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

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

A dear coworker of mine, Bill Richards, passed away on March 18th while watching the Tar Heels play their “Sweet Sixteen” game against Creighton in the NCAA tournament.  In addition to being an avid UNC football and basketball fan, Bill was the senior digitization technician in the Carolina Digital Library and Archives.  His knowledge and skills with scanning technologies, Photoshop, and high-end inkjet printing were formidable, and he taught me most of what little (by comparison) that I know on those topics.  In 1982, Bill was the Chief Photographer for the Chapel Hill Newspaper,  In 1988, he began working as a photographer and graphic designer in the UNC Office of Sports information.  He began working in the Library Photographic Service  in 1998, but continued working for Sports information into the 2000s. This post is dedication to one of the best colleagues with whom I have ever worked.

1982 NCAA trophy and the UNC Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower

1982 NCAA trophy and the UNC Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The telegram read:

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

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

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

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

Correction: on 13 June 2014, the type of plane that brought the UNC team to RDU was changed to “Lockheed Constellation,” which was previously described as a DC-7.  See http://pages.suddenlink.net/w4ydy/unc1957.html for color slides made at the event, which clearly show the aircraft.

Photographs from the 1942 Southern Conference Tournament

Today’s post is the third and final on the 1942 Southern Conference Basketball Tournament, which we have been featuring on its seventieth anniversary in conjunction with the fifty-ninth annual Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament taking place March 8th through 11th, 2012.

Some of the photographs shown below are not available in the online collection of Hugh Morton’s photographs at the time of this posting.  They will be added to the collection in the future.  Those images that are available in the collection can be seen without cropping by clicking on the image.

Many of the people portrayed in these photographs are unidentified.  If you can provide any identifications please leave a comment!

Duke bench during games versus Washington and Lee, March 5th, 1942.

Duke bench during game against Washington and Lee

Members of the Duke University men's basketball team and head coach Edmund "Eddie" Cameron seated on sideline. Labeled "For 2003 reprint book." A similar photograph of Cameron with different players appears in the March 6, 1942 issue of THE CHARLOTTE NEWS, so the event is likely the Southern Conference basketball tournament game versus Washington and Lee at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium played on March 5th.

UNC bench during game against Wake Forest, March 5th, 1942.

UNC bench during 1942 Southern Conference Tournament game against Wake Forest College

UNC men's basketball players and coach Bill Lange on sidelines during basketball game, probably 1942 Southern Conference tournament game versus Wake Forest at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, NC. (Identification of location based upon the above similar photograph of Duke's bench made from same vantage point.)

North Carolina Sate versus University of South Carolina, March 5th, 1942.

North Carolina State versus University of South Carolina game

Action from the North Carolina State versus University of South Carolina game, March 5th, 1942. (P081_NTBS3_006368)

College of William and Mary versus George Washington University, March 5th 1942.

William and Mary versus George Washington University

A struggle for possession during the William and Mary versus George Washington University opening round game played on March 5th 1942.

Bench photographs of unidentified teams, players, or coaches

William and Mary players and coach

William and Mary players and coach (P081_NTBS3_006370). Note the photographer (perhaps!) on the right side of the image, seated next to what looks to be a camera with mounted flash unit.

 

Unidentified team, 1942 Southern Tournament

Unidentified team and coach (P081_NTBS3_006371).

George Washington University players and coach during 1942 Southern Conference Tournament

George Washington University players and coach during 1942 Southern Conference Tournament (P081_NTBS3_006369).

Duke versus Wake Forest, March 6th, 1942.

Duke versus Wake Forest during 1942 Southern Conference Tournament

Scene from the Wake Forest College vs. Duke University game. Morton's photograph (cropped to show only three players on left) appears in the 8 March 1942 edition of the WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL AND SENTINEL with caption, "Gantt on the Lose—Big Bob Gantt, one of those five flaming Duke sophs, is shown here breaking down the court during the Wake Forest game Friday night. He had just taken the ball off the Wake backboard and is en route to his as Jim Bonds, deacon forward, partially blocks his way. Garland Loftis of Duke is the other player. Duke won 54–45."

 North Carolina State versus William and Mary, March 7th, 1942.

Weary Bones McKinney

This photograph captures Horace "Bones" McKinney on floor with towel during N.C. State University game versus William and Mary in the tournament semifinal. This photograph (or one made within a split second) is similarly cropped as it appeared in the CHARLOTTE NEWS with the caption, "WEARY BONES McKINNEY was glad to stretch out on the floor during a time out last night as his N. C. State ball club fought off a last-minute rally by William and Mary and came out with a 53-52 victory that sent the Terrors into the tourney title-round for the first time since it was moved to Raleigh in 1933." Click on the image to see the full negative.

 

McKinney hoists Carvalho

This Morton photograph appeared in the WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL AND SENTINEL with the caption “Clown Prince Gets Happy—Bones McKinney, tall N. C. State center, hoists Little Buckwheat Carvalho after the Terrors had beaten William and Mary in the semifinals of the conference tourney, 53-52. Bones was the top scorer in the loop this year with 300 points.” Little Buckwheat’s real first name was Paul. (P081_NTBS3_006374)

Championship game, Duke versus North Carolina State, March 7th, 1942.

Duke versus NCSU 1942 Southern Conference Tournament

Cropped view from the only surviving negative of an action shot made during the Duke versus North Carolina State championship game to be discovered thus far in the Morton Collection (P081_NTBS3_006375). The entire negative as shot can be seen below. See the previous blog post for Morton's published photograph of the Duke team and fans after receiving the tournament trophy.

Duke versus NCSU (not cropped)

In the shadows of greatness . . . on the shoulders of giants

1942 Southern Conference Queen

Anne Geoghegan, 1942 Southern Conference basketball tournament queen.

Today’s post is by frequent contributor Jack Hilliard and is the second post on the 1942 Southern Conference Basketball Tournament

Background: When the 59th annual Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament tips off at noon on March 8th in Atlanta’s Philips Arena, the players and coaches of the twelve teams (soon to be fourteen) will be playing “in the shadows of greatness and on the shoulders of giants.”  Not only have the fifty-eight previous tournaments and players set a high standard, but the ACC’s parent conference, the Southern Intercollegiate Conference, played at an equally high standard for thirty-two seasons.

The Southern Intercollegiate Conference, or Southern Conference as it has been called over the years, or SoCon as it is often called today, was founded on February 25, 1921 when representatives from 14 of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s (SIAA) 30 member institutions met at the Piedmont Hotel in Atlanta.  Among the fourteen member schools were North Carolina State and the University of North Carolina. The decision to form a new conference was motivated in part by the desire to have a workable number of games by each member school.  It was impossible for the thirty member schools in the SIAA to play each other each year.  (Does that sound familiar Carolina and State fans?)

Play began in the Southern Conference in the fall of 1921 and men’s basketball was the first sport to hold a tournament.  The inaugural tournament was held in Atlanta’s Municipal Auditorium and was won by North Carolina.  Monk McDonald and Billy Carmichael led Carolina as they won five tournament games to claim the championship.

An interesting side note: Carolina went without a head coach during the 1921–22 and 1922–23 seasons because Fred Boye left after one year and they could not find a replacement.  Bob Fetzer, who coached football and baseball for North Carolina, would often accompany the team on road games but would sit in the stands.  Carolina would win seven more Southern Conference championships.  Duke joined the Southern Conference in 1928 and won its first of five tournaments in 1938.  NC State won its first tournament in 1929.

At the Southern Conference annual meeting on December 9, 1932, Dr. S.V. Sanford of the University of Georgia announced that thirteen of the then twenty-three Southern Conference schools would be forming the Southeastern Conference thus leaving the Southern Conference with ten members.  Wake Forest joined in 1936 and by 1942 there were sixteen teams.

A side note from the editor: an organization named the Naismith Memorial Committee dubbed the period of December 1941 to December 1942 as the “golden jubilee of basketball”—which was really their capital campaign to raise funds for the construction of a monument to honor basketball’s founder James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts.  The effort was delayed in the face of World War II, but it was an early effort to establish what is now the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Duke basketball team after winning the 1942 Southern Conference Tournament.

This Morton photograph appeared in THE CHARLOTTE NEWS, captioned "DUKE'S HAPPINESS BOYS with another basketball title: Clyde Allen, Garland Loftis, captain Ray Spuhler, Cedric Loftis, Bill McCahan, Sam Rothbaum, Coach Eddie Cameron. They grinned about the trophy, but they knew it was coming all the time."

1942 Southern Conference Basketball Tournament:  The Southern Conference held its 1942 basketball tournament in Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium with its top eight teams.  On March 5th, 1942, the 21st Southern Conference Tournament tipped off with Duke playing Washington and Lee.  Greensboro Daily News sportswriter Frank Gilbreth’s lead sentence on March first was:  “Washington and Lee’s Generals today drew the suicide assignment of playing top-seeded Duke . . . in the opening round of the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament.”  The Duke–W&L game was followed by UNC vs. Wake Forest, and North Carolina State vs. South Carolina.  Yesterday’s post feature a photograph from the USC–State contest.  Duke prevailed in its contest, and the Deacons, led by Herb Cline upset the UNC White Phantoms 32-26.

UNC versus Wake Forest College in the 1942 Southern Conference Tournamant

Herb Cline of Wake Forest College and UNC's Reid Suggs during in the opening round of the 1942 Southern Conference Tournament

Two days later, Duke and NC State squared off in the finals with Duke winning its third Southern Conference Tournament.  Clyde Allen, Duke’s veteran center and Hap Spuhler led the boys from Durham, while the star of the North Carolina State “Red Terrors” (as they were called then) was Horace Albert “Bones” McKinney—easily the most memorable player in the ’42 tournament.  McKinney would go on to play for UNC after the war, and later coach at Wake Forest.  And he even had a Duke connection: McKinney played for Durham High where three of his teammates (Bob Gantt, Garland Loftis, and Cedric Loftis) went on to play for Duke in 1942.

Horace "Bones" McKinney drinking from a ladle at the 1942 Southern Conference Tournament

Horace "Bones" McKinney drinking from a ladle at the 1942 Southern Conference Tournament.

Several of Hugh Morton’s images from the ’42 tournament—featured throughout this post—appeared in newspapers thought the state, including the Charlotte News, Greensboro Daily News, Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel, and, of course, the UNC student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. In future years, Morton would become a permanent fixture courtside at Southern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference tournaments well into the 2000s.

Southern Conference . . . Atlantic Coast Conference:  Basketball in North Carolina changed forever in 1946 with the arrival of Everett Case at North Carolina State.  Starting in 1947 and continuing through the 1952 season, Case won six straight Southern Conference Tournaments.  Names like Dick Dickey, Vic Molodet, Ronnie Shavlik, Lou Pucillo, Cliff Dwyer, Sam Ranzino became familiar to almost everyone in the state.  It was a magical time in Raleigh.  State beat Carolina fourteen times between 1947 and 1952.

Enter Frank Joseph McGuire.  Coach McGuire was given two challenges when he came into Chapel Hill in 1952: beat State, then beat everybody else.  He did both.  On January 24, 1953 he finally broke the long losing streak by beating NC State 70-69.

Later, in the spring of 1953, there was another conference meeting.  This one at the Sedgefield Inn in Greensboro on April 8th, and yet another change for the Southern Conference was in order.  By then the conference had grown to seventeen teams so seven members withdrew to form what would become the Atlantic Coast Conference.  Among the seven were Carolina, Duke, Wake, and State.  And four seasons later, Frank McGuire was able to overcome the second part of that challenge by beating everybody else.  It’s often called “McGuire’s Miracle.”  During the 1956-57 season UNC won 32 games and a national championship.  New “giants” made the news: Lennie Rosenbluth, Pete Brennan, Joe Quigg, Bob Cunningham, and Tommy Kearns.  Plenty more from teams in North Carolina would follow, with NC State’s National Championships in 1974 and 1983, Duke’s in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, and UNC’s 1924, 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009.

Who knows what “March Madness” will bring in 2012?

1942 Southern Conference basketball tournament

University of South Carolina versus North Carolina State University, 1942 Southern Conference Tournament

Today’s post the first of a combined effort between Jack Hilliard and Stephen Fletcher to report on the 1942 Southern Conference Tournament, which coincides with this week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

UNC and WWII during the winter of 1942:  I’ve been living an on-again-off-again life in the winter of 1942 for some weeks now, researching images made by Hugh Morton before he enlisted in the United States Army in the early autumn later that year.  This double-life springs from the post marking the seventieth anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, which had a profound impact on the lives of Hugh Morton and his fellow students at UNC.  A few posts have examined Morton’s photographs depicting activities on campus related to America’s entrance into the second world war, especially those appearing in The Daily Tar Heel (DTH) student newspaper, for which Morton was the staff photographer.  The last post of this type focused on Eleanor Roosevelt’s visit to UNC on January 31st, 1942.

With the exception of one photograph (identified just this week) no Morton photographs depicting war related activities or subjects appeared in the DTH.  That photograph, an uncredited portrait of UNC business manager Livingston B. Rogerson in the February 15th issue, illustrated a front page article informing DTH readers that Rogerson was also serving as the Coordinator of the Office of Civilian Defense—a joint effort between the university and village of Chapel Hill.  Nearly all of Morton’s photographs published in the DTH during this period were sports photographs.

Basketball, 1942:  A blog post in early February 2012 on the day of UNC men’s basketball game against Duke included a minimally identified negative.  Investigations by two of our readers (thank you Jack and Jake!) led to more accurate identification for that image.  In one comment during the online deliberation, Jack Hilliard noted that the other, unidentified photograph (made on 11 February 1942 at Woollen Gym) was in the 1979 book The Winning Tradition: A Pictorial History of Carolina Basketball.  While I was looking for that photograph in the book, the above photograph on a different page caught my eye—or at least the author’s caption did:

This photograph is believed to be one of photographer Hugh Morton’s earliest action shots and captures all the excitement of Carolina basketball in the early 40s: a packed Woollen Gym, plenty of action underneath the boards and those crazy stripped [sic] socks.  There was, however, one problem—our editors searched high and low for the identification of the players but came up empty handed.

I both hate and love seeing captions like that!

One morning while preparing this week’s post, I took a peek into the beginning of the book Hugh Morton’s North Carolina.  On the first page, Morton stated that he had shot a lot of freelance work for the Charlotte News, especially sports, when he was a UNC student.  That made me wonder if the newspaper might have published a Morton photograph of the 1942 Southern Conference tournament played at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in early March.  Some of the identification work I had been doing had led me to discover some photographs I suspected may have been made during that tournament.

The newspaper did indeed publish a few Morton photographs during that weekend, including the photograph above.  For today’s featured photograph, here’s most of the caption written by the Charlotte News for the March 6th issue, which will immediately reveal why the The Winning Tradition editors couldn’t identify the UNC players:

IN A PRETTY GOOD STATE yesterday afternoon were the Terrors’ chance of winning a tourney title at Raleigh as they ousted South Carolina, 56-43.  Photographer Hugh Morton’s camera caught this glimpse of a basketball ballet under the State basket in the first half with Buck Cavalho and Strayhorn of State; Brogden, Dunham and Westmoreland of South Carolina and Bernie Mock of State in a graceful array. . . .”

The Red Terrors was one of several nicknames used by North Carolina State University athletic teams before Wolfpack, and the photograph depicts a scene from the opening round game played on March 5, 1942.

Tomorrow’s post: Jack Hilliard presents an historical background of the Southern Conference.

It’s that time of the year once more

Tonight, the University of North Carolina and Duke University will take to the hardwood for the 233rd time.  Their first contests took place in 1920, so its remarkable to think that when Hugh Morton photographed these two teams playing during his college years, today’s arch rivals had been playing against each other for “only” twenty years or so!

Duke at UNC basketball game, February 7, 1942

UNC vs. Duke University men's basketball game at Woollen Gymnasium, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Photograph (cropped) appears in the 11 February 1942 issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL with caption, " SOME OF THE HEATED play in the first half of the Duke contest is seen in this action photo by cameraman Hugh Morton. Captain Bob Rose and Duke's Stark are on the floor trying to throw the ball in to teammates. George Paine and Clyde Allen are battling for possession of the elusive sphere while McCahan, (48), Reid Suggs, (17), and Rothbaum, (58), look on." Duke won the game 52-40.

As the caption above describes, The Daily Tar Heel cropped Hugh Morton’s photograph shown above—it focused on the players and left out the referee (before the striped jersey era!) and the basket above the action.  Without cropping, the full view gives a better sense of the atmosphere of Woollen Gymnasium.

Below is another photograph from a UNC–Duke basketball game, but this one is without a date.  Is this a different game at a different location? Anybody want to try their hand at identifications? (Clicking on the photograph will take you to the online collection, where you can use the zoom tool.)

UNC versus Duke basketball game, undated

 

It’s ACC tournament time!

Evey year when Earth reaches this part of its orbit around the sun, another globe reaches its pinnacle: Basketball at the annual ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament.  The Atlantic Coast Conference held its first men’s basketball tournament in 1954 at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, making this year its 58th occurrence. And while some may think the ACC and its annual affair has lost its luster, (note that the linked-to article is illustrated by a Morton photograph) it will still generate excitement for many—especially those in our spot on the planet where UNC and Duke might just have another chance to battle each other on the neutral court inside Greensboro Coliseum.

Although Hugh Morton photographed basketball games well before 1954, he seems to have photographed his first ACC tournament in 1958. No negatives prior to the 1958 tournament have surfaced after processing.  The photograph above depicts UNC coach Frank McGuire during an ACC Tournament game that year, and the pinback button is one of only two official photographer’s passes for the ACC tournament in the Morton collection. (The other pass is for 1969.) Want to see more ACC Tournament photographs by Morton? Follow the link to view more than 300 scanned thus far in the online image collection . . . and see if you can find the photograph of a “jump ball” being tossed by a North Carolina governor!

Happy Birthday, Dean Smith

Yesterday marked the 80th birthday of UNC’s legendary basketball coach, Dean Smith. (Sorry, coach, I know you are a stickler for being on time but I’ve been sick and away from the office, so this is a belated greeting!).

The Hugh Morton Collection of Photographs and Films currently has 197 images of Smith online—either for your virtual photographic reminiscence of or initial introduction to a beloved Tar Heel—including the image above depicting Coach Smith signaling for the “four corners” offense during a game in the early 1990s. And while you’re visiting A View to Hugh, please take a moment to read Art Chansky’s essay, “The Tar Heels’ ‘White House Photographer,'” on Hugh Morton’s Tar Heel sports photography, which features an anecdote or two about and a few photographs of Coach Dean Smith.

All nine series now available!

It’s been a while since I announced an update to the finding aid for the Hugh Morton collection . . . but that’s because I’ve been saving up until I could reveal ALL of the remaining series at once. (Not intentionally, actually — it just kind of worked out that way). So yes, this means that almost all* of the Morton collection is now open and available for research!

Of greatest interest to many will be the Sports Series (series 6), which contains the absolute gold mine that is Hugh Morton’s UNC basketball photography. Morton took an amazing 30,000 photographs of UNC basketball, dating from the beginning of his time as a UNC undergrad in 1939 through the early 2000s (see left). We worked hard and very carefully to process this portion of the collection, knowing how popular these would be. Along the way, we digitized about 1300 of them, which (in case you need a reminder) are available online in the Hugh Morton digital collection. (Big props to our volunteer Jack Hilliard, who did the vast majority of the description/identification for these — talk about a “citizen archivist“!).

But let’s not overlook the other sports (football, golf, and hang gliding, to name a few), or series 7 through 9 — World War II (7);  Places, Non-North Carolina and Unidentified (8); and Documents & Objects (9). Go to the newly updated finding aid for detailed descriptions of these materials.

*Yes, unfortunately, we’re not quite done yet. There’s still a good deal of cleaning up left to do, inserting stray items into series, adding the film, video, and audio materials, the oversize prints, etc. Not at all helpful is the fact that as I was doing a “victory lap” around the stacks the other day, I came upon a previously overlooked (and quite large) box of negatives — a tangled mess of hundreds of rolls of film, representing lots of different subjects and time periods. SIGH. Wish me luck.

Laugh, think, cry

We’ve been looking through a LOT of basketball photos recently, and I couldn’t help but notice some fantastic Morton shots of the great Jim Valvano, who died of bone cancer 17 years ago this week. In addition to being an extremely talented, entertaining, and exuberant college basketball coach (most notably at North Carolina State University), in his battle with cancer, Valvano gave us a wonderful model of courage, dignity and humor and the face of tragedy. Probably his best-known quote, below, was delivered at the ESPY awards shortly before his death — I challenge you to watch the video of the speech and not do all three things!

To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.

Words to live by. (An interesting and related side note is this article I just happened to see on CNN.com today about technology and changing cultural attitudes towards end-of-life).

Here’s Jimmy V making “Bones” McKinney laugh:

Morton took the image below at the January 4, 1986 UNC victory over NC State, the “last game in Carmichael.” After the game, Valvano grabbed the ball and shot a layup so he could jokingly claim to have made the “last basket in Carmichael.” (Of course, as Thad Williamson reports, the Heels played in Carmichael again just last month in the NIT).