senator Jesse Helms

Senator Jesse Helms (left) during a meeting of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

One photograph from the day serves as an excellent example of why photographic archives desire to obtain negative collections, not just photographic prints.  Below is a photograph of Helms with Senator John Warner of Virginia as published in Making a Deference in North Carolina . . .

Jesse Helms and John Warner, from book Making a Difference in North Carolina

. . . and here’s a scan of the entire negative . . .

United States Senators John McCain, Jesse Helm, and John Warner.

For the book, Morton decided to crop out Arizona’s senator John McCain.

Here’s another photograph from the day that’s not in the online collection:

United States Senators

United States Senators

I recognize Helms (left) and Dan Quayle (center).  Want to try your hand on the others?

Tune in tomorrow for part two: Friday, March 6: “ACC Landover”

ADDITION made on 8 March 2018: negatives depicting West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd appears in some of the negatives made on this day, but I did not use one for this blog post.  I noticed afterward, however, that there is a separate listing for three 35mm negatives in the Morton collection finding aid for Robert C. Byrd made on March 5, 1987 (the date in finding aid is March 6th) in Envelope 2.1.48-5-1.

Rollie Massimino (1934–2017)

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

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

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

Putting a “value” on the Gate City

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Razorbacks are back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post Script

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

Correction

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

If it’s March, there must be madness

Jeff Lebo cutting down net after UNC win over Duke at 1989 ACC tournament, Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia.

Jeff Lebo cutting down net after UNC win over Duke at 1989 ACC tournament, Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia.

“March Madness” is only a week away when the 64th annual Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament takes place starting today, March 7, through March 11, 2017 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.  Officially, it’s the “New York Life ACC Tournament,” but a title sponsor has not always been attached.  That addition is just one of the many changing facets of this classic sporting event that have taken place over the years— and photographer Hugh Morton was there for twenty-one (at least) of them between 1954 and 2005.  On day one of the ACC Tournament, Morton collection volunteer and A View to Hugh contributor Jack Hilliard takes a brief look at the record book.  Within the story, you may follow the links to see Morton’s photographs for the years available in online collection. (Not all the years photographed by Morton are available in the online collection.  See Series 6.1 in the collection finding aid for a full listing.)

In early March, 1997, the ACC Tournament was staged in Greensboro for the 17th time, but the front page basketball story in the March 9th edition of the “News & Record” was titled “Shooting with the Best of Them: At 76, Hugh Morton still keeps life in focus.”  The article told the Hugh Morton story and how he had covered the ACC tournament starting back in 1954. In fact, feature writer Jim Schlosser’s article said:  “He’s been shooting Carolina wins, and the occasional loss, in every ACC tournament, save one, since the first in 1954 in Raleigh.”

The fifteen-team league competing for the 2017 ACC Tournament Championship is a far cry from the league that Morton first photographed in 1954 when only 8 teams made up the conference. That ’54 tournament was played in Raleigh’s William Neal Reynolds Coliseum and was won by Coach Everett Case’s NC State Wolfpack…an 82 to 80 overtime thriller against Coach Murray Greason’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons.  State went on to win the event in ‘55 and ’56 before North Carolina won its first tournament in 1957. And Carolina continued its winning ways as the NCAA Champion that year…the first North Carolina based team to do that since the official formation of the Atlantic Coast Conference in May of 1953.

The University of Maryland won the 1958 tournament, defeating the defending champion Tar Heels as the Terps became the first out-of-North Carolina tournament champion.  In ’59, NC State came back as a winner for the 4th time with a win over UNC.

Duke beat Wake Forest for its first ACC Tournament in 1960, while Wake beat Duke in ’61 for its first tournament win. Wake won again in ’62.  During the next four years, Duke won three more times and State won in ’65. Hugh Morton photographs can be seen in the online collection for the UNC vs USC semifinal game in 1963 and the Duke vs NC State first-round game in 1964.

In 1967, the tournament moved from Reynolds Coliseum to the Greensboro Coliseum where Carolina beat Duke for the title. Carolina continued its winning ways with two wins over State and Duke as the tournament moved to Charlotte in 1968 and 1969.

Following NC State’s 1970 win in Charlotte over South Carolina, it was back to Greensboro for the next five years.  South Carolina won its only ACC Tournament in 1971 and Carolina and State split the next four years: Carolina winning in 1972 and 1975, and State winning in 1973 and 1974—and of course State won the National Championship in 1974, the only time the “Final Four” championship round has been played in Greensboro.

In 1976, the tournament moved to the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland where Virginia won its first ACC Tournament, beating North Carolina 67 to 62.  It was back to the Greensboro Coliseum in 1977 for a four year stint.  Carolina and Duke split with UNC winning in 1977 and 1979 and Duke winning in 1978 and 1980.  (Note: four photographs in the online collection lack definite identifications with “late 1970s” being the estimated date range, and another photograph only dated as “1980s” appears for all searches for the years 1980 through 1989.  Please try your hand at identifying the photographs and leave a comment with your findings!)

Carolina won in 1981 back at Capital Center, and then again in Greensboro in 1982, where the Tar Heels won the NCAA Championship again 1982.  The tournament moved again in 1983—this time to the Omni in Atlanta where NC State won over Virginia and went on to its second NCAA Championship.  Maryland beat Duke back in Greensboro in 1984 and Georgia Tech won its first ACC Tournament at the Omni in 1985, beating North Carolina.

Duke won twice in Greensboro in 1986 and 1988 while NC State won at Capital Center in 1987.  Carolina beat Duke 77 to 74 in 1989 at the Omni before the tournament moved back to the Charlotte Coliseum in 1990 for five years with Georgia Tech winning twice, in 1990 and 1993, and North Carolina twice, in 1991 and 1994.  Duke won in 1992 adding a NCAA Championship. The years 1995 to 1998 were back in Greensboro where Wake Forest won twice, in 1995 and 1996, and Carolina won in 1997.  And I believe that’s where we came in with Morton shooting the 1997 tournament in Greensboro.  Morton’s last ACC Tournament was in 2002 at the Charlotte Coliseum.

Since Morton made “tournament headlines” in Greensboro in 1997, the ACC Tournament has played out nineteen times and Morton’s Tar Heels have won only four of those events, while Duke has won ten. (And it should be pointed out that Duke’s wins in 2001, 2010, and 2015 were followed up with NCAA championships). Florida State, Miami, and Notre Dame have added one win each while Maryland and Virginia have added one each to their championships lists.  Also, the tournament has added two additional venues since 1997: DC in 2006 and Tampa, Florida in 2007.

Ten years after Tampa was added, the tournament moves to Brooklyn, New York in 2017—where Duke will be going for overall tournament championship number twenty, UNC will be going for number nineteen, NC State will be looking for number eleven, and Wake Forest number five.  But as ACC basketball goes, any one of the now fifteen member teams could win in the “Big Apple” this March as “Madness” abounds.

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 David Meincke 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.

Correction: this article initially incorrectly credited Jack Hilliard as the write of the “UNC vs. Villanova” post.