UNC Coach: ‘Marquise Williams is Our Starter.’

If there were any thoughts of a quarterback controversy in Chapel Hill, Larry Fedora tried to squash them at his press conference earlier this week.

“Let me go ahead and address the quarterback issue, so we don’t have to answer 78 questions about the quarterbacks,” Fedora said to open his press conference on Monday. “Marquise Williams is our starter.”

Fedora was attempting to get ahead of the tidal wave of curiosity over who would be under center for Carolina when the team takes the field against Georgia Tech on Saturday.

The question comes after Mitch Trubisky relieved Marquise Williams in the second half of UNC’s 41-14 victory over Delaware last Saturday. Trubisky was named Atlantic Coast Conference Back of the Week for his 17-for-20, 312 yard, three-touchdown performance.

Fedora says he stayed with Trubisky in the second half because he was the hot hand.

“I was looking for a spark offensively,” he says. “I didn’t think we were executing very well and looking for a spark and put him in there at that time. And I thought he added a little bit to the offense.

“And as he got rolling, he got hot and things were moving. So I didn’t feel like going back the other way.”

Now The Tar Heels have their collective eyes set in the backfield of Georgia Tech as they prepare for the triple-option attack of Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets.

Fedora says Carolina is looking at Notre Dame as a model to build on after the Fighting Irish knocked off Georgia Tech earlier this year.

“They had blockers on every guy and the guys defeated blocks and went and made plays,” he says. “They’re going to get hats on you. That’s just the way the offense is set up.

“You’re going to have to defeat blocks. You’re going to have to defeat cut blocks. You’re going to have to do all of those things. You’re going to have to outplay them.”

Fedora adds this is a similar scenario leading up to the matchup between Carolina and Georgia Tech last season, after the Yellow Jackets lost in Durham on Saturday.

“I expect us to match anybody’s intensity out there no matter what the situation,” he says. “I believe that they had lost to Duke the week before we played them last year, if I remember right. Then they came out of our game, had gotten beat two games, and then they came back and won the Coastal Division Championship.”

Carolina knocked off Georgia Tech in Chapel Hill last season 48-43. But the Tar Heels haven’t won in Atlanta in nearly 20 years.

Game time for Saturday is set for 3:30. Coverage on 97.9 FM/1360 AM WCHL will begin at 1:30.


Sexual Assault Data Released by UNC

Nearly one in four female students at UNC reported some form of unwanted sexual advancement, according to recent statistics.

The University of North Carolina released data from the Association of Association of American Universities’ Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault, last Monday.

UNC was one of 27 public and private institutions to take part in the survey.

Vice Chancellor for workforce strategy, equity and engagement Felicia Washington and Christi Hurt, the chief of staff and assistant vice chancellor for student affairs at Carolina, continue their conversation with WCHL’s Blake Hodge about the data. Listen to their conversation below:


You can read the full report from UNC here.


UNC Women’s and Men’s Soccer Ranked No. 1 and 2 Respectively

The undefeated UNC women’s soccer team is now ranked number one in the country, in the latest NCAA poll that came out Tuesday.

Carolina knocked off Wake Forest for its latest victory on Sunday, 1-0. They take the field again hosting Boston College on Friday.

On the men’s side, the Tar Heels were ranked second, behind only Creighton.

After rain postponed the match from Friday, Carolina knocked off Duke last Saturday. Up next, the Tar Heels travel to Pittsburgh on Friday.

On the season, both the men and women have only one draw on the schedule otherwise filled with W’s.


Kania Indicted on All Charges in Connection with Wrong-Way Crash

An Orange County Grand Jury has returned a true bill of indictment on all charges and one aggravating factor against 20-year-old Chandler Kania, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Kania is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, among other charges, in connection with a wrong-way crash on I-85 where three people were killed, in July.

The aggravating factor in the case is associated with allegations that Kania physically fought off members of the group who were attempting to restrain him from driving after several hours of drinking, according to officials. The District Attorney’s Office will be seeking additional aggravating factors in court.

Chandler Kania – who was a rising junior at UNC – is accused of driving his 2005 Jeep Wrangler the wrong way on I-85 for at least six miles before crashing head-on into a 2007 Suzuki, killing three of the four passengers – 49-year-old Felicia Harris, 46-year-old Darlene McGee and six-year-old Jahnice Baird.

Nine-year-old Jahnia King was the lone survivor from the Suzuki; she suffered two broken bones in her left leg and a broken right collarbone, according to officials.

Kania’s blood-alcohol content was a .17 the night of the crash, double the legal limit to drive in North Carolina, according to court records.

The 20-year-old Kania is recovering from broken bones suffered in the crash at his parent’s home in Asheboro after posting a $1 million bond.

Two Chapel Hill businesses, He’s Not Here and La Res, have received offers in compromise from the North Carolina ABC Commission for charges of serving underage patrons, including Kania, the night of the crash.

Chandler Kania will now be scheduled to appear in Superior Court at least 30 days out from the indictment, according to the DA’s Office.


Stroman On Sports: Too Many QBs, Not Enough Fans?

The Carolina football team is riding a three-game winning streak into ACC play, but all is not entirely well in Chapel Hill.

On the field, Mitch Trubisky’s record-breaking performance against Delaware is a bit of a double-edged sword, leaving Larry Fedora with a tougher decision about who will lead the Tar Heel offense. (Though for his part, Fedora insists there’s no quarterback controversy and Marquise Williams is still number one.)

Off the field, Kenan Stadium has seen remarkably low attendance for UNC’s early home games – not just against FCS opponents like Delaware, but also Power 5 opponents like Illinois.

Kenan-Flagler Business School professor and sports analyst Deb Stroman discussed those issues and more with Aaron Keck on WCHL Monday.


UNC Process Series Opens Season With Dance

This weekend, Gerrard Hall will play host to a dance performance choreographed and performed entirely by UNC students, inspired by an historic solo by the legendary Martha Graham.

The show is called “Lamentation Variation Project.” Curated by UNC professor Heather Tatreau, it stems from a visit last spring by the Martha Graham Dance Company. Students are creating variations on Graham’s 1930 solo “Lamentation” – which sought to embody the concept of grief, Tatreau says.

“Lamentation Variation Project” will be the first show of UNC’s 2015/16 Process Series, an annual performing arts program founded by Joseph Megel that showcases innovative works in progress.

Megel and Tatreau stopped by WCHL on Tuesday and spoke with Aaron Keck.


“Lamentation Variation Project” is the first student dance project in the Process Series’ eight-year history. Shows will be on Friday and Saturday, September 25 and 26, at 8 pm in Gerrard Hall. Admission is free.

For the full Process Series schedule, visit this page.


UNC Faculty Chair Bruce Cairns Suffers Heart Attack

UNC has announced that Faculty Chair, and North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center Director, Dr. Bruce Cairns suffered a heart attack last Friday, September 18.

The university released a story on Wednesday saying Cairns was visiting the UNC Wellness Center at the time of the incident.

Cairns says in the release, “I am recovering well and am eternally grateful to the wonderful staff at the UNC Wellness Center, emergency room, cardiac cath, cardiac ICU and all at UNC Health Care for saving my life.”

Cairns was elected to serve as faculty chair in 2014.

Deputy secretary of the Faculty Council Anne Mitchell Whisnant says in the release that Cairns has temporarily cut back his participation in faculty governance activities to focus on his health and is unlikely to be at the Faculty Council meeting on Friday. A university spokesperson says Provost Jim Dean is expected to lead Friday’s meeting in Cairns’ place.


Stroman On Sports: If God Is Not A Tar Heel

It was another good weekend for UNC athletics, as the Carolina men’s soccer, women’s soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams all posted impressive wins alongside the football team’s shellacking of Illinois. Meanwhile, the national headlines were abuzz with the latest flap between NFL quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers zinged Wilson’s penchant for praising God after wins after his Packers beat Wilson’s Seahawks.

(Not in the national headlines: the ongoing WNBA playoffs. Which raises its own set of questions.)

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School professor and sports analyst Deborah Stroman joined Aaron Keck on WCHL Monday to talk about these issues.


UNC Joins SGC to Make Research Publicly Available

UNC is the newest member of an international partnership with a goal to finding cures for some of the most widespread diseases of our time.

The University of North Carolina has joined the Structural Genomics Consortium, according to the university.

Tim Wilson is the chief scientist of the SGC at Carolina, and he says the initial interest in this project came from a realization that most scientific research was occurring on proteins that were known before the human genome had been sequenced in the early-2000’s. The group at UNC set to find out why, according to Wilson.

“Largely because researchers lacked the tools to be able to study the new proteins that were identified from the sequencing of the genome,” he says. “The mission of the SGC is to generate or make available the tools that let researchers really study all of those understudied proteins which are in the human genome.”

Wilson says the work being done at UNC now will be made available so that more specific research can be done by different organizations around the world.

“We’re starting on a public project to really provide a better understanding of those poorly-studied members of the family,” he says, “to try and generate a map of which ones would be most useful for treating different diseases.”

Wilson compares this mapping to the mapping done of the American West.

“Whereas, everyone knew that there was probably something very exciting out in the rest of the country,” he says, “until somebody went out there and mapped it, we really didn’t know where to build the railroads or to build new settlements.

“We think that there are a lot of really exciting potential drug targets in the remaining family members. But until someone makes the effort to go out there, really understand what they do in the human body, and then tell everybody else, pharmaceutical companies or biotechnology companies won’t know where to start their own research to discover new medicines.”

Wilson says an astounding amount of work has already been furthered as a result of the publicly-available research.

“There are more than 25 drugs that have been approved by the FDA that worked through different members of this family of proteins,” he says. “And yet, we know that that represents less than 10 percent of the proteins of these kinases that are in the human body.”

Wilson and all of the other scientists that made the move to Carolina in order to start the SGC grouping are former employees of GlaxoSmithKline.

“We’re all motivated by the fact that, by coming to UNC and we get to do this in a public environment, that ultimately we could have a much broader impact in terms of our ability to influence the science in the area,” he says, “and ultimately have more impact in helping more drugs be discovered than we could even when we were within a pharmaceutical company.”

Wilson says it is the desire to do something for the greater good of our society as a whole that drives the research.

“All the work at the SGC is performed in a publicly-accessible manner,” he says. “We don’t file intellectual property on all of the tools that we generate. We make them freely available to researchers.

“We’re really trying to make the whole science in the area have better tools, better reagents so that all of the information can be made publicly available.”


UNC Students Honor Shooting Victims with Day of Service

Students in the UNC School of Dentistry gathered last Thursday for a day of service in memory of a fellow student murdered earlier this year.

Thursday marked 219 days since three Muslim college students were shot and killed in the Finley Forest Condominiums in Chapel Hill. One of those killed was Deah Barakat, a student in the School of Dentistry at Carolina.

The Durham District Attorney’s office is pursuing the death penalty against 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks in the case. Police maintain the shooting was the result of a long-running parking dispute. Others, including the victims’ families, believe the murders should be classified as a hate crime.

Christopher Walker is a fourth-year student in the School of Dentistry and class president. He is one of several organizers of the day of service that was held to honor Deah, his wife Yusor and her sister Razan.

“We decided a good way to honor the legacy of Deah, and also remember his wife and sister-in-law, would be to get out and do community service throughout the Triangle,” he says, “because Deah and Yusor were both so active in activities from donating tooth brushes to schools and children, to working with homeless populations in the Triangle.”

Walker says more than 350 students from the school’s dental, dental assistant and dental hygiene programs took to over 20 locations across the Triangle to get involved.

“We did kind of a wide-ranging set of projects,” he says, “dealing with everything from providing food, oral hygiene instruction, [and] environmental work. There were some [volunteers] working with animals.

“We did a lot of stuff and hit a lot of the corners of the Triangle with different service projects.”

Walker says it was important in his mind for an event to be organized to remember the legacy of the three victims who seemed to have such a passion for helping others.

“I just knew Deah as someone that was very giving of his time,” he says. “My favorite story about Deah is he understood that dental students were spending a lot of money on coffee at this coffee shop we have nearby that services the medical campus.

“And he just bought a coffee maker and stocked it and put it in the student lounge and sent out an e-mail to everybody and said, ‘Hey, have coffee, bring what you want.’”

Walker says he took some time off from school before coming back to the School of Dentistry and seeing someone as young as Deah with as much vigor for helping others inspired him.

“It was a kid like that that just inspired me to want to be better,” he says. “I’m a little bit older, I went back to school a little bit later, and to watch a young person have so much passion for giving back to his community, both locally and internationally, I felt like I wanted to be a part of doing something that really cements his legacy as being a really great student and a great servant of his neighborhood and his school.”

Walker adds he was grateful for the beautiful day in our community on Thursday so that all of the projects went off without a hitch.

“I think someone was looking out for us,” he says, “it was beautiful out there.”

Walker says he is very grateful to everyone involved, including the university for allowing all of the students across the school to take part in the day of service. He adds he is hopeful this will evolve into an annual event to carry on the legacy of those three lives that were ended too early.