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.
As many also know, Dean Smith, UNC’s revered basketball coach, passed away in February. Hugh Morton’s last photographs made at an NCAA tournament were of Dean Smith’s final press conference after UNC’s 1997 tournament semifinal loss to Arizona in Indianpolis.
In advance of tonight’s Sweet Sixteen match-up between UNC and Wisconsin in Los Angeles, today’s blog post looks at Morton’s many trips to the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Here’s an interesting factoid from Obscurityville: photographer Hugh Morton was a UNC freshman when the NCAA held its very first men’s basketball tournament in March 1939. Clemson defeated Maryland in the 1939 Southern Conference Tournament; it was Wake Forest, however, with the conference’s best regular season record that the NCAA selected for its eight-team national championship tournament. Wake Forest lost its opening-round game to Ohio State, 64–52.
There was no representative from the Southern Conference in the NCAA tournament the following year. In 1941, UNC lost to Duke in the Southern Conference Tournament, but the NCAA nonetheless selected the “White Phantoms” (the UNC basketball team’s nickname) for its first trip to the national tournament—the only team selected from the twelve southeastern states. During the regular season UNC had posted a 14–1 conference record and were 19–9 overall. UNC’s NCAA tournament appearances that year were of two extremes. They lost 26–20 to Pittsburgh in their opening game played in Madison, Wisconsin. The Yackety Yack yearbook copywriter called it UNC’s “worst exhibition of the year.” The Yack writer then described UNC’s following night performance in the Regional Third Place game as “a sterling display of southern basketball in losing to Dartmouth, 60–59, in the last few seconds.” All-America George Glammack scored 31 points.
In 1942, Morton’s last year as a UNC student, Duke captured the Southern Conference crown. A series of three blog posts on A View to Hugh recounted Morton’s extensive coverage of that tournament. The NCAA did not select Duke, however, as one of the eight tournament teams. In 1943, in what would have been his senior year, Morton was instead a private in the United States Army.
Not until 1946 did a Southern Conference team return to the NCAA tournament. UNC took that honor all the way to the championship game in Madison Square Garden. With his photographic skills now honed by his military experience in the 161st Signal Corps, Hugh Morton photographed the championship match-up, which the Tar Heels lost to Oklahoma A & M 43–40.
Eleven more years transpired before the Tar Heels’ next appearance in the NCAA tournament in 1957. Coach Frank McGuire led UNC to an undefeated season and the national title in the basketball season that became known as “McGuire’s Miracle.” Morton did not attend UNC’s games during that tournament, but he did photograph the team’s return at the Raleigh-Durham Airport.
The frequency of Morton’s attendance at NCAA tournament games began to increase in the mid 1960s. Here’s a list I’ve compiled thus far (it’s “go to press” time!) of Morton’s trips to NCAA tournament games, with some links to the earlier images. Did I miss any? If so let me know and I’ll update the list.
- Duke’s defeat of Connecticut in the 1964 East Regional Final played in Raleigh’s Reynolds Auditorium.
- UNC’s victory over Davidson in the 1968 East Regional Final, also played at Reynold’s Coliseum.
- UNC’s 1969 “Final Four” loss to Purdue in the national semifinal played in Louisville, Kentucky.
- The 1974 national semifinals played in the Greensboro Coliseum, where North Carolina State upset of UCLA in the first round of the Final Four. Morton photographed the game from the stands, from where he also shot some of the Kansas versus Marquette contest. Morton did not photograph N. C. State’s win over Marquette for the national championship.
- 1975 first round win over New Mexico State played at the Charlotte Coliseum.
- The 1977 “Final Four” games versus the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Marquette University played at The Omni in Atlanta.
- UNC’s 1981 championship loss to Indiana at Philadelphia.
- UNC’s 1982 championship victory over Georgetown at New Orleans.
- UNC’s 1983 defeat of Ohio State and its loss to Georgia in the East Regional Final played at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome.
- UNC’s 1987 loss to Syracuse at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.
- UNC’s 1990 upset over number one seed Oklahoma in the second round of the Midwest Regional.
- UNC’s 1993 national championship win over Michigan, 77–71, in New Orleans, and UNC’s games in Winston-Salem and East Rutherford, New Jersey. It seems Morton did not photograph its opening round game versus East Carolina also played in Winston-Salem.
- UNC’s trip to the 1995 Final Four in Seattle
- Morton’s final trip to the NCAA tournament was to see UNC play at Indianapolis in the 1997 Final Four.
Today, February 19th, marks the 94th anniversary of Hugh Morton’s birth. Nine days from today, February 28th, would have been legendary Tar Heel basketball coach Dean Smith’s 84th birthday. As many if not most of you know, Smith passed away earlier this month on February 7th.
In between those two birthday observances will be a third celebration. On Sunday afternoon, February 22nd, there will be a very special gathering in the Dean Smith Student Activity Center on the UNC campus to celebrate the life of Dean E,. Smith. There will be players and former players . . . coaches and former coaches . . . students and former students. And I choose to believe there will be a very special section that will not be visible to those of us in the arena—and Smith, Bill Friday, and Hugh Morton will be seated there. All present will come together to honor the man who symbolizes what is known as “The Carolina Way.”
To mark all three occasions, Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look at the special connection that exists between Hugh Morton and Dean Smith.
Dean Smith, Coach, Teacher, Role Model
—chapter title in Making a Difference in North Carolina by Hugh M. Morton and Edward L. Rankin, Jr.
Soon after Dean Smith arrived on the UNC campus in 1958, he was introduced to Hugh Morton, a longtime friend of the university and its basketball program. Three years later, when Smith was appointed head coach by Chancellor William Aycock, Smith continued the free photographic access policy that the previous head coach, Frank McGuire, had offered Hugh Morton. Morton took advantage of that access. Over the years Morton came up from the North Carolina coast and down from the North Carolina mountains to Chapel Hill to photograph Smith and his championship program.
For the book Making a Difference in North Carolina, Hugh Morton contributed an eight-page chapter about his friend Dean Smith. The piece contains eleven pictures of Smith, including one that was to become a Morton favorite. [Editor’s note: for this occasion, we rescanned Morton’s favorite negative of Smith using our high-end Hasselblad film scanner. It’s much improved!]
In his 1996 book Sixty Years with a Camera, Morton described that famous Smith image:
My favorite picture of Dean Smith is this one (above) made right after UNC won the national championship in 1982 in New Orleans. Except for that net around James Worthy’s neck, you wouldn’t know that Carolina had won. Everybody was wrung out and fatigued.”
Then, seven years later in his 2003 book Hugh Morton’s North Carolina, Morton further described the picture adding, “Sports Information Director Rick Brewer is looking at his watch, fearful that the story will not make East Coast sports page deadlines, and Coach Smith and Jimmy Black are just plain tired. They were waiting to be interviewed by the media.”
At a slide show during UNC’s “Graduation/Reunion Weekend” in May of 1989, Morton explained how he got in position to take the famous picture.
There was mass confusion on the floor after the 1982 Championship game as the security folks tried to get Coach Smith and his team off the court. Coach Smith grabbed me by the arm and said ‘stick with me.’ He then turned to the security guard…pointed at me and said ‘he’s with us.
An earlier blog post recounts the closing moments of that game and includes a link to the broadcast (that’s now no longer functioning) where near the very end you can see Morton on the court near Smith.
Another Hugh Morton favorite slide show photograph can be found in Hugh’s 2003 book on page 200. The image shows Coach Smith with three other coaches that would eventually be UNC head coaches: Bill Guthridge, Matt Doherty and Roy Williams. This photograph is discussed the blog post “Back at the Top . . . Back in the Bayou.” On page 198 of the same book, is the opening photograph of this article, taken at the final game Dean Smith won as a Tar Heel—his final victory, number 879.
Of the many books published about Dean Smith and his basketball program, I think it’s safe to say that Hugh Morton played a part in the finished product of most of them. An excellent example would be Barry Jacobs’s 1998 book, The World According to Dean: Four Decades of Basketball as seen by Dean Smith. The book contains 23 Morton photos and the front cover image. (Judging from Smith’s tie on the cover photograph, it also looks to be from his final victory game.)
On June 2, 2006, the evening following Hugh Morton’s death, WBTV, Channel 3, in Charlotte presented a special Morton tribute. Veteran BTV broadcaster Paul Cameron anchored the program. During the show several of Morton’s friends were interviewed including Dean Smith, live by telephone from his home in Chapel Hill. Coach spoke of Morton’s loyalty to his University and the basketball program and said, no matter what the weather, Morton always seemed to be courtside and ready for game day. In addition, Coach Smith paid tribute to Morton’s family, his wife Julia in particular, and said he called often during Morton’s illness and spoke with him when he was able.
Since Coach Smith’s death on February 7th, there have been dozens and dozens of beautiful tributes written in newspapers and delivered on TV . . . many of which were supported by Morton images. I choose to believe that there will be additional Morton images of Dean Smith taken Sunday afternoon.
You may use the search box at the top of the blog to search for additional A View to Hugh blog posts that include Dean Smith.
With Duke’s win over St. John’s on January 25th, Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest head coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history, became the first head coach to reach 1,000 victories: 927 at Duke and 73 at Army. Coach “K” has been the head basketball coach at Duke University since 1980. He has four NCAA National Championships on his resume and was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Over the years Krzyzewski has often been a photo subject of Hugh Morton. In addition to the three photographs used for the composite above, there are thirteen additional photographs in the online collection. A View to Hugh sends sincere congratulations to Coach Krzyzewski on this career milestone victory.
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.
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:
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
“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
- 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.
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.
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.
As a Caps player-coach, he made some NBA history. He recruited and signed Earl Lloyd, the first African American player in the NBA. On January 9, 1951 the Washington Capitols folded, and McKinney was sent to the Boston Celtics as player-coach.
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.
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.
CORRECTION: When first published, this post had the following text: “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” A correction to this post, made on March 1, 2015 and based upon an obituary, clarifies the chronological order of events. Earl Lloyd passed away on February 26, 2015. A link to Lloyd’s Hall of Fame webpage has also been added.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.