YOURS AT CAROLINA
Carolina’s seasonlong celebration of 100 years of men’s basketball is about more than remembering special players and coaches. It’s about more than recalling
remarkable comebacks, disappointing losses and exciting vic-
tories. Carolina fans are celebrating UNC’s very special and
much-envied men’s basketball family.
My interest in Carolina basketball began early.
One year ahead of me at Fayetteville Senior High
School (today’s Terry Sanford Senior High
School) was a bright, skinny, gangly, nearly 7-foot-
tall kid — Rusty Clark ’ 69 (today known as Dr.
Franklin Clark). Heavily recruited, Rusty came to
UNC as a Morehead Scholar after taking our
high school’s team to the first of two consecutive
state 4A championships.
When I arrived in Chapel Hill in 1966, the
Prior to 1975, as longtime Tar Heel fans know, only the
campus was buzzing not only about Carolina’s
starting varsity team of Clark, Dick Grubar ’ 69, Bill Bunting
’ 69, Larry Miller ’ 68 and Bob Lewis ’ 67 but also about fresh-
man Charles Scott ’ 70. Freshmen could not play on the var-
sity team at that time, and fans flocked to Carmichael Audi-
torium early to enjoy Scott’s remarkable talents on the
freshman team; the next year, Scott became UNC’s first black
basketball player to make the varsity’s starting five. None of us
who watched those freshman games could know that we also
were watching a future UNC assistant basketball coach who
later would be the head coach at three institutions (Eddie
Fogler ’ 70) and a future commissioner of the Big Ten Con-
ference (Jim Delany ’ 70).
ACC Tournament champion could compete in the NCAA
Tournament. Carolina not only won the 1967, 1968 and
1969 ACC Tournament championships, but those three teams
each also made it to the NCAA Final Four.
Most of us recall where and who we were with when Carolina won each NCAA national championship. In 1982, my
wife, Debbie, and I were living in suburban Washington, D.C.,
with our 15-month-old son, Michael ’03, when Michael Jordan ’ 86 made “the shot heard around the world.” When I
began this job a few months later, we all moved to Chapel
Hill. The following spring, Brian ’05 was born. Debbie and I
were in New Orleans in 1993 to witness legendary teacher
and coach Dean Smith coach his second team to an NCAA
national championship, and all four of us were present in St.
Louis in 2005 and in Detroit last spring to cheer the Roy
Williams ’72-coached Tar Heels to national championships.
The special relationships that develop among Carolina
players and coaches are well-known. They come together
during summer camps, golf outings, scrimmages with current
players and coaching clinics. Long before today’s ubiquitous
ways of communicating, Coach Smith was constantly in
touch with and available to his former players. Many affirm
they never make an important life decision without first con-
sulting Coach Smith. That same close coach-player relation-
ship continued with his longtime assistant and successor, Bill
Guthridge, and continues today with Carolina’s current head
coach and former Smith assistant, Roy Williams.
Our alumni are proud of Carolina’s tradition of attracting
student-athletes who win on the court, proudly represent our
University, earn their diplomas (even if they leave early for
the NBA) and generously give back to Carolina as alumni
(nearly 40 percent are GAA members). Most fans feel they
know players personally by the time they graduate. While we
eagerly anticipate the newest recruits, the mood in the Smith
Center after the seniors’ last game often is emotional for
players, coaches and fans. Players are surprised how quickly
their playing days pass, sad that they’ll never again play with
their teammates wearing their Carolina uniform and grateful
for the special experiences they’ve enjoyed as Carolina basketball players.
Fans plan around the basketball schedule regardless of
when or where the games are played. Many “turn down the
sound on TV” to experience the game through the “voice of
the Tar Heels,” Woody Durham ’ 63. Some obediently follow
Woody’s urging to “go where you go and do what you do”
when Carolina is behind late in a game, while other fans are
comforted that, no matter how far behind, Carolina can and
will still find a way to win.
Many fans have their own pregame routines, game attire
and unique superstitions. (I wore the same tie to the 2005
and 2009 championship games.) Some fans call or text each
Carolina basketball brings our Carolina family together.
other during games. Others avidly follow recruiting news.
Perhaps nowhere was the Carolina basketball family more
evident than the Sept. 4 UNC Alumni NBA Game. Dean
Smith, Bill Guthridge, Roy Williams and Michael Jordan
watched alumni currently coaching professionally and alumni
currently playing professionally compete in a charity game
that marked the beginning of this yearlong celebration of a
century of Carolina basketball. The 2009 NCAA champi-
onship banner was unveiled as well as an updated banner
noting Carolina’s coaches and players who are members of
the Basketball Hall of Fame. Several recruits sat courtside, and
a capacity star-struck crowd watched in amazement.
May it do so forever.
Yours at Carolina,
It’s All About Family
Douglas S. Dibbert ’ 70
D l S Dibb t ’ 70