More than a building

During the month of May, UNC’s General Alumni Association (GAA) celebrates three very important anniversaries: it’s 173rd birthday on May 31st, and the groundbreaking for and the dedication of the George Watts Hill Alumni Center.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard shares some the history behind these events.

Frank H. Kenan (left) and George Watts Hill Sr. (right) at an unidentified event, probably at UNC-Chapel Hill. (Photograph cropped by blog editor.)

Frank H. Kenan (left) and George Watts Hill Sr. (right) at an unidentified event, probably at UNC-Chapel Hill. (Photograph cropped by blog editor.)

A Prolog
The General Alumni Association at the University of North Carolina (GAA) was born on May 31, 1843 when thirty-one graduates ranging from the classes of 1801 to 1842 gathered in Garrard Hall with Governor John Motley Morehead as chairman and director.  Three decades would pass, however, before alumni as a collective body would take an active role in the well–being of the university.  According to Kenneth Joel Zogry in his 1999 book, The University’s Living Room: A History of the Carolina Inn, “there was little interest or activity before the Civil War.  But alumni involvement was critical to the reopening of the University in 1875.”

Following the university’s reopening, alumni activities took place in various campus locations—first in the Alumni Building on McCorkle Place, then on the second and third floors of South Building—but there never seemed to be enough room.  Plans drawn for The Carolina Inn in 1922 had the GAA moving its offices into the building, fulfilling the original concept for the inn.  When the inn opened in December 1924, however, there was no space included for the Alumni Association offices, and the “traveling” GAA continued its journey from the third floor of South Building.

In a letter dated June 4, 1935 John Sprunt Hill, who had built the Carolina Inn, turned the facility over to the university.  Soon thereafter, on February 13, 1936, the university made makeshift quarters for the GAA by modifying the inn’s eastern porch that ran behind the the main ballroom. The enclosed porch, along with space in the basement and lobby, became GAA’s home, lasting until 1940 when it moved into a small suite of offices next to the inn’s Faculty Club Room.  Also opening in 1940 was a three-story building consisting of twelve apartments, built next to the original Carolina Inn building. That new structure faced South Columbia Street and was named the Bryan Apartment Building honoring Joseph Hunter Bryan, a University trustee from 1809 until 1817.

In October of 1969, the GAA moved into the Bryan Apartment Building (often called the Carolina Apartments) and the facility then became known as Alumni House.  The GAA remained there for twenty-four years until the George Watts Hill Alumni Center opened in March of 1993.


More than a Building . . .

We are funding more than a building, more than a Chapel Hill home for our loyal and dedicated alumni.  We are cementing the bond between Carolina’s sons and daughters and alma mater.  We are expanding alumni involvement and assuring that alumni—the only permanent constituency of the University—will forever have a seat at the table in the important work of our University.

— Ralph N. Strayhorn, UNC Class of 1947,
Chairman, Alumni Center Fund Raising Campaign

As UNC’s General Alumni Association approached its 142nd birthday in mid-May of 1985, it was still in search of a permanent, free-standing center to call home.  During the ‘85 graduation and reunion weekend things were about to change.

Alumni Association President Ralph Strayhorn, during the annual alumni luncheon on May 11th, announced to the gathering of 450 people that the GAA had received the necessary approvals for a new alumni center to be located on South Campus next to the Kenan Center, which was still under construction, and overlooking the still unfinished Student Activity Center.  At last, a three-story 63,000 square foot building could be called home.

One of those necessary approvals was permission to raise the needed $8.5 million to build the center.  That campaign got underway quickly, and in May 1986 the GAA reported that they had received a $3.5 million anonymous challenge-gift, along with a $500,000 donation from the James M. Johnson Trust.  They also announced that Ralph Strayhorn would be heading up the fund raising campaign.

Ralph N. Strayhorn, UNC Class of 1947, was a past chairman of the UNC Board of Trustees, and a past president of The Educational Foundation, Inc.  He was a former president of the North Carolina Bar Association and chief corporate counsel of Wachovia Corporation in Winston-Salem.  Many old-time Tar Heels will remember him as co-captain of the 1946 Carolina Tar Heel football team that played in the 1947 Sugar Bowl, and along with his friend Charlie Justice was honored in a pregame ceremony during the 1997 Sugar Bowl—50 years after that ’47 game. Strayhorn also spoke at the dedication of the Charlie Justice statue in November of 2004.

UNC President Bill Friday, George Watts Hill, Ralph Strayhorn, and UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Christopher Fordham posed with Hill's presentation check dated October 12, 1986 and an artist's rendering of the alumni center building. (Photograph cropped by blog editor.)

UNC President Bill Friday, George Watts Hill, Ralph Strayhorn, and UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Christopher Fordham posed with Hill’s presentation check dated October 12, 1986 and an artist’s rendering of the alumni center building. (Photograph cropped by blog editor.)

In July of 1987, Strayhorn announced that fund raising had reached $5.5 million and it was also revealed that the anonymous donor was George Watts Hill, Sr., for whom the building would be named.  On Hill’s urging and with the GAA’s blessing, the site for the new alumni center was moved to Stadium Drive next-door to Kenan Memorial Stadium. Since the new site provided very little parking and was one of the last wooded areas on South Campus, there was some opposition, but the new site was approved.


UPDATE 23 May 2016: by Stephen J. Fletcher

The above photograph by Morton has proved to be an excellent example of how a photograph can be an important primary research document.  I selected the negative from a description in the Morton collection finding aid.  The negative had not been previously scanned, so I added it to the post to enhance the story.  I wrote the caption based upon what I saw in the image, including the date of the presentation check.

Jack Hilliard emailed me after I published the post to say that he had never seen that photograph before, and he pointed out that the date on the check predates the July 1987 date he provided in the paragraph below the photograph.  Jack’s source for the July 1987 date is William D. Snider’s Light on the Hill: A History of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1992), page 321: “The association launched a fund-raising campaign and by July, 1987 had raised $5.5 million. Simultaneously, George Watts Hill, Sr., member of a family long noted for university benefactions, was revealed as the challenge gift donor.”

I checked Snider’s associated footnote to his text for his sources, which are two news articles published in The Daily Tar Heel on 23 May 1985 and 2 July 1987.  The former makes no mention of Hills’s gift, anonymous or otherwise; the later simply states, “the center will be named in honor of George Watts Hill, who made a challenge gift of $3.5 million to the campaign.”  The article makes no mention of any previous anonymity nor any revelation about when he made the gift.

Based upon Morton’s photograph, Jack subsequently found two new references (the links below lead to material behind a paywall and may not be accessible to all readers):

  • A photograph in The University Report of the North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 33:4 (September 1986), page 2 captioned, “UNC President Emeritus William C. Friday (l) and Chancellor Christopher C. Fordham III (r) announce a $3.5 million anonymous challenge gift . . . . This welcomed report to alumni occurred at the Annual Alumni Luncheon in the Carolina Inn during commencement weekend.”  Checking the 22 May 1986 issue of The Daily Tar Heel revealed that the announcement of the anonymous gift took place on 10 May, with commencement on 11th.
  • A photograph very similar to Morton’s group portrait with Hill’s presentation check, seemingly made during the same event by an uncredited photographer, published in the The University Report of the North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 33:5 (November 1986), page 13.  That photograph’s caption reads, “George Watts Hill ’22 (second from left) presenting a check facsimile for $3.5 million to Ralph N. Strayhorn ’47, chairman of the Alumni Center Campaign, at the annual gathering of past presidents on the Alumni Association of University Day,  Also pictured are President Emeritus William Friday (far left) and Chancellor Christopher Fordham (far right).

This new information seriously calls into question Snider’s choice of the word “simultaneously.”


As contributions rolled in and time went by, the costs for the building increased. By the time the November, 1988 issue of The Alumni Report newspaper came out, the total costs for the facility had risen to $12 million and a Kenan family gift of $250,000 had brought the total monies raised to $10 million.  Two months later, when the January, 1989, issue of the paper hit the streets, the total donations had reached the $11 million mark.

May 13, 1987 groundbreaking ceremony for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. (L to R): Ralph Strayhorn, fund raising chairman; George Watts Hill; Doug Dibbert, General Alumni Association Executive Director; Robert C. Eubanks, Board of Trustees Chairman; Tom Lambeth, chairman of the area campaigns; Chancellor Emeritus Christopher C. Fordham III; and UNC Chancellor Paul Hardin.

May 13, 1989 groundbreaking ceremony for the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. (L to R): Ralph Strayhorn, fund raising chairman; George Watts Hill; Doug Dibbert, General Alumni Association Executive Director; Robert C. Eubanks, Board of Trustees Chairman; Tom Lambeth, chairman of the area campaigns; Chancellor Emeritus Christopher C. Fordham III; and UNC Chancellor Paul Hardin.

By graduation/reunion weekend ’89, it was time to break ground for the center. The formal groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 13, 1989 featuring remarks by George Watts Hill followed by the groundbreaking with a team of University and alumni leaders doing the honors. Hugh Morton’s photograph of the groundbreaking event shows Ralph Strayhorn, George Watts Hill, Sr., Doug Dibbert, GAA Executive Director, Robert Eubanks, Board of Trustees President, Thomas W. Lambeth, Chairman of the area campaigns, UNC Chancellor Emeritus Christopher C. Fordham, and UNC Chancellor Paul Hardin.

Soon construction got underway, and the fund raising campaign reached its goal: $12.5 million raised with 14,500 alumni and friends contributing.  In the words of campaign committee chairman Strayhorn, “Once we got Mr. Hill’s lead gift for the center, the raising of the money was very—I won’t say easy, but came in very nicely.  Of course, that doesn’t mean we didn’t work very hard for it.”


I will never stop doing all I can for Carolina. —George Watts Hill, Sr., UNC Class of 1922


As the construction work continued, the end was in sight.  Moving-in day looked to be in early 1993 with a graduation/reunion weekend date of May 14th for the dedication ceremony.  Then, in the early morning hours of January 20, 1993, the Tar Heel Nation lost a loving friend and faithful supporter.  George Watts Hill, Sr., UNC Class of 1922, died peacefully in his sleep. He was 91 years old.

“Watts Hill symbolized in his life what the word grace means. And his decency and good will taught us so much we will long remember,” said Dr. William Friday.  UNC Chancellor Paul Hardin added, “We have lost indeed one of the most majestic leaders in the 20th century.”  And GAA Executive Director Douglas Dibbert said, “It was my personal joy to work with him these past several years as together, with the support of many others, we moved the long cherished dream to reality with the construction of the George Watts Hill Alumni Center . . .”  A moment of silence in his honor was observed in the Smith Center before the start of the Carolina–Virginia basketball game on January 20.

UNC Chancellor Paul Hardin speaking to gathering at the dedication of the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on May 14, 1993. Seated on the left are General Alumni Executive Director Doug Dibbert, UNC Class of 1970 and outgoing General Alumni President Elizabeth "Pepper" Dowd, UNC Class of 1953 (photograph cropped by editor).

UNC Chancellor Paul Hardin speaking to gathering at the dedication of the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on May 14, 1993. Seated on the left are General Alumni Executive Director Doug Dibbert, UNC Class of 1970 and outgoing General Alumni President Elizabeth “Pepper” Dowd, UNC Class of 1953 (photograph cropped by editor).

GAA accomplished its planned move into the new Alumni Center in early March. Two months later, on May 14th, hundreds of invited guests, alumni and university friends attended the dedication ceremony held in front of the center’s main entrance.  Among those invited guests, were UNC System President C. D. Spangler; UNC Chancellor Paul Hardin; Anne Hill, widow of George Watts Hill; Frances Hill Fox, George Watts Hill’s sister; and of course Hugh Morton who documented the day’s events with his camera.  Elizabeth “Pepper” Dowd, UNC Class of 1953 and outgoing General Alumni Association president, presided over the ceremony.  Doug Dibbert, UNC Class of 1970 made the formal presentation of the George Watts Hill Alumni Center to the university, accepted on its behalf by Chancellor Paul Hardin.  Frances Hill Fox represented the Hill family with a few remarks. The Clef Hangers, Carolina’s oldest a cappella group, provided the entertainment.  A team of UNC alumni and friends conducted the formal ribbon cutting ceremony: Doug Dibbert; Anne Cates, UNC Class of 1953 and Chairperson of the Alumni Center Building Committee; Pepper Dowd; Anne Hill; Frances Hill Fox; and Chancellor Hardin.


The next time you visit the UNC campus and you find yourself near Carolina’s geographical center on that path between north and south campus, stop for a few seconds and check out the building at 106 Stadium Drive, the one with the entrance tower which bears the carved stone nameplate “George Watts Hill Alumni Center.”  If your schedule permits, go inside . . . you’ll be impressed.  For more history and a description of the building, the GAA website has republished a 1997 article by — Carolyn Edy ’97 (MA) updated in 2003 titled “Welcome to the George Watts Hill Alumni Center.”


An Epilog
On August 30, 1994, a group of about seventy-five GAA employees, friends, and former residents of the Bryan Apartment Building gathered for a good-bye ceremony. The building had served the University for fifty-four years and the GAA for twenty-four. Following a few speeches of remembrance, a giant wrecking ball swung into action and a few days later, the old building was but a memory.  To keep that memory alive, the Public Works Administration plaque from the 1939-1940 additions to the Carolina Inn, which had included the Bryan Apartments, was retrieved, mounted, and given a special place in the new George Watts Hill Alumni Center.

The other half of the hyphen

Newscaster David Brinkley sitting before/after a news conference. The slide mount date is February 1971.

Newscaster David Brinkley sitting before/after a news conference. The slide mount date is February 1971.

On April 24, 1988—twenty-eight years ago this week, Hall of Fame newsman and broadcaster David Brinkley (July 10, 1920 – June 11, 2003) delivered the Reed Sarratt Distinguished Lecture in Hill Hall on the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill.  Brinkley, a native of Wilmington, briefly attended UNC before joining the United States Army in 1940.  In 1988 Brinkley was a commentator for ABC World News Tonight, but many in attendance that evening remembered him from his NBC News days as the “other half of the hyphen” on the Huntley–Brinkley Report from 1956 to 1970.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look at the life and times of David Brinkley.


 

People have the illusion that all over the world, all the time, all kinds of fantastic things are happening. When in fact, over most of the world, most of the time, nothing is happening. —David Brinkley


One of my earliest TV memories is watching the evening news on CBS with my family in Asheboro, N. C.  In the years 1951 and ’52 we had a 14-inch black-and-white General Electric model TV set.  The news anchor was Douglas Edwards, but we didn’t know him as an anchor in those days.  He was just the face on the screen.  My dad often said he wished we could get the news on NBC because he had grown up with news on the radio with names like H. V. Kaltenborn, Ben Grauer, Morgan Beatty, and Bill Henry. But there wasn’t an NBC affiliated station in the Triad in those days.  WFMY-TV in Greensboro was the only television station in the Greensboro–High Point–Winston-Salem market.  So CBS was our only choice.

In the summer of 1952 we were able to see the Democratic and Republican parties’ national political conventions from Chicago, and the new face on CBS was a man with a funny last name: Walter Cronkite. Television had been at the 1948 conventions with a limited number of stations, but there weren’t many sets in use back then so that TV presence is nothing more than a historical footnote today.  In ’52 things were different.  Most everyone with a TV set watched the conventions, and the day-to-day happenings in Chicago became water-cooler conversations across the nation.

Then, on September 30, 1953, my dad got his wish—television station WSJS-TV in Winston-Salem, an NBC affiliate, signed on the air.  (The station today is WXII-TV).  Most of my dad’s NBC News favorites were there on The Camel News Caravan with John Cameron Swayze.  In addition, there was also a reporter named David Brinkley.

Brinkley began his television career at NBC in 1951, having worked for United Press starting in 1943 following his military service in the army.  One of Brinkley’s early NBC assignments was to cover President Harry Truman’s trip to Winston-Salem for the groundbreaking ceremony for Wake Forest College. (Hugh Morton attended that ceremony as well and we hope to write a post about the ceremony later this year in October.)

When it came time for the 1956 political conventions, NBC faced a major challenge. Walter Cronkite had set a high mark in ’52, so executives at NBC News looked for a way to compete with Cronkite. Their plan was to put in place two anchors for the broadcast. Originally they considered teaming Bill Henry with Ray Scherer, but the NBC brass ultimately decided on Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.

Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. This unattributed photographic print in the Hugh Morton collection is likely a publicity photograph distributed by NBC. A similar photograph on the NBCUniversal website (submitted by Anonymous) dates the photograph as 1956. See http://www.nbcuniversal.com/content/chet-huntley-and-david-brinkley-gain-national-acclaim-their-election-coverage-and-their)

Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. This unattributed photographic print in the Hugh Morton collection is likely a publicity photograph distributed by NBC. A similar photograph on the NBCUniversal website (submitted by Anonymous) dates the photograph as 1956. See http://www.nbcuniversal.com/content/chet-huntley-and-david-brinkley-gain-national-acclaim-their-election-coverage-and-their.

The double-team worked.  It worked so well, in fact, that on October 29, 1956, the two-man-team took over the NBC evening newscast; thus was born the Huntley-Brinkley Report, with Chet Huntley in New York and David Brinkley in Washington.  Brinkley’s dry wit and Huntley’s serious tone became the newscast to watch. Their catchphrase ending to each night’s broadcast was  “Good night, Chet. Good night David. And Good Night for NBC News”—followed by the second movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as credits rolled.

The tandem proved to be a ratings’ winner.  It was not until the late 1960s that CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite finally caught up in the ratings’ race.  From 1961 until 1963, David Brinkley added a magazine show to his resume called David Brinkley’s Journal.  I remember how frustrated I was as a UNC student in 1961 when the local NBC station in the Triangle chose not to carry the program.  The final Huntley–Brinkley Report aired on July 31, 1970 when Chet Huntley retired from NBC News.

Profile shot of newsman David Brinkley standing in silhouette on the Hilton Hotel Pier on the Cape Fear Waterfront in Wilmington, North Carolina, with the USS North Carolina in background. Morton was instrumental in bringing the mothballed battleship to Wilmington in 1961; Brinkley, a Wilmington native, appeared in public service television spots for fundraising. Morton made this portrait during Wilmington's "David Brinkley Day" on 7 January 1971.

Profile shot of newsman David Brinkley standing in silhouette on the Hilton Hotel Pier on the Cape Fear Waterfront in Wilmington, North Carolina, with the USS North Carolina in background. Morton was instrumental in bringing the mothballed battleship to Wilmington in 1961; Brinkley, a Wilmington native, appeared in public service television spots for fundraising. Morton made this portrait during Wilmington’s “David Brinkley Day” on 7 January 1971.

On January 7, 1971, the city of Wilmington staged a special celebration for its native son, declaring the day “David Brinkley Day.” A Chamber of Commerce committee that included Hugh Morton, Wayne Jackson from WECT-TV, and Allen Jones from WGNI Radio, planned the event. Morton’s job was to prepare a “This is Your Life, David Brinkley” slide show. With help from Al Dickson the executive editor of the Wilmington Star-News, Morton was able to get pictures from Brinkley’s early days in Wilmington when as a high school student he had worked for the paper. Jackson was able to get Chet Huntley to narrate the slide show, which was the hit of the banquet that evening.  Following the slide show, Morton said, “We are pretty certain we saw tears on the cheeks of the usually unemotional David Brinkley, once the light came back on.”

Brinkley continued at NBC News doing anchor work and commentary until 1981 when he left for ABC News.  There Brinkley did commentary for the evening news and added This Week with David Brinkley, a Sunday morning interview program with news analysis. The award-winning Sunday morning program continued until November 10, 1996.

Brinkley wrote three books, including the critically acclaimed 1988 bestseller Washington Goes to War about how World War II transformed the nation’s capital.  The title of his 1995 memoir sums up his career in broadcasting: David Brinkley: 11 Presidents, 4 Wars, 22 Political Conventions, 1 Moon Landing, 3 Assassinations, 2000 Weeks of News and Other Stuff on Television and 18 Years of Growing Up in North Carolina.”

During his career Brinkley won ten Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, and, in 1958, the Alfred I. DuPont Award.  In 1982 he received the Paul White Award for lifetime achievement from the Radio Television Digital News Association. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1988 and the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame in 1989.  In 1992 President George H.W. Bush awarded Brinkley the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

On Wednesday, June 11, 2003, David Brinkley died at his home in Houston, Texas from complications after a fall.  He was 82.  Richard Severo, writing in the June 12, 2003 edition of The New York Times began his Brinkley obituary with these words:

David Brinkley, whose pungent news commentaries, delivered with a mixture of wry skepticism and succinct candor, set the standard for network television for generations . . .

Brinkley is buried in the beautiful Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Epitaph on David Brinkley's gravestone in Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington, N. C. Photograph by Stephen J. Fletcher, 7 November 2015.

Epitaph on David Brinkley’s gravestone in Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington, N. C. Photograph by Stephen J. Fletcher, 7 November 2015.

An Epilog
The Reed Sarratt Distinguished Lecture Series brings some of the best and brightest minds in the field of journalism and mass communications to the UNC campus each spring semester to discuss matters of importance and concern. The series was started with two events in 1987 and for its third event, the speaker was David Brinkley.

In addition to his discussion of journalism philosophy and principle, Brinkley shared a humorous story from a time when he was an anchor with NBC News:

Many years ago, when I was doing the Huntley-Brinkley Report, I was in an airport somewhere, and I was approached by a gray-haired lady.  She said, “Are you Chet Huntley?”  I said, “Yes, I am.”  If I had walked up to Abbott and Costello, I’m not sure I would have known which one was which.  The woman in the lobby, still thinking she was addressing Huntley, told me she liked me just fine.  Then she said but I don’t know how you can stand that idiot Brinkley.

Brinkley was a hit that day at his alma mater, and four years later returned to deliver the commencement address on May 10, 1992.

When Carolina’s Roy Williams and Villanova’s Jay Wright were assistants

The anguished facial expression of UNC Head Basketball Coach Dean Smith (second from left) makes you wonder if assistant coach Roy Williams, far left, is doing his happy dance . . . or not . . . during UNC's 1982 East Region Final played at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 21, 1982. Others on the UNC bench (L to R) are unknown, #43 Jeb Barlow, Chris Brust, #32 John Brownlee, and Warren Martin. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

The anguished facial expression of UNC Head Basketball Coach Dean Smith (second from left) makes you wonder if assistant coach Roy Williams, far left, is doing his happy dance . . . or not . . . during UNC’s 1982 East Region Final played at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 21, 1982. Others on the UNC bench (L to R) are unknown, #43 Jeb Barlow, Chris Brust, #32 John Brownlee, and Warren Martin. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

UNC’s ascent to the 1982 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship included a confrontation with Villanova in the East Region Final won by the Tar Heels, 70 to 60.  In 1991 the two universities squared off again in the East Region bracket, an 84 to 69 UNC win in the second round, played in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse, New York.  On the sidelines of those two respective games were assistant coaches who will find themselves as helmsmen during tonight’s contest for the 2016 national championship in Houston: UNC’s Roy Williams seen above as assistant to Dean Smith in 1982, and Jay Wright, seen below, as assistant to Rollie Massimino in 1991.  (A similar photograph by Morton can be seen in the online collection.)

Villanova Head Coach Rollie Massimino (left) and Assistant Coach (and current Villanova Head Coach) Jay Wright. Photograph by Hugh Morton, copped by the author. A similar photograph can be seen in the online Morton collection.

Villanova Head Coach Rollie Massimino (left) and Assistant Coach (and current Villanova Head Coach) Jay Wright. Photograph by Hugh Morton, copped by the author. A similar photograph can be seen in the online Morton collection.

In between those two face-offs was Villanova’s victory over UNC for the 1985 Mideast Region Final, won by Villanova 65 to 44 on the Wildcats way to winning the national championship.  At that time Wright was coaching in Division III at the University of Rochester, and Williams was still the assistant coach at UNC.  Hugh Morton photographed that game but only a shot from the UNC locker is in the online collection.

Back in 2009 Jack Hilliard wrote a post titled “UNC vs. Villanova: 1982 and 1985.” when these school faced each other during the opening round of “Final Four” play.  UNC won handily, 83 to 69.  Those who prefer the lighter shade of blue will be rooting for another Tar Heel title tonight.

Back to the future: 1992–1993?

Walking to my office from the bus stop this morning while talking with a fellow bus rider, I wondered if Duke and UNC ever won national titles back-to-back.  Checking the records books (okay, Wikipedia), I learned that the answer is yes!  Duke won the national title in 1991 and 1992, followed by UNC in 1993.

Victorious UNC men's basketball team after the 1993 NCAA championship game. Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.

Victorious UNC men’s basketball team after the 1993 NCAA championship game. Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.

Hugh Morton traveled to Indianapolis in 1991 when both schools reached the Final Four.  UNC lost its national semifinal to Kansas, coached by Roy Williams, 79 to 73.  Morton hung around town and returned for the championship game to witness Duke’s downing of Kansas 72 to 65.

1991 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions Duke Blue Devils celebrating with trophy, in Indianapolis, IN. L to R on podium: #5 Bill McCaffrey, #32 Christian Laettner (background), #33 Grant Hill, Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski, #23 Brian Davis, #12 Thomas Hill, #11 Bobby Hurley, and Clay Buckley (far right). Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.

1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions Duke Blue Devils celebrating with trophy, in Indianapolis, IN. L to R on podium: #5 Bill McCaffrey, #32 Christian Laettner (background), #33 Grant Hill, Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski, #23 Brian Davis, #12 Thomas Hill, #11 Bobby Hurley, and Clay Buckley (far right). Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.

Morton did not make the trek to Minneapolis for Duke’s championship at the 1992 Final Four with UNC’s Southeast Regional loss to Ohio State in Lexington, Kentucky, but he certainly was not going know what it means to miss New Orleans in 1993.  Follow the “1993” link to our story about that game, published in March 2013.

Duke was last years’s national champion.  Will UNC follow in their footsteps this year and make history repeat itself?

 

 

When last they met here

Indiana's Dan Dakich guards UNC's Michael Jordan during the 1984 NCAA East Regional Semifinal in Atlanta, Georgia. Indiana head coach Bob Knight watches the action in the background. In those days UNC wore Converse shoes. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

Indiana’s Dan Dakich guards UNC’s Michael Jordan during the 1984 NCAA East Regional Semifinal in Atlanta, Georgia. Indiana head coach Bob Knight watches the action in the background. In those days UNC wore Converse shoes. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

It was his last college game.  An upset that still rankles a quarter-century later, like a large pebble in his Air Jordans.

—Mike Lopresti, sportswriter, March 3, 2009

This coming Friday night, the UNC Tar Heels will face the Indiana Hoosiers’ in the East Regional Semifinal of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The two schools last met in the East Regional semifinal round thirty-two years ago today on March 22, 1984 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Michael Jordan played his last game as a Tar Heel that day, because the Hoosiers emerged with a 72-68 victory.

According to sportswriter Mike Lopresti, who wrote an article in 2009 titled “After 25 years, Jordan still frustrated by loss to Hoosiers in tourney,” Indiana head coach Bobby Knight made a few strategic changes that led to their upset win over the number one seed UNC: “He ditched his beloved motion offense and spread the floor, to better combat Dean Smith’s trapping defenses . . . and . . . put a blue-collar defender named Dan Dakich on Jordan. Dakich was ordered to deny Jordan the backdoor cut, the post-up and offensive rebounds. Fail at any, and he was on the bench.  Dakich learned of his assignment a few hours before the game. Already ill, he went back to his room and threw up.”

Jordan fouled twice early in the game and it was he who spent unexpected minutes on the bench.  Jordan told Lopresti in an interview: “When I got back in the second half, I felt like I was trying to cram 40 minutes into 20 minutes,” he said. “I could never find any sync in my game.”

A post last week listed all the NCAA basketball tournaments photographed by Hugh Morton.  The list did not include 1984.  Once I heard that these two teams would play against each there once again, I immediately flashed on a photograph I’ve had on my office door for several years until very recently:

Michael Jordan takes a jump shot during the 1984 NCAA East Regional semifinal. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

Michael Jordan takes a jump shot during the 1984 NCAA East Regional semifinal. (Hugh Morton photograph, cropped by the author.)

I lived in Indiana for fourteen years before moving to North Carolina to work in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, so it was a fitting photograph—my new state rising above my old state.  What stuck in my mind’s eye, though, was the 1984 banner in the lower right corner.  That’s when I knew I could add another tournament to Morton’s list.  Checking the finding aid revealed that he also photographed the opening rounds played in Charlotte.

In the Morton collection there is one roll of 35mm black-and-white film and second roll of color transparencies.  The latter are mostly substandard as Morton missed focused on most of his exposures.  Only one color image is online; the description, however, did not mention that the game was in the NCAA tournament so it did not turn up in my search.

Today we (that is, our scanning technician) scanned the roll of black-and-white negatives and present three of Morton’s better photographs from the game.

Matt Doherty dribbles toward the lane while Indiana forward Mike Giomi defends. Tar Heel guard Buzz Peterson looks on, (Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.)

Matt Doherty dribbles toward the lane while Indiana forward Mike Giomi defends. Tar Heel guard Buzz Peterson looks on, (Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.)

Hugh Morton photographs the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Four years ago today, my fellow co-worker Bill Richards passed away while watching the Tar Heels play their “Sweet Sixteen” game against Creighton in the 2012 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.  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 Services unit in 1998, but continued working for Sports information into the 2000s.  Each year at this time I dedicate a post about UNC basketball to Bill.

Tar Heel Eric Montross lofts a shot as Kansas Jayhawk Greg Ostertag defends during the 1993 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament National Semifinal matchup. Will the Tar Heels and Kansas face one another again in 2016? (Hugh Morton photograph cropped by the author.)

Tar Heel Eric Montross lofts a shot as Kansas Jayhawk Greg Ostertag defends during the 1993 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament National Semifinal matchup. Will the Tar Heels and Kansas face one another again in 2016? (Hugh Morton photograph cropped by the author.)

By my count, Hugh Morton photographed during seventeen eighteen more than twenty NCAA men’s basketball tournaments—in some years at multiple locations, such as 1991 when Morton traveled to East Rutherford for the East Regional and to Indianapolis for the Final Four.  In last year’s post I counted fourteen, so below is an updated list with several new links to images in the online collection.  Bill Richards would have loved this much detail!  Did I miss any this time around?

The man responsible for transmitting The Madness


Prolog

It’s a curious malady that sweeps the ACC nation just before most of us catch spring fever.  Many of us deal with the disorder by sitting in front of our TV sets for hours listening to basketball announcers and analysts drone on with a strange and curious language that only those who are infected with the ailment can understand:

“With the game on the line, he tickles the twine with the 3-ball from downtown, to get the “W” and advance to the next level of the big dance and now with a chance to win all the marbles up for grabs . . .”

It’s known as “March Madness” and there is no known cure.

Castleman D. Chesley, circa 1970s-1980s. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

Castleman D. Chesley, circa 1970s-1980s. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)


The Madness is upon us with the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament on RayCom Sports and ESPN, but what would it be like without that wall-to-wall TV coverage?  There was a time in the early days when ACC basketball was only on radio, but one man saw a bright future for the sport on TV.

Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard profiles the man who is often called the father of ACC basketball on television, C.D. Chesley.

He put ACC basketball on the map, about 10 years ahead of everyone else, and they are still trying to catch up.

Hugh Morton, March 8, 2003


In the early 1950s sports television was nothing like it is today.  I remember as a little kid watching the Washington Redskins on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 on the Amoco Redskins Network.  There were no replays, so in order to see a favorite play for a second time, I had to wait until the following Friday night when the local TV station ran a program called National Pro Highlights.  The program, produced by a company in Philadelphia called Tel Ra Productions, showed filmed highlights of the preceding Sunday’s games.

Castleman DeTolley Chesley was a member of the production team at Tel Ra.  Chesley had a football background having played freshman football at UNC in 1934.  He then moved to the University of Pennsylvania where he was football captain and was also a member of the Penn traveling comedy troupe.  Following graduation he became Penn’s athletic director, but he kept his finger on broadcasting’s pulse.  Chesley later worked with both ABC and NBC coordinating college football coverage with the NCAA.

During the 1956–1957 college basketball season, Chesley became intensely interested in the UNC Tar Heels coached by Frank McGuire as they worked their way through an undefeated season.  The 27 and 0 Tar Heels then beat Yale in Madison Square Garden during the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  At this point, Chesley made his move. Being familiar with the NCAA ins and outs, he was able to set up a three-station regional network for the finals of the Eastern Regional played at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Although station WPFH-TV in Wilmington, Delaware was the switching point, the three stations were in Durham, Greensboro, and Charlotte.  Matt Koukas, a former Philadelphia Warrior NBA star, called the play-by-play.

Even before Carolina had won the two-game regional in Philly, Chesley was already setting up the network for the national finals in Kansas City, Missouri and added two additional stations.  The semi-final with Michigan State and the final with Kansas were both triple-overtime games.  Some folks who watched those two games say that the madness for ACC basketball was born that weekend.  Castleman D. Chesley would most likely agree with those folks.

The next logical step was to approach athletic directors at ACC schools about the possibility of doing weekly football and basketball games during the regular season. In the beginning, ADs and head coaches were not in favor of adding TV to the schedule. They were afraid that people would stay home and watch on TV, rather than attend the games. Chesley was able to convince them otherwise, pointing out how television could be used as a recruiting tool as well as fund raising opportunities.

On October 12, 1957 the first ACC football TV game was broadcast, a game from Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland between the University of Maryland and Wake Forest. Charlie Harville and Jim Simpson made up the on-air broadcast team. Three other games were telecast during the ’57 football season: one from NC State, one from UNC, and one from Duke. While the football games were successful, Chesley had his eye on basketball. On December 7, 1957, the first ACC regular season basketball game was telecast on a regional network. The game was Carolina vs. Clemson from Woollen Gym on the UNC campus.

Seated are (L to R) Bones McKinney, Billy Packer, and Jim Thacker, with Castleman Chesley (standing) behind the scenes at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Marquette basketball during the 1977 NCAA finals in Atlanta, Georgia.

Seated are (L to R) Bones McKinney, Billy Packer, and Jim Thacker, with Castleman Chesley (standing) behind the scenes at UNC-Chapel Hill versus Marquette basketball during the 1977 NCAA finals in Atlanta, Georgia.

In those early days, the C.D. Chesley Company consisted of three people: Irving “Snuffy” Smith, Peggy Burns, and Mr. Chesley.  From the beginning Chesley used equipment from WUNC-TV and students from the University’s Radio, Television, and Motion Picture Department.  WUNC-TV’s director John Young managed the personnel and equipment. Play-by-play broadcasters like Harville, Simpson, Dan Daniels, Woody Durham, and Jim Thacker, and analysts like Bones McKinney, Billy Packer, and Jeff Mullins were brought in to handle the on-air while directors like John Young from WUNC-TV, Norman Prevatte from WBTV in Charlotte, and Frank Slingland from NBC-TV in Washington called the shots, often from an old converted Trailways bus that UNC-TV used in the early days.

Television coverage of ACC basketball caught on just like Chesley said it would, and his main sponsor Pilot Life Insurance Company became about as famous as the ACC teams.  People across the ACC nation could sing along . . .

Sail with the Pilot at the wheel,
On a ship sturdy from its mast to its keel . . .

C.D. Chesley was pleased with ACC basketball but he was always looking for additional challenges. In 1962 and ’63 he produced TV coverage of the Miss North Carolina Pageant to a regional network of station across the Tar Heel state, and in 1964 he produced regional coverage of the Greater Greensboro Open Golf Tournament.

Chesley was always on the lookout for more football coverage.  In the mid-1960s he started Sunday morning replay coverage of the preceding Saturday’s Notre Dame games; in 1967 was able to get Hall of Fame Broadcaster Lindsey Nelson to do the play-by-play and Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung to do the color commentary.  At one point the Notre Dame games were featured on 136 stations and Nelson became known as that “Notre Dame announcer.”

Football commentator and former quarterback Paul Hornung (left) and sportscaster Lindsey Nelson (right), while doing play-by-play for a UNC-Chapel Hill vs. Notre Dame football game. Sports broadcast producer Castleman D. Chesley at center. The year 1975 appears to be printed on Hornung's employee tag. Notre Dame scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Tar Heels 21-14 at Kenan Memorial Stadium on October 11, 1975.

Football commentator and former quarterback Paul Hornung (left) and sportscaster Lindsey Nelson (right), while doing play-by-play for a UNC-Chapel Hill vs. Notre Dame football game. Sports broadcast producer Castleman D. Chesley at center. The year 1975 appears to be printed on Hornung’s employee tag. Notre Dame scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Tar Heels 21-14 at Kenan Memorial Stadium on October 11, 1975.

C.D. Chesley started small but his broadcasts were always first class productions.  By the 1970s he was broadcasting two ACC basketball games a week.  On January 14, 1973 just before the Washington Redskins met the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII, Chesley put together a patch-work national network for the ACC basketball game between North Carolina State and Maryland.  It was big time and NC State All America David Thompson became a national sensation.

The C.D. Chesley Company and ACC basketball continued as household names for twenty-four years through the 1981 season.  At that point ACC basketball was so big that other broadcasters with bigger budgets wanted in on the action.  Chesley’s one million-dollar rights fee could not compete with the likes of MetroSports who offered three million for the 1982 season and RayCom Sports of Charlotte who paid fifteen million for the rights for three seasons starting in 1983.  RayCom continues today as the network for ACC basketball.

At the 1977 Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament, Castleman D. Chesley received a plaque from ACC Commissioner Bob James in recognition of Chelsey's vision in establishing the ACC Television Network. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

At the 1977 Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament, Castleman D. Chesley received a plaque from ACC Commissioner Bob James in recognition of Chelsey’s vision in establishing the ACC Television Network. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

“His place in the history of ACC basketball is phenomenal, getting the sport out there in front of the public,” said Tar Heel broadcaster Woody Durham in a 2003 interview.  “We all knew how exciting ACC basketball was, but here was a guy who came along and let the public see it.”

On April 10, 1983, Castleman D. Chesley lost his battle with Alzheimer’s.  He was laid to rest in a small cemetery near his home at Grandfather Mountain.  He was 69 years old.
Four years later the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame inducted Chelsey in the spring of 1987.  Hugh Morton and Ed Rankin, in their 1988 book, Making a Difference in North Carolina, devoted eight pages of words and pictures to “the man who put ACC basketball on the map.”

 

Charlie’s angel

Charlie Justice, Sarah Justice, Mrs. Chan Highsmith, and Chan Highsmith during a 1949 Sugar Bowl party in New Orleans.

Charlie Justice, Sarah Justice, Mrs. Chan Highsmith, and Chan Highsmith during a 1949 Sugar Bowl party in New Orleans.

On this day twelve years ago, the state of North Carolina lost a treasure—and Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard and his wife Marla lost a dear friend.  Sarah Alice Hunter Justice passed away in Shelby, North Carolina at age 79.  Today, Jack Hilliard takes a look at the life and times of a very special lady.

She was an angel here on earth, the epitome of a lady, always a gleam in her eye, and she never raised her voice.          —Jane Browne, Justice family friend, 2/18/04

It was early in the spring term, 1942, at Lee H. Edwards High in Asheville.  Football star Charlie Justice knew he was going to be late for class, so he applied some of his football skills and began to run down the hall.  In the process he ran over Sarah Alice Hunter.  She laughed and didn’t make anything of it.  Charlie was impressed, and later asked her out.  A notation in the campus newspaper’s “Rumors Afloat” column on March 20th said, “Charlie looks like he’s finally settled down to one girl—Nice going Sarah.”

Following her graduation in May 1942, Sarah headed to Appalachian State in Boone, but decided to return home to Asheville at Christmas.  Charlie finished at Lee Edwards on May 28, 1943, and was off to the Navy at Bainbridge Naval Training Station in Bainbridge, Maryland.  He continued playing football, while Sarah took a job with the Naval Observatory in nearby Washington, D. C.

Ten days after Charlie led Bainbridge to a 46 to 0 win over the University of Maryland, he went on a well deserved leave.  At the same time, Sarah took a brief leave from her job. The two headed to Asheville, where they were married at Trinity Episcopal Church on November 23, 1943.

Following his military obligation, Charlie and Sarah moved back to North Carolina and enrolled at UNC on Valentine’s Day, 1946.  Since Charlie was eligible for the GI Bill, Sarah got his football scholarship, thus becoming the first female to attend Carolina on a football scholarship.  In Chapel Hill, Charlie’s football heroics became legendary and on football Saturdays Sarah was always in the stands, cheering him on wearing her special good luck hat.  On August 23, 1948, the Justice family increased by one with the birth of son Charles Ronald. (They called him Ronnie.)

SMU All America football player Doak Walker, Doak's wife Norma, Sarah Justice, UNC All America football player Charlie Justice, Julia Morton, Hugh Morton, on the stoop of the Mortons' home in Wilmington. Walker and Justice were participants in the 1950 Azalea Festival.

SMU All America football player Doak Walker, Doak’s wife Norma, Sarah Justice, UNC All America football player Charlie Justice, Julia Morton, Hugh Morton, on the stoop of the Mortons’ home in Wilmington. Walker and Justice were participants in the 1950 Azalea Festival.

Following his playing days at Carolina, Charlie signed on with the Washington Redskins for four seasons.  In 1952, daughter Barbara joined the family and they returned to North Carolina in 1955, where they were often Hugh Morton’s guests at events in Wilmington and Grandfather Mountain.  They especially liked the Highland Games and Gathering of the Scottish Clans each July.

Over the years, Charlie and Sarah offered their name, their time, their talent, and their money to just about every cause in the Tar Heel state from Chapel Hill to Asheville to Greensboro . . . from Hendersonville to Flat Rock and Cherryville.  They were there when needed.  Sarah gave much of her time to the causes that improve the lives of the mentally challenged.  In Cherryville, she helped raise funds for Gaston Residential Services, which provides housing for the handicapped. The Special Olympics program was also close to her heart.  In 1989, when the Charlotte Treatment Center named a wing of its facility for Charlie, they also named a wing of the facility for Sarah.

Sarah and Charlie justice during their 50th wedding anniversary party.

Sarah and Charlie justice during their 50th wedding anniversary party.

On June 11, 1993, Charlie and Sarah lost their son Ronnie…the victim of a heart attack. He was 44 years old.  Following Carolina’s win over Duke 38 to 24 on November 26, 1993, a special celebration was held in the Carolina Inn on the UNC campus. While the win was celebrated, the real reason for the celebration was to offer sincere congratulations to Charlie and Sarah Justice on their 50th wedding anniversary, which was actually on November 23rd but game day three days later gave everybody a good reason for a celebration. The invitation for the event set the stage for the event:

A Golden Anniversary

Should be shared with family and friends.

Please join Billy, Barbara, Emilie

And Sarah Crews, Leah, David

And Beth Overman and in spirit

And loving memory Ronnie Justice,

In celebration of the fifty year

Marriage of Sarah and Charlie Justice.

 

There were family members, teammates, friends, and fans in attendance. Following a family toast by Barbara, Tar Heel Head Football Coach Mack Brown offered congratulations and spoke about the importance of Carolina’s football heritage. And throughout the ceremony, Hugh Morton was there with camera in hand documenting every phase of the event.

You didn’t need to be around Charlie Justice very long before it became very clear that his asking Sarah to marry him was the most important event in his life.  Although she was often thought of as Charlie’s wife, Sarah Justice didn’t fit the old saying, “Behind every great man stands a great woman . . . .” Charlie and Sarah stood side by side . . . they were a team.  They were connected. Their love story was the stuff of storybooks.  Sarah was always there . . . but chose to be just outside the spotlight.

In a 1995 interview with Justice Biographer Bob Terrell, Charlie talked about how the “Hand of Providence” placed him at the right place at the right time: “If I hadn’t knocked Sarah Hunter down while scuffling in the hall in high school, she might never have noticed me.  You bet that was providential!”

Soon after the Terrell biography was published in early 1996, Charlie began a seven-year battle with Alzheimer’s—a battle he would lose at 3:25 AM on Friday, October 17, 2003.  A memorial service celebrating his life was held at The Cathedral of All Souls in the Biltmore section of Asheville on Monday, October 20th.  Asheville Citizen-Times senior writer Keith Jarrett beautifully described the scene outside the church following the ceremony.

“It was one of several warm, touching scenes on a beautiful, cloud-free day with a sky the color of you know what.  Sarah sat in a wheelchair just outside the Cathedral as the UNC Clef Hangers, an all-male a cappella group, softly sang James Taylor’s ballad ‘Carolina in My Mind.’  Sarah tilted her head and was just inches away from the singers.  For a brief moment she closed her eyes, soaking in the words and perhaps recalling the memories of a marriage of love and devotion of 60 years.”

On November 4, 2003, I received a note from Barbara Crews: “Mother and I are at the beach.  Mom loves the ocean.  I think she has such peace now, she feels her job is done, and she did it well. . . . She is the best person I have ever known.”

There was a message on my answering machine when I arrived home from work on Monday, February 9, 2004.  It was from Billy Crews telling me that his mother-in-law had passed away earlier that day.  It had been 115 days since Charlie died. Marla and I had visited Sarah two days before on Saturday, February 7th at Hospice at Wendover in Shelby.  Sarah Justice was 79-years-old.

In an article in The Charlotte Observer issue of Wednesday, February 18, 2004 titled “Caregiver more than Mrs. Choo Choo,” Gerry Hostetler talked with some of Sarah’s family.  Son-in-law Billy Crews said, “She was always full of grace, and for her whole life a caregiver. She enjoyed doing things for other people and being out of the limelight.”  Granddaughter and namesake Sarah Fowler added, “She was a very giving person who always put others’ needs in front of her own. She was the backbone of this family and kept us going.”

Finally, Barbara ended the interviews with this: “She was just a saint, the kind of person you want to be around.”

A bowl of bitter sugar and an impromptu New Year’s Day truck ride in the Big Easy

The 2015 Tar Heels season ended disappointingly Tuesday evening at the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Florida.  The game marked Carolina’s 32nd bowl appearance, but sadly for Tar Heel fans it became their 18th bowl loss.  Of the 31 previous bowl games, the Tar Heels won 14 and lost 17—and of those losses, the one on January 1, 1949 was “one that got away.”  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back at the final three games of the 1948 regular season and the 1949 Sugar Bowl.

The University of North Carolina Marching Band performing on the field inside expansive Tulane Stadium during halftime of the 1949 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

The University of North Carolina Marching Band performing on the field inside expansive Tulane Stadium during halftime of the 1949 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

When UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely walked off the Kenan Stadium sideline on November 6, 1948, Carolina’s bowl-game-future wasn’t likely on his radar.  His third ranked, undefeated Tar Heels had just played William and Mary to a 7-7 tie. His team was looking at three tough games remaining: Maryland in Washington, D. C.; Duke in Chapel Hill; and Virginia in Charlottesville.

On Sunday, November 7th Snavely was back at his home on Tenney Circle in Chapel Hill screening film of head coach Jim Tatum’s Maryland Terrapins.  A record Washington football crowd of 34,588 turned out for the game at Griffith Stadium, with an estimated 6,000 Tar Heel fans in attendance.  Carolina was able to reverse the proceedings from the previous week’s 7-7 tie, and dominated Maryland 49 to 20.

An interesting oddity from that Maryland game was the game day program.  There were two different programs: one cover showed a standard Lon Keller designed football player, while a second one offered a Hugh Morton image of Charlie Justice and Coach Snavely.  The inside front cover page of that program also differed from the standard program.  It featured a Bill Harrison cartoon biography of Justice.

SugarBowlProgram1949_AltCov

Charlie Justice and Carl Snavely, negative by Hugh Morton.

Charlie Justice and Carl Snavely, negative by Hugh Morton.

SugarBowlProgram1949_AltIns

The weekend following the Tar Heel victory over Maryland saw another record-breaking crowd packed into historic Kenan Stadium for the 35th meeting between Duke and Carolina.  44,500 fans saw Charlie Justice’s 43-yard touchdown run break a 0-0 tie in the 3rd quarter as Carolina went on to claim the first Victory Bell win 20 to 0. Following the game, Coach Snavely said “I never saw a better run.” In a time long before the internet, Hugh Morton’s shot of Justice being carried off the field went viral and has been reproduced numerous times over the years.

Hugh Morton's photograph of Charlie Justice on the shoulder of teammates after the 1948 UNC–Duke game appeared on the cover of The State two weeks later.

Hugh Morton’s photograph of Charlie Justice on the shoulder of teammates after the 1948 UNC–Duke game appeared on the cover of The State two weeks later.

Next up . . . the ‘Heels and the ‘Hoos in Charlottesville.

The week before the UNC–UVA game on November 27th, bowl-talk filled the newspapers.  The Orange, Cotton, and Sugar Bowls all showed an interest in the Tar Heels.  On November 22nd the Carolina team voted to accept a bowl bid if they could beat Virginia in the final game of the ’48 regular season. The players liked the idea of playing SMU in the Cotton Bowl or Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, but a New Year’s Day game all hinged on a win in Charlottesville.

An overflow crowd of 26,000 jammed into Scott Stadium in Charlottesville on November 27, 1948 to see the UNC’s number four ranked Tar Heels take on the Cavaliers of Virginia.  Carolina scored on its first possession and added two additional touchdowns to lead at halftime 21 to 6.  That additional touchdown was spectacular.  Carolina had the ball at its own 20-yard line.  Justice took the snap, paused momentarily, then ran through a huge hole between left guard and left tackle supplied by Bob Mitten and Ted Hazelwood.  Justice then outran Virginia’s Billy Marshall to the end zone 80-yards away.

Colorful halftime entertainment was provided by the Lenoir NC High band.  The Tar Heels couldn’t score in quarter number three, but picked up two touchdowns in the final stanza.  The final Tar Heel TD was another Justice beauty: a 50-yard run down the sideline behind fantastic blocking to seal the 34 to 12 win and complete an undefeated season, the first one since 1898.

Following the game at the Albemarle Hotel, which was UNC headquarters while in Charlottesville, head coach Carl Snavely announced that his Tar Heels would meet the Sooners of Oklahoma on January 1, 1949 in the 15th annual Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Said the coach, “We got what we wanted . . . .”

An interesting sidebar to the ’48 Carolina–Virginia game involved a future president of the UNC system.  C. D. Spangler, Jr. became president of the consolidated university system in 1986.  Following Dr. William Friday, Spangler continued in that position until 1997; on November 27, 1948, however, he was an 11th grade student at Woodberry Forest, and was one of the 26,000 fans that jammed into UVA’s Scott Stadium to see Carolina play Virginia.  Leading the Tar Heels that Saturday afternoon was junior sensation Charlie Justice.  On one of Charlie’s plays, his number 22 jersey was torn.  Equipment manager “Sarge” Keller quickly got out a new one, tossing the torn one over behind the bench. Spangler quickly called a Carolina cheerleader over and made a deal to get the torn jersey.  He kept the prized souvenir for over fifty years. Then on November 20, 1999, during halftime of the Carolina–Duke game, Spangler presented the jersey to then UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour and it is now in the Charlie Justice Hall of Honor at the Kenan Football Center on the UNC campus.  And of course Hugh Morton photographed the jersey presentation ceremony.

Off to New Orleans

According to a January 2010 article in St. Charles Avenue Magazine on myneworleans.com, there is a tradition of opposing Sugar Bowl coaches mixing lots of sugar with coffee to make Café Brulot on New Year's Eve to cap off a party at Antoine's Restaurant "for Sugar Bowl notables and the press." You can read the short article at http://www.myneworleans.com/St-Charles-Avenue/January-2010/Coaches-and-Caf-eacute-Brulot/. On December 31st, 1948, it was Carl Snavely and Bud Wilkinson who got to make the concoction. (Negative by Hugh Morton.)

According to a January 2010 article in St. Charles Avenue Magazine on myneworleans.com, there is a tradition of opposing Sugar Bowl coaches mixing lots of sugar with coffee to make Café Brulot on New Year’s Eve to cap off a party at Antoine’s Restaurant “for Sugar Bowl notables and the press.” You can read the short article at http://www.myneworleans.com/St-Charles-Avenue/January-2010/Coaches-and-Caf-eacute-Brulot/. On December 31st, 1948, it was Carl Snavely and Bud Wilkinson who got to make the concoction. (Negative by Hugh Morton.)

The majority of the ’48 Tar Heel football squad arrived by plane at its Sugar Bowl training site in Hammond, Louisiana at 4:30 PM on December 19th…the additional 15 members of the traveling party arrived by train later that evening.  In the second group was Tar Heel end Art Weiner and his bride of three days. Southeastern Louisiana College played host the Heels. Training started on the 20th and continued through the 24th.  A quick trip to New Orleans for Christmas Day…then it was back to Hammond for more practice.

Many Tar Heel fans traveled to the Crescent City, too.  As an earlier post recounted, several, including Hugh Morton, managed to have some exotic fun in New Orleans.

SugarBowlProgram1949

An early Saturday morning return to New Orleans on January 1st signaled the start of the big day as a record 85,000 fans jammed into Tulane Stadium, including photographer Hugh Morton who had working arrangements with several North Carolina newspapers including the Charlotte News, Greensboro Daily News, and High Point Enterprise.

Carl Snavely’s third-ranked UNC Tar Heels were primed and ready for Bud Wilkinson’s fifth ranked Oklahoma Sooners as was ABC’s national television audience. (The TV was not available back in North Carolina because the AT&T long lines had not been completed into the state and wouldn’t be until September 30, 1950, so the folks back home were tuned to Harry Wismer on the ABC Radio Network).  Prior to the kickoff, Coach Snavely and Justice, who had been a bit under the weather all week, posed for Morton’s camera along with ABC broadcaster Wismer.

UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely, UNC tailback Charlie Justice, and ABC Radio play-by-play announcer Harry Wismer prior to the start of the 1949 Sugar Bowl.

UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely, UNC tailback Charlie Justice, and ABC Radio play-by-play announcer Harry Wismer prior to the start of the 1949 Sugar Bowl.

Then it was time for some football.

Charlie Justice running in the open field with two Sooners, including Paul Burris (#67), in pursuit. (Morton negative, cropped by the editor.)

Charlie Justice running in the open field with two Sooners, including Paul Burris (#67), in pursuit. (Morton negative, cropped by the editor.)

Carolina’s first-possession-drive started at its own 37, and with Justice leading the way moved swiftly down to the Oklahoma 15 on seven plays.  Then, Justice’s pass to Bob Kennedy in the flat was a bit late, and Oklahoma’s Myrle Greathouse intercepted and was off to the races.  Tar Heel Eddie Knox finally caught him 72 yards later at the Carolina 13.  It took the Sooners eight plays to score and take a 7-0 lead at the 8:10 mark.

On Oklahoma’s next possession, Lindell Pearson fumbled and Carolina’s Joe Romano recovered at the Sooner 30.  Four plays later, Hosea Rodgers scored—after being set up by a nine-yard run by Bob Kennedy to the Oklahoma three.  Bob Cox’s PAT attempt was wide right so the score at the 13:55 mark was 7 to 6.

The Greensboro Daily News published this Hugh Morton photograph (cropped similarly as seen below) of Bob Kennedy (#74) scampering a double reverse for nine yards and a first down. In the center of the photograph is blocking back Eddie Knox (#34).

The Greensboro Daily News published this Hugh Morton photograph (cropped similarly as seen below) of Bob Kennedy (#74) scampering a double reverse for nine yards and a first down. In the center of the photograph is blocking back Eddie Knox (#34).

A cropped detail from the above negative.

A cropped detail from the above negative.

With four minutes left in the second quarter, Carolina started a 10-play drive that ended up at the Oklahoma 7.  The big play in the drive for the Heels was a Charlie Justice 23-yard run plus a lateral to Chan Highsmith that added 11 more yards to the Sooner 7.

Chan Highsmith catches a lateral from Charlie Justice (on the ground). Also in the photograph is Ted Hazelwood (#42) and Oklahoma's Buddy Burris (#67), who made the tackle on the play. Published in several newspapers with different cropping, this print is cropped by this blog's editor.

Chan Highsmith catches a lateral from Charlie Justice (on the ground). Also in the photograph is Ted Hazelwood (#42) and Oklahoma’s Buddy Burris (#67), who made the tackle on the play. Published in several newspapers with different cropping, this print is cropped by this blog’s editor.

Then four passes failed—one of which many old time Tar Heels will never forget.  As time was running out in the first half, Justice went back to pass.  He had Art Weiner wide open in the end zone, but Weiner was not able to make the catch.  “Justice threw me a perfect pass,” Weiner recalled in a 1976 interview.  “I was supposed to cut toward the sideline on the left.  Darrell Royal (a future University of Texas head coach) was the defensive back and I had to get away from him.  Charlie threw perfect, I was more concerned where Royal was than the ball.  I took my eye off the ball. . . Had I known Royal actually fell down . . . it was a sure touchdown.”

Santa Claus made an appearance in one of the student card sections during halftime at the 1949 Sugar Bowl. Both schools had card section, one each per end zone.

Santa Claus made an appearance in one of the student card sections during halftime at the 1949 Sugar Bowl. Both schools had card section, one each per end zone.

Oklahoma led 7 to 6 at the half.

UNC's Johnny Clements (#20) tackling Oklahoma running back George Thomas (#25) with the ball during the third quarter. Other Oklahoma players are #70 tackle Wade Walker, #67 guard Paul Burris, #40 fullback Leon Heath, #81 end Jimmy Owens, and #26 quarterback Jack Mitchell. UNC players are #62 left guard Bill Wardle and #51 right tackle Len Szafaryn.

UNC’s Johnny Clements (#20) tackling Oklahoma running back George Thomas (#25) with the ball during the third quarter. Other Oklahoma players are #70 tackle Wade Walker, #67 guard Paul Burris, #40 fullback Leon Heath, #81 end Jimmy Owens, and #26 quarterback Jack Mitchell. UNC players are #62 left guard Bill Wardle and #51 right tackle Len Szafaryn.

During the first nine minutes of the second half, nothing much happened.  Then, with the ball near midfield, Oklahoma halfback Darrell Royal threw long for end Frankie Anderson who was finally tackled by Johnny Clements at the Carolina 10.  Ironically, this would be Oklahoma’s only pass completion of the game.  Two plays later, the Sooners scored at the 9:40 mark of the third quarter.  The remainder of the game became a punting duel between Justice and Royal…a duel that Justice won easily with punts of 65, 65, 57, and 53 yards.

One of the seven Morton photographs printed in the 1949 Yackety Yack, the UNC student yearbook. The caption places the scene within the closing minutes of the contest. Carolina coaches Carl Snavely and Max Reed are at left. The player at far left is unidentified; identifiable players are Kenny Powell (#53), Bobby Weant (#33), Bob Mitten (#42), Charlie Justice (#22), and Paul Rizzo (#66).

One of the seven Morton photographs printed in the 1949 Yackety Yack, the UNC student yearbook. The caption places the scene within the closing minutes of the contest. Carolina coaches Carl Snavely and Max Reed are at left. The player at far left is unidentified; identifiable players are Kenny Powell (#53), Bobby Weant (#33), Bob Mitten (#42), Charlie Justice (#22), and Paul Rizzo (#66).

A tighter crop of the same photograph as run by the Charlotte News.

A tighter crop of the same photograph as run by the Charlotte News.

With two minutes left in the game, Hugh Morton turned his camera toward the Carolina bench.  His remarkable picture of a dejected Charlie Justice tells the story of the entire afternoon. The picture has been reproduced numerous times over the years.

This photograph ran in The High Point Enterprise with the caption, "DEJECTED—Two minutes before the end of the the Sugar Bowl last Saturday this remarkable picture of Charlie Justice was snapped in front of the Tar Heel bench. The expression on the dejected "Choo-Choo's" face tells a whole story of an unsuccessful afternoon of football for one great All-American." The photograph as presented here is cropped by blog editor with a slightly different composition as published in The High Point Enterprise. For photographers who use the "Rule of Thirds," the upper third line runs straight through Justice's eyes.

This photograph ran in The High Point Enterprise with the caption, “DEJECTED—Two minutes before the end of the the Sugar Bowl last Saturday this remarkable picture of Charlie Justice was snapped in front of the Tar Heel bench. The expression on the dejected “Choo-Choo’s” face tells a whole story of an unsuccessful afternoon of football for one great All-American.” The photograph as presented here is cropped by the blog editor with a slightly different composition than published in The High Point Enterprise. For photographers who use the “Rule of Thirds,” the upper third line runs straight through Justice’s eyes.

The High Point Enterprise for January 4, 1949 published two Morton photographs for its coverage of the Sugar Bowl.

The High Point Enterprise for January 4, 1949 published two Morton photographs for its coverage of the Sugar Bowl.

Following the game, both head coaches weighed in on the proceedings.  Oklahoma Coach Bud Wilkinson said, “There is no question that Charlie Justice is great.  He was the player we feared the most and he showed that he is a great back.” Carolina head man Carl Snavely said, “Oklahoma had a big, fine, rugged team and played smartly.”

High Point Enterprise Sports Editor Bill Currie, writing colorfully in the late edition on January 1st said, “Errors in execution, judgment, and strategy on the part of the North Carolina Tar Heels helped the rapacious red-jersied hoard of Oklahoma Sooners to a 14-6 victory in the 15th annual Sugar Bowl game here today . . . .”

After all the interviews were completed, the weary UNC Tar Heels made their way slowly to their locker room as darkness fell on Tulane Stadium.  Justice took the defeat hard: once in the dressing room, he sat in the corner with a blanket over his head and cried.  That picture of the Tar Heel hero turned up in the 1949 University of Oklahoma Yearbook, “Sooner.” The caption: “Grief-stricken . . . Charlie Justice . . . .”

About ten minutes later, he looked up and told the reporters who had gathered around him, “Well, I threw that one away. I gave them that first touchdown with that bad pass.  You can say that.”

The Carolina players took their time in getting dressed, hoping the upset sting would go away.  There was a post-game party scheduled but nobody was really in a party mood. Finally, long after the Oklahoma team had left, the Tar Heels came outside to a dark, deserted parking lot. The busses that had been scheduled to take the Tar Heels back to the hotel had mistakenly taken the Sooners.  Then when the Oklahoma busses arrived and the drivers learned that their victorious Sooners had already left, they too left.

After a futile search, coach Snavely along with his assistants flagged down a passing truck.  The team stood in the open back end as the driver headed toward the hotel.  As the truck got close to the St Charles Hotel, the driver told Snavely, “Ya’ll have to get off a couple of blocks from the hotel.  I’m not allowed to drive to the entrance.”

So, in the New Orleans darkness, UNC’s 1948 Tar Heels slipped in a hotel side entrance unnoticed, and showing the good sportsmanship that Coach Snavely demanded of his players, celebrated with their Sugar Bowl opponent. Viewing Hugh Morton’s photographs from the celebration in the Greensboro and High Point papers, it’s hard to tell who won and who lost.

An unidentified couple, presumably a UNC player and his girlfriend or spouse, at a party for UNC and Oklahoma. (Negative by Hugh Morton.)

An unidentified couple, presumably a UNC player and his girlfriend or spouse, at a party for UNC and Oklahoma. (Negative by Hugh Morton.)

"Special news photo by Hugh Morton" as it appeared in the Charlotte News on January 4th, 1949. The caption reads, "Carl Snavely pays compliments of the night to Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma mentor, after the latter's team had stopped the Tar Heels on the Sugar Bowl turf, 14-6, on New Year's Day. The two coaches got together for a brief bit of conversation at the party held for both squads in the smart St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans. Needless to say, Canny Carl's expression shows he was in no mood for jokes."

“Special news photo by Hugh Morton” as it appeared in the Charlotte News on January 4th, 1949. The caption reads, “Carl Snavely pays compliments of the night to Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma mentor, after the latter’s team had stopped the Tar Heels on the Sugar Bowl turf, 14-6, on New Year’s Day. The two coaches got together for a brief bit of conversation at the party held for both squads in the smart St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans. Needless to say, Canny Carl’s expression shows he was in no mood for jokes.”

Hugh Morton's full negative of the published photograph shown above. Did Wilkinson and Snavely each bring only one suit and tie? Both seem to be wearing the same combinations on different days at Antoine's Restaurant (before game day) and St. Charles Hotel (after the game). Or, was someone cooking up some creative captioning?

Hugh Morton’s full negative of the published photograph shown above. Did Wilkinson and Snavely each bring only one suit and tie? Both seem to be wearing the same combinations on different days at Antoine’s Restaurant (before game day) and St. Charles Hotel (after the game). Or, was someone cooking up some creative captioning?

At 4:15 on January 4th, the majority of the Tar Heel team landed at Raleigh-Durham Airport and boarded busses for Chapel Hill. Two weeks later, Athletic Director Bob Fetzer received a check for Carolina’s participation in the 1949 Sugar Bowl, a check for $103,081.48.

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.