'Choo Choo' Era Keeps Chugging with Dedication
Mingling in a newly redesigned museum area, they peered into a display case at the torn No. 22 jersey
and battered helmet. The former gridiron heroes took in
the memorabilia, admiring a copy of Tile Daily Tar Heel
from 1948, with a headline shouting news of perhaps one
of the biggest games in Carolina history: "Tar Heels Brand
Longhorns 34-7. Scalpers net $30 for 50-yard seats."
Veterans of Carolina's golden era in football returned to
Chapel Hill in late November for a reunion weekend and
a special dedication of Kenan Stadium's new Justice Hall
of Honor, named for Charlie "Choo Choo"Justice ' 50,
arguably Carolina's best football player ever.
[n their heyday, Justice and his teammates drew people
out of their homes following World War Il, at a time when
the nation needed diversions. Justice brought an excite-
l11ent and drama to intercollegiate sports unlike any foot-
ball player in modern tinles. So perhaps it was most fitting,
with the recent world turmoil, that Justice and abom 100
former teammates descended on Chapel Hill for the Nov.
"I think it's fantastic, and I'm honored that a crowd like
this has turned out," said the modest Justice, walking with
a cane and flanked by his wife, Sarah Hunter Justice ' 50,
and family members."Bm it's not just for me. It's for all of
The versatile tailback led the Tar Heels fi:om 1946 to
' 49 to a 32-7-2 record and three major bowl appearances,
suiting up twice for the Sugar Bowl and once for the
Cotton Bowl. He was twice runner-up for the Heisman
Trophy, was nan'led outstanding player in the then-famous
College AU-Star ganle afte!: graduation and later played for
the Washington R edskins.
The reunion marked a celebration, too, for the gtowing
Justice Era Endowment, now at $1.3 million, which will
benefit the football program as a whole. Reunion events
were chaired by Bob Cox ' 49, a defensive end and nation-
ally ranked place-kicker on the Justice teams.
"How sweet it isl" Cox told the crowd."This is a dedi-
cation to Charlie and his teammates. Charlie, you were
our spirited leader on and off the field. You were that, and
you will continue to be."
As they did in their glory days, the group made it a
weekend to remember. Players gathered for golf Friday at
Finley Golf Course, followed by a reception at the Justice
Hall of Honor. Outside, the Kenan Stadium marquee
flashed"Congratulations to Charlie Justice and His
Teammates" as Justice rode via golf cart to a dinner at the
Pope VIP Box at Kenan.
"[t's really humbling to be here with alJ these people
who made The University of North Carolina so special,"
head coach John Bunting ' 72 told the crowd on the eve of
the Carolina-Duke matchup. "[ wish [ could suit Charlie
up to play tomorrow."
On Saturday, Justice joined former players who cheered
wildly as Carolina trounced Duke 52-17. At halftime, lead-
ers of the four Justice-era teams were recognized: Ralph
Strayhorn ' 47,Joe Wright ' 48,Art Weiner ' 50 and Justice.
Justice, a native of
Asheville now living in
Cherryville, has con-
tributed his energies to
many causes over the
years. H e also has been
iml110rtalized with the
book All Aboard! The
Fantastic Story of Charlie
"Choo Choo"Jl4stice by
Bob Terrell; with the
song, All the Way C hao
C hao , written by the
former Chapel Hill
Newspaper editor and
Campbell ' 42; and with a board game bearing his name.
The songs, along with a recording of Andy Griffith's ' 49
"What It 'iX/as,'iX/as Football" comedy routine, can be heard
in the Justice Hall of Fame display, designed and curated
by Chapel Hill sports writer Lee Pace ' 79.
But on this particular evening, the recordings were
overwhelmed. All you could hear were the shoms and
lively conversation of former teanllnates celebrating one of
their o wn. •
UNC football legends
Don McCauley ' 71, left,
and Charlie Justice ' 50 at
the Justice Hall of Honor
- Pamela Babcock
"Choo-Choo" Justice in his
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