Huddle Up, As Season Ends

With the 2012 Carolina football season drawing to a close, this is the last week of Chapelboro’s Huddle Up With The Heels. It has been a pleasure to contribute to this diverse special sports section, which was invented to inform, entertain and educate UNC fans of all ages.

Appropriate for today, we are most thankful to have John Shoop, Carolina’s former offensive coordinator, contribute “The Shoop Scoop” every Thursday. His latest piece is a moving tribute to some of the youngsters he recruited and coached at UNC. Don’t miss this from-the-heart tribute from a good friend of WCHL and Chapelboro. When the Tar Heel coaching staff turned over, it was our gain that Shoop remained in the community with his family for a year to call the color on weekly high school football broadcasts and write his Huddle column. Thanks, Coach.
Freddie Kiger is one of Chapel Hill’s greatest ambassadors, and the former teacher and long-time media personality used his vast historical knowledge to post a unique Friday column that shared some jewels about the town and university just before game day. In his last piece this Friday, Kiger reflects on the 85th anniversary of the Dedication Game in Kenan Stadium. As with all of FK’s writings, this final post is filled with facts and whimsy about our history.
As we had in our Drive To A Championship basketball special section last winter, UNC students from the Carolina Fever group contributed their oft-insightful and mostly humorous takes on the view from the Tar Pit. In football, it was Andrew Darvin and Alex Collette who made us laugh and think about things from a young perspective. Thanks, guys, and go get painted up.
Brian Chacos, a newcomer to Chapelboro but a Tar Heel lineman forever, took a Tuesday turn to tell us the players’ perspective before, during and after games – big wins and tough losses. Chacos, who played for John Bunting, says the thrill of strapping on those pads and entering Kenan Stadium through the home tunnel will never leave him and still juices his fall Saturdays.
And, of course, our Monday Morning quarterback has been the indomitable BobLee, whose 12-year-old BobLeeSays blog has become one of the most popular and hilarious on the Internet. BobLee always delivered with a follow-up piece that put the game, and all of its machinations, into a perspective that if not so proper be damned!

Occasionally, we also had guest columns, such as Kristin Tucker’s tailgating tips and Dave Kirk’s view from afar.
To all of you, plus the great action photos shot by Josh Drye and contributed by the Daily Tar Heel, thanks for making Huddle Up With The Heels regular reading for Carolina football fans this season, Coach Larry Fedora’s first and one we hope ends with a big victory over Maryland Saturday. See you next year!

Uniformly Agreed — We Like 'Em!

I was in mid-matriculation when Carolina Football went from white helmets to various PMS-shades of blue helmets.  I bet you don’t know the “why” they did.  I bet not even Freddie Kiger knows this one!

Bill Dooley replaced Jim Hickey as UNC’s Head Football Coach following the 1966 season.   Dooley brought with him a different “attitude” towards college football and it’s overall seriousness in the grand scheme of things.  Duh! 
For Dooley and his SEC-bred staff it was akin to “war” best waged by socially-dysfunctional individuals of ill-temper.  A Bill Dooley quote (with a 58% chance of being apocryphal) went that:
 “Good guys wear white hats.  Our football team is not going to be ‘good guys’ any longer.”  …… Bye bye white helmets – Hello blue helmets.  Until this past Saturday.
Aside:  I have a theory that all “Coach (fill-in-blank) said” were actually said by Peahead Walker.  Walker was a notoriously goofy coach at Wake Forest (in Wake Forest) and other places in the 1940s-50s who supposedly said a number of malapropisms and other non-sequiturs regarding football and Life.   There is a companion theory that Peahead Walker himself never existed but is simply a catch-all source of any goofy saying by a football coach.   You decide.
Carolina football helmets have been various shades of “Carolina Blue” since 1968.  Dean Smith had five different PMS-shades of Carolina Blue he used for various purposes.  You really want to argue with Dean Smith?  I didn’t think so.
The interlocking NC has been the helmet decal all that time EXCEPT for several years under Dick Crum when he used a staggered UNC decal.  Most of the Crum-era has been power-washed from the collective memory of Tar Heels.  The staggered UNC was among the first such innovations to be dropped.   In Dick’s defense, I always liked his jersey numbering design.  Apparently I’m the only one who did.
Sports uniforms in general are not one of my hot-button issues.  I do think some of the ones over the past few years have been hideous.  I tend to be a traditionalist but you probably guessed that already….. Yankee pinstripes….. Cardinals’ bird-on-the-bat…..  a double gambler at The Rat….. etc, etc.   Rolls at the Porthole !!
I knew Saturday’s game was going to unveil the old/new white helmets but I hadn’t given it much thought until the team ran out on the field for VaTech.  The all-white head-to-toe look was BOFFO.   I did not get a tingle down my leg; but I really did like the look A LOT.
My immediate concern was “if we lose today will Coach Fedora forever outlaw the white helmets?”  Should we have unveiled them against Idaho-ho-ho to give them a chance as a good-luck charm?   The Fighting Fedorians solved the dilemma right where it should be solved – amid the lofty pines of Kenan’s greensward.
While many were marveling at Gio Bernard’s outstanding day, I was not at all surprised.  That all-white look from head-to-toe increased Gio’s speed by .262%.  Look faster – Be Faster.  Go Gio Go!
My advice to Coach Fedora and to Bubba is “blue helmets with blue jerseys” and “white helmets with white jerseys”.
Just so you don’t think I’m the only one; the several hundred former Carolina FB lettermen in the Choo Choo Lounge at halftime Saturday unanimously applauded the “new look”.  That included an old friend from Rocky Mount who knows a thing or two about wearing a Carolina white helmet.  A fellow by the name of Talbot.  Danny LOVED’em too!  As did the youngsters like Don McCauley who never knew “the whole story”…… until now.  
AND…… so did the Official Mascots of The Choo Choo Lounge – The Fabulous Comparato Twins – Nicole & Paige.  They thought they were “really cute”.   They know a lot about “cute”.
More BobLee?

Ron Stutts Retrospective

Last week WCHL celebrated the 35th Anniversary of Ron Stutts’ start at the station. Surely you noticed, with all the on-the-air promos and all the guests and surprises in the studio last Friday morning.
Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt declared it Ron Stutts week in Chapel Hill. Former mayor of Chapel Hill Howard Lee and his wife Lillian came in to express their appreciation. Chapel Hill police chief Chris Blue and fire chief Dan Jones came in and presented Ron with a First Responders T-shirt, since ‘CHL seems to usually be first to inform the community of dangers and natural disasters, such as the devastating December 2002 ice storm that hit the area just a few weeks after the station “came back” to Chapel Hill from Durham. Former Carrboro mayor and current state senator Ellie Kinnaird came in to thank Ron for his service.

Ron with Ellie Kinnaird and Freddie Kiger (Photo Credit: Richard Taylor)

There were dozens more, including phone calls and appearances from some of Ron’s on-the-air compatriots from years past. Of course, Ron’s regular cronies Dr. Wayne Pond and Freddie Kiger were there with humor and insight as well. WCHL station manager Christy Dixon and owner Barry Leffler orchestrated all the celebrations. Numerous promos ran on-air all week.
As we ponder Mister Stutts’ contributions, we are blessed to have Ron and his comedic cast of characters to wake us up weekdays, compared to the formulaic morning zoo madness heard on most radio stations nationwide. Sure, Ron gives us the news, so aptly prepared by Aaron Keck and the award-winning ‘CHL news department. But Ron informs us and entertains us as well.
He’s a master at the control board and produces the show himself. That would take three jobs in New York or L.A.
Ron knows how to laugh at himself. When he makes a rare mistake, Ron includes us, his listeners, as he owns the joke and rolls on. Most listeners don’t realize all the preparation and behind-the-scenes work Ron performs each day to make the next day’s show sing. He schedules Commentators like me to give our best 90 seconds. He finds our daily Hometown Heroes, produces their stories and even brings in Pets of the Week. He emcees dozens of local events and charities each year and records numerous station spots and promos. Sure, Ron is the voice of WCHL, but he’s also the voice of the local community as well.
So, thanks for your longevity, Ron Stutts. You’re just as much a Hometown Hero as anyone Gerald Ramoin ever put in the spotlight. You’re the glue that holds us together, and we really appreciate it.

See you on the radio.

Ron Stutts’ 35th Anniversary July 27, 2012 (Photo Credit: Richard Taylor)

Best of BobLee

This week brings a new section to Chapelboro on Carolina Basketball called Drive To The Championship, which we all hope the Tar Heels will do between now and April 2 in New Orleans (Thursday night’s second half at Virginia Tech sure restored some lost faith!).

The section features a second-day game analysis by yours truly, photos, a video highlight box and an aggregation of links to what’s being written about UNC hoops by columnists and bloggers in other publications and websites near and far.

But the best part of the “Drive” is the collection of daily blogs by some notable locals who contribute pieces on a specific day of the week, such as Phil Ford, Freddie Kiger, Pete Brennan and Lennie Rosenbluth, the infamous BobLee, ex-Carolina baseball player Dave Kirk, UNC Sports Information Emeritus Rick Brewer, an inside view from the riser section by the Carolina Fever group, and a ‘by the numbers‘ blog by stats guru Adrian Atkinson.

All of it should make the “Drive” a must-stop in your daily web browsing. Different styles, viewpoints, opinions and memories of Tar Heel basketball. Certainly, the most novel will be a weekly post by BobLee, whose own blog has developed a cult-like following of thousands who read, chortle and respond to his hilarious look at life and his alma mater.

Here’s an excerpt from his “Rim Shots” that he publishes Thursdays and a sampling of what he will bring to Chapelboro on the “Drive.” BobLee has nicknames for just about everybody (some you will recognize, others you will learn) while dabbling from message board fanatics he calls “board monkeys” to his favorite (audio) books to just about everything at Carolina. And dear old NCU has given him lots of fodder the last few years.

BobLee doesn’t much care for the going-away bash thrown for re-assigned former Athletic Director Dick Baddour a couple of weeks ago. . .

“Doogie, Whyyyyyyy?”

You all know Holden Thorp is “my guy”. I have supported him 110% in firing The Butch(er) of Kenan on both Why and When. It is a lonely position but one I am comfortable with. But always shooting straight with YOU is #1 with me.

Last week during the Baddourian Farewell Farce, Holden got caught up in the pomposity and pure sham. Before anyone could stifle him, the too benevolent Chancellor named The Leadership Academy after the departing bureaucrat.

Sure. The “Just Call Me Dickie” Leadership Academy @ The Phyllis George’s SugarDaddy’s Giant End Zone Place is more feel-good fluff than substance. That lessens the hoot factor somewhat. This sets a frightening precedent that should scare the bejeebers out of Tar Heels everywhere… and further delight ABCers around the world. Upcoming dedications in the Carolina pipeline?

  • The McAdoo/Wiley Tutorial Center
  • The Marvin Austin Tweet-atorium
  • The Butch Davis College of No Knowledge
  • The Uncle Julius’ Go-To Place For Easy A’s
  • The John Blake Agent Agency
  • The BOTBob Winston BCS or Bust Inn
  • The Don Stallings Fired Coaches Suite|
    and, of course …
  • The Ol’ Roy Asylum For The Terminally Goofy

“The Roy GAFFES”

…….. Whether one believes PR guy Steve Kirschner or not…. Ol’ Roy’s latest “stepped in it again” further crowds the list of The Ol’ Roy Top Five GAFFES.

JayHawk sticker…. Presbyterian guy….. BB gun….. Coke can…. Freakin…. Tallahassee Scramble….. I’m staying….. (the next one)….. (the ones after the next one)…..

Howsabout designating a section of “the rafters” to commemorate Roy’s GAFFES?
Have ya noticed that every Roy GAFFE generates an immediate Pavlovian response from ABCers, especially the Brickyard Bunch – They should simply laugh at him for his never-ending pratfalls, but noooo; they get all indignant. Which is almost as funny as Roy.

Roy is Carolina’s “Crazy Cuzzin Eddie”. Like it or not, he IS family and gets invited to Thanksgiving Dinner. But maybe it’s time we started hiding the good china.

Normally a Roy GAFFE brings out the hard-core Tru-Blues to defend “our boy Roy” but this time the hard-core Tru-Blues are in stunned silence over the 33 point MASSACRE. General Custer loved his mother. Who cares?

Of course, all the columns in the “Drive” won’t be as acerbic. Former All-American Ford will analyze from a player, coach and fan’s perspective. Kiger contributes his Scenes From the Press Table, where he sits for about a hundred ACC basketball games a season. Brennan and Rosenbluth (the rocks of the undefeated 1957 NCAA champs) will compare their Refuse To Lose mentality to the current Tar Heels. Kirk, though a diamond Heel in Chapel Hill, has been blogging about basketball for years from the frozen tundra of a Chicago winter. And Brewer will recount some memorable games, of which he’s seen more than any three men alive.

Look for the “Drive” on Monday. I promise you quite a ride.


What do President Bill Clinton, Michael Jordan, Senator George Mitchell, Bill Cosby, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, General Wesley Clark, and Denzel Washington all have in common? 
As children, they all belonged to Boys & Girls Clubs like the one organizers hope to open at the Pine Knolls Community Center in Chapel Hill next year. 
Their first major fundraiser – “Dancing with the Stars of Carolina” – will be held at the Carolina Inn on August 27th.
Boys and Girls Clubs provide children from challenging circumstances with the programming, mentors, and caring adults needed to help them as they grow into outstanding young men and women.
Actor Denzel Washington, who is a strong advocate for the Boys & Girls Clubs across America, said the club to which he belonged was “where I learned how to play ball, how to focus and set my mind on a goal, where I learned about consequences and where I learned how to be a man.” 

The Boys & Girls Clubs’ key programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; technology training; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; and fitness and recreation.
The need for Boys & Girls Clubs is even greater now that federal budgets for after-school programs and programs for at-risk youth have been cut. Although even in the best years, government funding can never do it all. As Boys & Girls Club alum Bill Clinton has said, “There will never be enough money or effort to come out of Washington that can substitute for the relationships you will build at the Boys & Girls Club.” 

That’s exactly why Ben Perry of East West Partners in Chapel Hill decided to spearhead the effort to start a club here in Chapel Hill. “I noticed that there were Boys & Girls Clubs in Durham County, Chatham, Alamance, and seven in Wake, but none in Orange. The more I thought about it, the more I became dedicated to making sure we start one for the young people here in Orange County.”

You can help make this happen. 
How? Well, you can start by attending their “Dancing with the Stars of Carolina” fundraiser on August 27th at the Carolina Inn. Tickets are just $125 for a night of entertainment provided by local “stars” including Tammy Davis, Annise Ginyard (yes, Marcus’ mom), Freddy Kiger, UNC/Pittsburgh Steelers player Corey Holliday, and WCHL’s own Ron Stutts. For more information go to:
Who knows, maybe one day a future president will say, “When I was at the Boys & Girls Club of Chapel Hill….”

UPDATE: on Dancing With the Stars of Carolina. UNC Womens’ Basketball and Hall of Fame Coach, Sylvia Hatchell and her husband, Sammie, will be demonstrating their shagging skills in a special dance presentation to their favorite song. Also, Assistant UNC Football Coach Charlie Williams’ wife, Lisa, will be joining the lineup of celebrity dancers.