Heels’ big loss was big win for Vin Scully

Sports announcer Vin Scully traces his career break to a painful loss suffered by UNC’s football team.

It was 1949, and CBS radio had just agreed to give the 21-year-old Scully a tryout, calling in updates for Red Barber’s Saturday afternoon football roundup. Barber dispatched him to cover Maryland vs. Boston University at Fenway Park.  Despite the unexpectedly primitive conditions — without coat or gloves he had to stand on the roof in the cold wind with a hand mike and a long cord — Scully remembers the day fondly:

“I got lucky. The big game that day was supposed to be Notre Dame-North Carolina, but that turned into a rout (42-6), and my game was a thriller, so I was called in more often for reports.”

Barber was impressed with the novice’s performance, and by the next baseball season Scully had joined him in broadcasting Dodgers games — which he still does today, 62 years later.


7 thoughts on “Heels’ big loss was big win for Vin Scully”

  1. Very interesting, Lew. That ’49 UNC – Notre Dame game holds great memories for many of us…and next Monday, November 12th, will mark the 63rd anniversary of the game.

    I would be interested to know who was the CBS/Red Barber Sports Show reporter at Yankee Stadium that day?

  2. On a side note….In searching around for the answer to Jack’s question, I discovered that the first live network broadcast aired by WBTV-Charlotte was the North Carolina-Notre Dame football game on September 30, 1950. The Tar Heels traveled to South Bend for the game.

    Now back to my search

  3. Thanks, John for all your good work. I really appreciate your interest in answering my question about the 1949 UNC – Notre Dame game.

    That UNC at Notre Dame game on September 30, 1950 holds a very special place in North Carolina sports history. Not only was it the first live network broadcast on WBTV in Charlotte, it was the first live network program in the entire state of North Carolina. At the time there were only two television stations in the state…WBTV, Channel 3 in Charlotte, and WFMY-TV, Channel 2 in Greensboro. The game was on both stations live from the old Dumont Television Network with sportscaster Jim Britt doing the play-by-play. A little over two years before, Britt had been a part of another historic sports broadcast. On June 15, 1948, Britt was at the microphone on WBZ-TV (Boston) for the first live telecast of a major league baseball game in New England, as the Boston Braves defeated the Chicago Cubs, 6-3, at Braves Field.

    But on Saturday, September 30, 1950 it was Carolina vs. Notre Dame, live from South Bend. Throughout the state it was know as “C. Day” for Cable Day…the day the AT&T coaxial cable was ready to bring live network TV to the state.

    It was estimated about 20,000 sets were turned into WFMY-TV for the game.

    Notre Dame, under legendary Head Coach Frank Leahy, came into the game with a 38 game winning streak. They hadn’t lost since December 1,1945.

    Carolina, under Head Coach Carl Snavely, had beaten NC State the previous Saturday.

    Notre Dame was favored by 27 points, as about 3,000 Tar Heel fans joined the other 53,470 Notre Dame fans in historic Notre Dame Stadium.

    The Irish scored in the first quarter and Carolina tied the score in the fourth. With 2:40 seconds left in the game, Notre Dame scored to win 14 to 7.

    Notre Dame had extended the win streak to 39. However, one week later, Purdue came into South Bend and beat the Irish 28 to 14. And that game was seen live across North Carolina as well.

  4. Good Wednesday Evening John…hope you’re doing well. I was able to find an answer this afternoon to the question, from back in 2012, “who did the announcing at the 1949 UNC vs. Notre Dame for the CBS “College Football Roundup”? Ernie Harwell did the play-by-play and Warren Brown, a noted sports writer, did the analysis.

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