Number 1 and only one (so far)

UNC running back Kelvin Bryant running with the football against Clemson at Clemson University, November 6, 1980. UNC won the game 24-19. The 1980 Tar Heels finished the regular season with an 11-1 record and the ACC Championship—the last time UNC won the title. The Tar Heels then played a postseason game on December 31st in Houston, where they defeated Texas 16 to 7 in the Bluebonnet Bowl. (Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor.)

UNC running back Kelvin Bryant running with the football against Clemson at Clemson University, November 6, 1980. UNC won the game 24-19. The 1980 Tar Heels finished the regular season with an 11-1 record and the ACC Championship—the last time UNC won the title. The Tar Heels then played a postseason game on December 31st in Houston, where they defeated Texas 16 to 7 in the Bluebonnet Bowl. (Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor.)

Prolog: Today, December 5th, at 8:00 P.M. UNC Head Football Coach Larry Fedora’s 2015 Tar Heels will take on head coach Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers for the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship.  Clemson (12-0) is ranked #1 and Carolina (11-1) is ranked #8 in both the Coaches’ and Football Writers’ polls.  The game, which will be played in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, will bring back some memories for some old Tar Heels.  At the end of the 1948 season, Clemson (10-0) was at the top of the Southern Conference while Carolina (9-0-1) was second.  Ironically, the two teams did not meet in ’48 but the final Associated Press poll placed Carolina #3 and Clemson #11.  All of that took place five years before the ACC was born.

Introduction: UNC’s football tradition and heritage runs deep: thirty-one bowl games dating back to the 1947 Sugar Bowl, fourteen bowl wins dating back to the 1963 Gator Bowl, a host of All-America players dating back to 1934 and George Barclay’s selection, five players and two coaches currently in the College Football Hall of Fame dating back to Charlie Justice’s selection in 1961.  There is one distinction, however, that only appears once in the Tar Heel record book and it occurred sixty-seven years ago.  Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at that one-of-a-kind-honor.

When the 1947 football season ended and the final Associated Press poll came out on December 8th, the University of North Carolina was ranked ninth with eight wins and two losses.  The ’47 Tar Heels received several minor bowl invitations, including one from the Legion Bowl that was to be played in Los Angeles, but the team and the university turned down the invitations.

However when the 1948 preseason football magazines hit the newsstands in early August, at least one mentioned the Tar Heels in the same sentence as the words “national title.”  Durham sports columnist Jack Horner, (Hugh Morton jokingly called him “Little Jack Horner”) writing in Street and Smith’s 1948 Football Pictorial Yearbook said, “The Tar Heels of North Carolina . . . have the team to beat for Southern Conference honors but they’re a leading contender for the 1948 mythical national title.”  Greensboro columnist Smith Barrier wrote the following in the 1948 Illustrated Football Annual: “A strenuous schedule that opens with Texas and follows with Georgia gives the Tar Heels opportunity to win tall place among the seasons great football powers.”  When all the columnists’ ink had dried, it was time to play ball and see if any of the predictions would come true.

Opening coin toss before the Kenan Stadium contest between North Carolina and Texas. The Texas player wearing #32 is Tom Landry, who would eventually coach the Dallas Cowboys of the national Football League for twenty-nine years.

Opening coin toss before the Kenan Stadium contest between North Carolina and Texas. The Texas player wearing #32 is Tom Landry, who would eventually coach the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League for twenty-nine years.

First up . . . a Kenan Stadium match-up between coach Carl Snavely’s single-wing North Carolina Tar Heels and coach Blair Cherry’s T-formation Texas Longhorns.  There was no pre-season Associated Press poll in those days, but both teams would have most likely been in the nation’s top five.

On Thursday afternoon, September 23, folks in 10-gallon hats started showing up on Franklin Street.  Texans were in town for Saturday’s season opener and were looking to take up where they left off the year before when they crushed the ’47 Tar Heels 34 to 0 in Austin.  A sell-out crowd of 44,000 filled historic Kenan Stadium on Saturday, where fair, cool weather was in order.

Carolina’s barefooted kicker Mike Rubish kicked to Texas to start the game and Billy Pyle returned it to the Longhorn 22. Two running plays got nothing, so on 3rd down, Frank Guess quick-kicked to Charlie Justice who faked a hand-off to Johnny Clements, then took off down the sideline for 38 yards to the Texas 42.  A drive that included a reverse play to Clements was capped with a touchdown pass from Justice to Art Weiner to put the Heels ahead.  When Bob Cox converted the extra point, the game was only 3:30 old.

This photograph (cropped) appeared in The Charlotte News on September 29 with the caption, "MR. WINGBACK at North Carolina this year is Johnny Clements, successor to Johnny Camp in the single wing attack ably executed by Carl Snavely & Co. A defensive halfback last year, Clements went on the offense as well this year, and Saturday ripped off a 22-yard gain on Carolina's first play from scrimmage to set the stage for the blitz touchdown. The Texans present are Landry [sic?] (33), Fry (60), and One-Punch Kelley (70). Wilmington's Sunday Star-News also published the photograph with slightly wider cropping.

This photograph (cropped) appeared in The Charlotte News on September 29 with the caption, “MR. WINGBACK at North Carolina this year is Johnny Clements, successor to Johnny Camp in the single wing attack ably executed by Carl Snavely & Co. A defensive halfback last year, Clements went on the offense as well this year, and Saturday ripped off a 22-yard gain on Carolina’s first play from scrimmage to set the stage for the blitz touchdown. The Texans present are Landry [sic?] (33), Fry (60), and One-Punch Kelley (70). Wilmington’s Sunday Star-News also published the photograph with slightly wider cropping.

Rubish again kicked to the ‘Horns.  This time Paul Campbell received the kick, then lateraled to Texas co-captain Tom Landry (of future Dallas Cowboy fame) who was nailed by Tar Heel Haywood Fowle.  Landry fumbled and Clements recovered at the Texas 5-yard line.

The Charlotte News published this Hugh Morton photograph, tightly cropped on Rubish and Fowle, on September 28th with the caption "BAREFOOT BOY WITH FOWLE—Mike Rubish (left), who must have set some sort of record by kicking off five times in the first quarter for Carolina against Texas sits on the sidelines fully shod with Haywood Fowle watching following the Kelly–Wardle incident during the Carolina–Texas game. Rubish took off one shoe for the kicking, booted the ball with stocking foot."

The Charlotte News published this Hugh Morton photograph, tightly cropped on Rubish and Fowle, on September 28th with the caption “BAREFOOT BOY WITH FOWLE—Mike Rubish (left), who must have set some sort of record by kicking off five times in the first quarter for Carolina against Texas sits on the sidelines fully shod with Haywood Fowle watching following the Kelly–Wardle incident during the Carolina–Texas game. Rubish took off one shoe for the kicking, booted the ball with stocking foot.”

Two plays later it was Justice for Carolina’s second score.  The game was now 4:30 old.  Again Texas couldn’t move the ball on the Tar Heel defense and again Carolina drove for a third score—this time it was Justice passing to Cox.  As Justice came off the field, Coach Snavely stood up from his normal seat beside the Carolina bench to shake Charlie’s hand.  Said Justice, “Just sit down coach, it’s over.”

Despite being slightly out of focus, Wilmington's Sunday Star-News and The Charlotte News for Tuesday September 27th printed this photograph of Texas quarterback Paul Campbell being "smothered by Tar Heel tacklers." Bob Cox is identified as blocking Campbell's path, and the only Longhorn is identified as Ferrell (#36).

Despite being slightly out of focus, Wilmington’s Sunday Star-News and The Charlotte News for Tuesday September 27th printed this photograph of Texas quarterback Paul Campbell being “smothered by Tar Heel tacklers.” Bob Cox is identified as blocking Campbell’s path, and the only Longhorn is identified as Ferrell (#36).

Texas was finally able to score near the end of the first quarter.  Following a scoreless second quarter, the Kenan crowd was entertained by Head Cheerleader Norman Sper’s colorful 2,000-team card section along with Professor Earl Slocum’s marching band.

"A technicolor team of some 2,185 students" is how The Daily Tar Heel for 24 September 1948 described the stadium sections where Head Cheerleader Norm Sper introduced "card stunts" for the first time during a regular season game. Sper brought the crowd participation displays to Carolina from the west coast. He first used the cards earlier in the years during UNC's 1948 Blue-White spring intrasquad practice game. You can see the display from the Blue-White game at http://blogs.lib.unc.edu/morton/index.php/2015/04/a-tar-heel-tradition-in-blue-white/.

“A technicolor team of some 2,185 students” is how The Daily Tar Heel for 24 September 1948 described the stadium sections where Head Cheerleader Norm Sper introduced “card stunts” for the first time during a regular season game. Sper brought the crowd participation displays to Carolina from the west coast. He first used the cards earlier in the years during UNC’s 1948 Blue-White spring intrasquad practice game. You can see the display from the Blue-White game at http://blogs.lib.unc.edu/morton/index.php/2015/04/a-tar-heel-tradition-in-blue-white/.

After a scoreless third quarter, it was Justice again, this time for 9 yards and a TD.  The final Carolina score came on a Billy Hayes one-yard plunge, making the final 34 to 7.

"COACH PUPA AND FRIENDS" was the caption lead-in for this photograph, cropped to focus on the four certain figures, in The Charlotte News on September 28th. The caption continued, "A starting fullback last year in the Carolina attack, Walt Pupa is now a member of the coaching staff at UNC and sits on the sidelines in white shirt and necktie. His friends are Blocking Back Don Hartig, Tailback Charlie Justice and End Bob Cox (left to right). Their eyes are on Texas, and Justice, especially, liked what he saw.

“COACH PUPA AND FRIENDS” was the caption lead-in for this photograph, cropped to focus on the four certain figures, in The Charlotte News on September 28th. The caption continued, “A starting fullback last year in the Carolina attack, Walt Pupa is now a member of the coaching staff at UNC and sits on the sidelines in white shirt and necktie. His friends are Blocking Back Don Hartig, Tailback Charlie Justice and End Bob Cox (left to right). Their eyes are on Texas, and Justice, especially, liked what he saw.

A Kenan celebration with Snavely riding the shoulders of his team broke out following the game.  The sports headline in the Greensboro Daily News on Sunday morning, September 26th read:  “Justice Shines; Foe Outclassed.”  To this day, there are many old Tar Heels (like me) who say this was UNC’s greatest Kenan Stadium win.

UNC football players celebrating their win over Texas. Head Coach Carl Snavely is being lifted by UNC's Art Weiner #50; UNC Hosea Rodgers #70; UNC Dan Stiegman #67; UNC Charlie Justice #22; UNC Kenny Powell #53; UNC Don Hartig #48. The two players on the far right are Bob Cox (without a helmet) and #20 Johnny Clements. The Charlotte News published this photograph on September 27th.

UNC football players celebrating their win over Texas. Head Coach Carl Snavely is being lifted by UNC’s Art Weiner #50; UNC Hosea Rodgers #70; UNC Dan Stiegman #67; UNC Charlie Justice #22; UNC Kenny Powell #53; UNC Don Hartig #48. The two players on the far right are Bob Cox (without a helmet) and #20 Johnny Clements. The Charlotte News published this photograph on September 27th.

Three days later on September 28th when the Paul B. Williamson Football Ratings came out, Carolina was rated number one; most Tar Heel fans, however, anxiously awaited the all-important Associated Press Poll that would not be available with its first 1948 edition until October 4th—and the Heels had a road trip to Athens, Georgia before then.

Saturday, October 2, 1948 was a hot, 80-degree day in Georgia, but that didn’t stop 500 Tar Heel fans from staging a pre-game, traffic-blocking pep rally and parade through the streets of Athens led by UNC Head Cheerleader Norman Sper.  The rally made its way through the UGA campus ending up at Sanford Stadium where 43,000 fans were ready for some football, and Georgia Head Coach Wally Butts was ready for game number two of his 10th season with the Bulldogs.

The 2:30 pm game began at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Tar Heel–Texas game the Saturday before.  Carolina couldn’t seem to do anything right and the Bulldogs scored on a 76-yard-pass interception just six minutes into the game. That 7 to 0 score held into the third quarter when, with 10 minutes left in the quarter, Charlie Justice took control of the game scoring touchdown runs of 9 and 13 yards. Then in the 4th quarter it was Justice again—this time an 84-yard punt return to seal the Tar Heel victory, 21 to 14.

It turned out to be Justice’s greatest game as a Tar Heel: 304 total yards and his record performance prompted an article in the October 11, 1948 issue of Time titled “The Jack Rabbit of Chapel Hill,” complete with an Associated Press game action photograph.  UNC Sports Information Director Jake Wade called the article “somewhat shy of accuracy.”

The game story in Sunday’s The Atlanta Journal went like this: “Charlie Trippi and Frank Sinkwich moved over Saturday to make room for Charlie (Choo Choo) Justice. Neither of the Georgia All-Americas ever dominated a football game on Sanford field one whit more than did the North Carolina express.”

Billy Carmichael III writing in The Daily Tar Heel issue of Sunday, October 3, 1948, had this to say about the game and his dear friend Charlie Justice:

The Tar Heels arrived early, stayed late . . . scored . . . and then packed up their play things and went home.” . . . (Justice) ran through them, he ran over them, he ran around.  He passed to an assortment of receivers, picking his man like chocolates from a Whitman’s Sampler.

Georgia Assistant Coach Louis Trousdale said following the game, “It was all Justice . . . We coached our kickers for six months to kick away from Justice, and you see what happened.”

In a post game interview, Justice simply said, “It was the greatest game I ever played.”

The Tar Heel Nation faithfully awaited Monday’s Associated Press Poll, and most thought that Carolina would be number one for the first time in the history of the poll and the history of the school.  Sadly, when the first AP Poll for 1948 was published on October 4th the Tar Heels were number 2 behind powerful Notre Dame. “Just wait ‘til next week” was the cry of the Tar Heel faithful.

Next up was a road trip to Groves Stadium and a match-up with “Peahead” Walker’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons.  And for a second time during the ‘48 season, the Heels were looking to avenge a 1947 defeat.  The headline in the High Point Enterprise issue of October 7th read, “Stop Justice, Deacons Say is Main Problem and Hope for Win.”

On October 9th, a record crowd of 28,500, including photographer Hugh Morton, packed Groves Stadium on a warm, sunny afternoon for the 45th meeting between Wake Forest and Carolina, a series dating back to 1888.

UNC Wing Back Johnny Clements (#20) running with ball against Wake Forest. UNC Left End Art Weiner (#50) on ground.

UNC wing back Johnny Clements (#20) running with ball against Wake Forest. UNC left end Art Weiner (#50) on ground.

The Tar Heels played both ends against the middle, scoring twice in the first quarter and twice in the fourth quarter to take a 28 to 6 win. That 19 to 7 Wake win in ’47 was all but forgotten. The headline in the High Point Enterprise issue of Sunday, October 10th read:  “Justice, Rodgers Pace Carolina to Third Win,” and Enterprise sports writer Bill Hackney followed up the headline by saying: “Charlie Justice and Hosea Rodgers sparked the Tar Heels’ offensive unit as they ate up 170 yards on the ground alone.”  Justice and Rodgers outgained the entire Wake team on the ground by 60 yards.  Morton’s action shots of Justice are classics.

UNC tailback Charlie Justice, running with the ball, and Wake Forest defender Tom Fetzer at Groves Stadium, Winston-Salem, NC. Photograph (cropped) appears in October 10, 1948 Wilmington SUNDAY STAR-NEWS with caption: Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice evades Deacon tacklers in one of the Tar Heels' touchdown drives. Fetzer, 31, failed to stop the star back. Justice was injured on the play when he was finally brought to the ground, but he returned to the game after a short rest."

UNC tailback Charlie Justice, running with the ball, and Wake Forest defender Tom Fetzer at Groves Stadium, Winston-Salem, NC. Photograph (cropped) appears in October 10, 1948 Wilmington SUNDAY STAR-NEWS with caption: Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice evades Deacon tacklers in one of the Tar Heels’ touchdown drives. Fetzer, 31, failed to stop the star back. Justice was injured on the play when he was finally brought to the ground, but he returned to the game after a short rest.”

On Monday, October 11, 1948 it happened.  Carolina took over first place in the Associated Press weekly poll.  The Tar Heels got fifty-two first place votes and beat out Notre Dame by eighteen votes.  It was headline news across the state and nation.  The sports headline in the October 13th issue of The New York Times proclaimed, “Gridiron Poll Led by North Carolina.”

Legendary Associated Press sportswriter Will Grimsley said: “The Irish (of Notre Dame) who held the No.1 position for almost a year, were dumped to second place by North Carolina, a Dixie institution where a lad named Charlie Justice gets his higher learning.”

Austin Bealmear, another of the AP writing team added the following in The Greensboro Record: “Unbeaten North Carolina moved to the top of the class today as the country’s No. 1 college football team.  The Tar Heels displaced Notre Dame at the top of the list in the weekly poll of sports writers from coast to coast, conducted by the Associated Press.”

So, when NC State came into Chapel Hill on October 16th for Homecoming 1948, they faced the AP’s No. 1 team. And again, Head Cheerleader Norm Sper, along with card section designer Bill Harrison, was ready with a big US map with a large No. 1 in the center.  But a 14 to 0 Tar Heel win over State wasn’t enough for the Heels to retain the No.1 spot, as Coach Snavely predicted in his Monday morning press conference.  “Look,” said the low-key head coach, “our team is overrated.  Yes, we have a good team, but not a super team. . . We have our definite limitations and weaknesses.  And I don’t believe that we are entitled to the high position assigned us in the national ratings.”

Louisiana State University vs. UNC-Chapel Hill at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Often-published photo of Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice running with the football. UNC won 34-7. UNC players (other than Charlie Justice #22 with the ball): #33 Blocking Back Bobby Weant (on the ground far left), #36 Right Guard Bill Slate, #32 Wingback Merl Norcross, #42 Left Guard Bob Mitten. LSU players: #60 Guard Gerald Reynolds, #83 End Melvin "Sam" Lyle

Louisiana State University vs. UNC-Chapel Hill at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Often-published photo of Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice running with the football. UNC won 34-7. UNC players (other than Charlie Justice #22 with the ball): #33 Blocking Back Bobby Weant (on the ground far left), #36 Right Guard Bill Slate, #32 Wingback Merl Norcross, #42 Left Guard Bob Mitten. LSU players: #60 Guard Gerald Reynolds, #83 End Melvin “Sam” Lyle

On October 18th Carolina slipped to third behind Michigan and Notre Dame.  A 34 to 7 win over LSU in Kenan and a 14 to 7 win over Tennessee on Shields-Watkins Field in Knoxville failed to improve on that third place position.  And then, disaster in Kenan: more about that in the A View to Hugh piece titled “A Game Fit to be Tied” posted back on November 4, 2015.

For sixty-six seasons, the Tar Heels have struggled to regain that No.1 ranking from the Associated Press.  So far, they have not been able to achieve what the ‘48 Tar Heels did on October 11, 1948.

 

 

 

UNC versus NCSU football

The University of North Carolina Tar Heels and North Carolina State Wolfpack football teams face off this weekend, the final regular season game for both squads.  The two schools first played each other in 1894, UNC emerging victorious with a score of 44 to 0.  Hugh Morton was not yet born, but he likely would have photographed the game if he had been around to focus a lens and click a shutter.

Larry Parker tackling James Meadlock, University of North Carolina vs North Carolina State football game, Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, 25 September 1954.

Larry Parker tackling James Meadlock, University of North Carolina vs North Carolina State football game, Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, 25 September 1954.

The photograph above, made during the 1954 contest won buy UNC 20 to 6, is one my favorite Morton football photographs. A print from that negative is part of the Hugh Morton retrospective exhibition, which will be displayed in Raleigh during 2016.

Based upon the earliest negatives located to date, Morton began photographing the annual contest in 1941 when he was a junior at UNC.  Someone stole Morton’s camera soon after arriving on campus as a freshman in 1939, and he did not replace it until sometime in early 1940.  There are no negatives in the collection that have been identified from the fall 1940 contest played in Raleigh.  In 1941 when home field returned to Kenan Stadium at Chapel Hill, Morton was the staff photographer for the student newspaper and the yearbook.  On November 2 The Daily Tar Heel published the following photograph on the front page.

"BUILDUP TO AN AWFUL LETDOWN—"Shot" Cox plunges over the in the first quarter of yesterdays's fiasco for the only Tar Heel tally, as Caton (77), Watts (29) and Stilwell try futilely to stop the Blonde Bombshell. Hodges, Heymann, Suntheimer and Dunkle are in on the play.

“BUILDUP TO AN AWFUL LETDOWN—”Shot” Cox plunges over the in the first quarter of yesterdays’s fiasco for the only Tar Heel tally, as Caton (77), Watts (29) and Stilwell try futilely to stop the Blonde Bombshell. Hodges, Heymann, Suntheimer and Dunkle are in on the play.

The Yackety Yack published that photograph plus the following from that game, which N.C State won 13 to 7—its first victory in the rivalry since 1927.

"Fritchitt of State tackled hard just after catching pass," as captioned and cropped in the 1942 Yackety Yack.

“Fritchitt of State tackled hard just after catching pass,” as captioned and cropped in the 1942 Yackety Yack.

Below you can see the full negatives without cropping.

Morton enlisted in the United States Army in the autumn of 1942, making the 1941 game the only UNC versus NC State game that we know (thus far) that he photographed as a student.  To find other Morton photographs from UNC—NC State football games, including Andy Griffith’s famous “What it Was Was Football” routine, visit the online collection of Morton photographs.

P081_NTBF3_6_2_1_1_626

P081_NTBF3_6_2_1_1_560

“Ties” that bind

Hugh Morton photograph made during the University of North Carolina versus Virginia Polytechnic Institute football game played on September 28, 1946. #23 UNC wingback Jim Camp (#23) runs with the ball while VPI tackle John Maskas (#56) looks on from behind the play. (Photograph cropped by editor.)

Hugh Morton photograph made during the University of North Carolina versus Virginia Polytechnic Institute football game played on September 28, 1946. #23 UNC wingback Jim Camp (#23) runs with the ball while VPI tackle John Maskas (#56) looks on from behind the play. (Photograph cropped by editor.)

Back on November 4th, we included a post about the famous UNC vs. William & Mary tie game from 1948.  Today, following Saturday’s game between UNC and Virginia Tech, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look at the other tie game from the “Golden Era” of Carolina football.

After the regulation sixty minutes of play this past Saturday (11/21/15) at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia, the scoreboard read UNC 24–Virginia Tech 24.  Six previous games during the history of the series between these two teams ended in ties.  The difference on this day in 2015: the NCAA rules now extend play into a tiebreaker overtime, during which Carolina was able to win 30 to 27.

Five of those previous ties (1896, 1900, 1902, 1906, and 1911) ended up 0 to 0, and since there was no overtime before 1996, those games are in the record book ties.  The other tie, in 1946, is the one many old time Tar Heels remember.  It was September 28, 1946 when VPI (now Virginia Tech) came into Chapel Hill to meet the Tar Heels in a game that opened the “Golden Era,” or “Charlie Justice Era” as some like to call it.  Photographer Hugh Morton was on hand to document  this historic game.

UNC wingback Jim Camp, running Head Coach Carl Snavely’s famous reverse, accounted for 50 yards of offense during that Saturday encounter.

On the first play of the second quarter, Charlie Justice had a 68-yard touchdown run and Carolina led at halftime 14 to 0. But in the second half, Justice had two punts blocked that led to VPI scores making the final score 14 to 14. Charlie finished the day with 100 yards rushing on 10 carries.  Justice never had another punt blocked during his football career: 39 regular season and 3 bowl games at UNC, plus 58 games with the Washington Redskins and 6 UNC Blue-White games in Chapel Hill.

Ironically, Virginia Tech would not return to Chapel Hill for a game until Saturday, November 6, 2004—the day following the dedication of the Charlie Justice statue.

UNC versus Duke on the gridiron

It’s Homecoming at UNC, and this weekend brings the annual showdown against Duke for the Victory Bell.  Hugh Morton attended many of these confrontations with camera in hand during his lifetime, starting with his years as a student between 1939 and 1942.

Have any identifications you can add? Please leave a comment!  You may click on the images, which will take you to a full descriptive record, and you can also zoom into the images for more detail.

Have fun, and explore all the other Tar Heel and Blue Devil related images in the Hugh Morton online collection!

1940 UNC pep rally

PROBABLY 1940: UNC-Chapel Hill cheerleaders and ram mascot "Rameses" at indoor event, probably the pep rally before the Duke-UNC football game. Both this photograph and a similar photograph (cropped) appear in the 1941 YACKETY YACK yearbook.

PROBABLY 1940: UNC-Chapel Hill cheerleaders and ram mascot “Rameses” at indoor event, probably the pep rally before the Duke-UNC football game. Both this photograph and a similar photograph (cropped) appear in the 1941 YACKETY YACK yearbook.

1940 UNC cheerleaders

1940: This photograph (cropped) appears in the 1941 YACKETY YACK with caption, "Cheerleaders maneuver before Duke-Carolina football game."

1940: This photograph (cropped) appears in the 1941 YACKETY YACK with caption, “Cheerleaders maneuver before Duke-Carolina football game.”

1940 Daily Tar Heel office

1940: UNC-Chapel Hill student at desk at office of DAILY TAR HEEL(?). November 17, 1940 issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL on wall in background with headline that reads "Happy Days Here Again," referring to 6-3 upset victory of UNC football team over Duke University.

1940: UNC-Chapel Hill student at desk at office of DAILY TAR HEEL(?). November 17, 1940 issue of THE DAILY TAR HEEL on wall in background with headline that reads “Happy Days Here Again,” referring to 6-3 upset victory of UNC football team over Duke University.

Late 1940s? Rameses with Blue Devil

EARLY 1940s: UNC ram mascot posing with man dressed as Duke Blue Devil mascot at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Duke University football game, probably early 1940s at Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC.

EARLY 1940s: UNC ram mascot posing with man dressed as Duke Blue Devil mascot at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Duke University football game, probably early 1940s at Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC.

1948 Charlie Justice passing

1948: #22 UNC tailback Charlie Justice, back to pass; #83 Duke left end Bill Duncan; and #52 Duke center Tommy Harris; at UNC-Chapel Hill's Kenan Stadium. Photograph, tightly cropped on Justice and Duncan, appears in the CHARLOTTE NEWS, 22 November 1948.

1948: #22 UNC tailback Charlie Justice, back to pass; #83 Duke left end Bill Duncan; and #52 Duke center Tommy Harris; at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan Stadium. Photograph, tightly cropped on Justice and Duncan, appears in the CHARLOTTE NEWS, 22 November 1948.

1948 Justice on teammates’ shoulders

1948: #22 UNC tailback Charlie Justice on shoulders of teammates following 20-0 win over Duke in Kenan Stadium; #63 UNC center Joe Neikirk; #42 UNC left Guard Bob Mitten; #69 UNC right end Bob Cox; #81 UNC right tackle Ted Hazelwood (background left). Cropped version of photograph appears on cover of 4 December 1948 issue of THE STATE, the November 1948 issue of THE ALUMNI REVIEW, and the 1949 YACKETY YACK.

1948: #22 UNC tailback Charlie Justice on shoulders of teammates following 20-0 win over Duke in Kenan Stadium; #63 UNC center Joe Neikirk; #42 UNC left Guard Bob Mitten; #69 UNC right end Bob Cox; #81 UNC right tackle Ted Hazelwood (background left). Cropped version of photograph appears on cover of 4 December 1948 issue of THE STATE, the November 1948 issue of THE ALUMNI REVIEW, and the 1949 YACKETY YACK.

1948 Cheerleaders with Victory Bell

1948 or 1949: UNC-Chapel Hill cheerleaders with Victory Bell after football team defeated Duke. THE CAROLINA GRIDIRON, 15 and 29 October 1949.

1948 or 1949: UNC-Chapel Hill cheerleaders with Victory Bell after football team defeated Duke. THE CAROLINA GRIDIRON, 15 and 29 October 1949.

 

1955 Duke cheerleaders at UNC-Chapel Hill football game versus Duke University at Duke Stadium

1955: Duke cheerleaders at UNC-Chapel Hill football game versus Duke University at Duke Stadium, Durham, NC.

1955: Duke cheerleaders at UNC-Chapel Hill football game versus Duke University at Duke Stadium, Durham, NC.

1957 UNC head coach Jim Tatum embraces suspended co-captain Dave Reed after upset win

1957: UNC Head Coach Jim Tatum (left) embraces player Dave Reed (right) after UNC-Chapel Hill versus Duke University football game at Duke Stadium, Durham, NC. "Carolina football coach Jim Tatum (left) suspended his co-captain and star running back Dave Reed the week before UNC's 1957 game with Duke for an infraction of team rules, and consequently Carolina was very much the underdog for the game with its traditional rival. When the Tar Heels upset the Blue Devils 21 to 13, a tearful Dave Reed embraced his disciplinarian coach in the center of the field at Wallace Wade Stadium."

1957: UNC Head Coach Jim Tatum (left) embraces player Dave Reed (right) after UNC-Chapel Hill versus Duke University football game at Duke Stadium, Durham, NC. “Carolina football coach Jim Tatum (left) suspended his co-captain and star running back Dave Reed the week before UNC’s 1957 game with Duke for an infraction of team rules, and consequently Carolina was very much the underdog for the game with its traditional rival. When the Tar Heels upset the Blue Devils 21 to 13, a tearful Dave Reed embraced his disciplinarian coach in the center of the field at Wallace Wade Stadium.”

1950s or 1960s? Duke cheerleaders with Victory Bell

1950s or EARLY 1960s?: Duke University cheerleaders and marching band celebrating with Victory Bell after football game.

1950s or EARLY 1960s?: Duke University cheerleaders and marching band celebrating with Victory Bell after football game.

1973 action photograph during UNC vs. Duke football game at Wallace Wade Stadium

1973: UNC-Chapel Hill vs. Duke University football game at Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC. UNC players: #61 Offensive Guard Billy Newton and #40 Halfback Jimmy Jerome. Duke players: #62 Linebacker Dave Meier, #24 Defensive Safety Buster Cox, #76 Defense Tackle John Ricca, and #45 Linebacker Keith Stoneback.

1973: UNC-Chapel Hill vs. Duke University football game at Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC. UNC players: #61 Offensive Guard Billy Newton and #40 Halfback Jimmy Jerome. Duke players: #62 Linebacker Dave Meier, #24 Defensive Safety Buster Cox, #76 Defense Tackle John Ricca, and #45 Linebacker Keith Stoneback.

A game fit to be tied

In his column in The Charlotte Observer issue of Sunday, August 25, 1996, legendary sports columnist Ron Green wrote the following:

The tie, a vestige of college football’s dinosaur age, is dead, eradicated by long overdue rule changes.

RIP.  Forever.  In a hermetically sealed steel container.   Under a heavy layer of concrete.

The fellow who said a tie was like kissing your sister gave far too much credit to a tie.

But before the 1996 season, the tie was alive and well and living on Saturday afternoons throughout college football.

During the “Golden Age” (1946-1949) of UNC football there were two of these tie games, and both made for interesting ink and airtime.  Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at one of those ties . . . sixty-seven years ago this week.

William &amp; Mary running back Tommy Korzowski (#14) encounters UNC defenders Ken Powell (#53, left end) and possibly Bill Maceyko (#43?). In the left background is Carolina right guard Larry Klosterman, (#80). In the far right background is right tackle Ted Hazelwood (#81). The jersey number for player in the left background is only partially visible, but may be #56; if so, that's right end Mike Rubish. <br />  This is the only negative (cropped for this blog post by the editor) identified by Morton from the 1948 William &amp; Mary versus UNC football game. Another negative from that game was scene made on the sideline, but previously misidentified in published in books as being taken during the 1949 Sugar Bowl. To learn more about that discovery, click on the link in the story below.

William & Mary running back Tommy Korzowski (#14) encounters UNC defenders Ken Powell (#53, left end) and possibly Bill Maceyko (#43?). In the left background is Carolina right guard Larry Klosterman, (#80). In the far right background is right tackle Ted Hazelwood (#81). The jersey number for player in the left background is only partially visible, but may be #56; if so, that’s right end Mike Rubish.
This is the only negative (cropped for this blog post by the editor) identified by Morton from the 1948 William & Mary versus UNC football game. Another negative from that game was scene made on the sideline, but previously misidentified in published in books as being taken during the 1949 Sugar Bowl. To learn more about that discovery, click on the link in the story below.

Three days after Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey for the presidency of the United States, The College of William and Mary’s 1947 Southern Conference champion football team rolled into Chapel Hill on Friday, November 5, 1948 as a twenty-point underdog.  They weren’t given much of a chance against the undefeated, nationally third-ranked Tar Heels.  Carolina was riding atop a thirteen-game winning streak, a winning streak that had started ironically against William & Mary on October 18, 1947—the only ’47 loss for W&M.  Despite a defensive front line that averaged 211 pounds per man compared to Carolina’s 205,  I think it’s safe to say that most of the 43,000 Tar Heel fans that jammed into Kenan Stadium on that rainy, gray, windswept Saturday afternoon thought this would be win number 14; the William & Mary team, however, had a different idea.

Game day program from the 6 November 1948 football game between William &amp; Mary and UNC played at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill. Pictured on the cover is singer Jo Stafford. The "On the Cover" caption on page 3 says, "Jo's hobby is folk songs and she has set up a $250 award for the student who submits the best collection of them to her." When Hugh Morton was a UNC student, he photographed Stafford along with Tommy Dorsey and the "Pied Pipers" performing during the 1941 "May Frolics" dance at the Tin Can. Also in that photograph is Chuck Lowry, Frank Sinatra, and Buddy Rich. See http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/morton_highlights/id/740.

Game day program from the 6 November 1948 football game between William & Mary and UNC played at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill. Pictured on the cover is singer Jo Stafford. The “On the Cover” caption on page 3 says, “Jo’s hobby is folk songs and she has set up a $250 award for the student who submits the best collection of them to her.” When Hugh Morton was a UNC student, he photographed Stafford along with Tommy Dorsey and the “Pied Pipers” performing during the 1941 “May Frolics” dance at the Tin Can. Also in that photograph is Chuck Lowry, Frank Sinatra, and Buddy Rich. (See http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/morton_highlights/id/740.)

Before the opening kickoff, Carolina head cheerleader Norman Sper reminded one and all:

There was booing at Tennessee last week, and we hope that all of you will refrain from such unsportsmanlike conduct.

Sper was referring to a controversial play during Carolina’s 14 to 7 win in Knoxville on October 30th.  Shortly before the end of the second quarter, Tennessee’s Hal Littleford returned a Charlie Justice punt 90 yards for a score, but the play was called back.  Referee Walter Hoffman detected clipping when Chaddie Baker tried to block Hosea Rodgers.  It seemed like all 50,000 fans were upset with the call—so much so that Knoxville Police Chief Joe Kimscy ordered special protection for the game officials when a small crowd surged out of the stands and onto the field.  An action photograph from the Knoxville News–Sentinel clearly showed the infraction.  UNC’s “Alumni Review” titled the picture “The Tennessee Clipper.”)

After a scoreless first quarter, William & Mary recovered a fumble on the Carolina 27 yard line about half way through the second quarter.  Two line plays netted six yards; then on third down, left halfback Tommy Korczowski threw a looping lob-pass into the end zone for co-captain Lou Hoitsma who seemed to be covered by Tar Heels Bill Flamisch and Bill Maceyko.  All three went up for the ball, but Hoitsma made a circus catch. The Indians—W&M’s nickname in 1949, but known today as The Tribe—led 7-0 at the half.

UNC’s special halftime guests were nine outstanding high school bands from across the state. The bands performed several maneuvers including an outline of the state and invited the crowd to join in singing “The Old North State.”

Late in the third quarter, Hosea Rodgers finally scored for the Heels on a one yard run to culminate a 15-play, 76-yard-drive. For the remainder of the third quarter and through the fourth, UNC’s Charlie Justice and W&M’s Jack Cloud tried all the tricks in the book, but defense was the name of the game on this day. Hugh Morton’s photograph of the Carolina bench near the end of the game tells the story with long faces and looks of concern. Then, with time running out and Carolina with the ball at its own 21, Billy Hayes went back to pass.  He spotted Max Cooke at the 28 and let it fly, but William & Mary’s Joe Mark cut in front of Cooke and made the interception. When Hayes finally got Mark on the ground, the ball was at the Carolina 8 . . . just as the gun sounded to end the game. William & Mary’s Jack Cloud immediately ran up to referee Mr. Dandelake pleading for a time out. But, as UNC center the late Joe Neikirk, who was standing beside the referee, liked to tell the story, Dandelake said, “Son, the d— game is over.” Neikirk added “the tie wrecked our season.”

Both head coaches weighed in following the game. W&M coach R. N. (Rube) McCray said, “We were definitely not playing for a tie.  We were out to win.”  UNC Head Coach Carl Snavely added,” We were lucky to come out with a tie.”

So, how did William & Mary hold the number three team in the country to a 7-7 tie?  They got only one first down and that was on a penalty, while the Tar Heels got 17.  They completed only 2 passes for a total of 22 yards; Carolina completed 7 for 83 yards.  They gained only 19 yards on the ground, the Heels got 184. Along the way, Carolina lost 3 fumbles and had 4 passes intercepted.  And W&M held UNC’s great All-America Charlie Justice scoreless for the first time during Carolina’s 13-game win streak.  For the answer, the headline in UNC’s The Alumni Review says it all:

Powerful W & M Defense Ends Tar Heel Streak

When the Associated Press football rankings came out on November 8th, Carolina had dropped four places to number 7 and as a number three going into the William & Mary game, they had received 36 first place votes.  Following the game they got only 7.

It’s rare when one considers a tie game to be a great game, but when you check the 1949 William & Mary yearbook, Colonial Echo, you find that the editors considered the tie with Carolina to be the “highlight of the year,” and their 21-yard touchdown pass as the “greatest play of the season.” Authors Wilford Kale, Bob Moskowitz, and Charles M. Holloway, in their 1997 book, Goal to Goal: 100 Seasons of Football at William and Mary, agreed with the yearbook assessment. The yearbook editors additionally pointed out that some newspaper writers even took the W&M touchdown play a step further calling it “the play of the year in the Southern Conference.”

There are two Kenan Stadium records from this game that still stand over half-way through the 2015 season—both achieved by William & Mary’s punter Buddy Lex.  On this day he punted a total of 15 times for a total 645 yards.

It was a classic game, one fit to be tied.

And as for that other “Golden Era” tie mentioned in the opening: it came on September 28, 1946, a 14 to 14 tie with another team from the state of Virginia, VPI (It’s Virginia Tech today).

Epilogue:  Another Tie of Distinction

In January, 1997, I received a letter from Hugh Morton after I sent him a videotape I had made about the ‘47 Sugar Bowl 50th reunion.  Here’s what he said:

“I’ve always considered myself the most loyal Charles Justice fan still around, but I’m having doubts about that. I think maybe you are, or possibly we are tied for that.”

I consider it an extremely high honor to be tied with Hugh Morton for Charlie Justice loyalty.  Just to be mentioned in the same paragraph with Hugh Morton and Charlie Justice is a distinct honor.

It’s over

It ain’t over til it’s over.

—Yogi Berra (12 May 1925–22 September 2015)

New York Yankees coach Yogi Berra during an exhibition game against UNC-Chapel Hill baseball team in Boshamer Stadium, April 2, 1979. (Cropped by the editor from a 35mm slide by Hugh Morton.)

New York Yankees coach Yogi Berra during an exhibition game against UNC-Chapel Hill baseball team in Boshamer Stadium, April 2, 1979. (Cropped by the editor from a 35mm slide by Hugh Morton.)

Yesterday saw the passing of one of baseball’s all-time greats, Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra.  Like so many other notable people in American history, Berra was a subject of Hugh Morton cameras.  His sideline shot of Berra seen above comes from one of the Tar Heels-versus-Yankees exhibition baseball games played at Boshamer Stadium.

Morton may have made his first photograph of Berra from afar while seated in Yankee Stadium’s right field foul line seats during one of the 1960 World Series games versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.  There are a few surviving 35mm slides from the game along with others slides, one of which Morton labeled, “SCHOOL CHILDREN ON TRIP TO NEW YORK.”  Two of the slides made during the game show Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle at home plate, respectively, and there are a handful of wide-angle views showing of the stadium.  If the scene below is the singing of the National Anthem (which is likely because it’s a Kodachrome stamped “1” by Kodak on the slide mount), then Berra is likely standing behind home plate among the umpires.

Opening scene a 1960 World Series game between the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates at Yankee Stadium. (Cropped from a 35mm color slide by the editor.)

Opening scene of a 1960 World Series game between the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates at Yankee Stadium. (Cropped from a 35mm color slide by the editor.)

The book Hugh Morton’s North Carolina includes a photograph made, according to the caption, in May 1999 of Yogi Berra posed with Richard Cole, then dean of UNC’s School of Journal and Mass Communications, and his granddaughter Lindsay Berra, who received her degree in journalism from the school in 1999.  In that photograph, as in all the photographic prints in the collection, Berra wears a “Fly Ball” tie.  Below is a portrait of Berra by Morton.  Look closely at the tie to get a sense of Berra’s famous sense of humor.

Yogi Berra donning a "Fly Ball" tie and a Tar Heel.

Yogi Berra donning a “Fly Ball” tie and a Tar Heel.

Limited time unfortunately does not permit an in-depth blog post, so below the closing photograph is an excerpt from the Morton collection finding aid for “Berra, Yogi.”  The folder of prints contains posed group shots that include the likes of legendary UNC head basketball coach Dean Smith, sportscaster Dick Vitale, John Swofford during his time as  UNC athletic director, and other unidentified people.  Perhaps some more research can lead to a longer post in the near future.  I’ll close today with a scan made from the first item in the excerpted list—the 120 color roll film negative.

P081_NTCR1_2-6-45_4_1

Roll Film Box P081/120C-1
Envelope 2.6.46-4-1
Berra, Yogi, 1980s?
Color 120 roll film negatives
1 image

Roll Film Box P081/35BW-4
Envelope 2.6.46-5-1
Berra, Yogi and Dr. John Sanders, 17 February 1996
Black and white 35mm roll film negatives
3 images

Roll Film Box P081/35BW-4
Envelope 2.6.46-5-2
Berra, Yogi and granddaughter, 1990s?
Black and white 35mm roll film negatives
4 images

Print Box P081/8

Folder 2.6.46
Berra, Yogi, 1980s-1990s
Black and white and color prints
8 images

The Aggies and the Heels: a short history

Carolina will kick off its 2015 home football schedule on Saturday, September 12th when Head Coach Rod Broadway brings his North Carolina A&T Aggies to Kenan Stadium.  It will be the first meeting between the two schools on the gridiron; the men’s basketball programs, however, have met on the hardwood twice (in 2001 and 2003).  Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at those two meetings.

Curtis Hunter and Matt Doherty, teammates on the UNC 1982-83 and 1983-84 basketball teams, chat as coaches before their teams—North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—faced off on February 18, 2003 at UNC's Smith Center.  Another photograph of the former Tar Heels talking court-side can be found in the online collection of Morton photographs.

Curtis Hunter and Matt Doherty, teammates on the UNC 1982-83 and 1983-84 basketball teams, chat as coaches before their teams—North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—faced off on February 18, 2003 at UNC’s Smith Center. Another photograph of the former Tar Heels talking court-side can be found in the online collection of Morton photographs.

Curtis Hunter and Matt Doherty were teammates on UNC Head Basketball Coach Dean Smith’s 1982-83 and 1983-84 teams.  In 2000 each took a head coaching position with teams within the UNC system: Hunter at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and Doherty at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  As was the custom then, and still today, members of the “Carolina Family” often wind up playing each other.  And that was the case with the Tar Heels and the Aggies.  When the two teams met twice in the Smith Center during the early 2000s, photographer Hugh Morton was there on both occasions to document the games.

It was a homecoming of sorts for North Carolina A&T Head Coach Curtis Hunter on December 27, 2001 when he brought his Aggies into the Smith Center to meet coach Matt Doherty’s Tar Heels.  But Hunter realized that his homecoming would need to take a back seat to getting his 1 and 7 team ready to play Doherty’s 3 and 5 Heels.

In a pre-game interview, Hunter said, “To be honest about it, I hadn’t given (coming back to play at UNC) that much thought.  It really hasn’t hit me yet.  Maybe that will all change once the game starts.”  Just minutes before the tipoff, Hunter did notice an old friend seated close by and went over and offered a long embrace.  It was Angela Lee, wife of former Chapel Hill Mayor Howard Lee.  When Curtis played for the Tar Heels, Angela worked in the basketball office.

Game-action photograph by Hugh Morton (cropped by the editor)  from the 2001 UNC vs. NC A&T contest.  Who are the players in the photograph?  Please leave a comment below if you know!

Game-action photograph by Hugh Morton (cropped by the editor) from the 2001 UNC vs. NC A&T contest. Who are the players in the photograph? Please leave a comment below if you know!

With former UNC head coaches Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge looking on, it didn’t take long for all to see that the Tar Heels had brought their A-game.  They led 52 to 31 at the half and equaled that 52 in the second half with a final score of 104 to 66.  Tar Heel senior Jason Capel led the way with 26 points.  In all, Carolina hit 16 three-point shots—one off the school record and two short of the ACC record at the time.  A&T hit only 37.9 percent from the floor and committed 18 turnovers. In his post game interview, Hunter said, “All I know is that we just got beat by 38 points.  So, it’s up to me to come up with ways to help my team play up to its capabilities.”

But wait . . . Curtis Hunter appears to be wearing the same suit and tie in this photograph as he is in the opening photograph, which we have dated as 2003.  Is that a coincidence, planned or otherwise, or was the opening  photograph also made in 2001?  This image, which is not in the online collection, is from a negative envelope with the following identifying information: UNC vs. NC A&T (plus event at Friday Center Institute; 1 roll), December 2001.  There are five basketball images: two game photographs followed by three podium images.  Another Morton mystery is at hand!

But wait . . . Curtis Hunter appears to be wearing the same suit and tie in this photograph as he is in the opening photograph, which we have dated as 2003. Is that a coincidence, planned or otherwise, or was the opening photograph also made in 2001? This image, which is not in the online collection, is from a negative envelope with the following identifying information: UNC vs. NC A&T (plus event at Friday Center Institute; 1 roll), December 2001. There are five basketball images: two game photographs followed by three podium images. Another Morton mystery is at hand!

While Coach Doherty was pleased with his team’s win, he admitted that beating a former teammate in a blowout is not all that gratifying.  “After the game I said to him, ‘Sorry you caught us on a bad night.’  A month ago it could have been a different story.”
Coach Hunter was asked one final time about his homecoming.  “It still hasn’t hit me yet,” he replied.  “Maybe that will happen next year.”

That “next year” would be February 18, 2003.  The second meeting between UNC and A&T didn’t offer coach Curtis Hunter a happy homecoming either.  His team was winless going into the game, having lost 20 games, while Carolina was 13 and 11.

The Tar Heels took control early and wound up hitting 54 per cent over all.  A&T hit 4 threes and had an overall percentage of 34.9. The Greensboro News and Record described the Carolina effort as a “dunk-a-thon,” adding that they also hit 11 three-point shots.  The final score was UNC 93, A&T 57.

In his post-game interview, Coach Doherty said, “I’m sorry it had to be Curtis Hunter, my old teammate, on the other bench. I have a lot of respect for him.”

A couple of weeks later when the 2002–2003 college basketball season ended, UNC and A&T had a combined win total of 20 games: Carolina was 19 and 16, A&T was 1 and 26.  And by the time the 2003-2004 college basketball season rolled around, both UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina A&T had new head coaches in place.

The slideshow image Morton didn’t photograph

On this day . . . actually night . . . sixty-five years ago, a sporting event played out on Soldier Field in Chicago that would have a tremendous impact on North Carolina sports history.  It was August 11, 1950 when the Chicago College All-Star Game game between the best college players of the 1949 season met the two-time World Champion Philadelphia Eagles.  On this special anniversary, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at a football game of epic portions.

Photograph of a copy slide set on a light table. Hugh Morton made this copy slide for use in slide talks about Charlie Justice.  The black grease pencil line drawn on the bottom of the image and the lack of halftone dots suggests Morton copied a photographic print.  The slide is part of Slide Lot 014859 in the Hugh Morton collection.

Photograph of a copy slide set on a light table. Hugh Morton made this copy slide for use in his slide talks about Charlie Justice. The black grease pencil line drawn on the bottom of the image, the crude obliteration of some object (maybe a referee’s jersey?) in the upper right side of the image, and the streaks rather than halftone dots within the image all suggest that Morton copied a wire-service print. The slide is part of Slide Lot 014859 in the Hugh Morton collection.

Hugh Morton didn’t attend the 17th annual Chicago College All-Star Game, but he was always acutely aware of its place in North Carolina sports history and in the life of one of his closest friends.  Morton often included a wire service photograph in his slide shows from that historic night—a night that almost wasn’t historic at all.

It was July 17th, 1950 and UNC’s great all-America football star Charlie Justice was seated behind his desk in the Medical Foundation Building on Pittsboro Street in Chapel Hill.  It’s was the first July since 1938 that he wasn’t preparing for the upcoming football season.  Soon after taking the Medical Foundation job, the United States Department of State invited Justice to travel to Germany with coaches Jim Tatum of Maryland, Wally Butts of Georgia, and Frank Leahy of Notre Dame to hold football coaching clinics for the armed forces stationed there.  In order the make the trip, Justice had to turn down an invitation from Arch Ward (sports editor of the Chicago Tribune and founder of the Chicago College All-Star Game) to play in that year’s game.

The overseas trip never happened because of events that began on June 25th, 1950— events that would later become known as the Korean War.  So Justice picked up the phone and called Arch Ward.   He asked Ward if the earlier invitation to play in the All-Star game still stands, saying “I’d like to play.”

Ward explained that he had already selected fifty top-notch players for the contest.  He also pointed out that the rules of the game allowed only four future NFL players from each NFL team, and that he already had four Washington Redskins’ players.  Charlie quickly pointed out that, although he was drafted by Washington, he had no plans to play for them.  Ward finally said, “OK, Charlie, if you’re sure you aren’t planning to play for Washington, and you want to be the 51st player on a 50-man team, come on out.  We’ll let you return punts and kickoffs.”

“I’ve given the Medical Foundation my word and I’ll be right here come football season,” Charlie told Ward.  Justice was on the next flight out.  The banner headline in the Chicago Tribune on July 18th read: “NORTH CAROLINA’S JUSTICE JOINS ALL-STARS.”

A crowd of 90,000 was expected on a clear, cool 60-degree summer evening at Soldier Field.  The two-time World Champion Philadelphia Eagles won veteran NFL referee Emil Heintz’s opening coin-toss, but head coach Earl “Greasy” Neale’s team couldn’t move the ball, thanks to the defensive efforts of All-Stars Clayton Tonnemaker, Leo Nomellini, Don Campora, and Leon Hart.  Justice went in on the punt return team, but the Eagle punt was returned by the All-Stars’ Hillary Chollet to the Stars 46-yard line.  As Charlie started off the field, the All-Star head coach, Eddie Anderson, motioned for him to stay on the field.  Anderson said, “run this first series, Charlie, so we can get an idea of what kind of defense the Eagles will be using . . . it’ll give us an idea of what offense we should use.”

On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Eddie LeBaron pitched out to Justice around the right side and Charlie was off on a thirty-one yard gain.  Three plays later it was Justice again, this time for twelve more yards.  On the next play All-Star Ralph Pasquariello from Villanova took it over the goal line, and the All-Stars led 7-0. Needless to say, Justice stayed in the game.

On the first play of the second quarter, Justice raced down the sideline for forty-seven more yards.  This All-Star drive stalled, but when they got the ball back on an Eagles’ fumble by Clyde Scott, recovered by Hall Haynes (future Justice Redskins teammate) on the Eagle 40, LeBaron dropped back to pass, eluded three pass rushers and finally rifled a pass from his own 40 to Justice who went the distance for a score.  The play actually covered a total of 60 yards and Winfrid Smith, writer for the Chicago Tribune, described the play as “the greatest pass play in the history of these games.”  Football historian Raymond Schmidt in his 2001 book, Football Stars of Summer said “the All-Stars led the Eagles 14-to-0 at the half and the football world was in shock.”

In the third quarter the Eagles finally scored, but the All-Stars came right back in the fourth with Justice leading the way—this time his 28-yard run plus a 35-yard pass from LeBaron to UNC All-America Art Weiner pass set up Gordon Soltau’s 17-yard field goal that made the final score 17-7.  When the dust settled, the All-Stars had gained 221 yards on the ground—an All-Star record that still stands—and Charlie Justice had carried the ball 9 times gaining 133 yards.  That’s 14.8 yards per carry.  He had runs of 31, 12, 47,  and 28 yards.  His 133-yard total was 48 yards more than the entire Eagle team gained on the ground.  Justice also completed a pass to his UNC teammate Art Weiner for 15 yards and he caught a 35 yard TD pass from LeBaron.

Back in North Carolina, thousands of Tar Heels listened to the game on radio—two of those folks were my dad and me.  We sat in our living room in Asheboro listening to WGBG in Greensboro.  A summer thundershower blew through the Triangle area and caused the Durham Bulls game with the Raleigh Caps to be postponed, thus giving those fans an opportunity to listen as well.

On Saturday August 12th, Charlie heard on the radio that he had been selected the game’s Most Valuable Player and would received the MVP trophy at halftime of the 1951 game.  UNC Coach Carl Snavely would make the presentation.  Newsmen and broadcasters covering the game selected the MVP.  Justice was a 2-to-1 choice over runner-up LeBaron.  Six All-Star linemen got votes.  Justice thought LeBaron should have gotten the MVP award.  Said Charlie, “Eddie deserves it.  He’s a great little quarterback and a fine passer.”

“Never since the MVP voting began in 1938 has the voting been so concentrated,” said Winfrid Smith the next day in the Chicago Sunday Tribune.

A game-action photograph of Justice accompanied a Smith Barrier column on Tuesday, August 15th story naming him the 152nd Greensboro Daily News “Athlete of the Week.”  It was the 6th time Justice had received that honor.  It was this photograph that Morton copied and included in his slide shows over the years.  Though no credit appears in the copy slide nor the Greensboro Daily News, the Sunday, August 13th issue of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution credits Acme Photos.  (Editor’s note: according to the Library of Congress, Corbis purchased the Acme photographic archives.  I searched the Corbis website but this image did not turn up.)

The Charlie Justice photograph made during the 1950 College All Star game, played on August 11th, as it appeared in the sport pages of the Greensboro Daily News on August 15th.

The Charlie Justice photograph made during the 1950 College All Star game, played on August 11th, as it appeared in the sport pages of the Greensboro Daily News on August 15th.

On August 17, 1951, Charlie Justice received the 1950 MVP All-Star trophy, presented by UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely.  That presentation was seen live across North Carolina via the Dumont TV network, WBTV in Charlotte, and WFMY-TV in Greensboro.  The TV Network linked 46 stations and the Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS) Radio Network had 528 stations.

Said Snavely of his Tar Heel All-American, “You saw Charlie do in last year’s All-Star game what we saw Charlie do many times . . . what we came to expect Charlie to do every time he got on the football field.  I doubt if there has been a finer all-around player in football than Charlie.”  Charlie’s response was “It’s the highest honor that can come to a football player. . . . I accept the trophy for the entire 50-man All-Star squad. . . . They all should be getting one.”

In a Charlotte Observer column on February 21, 1957 written by Justice, he said,  “…I would say without hesitation that the high spot of my career came in the 1950 All-Star game in Chicago.”

In July, 2004, Hugh Morton was the point man for the Charlie Justice statue that now stands just outside Kenan Stadium.  In a note to Glenn Corley, the architect who designed the statue-area surroundings, Morton said, one of the Justice informational plaques planned for the area should include “what I feel was one of Charlie’s most exciting accomplishments: MVP for the College All-Star game.”  Morton then sent me a note asking, “Can you fill me in on the info of the College All-Stars versus the pros?”

I was honored to fill Morton’s request and today, if you stand in front of the statue, the informational plaque on the far right tells of Justice’s MVP performance of August 11, 1950, sixty-five years ago tonight.

Charlie Justice statue at UNC, photograph by Stephen J. Fletcher, 11 August 2015.

Charlie Justice statue at UNC, photograph by Stephen J. Fletcher, 11 August 2015.

A Tar Heel tradition in blue & white

A Chapel Hill “Rite of Spring” will be carried out in Charlotte this year. Head Football Coach Larry Fedora will take his Tar Heels to the Queen City for the 70th anniversary Blue-White football game because the renovations being carried out at Kenan Stadium will not be completed in time for the game on Saturday, April 11, 2015. [4/11/15 Update: according to GoHeels.com, the team is calling this a “open spring football scrimmage,” adding “Carolina will not have a traditional Spring Game in Chapel Hill due to ongoing repairs to the Kenan Stadium playing surface.”]

The annual spring game goes all the way back to 1946 when then Head Coach Carl Snavely put his post World War II squad on display in Kenan Stadium.  Hugh Morton, as you might have suspected, photographed some of these early contests.  Unlike his negatives for UNC basketball’s version of the Blue-White game, which are identified, Morton did not label his football negatives for the spring outing.  I turned to newspapers looking for articles and images, then looked through hundreds of unlabeled negatives; Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looked over news reports from the Daily Tar Heel, Greensboro Daily News, Wilmington Morning Star, and Charlotte News.  The result? Jack’s piece for today’s post on the beginnings of a Tar Heel tradition . . . and a few more identified negatives than we had beforehand.

UNC tailback Charlie Justice (#22 with ball) and UNC blocking back Danny Logue (#66) during the 1949 Blue-White intrasquad game played at Kenan Stadium. Until researching this blog post, the online Morton collection of Morton images had this image incorrectly dated as 1946—Justice's freshman year when he played on the White team.

UNC tailback Charlie Justice (#22 with ball) and UNC blocking back Danny Logue (#66) during the 1949 Blue-White intrasquad game played at Kenan Stadium. Until researching this blog post, the online Morton collection of Morton images had this image incorrectly dated as 1946—Justice’s freshman year when he played on the White team.

Thirteen days after UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely got his Valentine wish that Charlie Justice would “come out for the team,” a practice game was held in Kenan Stadium between the Tar Heels and the Guilford College Quakers coached by Doc Newton. About a thousand students showed up despite the cold, damp, windy weather. The students were surprised when Snavely sent his team onto the field and Justice remained on the sideline. The modified format game gave Guilford the ball first and they did well. When the Tar Heels took over the ball, it was at their own 34-yard-line. On the sideline, Snavely snapped, “Justice, try tailback for a while.”  As Justice ran onto the field, the crowd came to its feet. The Quaker defense dug in. Justice was on trial.

As everybody suspected, Justice got the snap. He started out to his right, then peeled off between the tackle and end, and was into the secondary. Two Quaker linebackers missed tackles, and now Justice was in position to size up the safety man. He ran directly at this last line of resistance, applied a head and shoulder fake and breezed past, then angled into the end zone. There was stunned silence in Kenan Stadium as the onlookers tried to figure out what they had just seen. Then a spontaneous cheer went up.

The United Press story in the Greensboro Daily News issue of February 28, 1946 said: “If his initial showing is any indication, Charlie Justice, the University of North Carolina’s new football star, can expect to cause opponents plenty of unrest.”

As the 1946 spring practice came to a close, Coach Snavely along with the University Monogram Club staged something new. They divided the 70-man football squad into two teams for a special game in Kenan Stadium. It was billed as the first annual Blue-White game and was played on May 4, 1946 before 2,000 top-coated fans. Charlie Justice, who had gotten a lot of ink in the papers by now, was assigned to the White team.

The Blue team got the ball first but after about two minutes, they punted. On the first play from scrimmage, with the ball at the White 35, Justice took off around right end. To quote Yogi Berra, “it was déjà vu all over again.” This time the play covered 65 yards. The White team went on to win that first Blue-White game 33 to 0. The ’46 Tar Heels finished the season 8-1-1 and it was “Happy Times are Here Again” in Chapel Hill.

Word of the successful 1946 Blue-White game spread quickly and when the 1947 game rolled around, 7,000 fans turned out on a warm April Saturday.  The ’47 game had all appearances of a regular game as two squads of 41 players each met in Kenan on April 26, 1947. Unlike the ’46 game, this game was a tight, hard-fought contest with the White team winning in the end over the Justice-led Blue team 7 to 6.  Place-kicker Bob Cox made the difference. It would be Charlie Justice’s only Blue-White loss.  Although the 1947 Tar Heels lost 2 games—one to Texas and one to Wake Forest—and they chose not to accept a bowl invitation.  Coach Snavely often said he thought his ’47 Carolina team was his best.

By April 29, 1948, Carolina had completed all of its spring practice and work was under way by the Monogram Club for the third annual Blue-White game to be staged in Kenan on May 1st.  Once again, Coach Carl Snavely divided his troops into two teams: the White team to be coached by Jim Gill, and the Blue team to be led by Max Reed.  This time 10,000 sun-baked fans came out to see what the ’48 Tar Heels had to offer.  As it turned out, they had plenty to offer.  The White team with Justice and Art Weiner at the controls scored three touchdowns in the first half and added two more in the second, making the final 35 to 7. The third annual Blue-White game introduced a new Carolina tradition.  Head Cheerleader Norman Sper presented for the first time on the East Coast the 2,000-student Carolina Card section.  They performed eight different stunts, to the delight of the crowd. The 1948 Tar Heels were undefeated: a tie with William & Mary was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect season. The stage was set for the final season of the “Charlie Justice Era,” but it would not be Charlie’s final Blue-White game.

The Charlotte News published a three-image montage of Morton photographs after the 1948 Blue-White game.

The Charlotte News published a three-image montage of Morton photographs after the 1948 Blue-White game.

Here’s a PDF of the above news clip: CharlotteNews_19480503_p6B.  Only one negative from this trio has been located thus far:

Dick Bunting throwing a pass during 1948 Blue-White game, which may be the first Hugh Morton photographed. Newspaper articles examined thus far for the two previous Blue-White games do not include photographs, and Morton did not identified the vast majority of his UNC football negatives.

Dick Bunting throwing a pass during 1948 Blue-White game, which may be the first Hugh Morton photographed. Newspaper articles examined thus far for the two previous Blue-White games do not include photographs, and Morton did not identified the vast majority of his UNC football negatives.

The format for the fourth Blue-White game in 1949 was slightly different from years past. Upperclassmen like Justice and Weiner made up the Blue team, while freshman made up the White team.  A Kenan Stadium crowd of 12,000 sat through a first-quarter rain and saw Justice run for one touchdown and pass for two as the “old guys” beat the “rookies,” 21 to 6.

"Hailed By Coach Snavely, Charlie Justice" is the caption headline for this photograph in Wilmington's Morning Star on May 3rd, 1949. The caption read (in part), "Tackle Bill Kuhn next fall will be the first Wilmington boy in a number of years to be on North Carolina's starting team. . . . Coach Snavely and Charlie Justice both maintain that Kuhn will likely be one of Carolina's greatest tackles if he continues the fine play he has displayed during spring practice." The Charlotte News also published this photograph. The crops are slightly different in each newspaper; the crop here is a similar to those.

“Hailed By Coach Snavely, Charlie Justice” is the caption headline for this photograph in Wilmington’s Morning Star on May 3rd, 1949. The caption read (in part), “Tackle Bill Kuhn next fall will be the first Wilmington boy in a number of years to be on North Carolina’s starting team. . . . Coach Snavely and Charlie Justice both maintain that Kuhn will likely be one of Carolina’s greatest tackles if he continues the fine play he has displayed during spring practice.” The Charlotte News also published this photograph. The crops are slightly different in each newspaper; the crop here is a similar to those.

Special guests for this game were 5,000 high school students from across the state.
Photographer Hugh Morton attended several Blue-White games over the years. His classic shot of Justice at the ’49 game (seen at the top of of this article) is a scene many had come to expect in their Sunday papers.

Dick Bunting (#30) carries the football within the grasp of a tackler during the UNC Blue-White game played on April 30, 1949. This photograph, cropped tightly as a vertical to focus on the runner eluding the tackler, appeared in The Charlotte News on May 2nd.

Dick Bunting (#30) carries the football within the grasp of a tackler during the UNC Blue-White game played on April 30, 1949. This photograph, cropped tightly as a vertical to focus on the runner eluding the tackler, appeared in The Charlotte News on May 2nd.

Here’s a PDF of the article and two photographs as they appeared in theMay 2nd edition of The Charlotte News: CharlotteNews_19490502_p4B

Hugh Morton's photograph of Bunting as it appeared in The Charlotte News on May 2, 1949.

Hugh Morton’s photograph of Bunting as it appeared in The Charlotte News on May 2, 1949.

The 1949 Tar Heels lost three games during the season but still won the Southern Conference title and played in the 1950 Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day.

May 6, 1950, UNC’s Monogram Club staged its fifth Blue-White with yet another format change. This time it was the “Old Grads,” vs. the 1950 varsity.  As you might guess, Charlie Justice and Art Weiner were co-captains for the “Grads.” 19,000 fans endured 90 degree temperatures and saw Justice steal the show once again, carrying the ball 12 times.

Uncredited photograph in Wilmington's Morning Star on May 7th, 1950. Could this be a Hugh Morton photograph?

Uncredited photograph in Wilmington’s Morning Star on May 7th, 1950. Could this be a Hugh Morton photograph?

The “Choo Choo” had five punts for an average of 51 yards-per-kick.  The star for the varsity was sophomore tailback Ernie Liberati who just happened to be the subject of Hugh Morton’s photo in the Greensboro Daily News issue of May 7, 1950.  Morton, in an impromptu interview with Daily News Sports Director Smith Barrier said, “Fish are beginning to bite around Wilmington.”  With all the big guns gone, the 1950 Tar Heels struggled, posting a 3-5-2 record for the season.

UNC right tackle Bill Kuhn (#51), backfield coach Charlie Justice, and running back John Gaylord (#25). See the photograph above with Kuhn as a freshman, when Justice and Snavely praised his abilities in Wilmington's Morning Star. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

UNC right tackle Bill Kuhn (#51), backfield coach Charlie Justice, and running back John Gaylord (#25). See the photograph above with Kuhn as a freshman, when Justice and Snavely praised his abilities in Wilmington’s Morning Star. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

On April 28, 1951, the UNC Monogram Club staged the sixth Blue-White game in perfect football weather before 11,500 fans in Kenan Stadium. The varsity (White) vs. freshmen (Blue) format was in place once again, and as before the varsity proved to be too much for the “rookies.”  Coach George Radman’s White team won 32 to 21. Radman’s assistant coach was Charlie Justice, participating in his sixth Blue-White game. Justice was on Snavely’s staff during the 1951 season before returning to his duties with the Washington Redskins for his second Redskins season in 1952.  The ’51 Tar Heels finished the season with a 2 and 8 record. Snavely would have only more season with the Tar Heels.

The Blue-White games just kept on coming and in the1962 game, the Monogram Club brought back the 1950 format with the Varsity (Blue) and Alumni (White). At age 37, Charlie Justice participated in his seventh and final Blue-White game. On April 7, 1962, Justice was used as the Alumni punter and got off punts of 35, 40, 39, 37, and 19 yards. The headline in the Greensboro paper on April 8, 1962 read, “Justice Booms Punts Again,” and the headline on page 219 in the 1963 UNC Yearbook, “ Yackety Yack,” read “Choo-Choo Returns for Alumni Game.”

So, when UNC Head Football Coach Larry Fedora’s 2015 Tar Heels take the field at Rocky River High School in Charlotte at 1 pm on April 11 for the 70th anniversary Blue-White spring game, I choose to believe that Justice, Weiner, Snavely and Morton will be together again, watching a Tar Heel Tradition in Blue and White.