North Carolina Football

2011 Football Yearbook

2011 North Carolina Media Guide

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TAR HEEL TRADITIONS WHY TAR HEELS? University of North Carolina athletic teams are known as the Tar Heels because North Carolina is “The Tar Heel State.” One legend has the nickname being applied to the state’s residents as long ago as the Revolutionary War. According to this story, the troops of British General Cornwallis were fording what is now known as the Tar River between Rocky Mount and Battleboro when they discovered that tar had been dumped into the stream to impede their crossing. When they finally got across the river they found their feet completely black with tar. Their observation that anyone who waded North Carolina rivers would acquire tar heels led to the nickname first being used. Others say the nickname was acquired during the Civil War. During one of that war’s fiercest battles a col- umn supporting North Carolina troops was driven from the field. After the battle, the North Carolinians who had successfully fought it out alone, happened to meet the regiment which had fled to safety and were greeted with the question, “Any more tar down in the Old North State, boys?” “No, not a bit,” shot back one of the North Carolina soldiers. “Old Jeff’s bought it all up,” he went on, refer- ring to Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. “Is that so? What’s he going to do with it?” “He’s going to put it on you’ns heels to make you stick better in the next fight.” Upon hearing of the incident, Robert E. Lee smiled and said to a fellow officer, “God bless the Tar Heel boys.” A letter found in 1991 by State Archivist David Olson lends credence to another more direct theory. A letter from Maj. Joseph Engelhard describes a fight involving men from North Carolina in which Lee was heard to have said, “There they stand as if they have tar on their heels.” The letter, dated August 24, 1864, told the tale of a battle on the outskirts of Petersburg, Va. Engelhard was elected secretary of state for North Carolina in 1876. RAM MASCOT Since Carolina’s nickname is Tar Heels, it might seem strange to have a ram as a mascot. It is. But, there is a good explanation. It’s offered by Vic Huggins, Carolina’s head cheerleader back in 1924. “In 1924 school spirit was at a peak,” Huggins once explained. “But something seemed to be missing. One day it hit me. Georgia had a bulldog for a mascot and State a wolf. What Carolina needed was a symbol.” Two years earlier the Tar Heels had posted a brilliant 9-1 record. The star of that 1922 team was a bruising fullback named Jack Merritt. Merritt was nicknamed “the battering ram” for the way he plunged into lines. It seemed natural to Huggins to link a mascot with Merritt’s nickname. “Charlie Woollen, the athletic business manager at that time, agreed with the idea and gave us $25 to pur- chase a fitting mascot,” said Huggins. Rameses the First was shipped in from Texas, arriving just in time to be introduced at a pep rally before the VMI game. Complete with a monogram blanket on his back, Rameses helped make the pep rally one of the school’s greatest. Then the ram was taken to Emerson Field where Carolina was an underdog to a strong VMI team. But, for three quarters the Tar Heels battled the visitors to a scoreless tie. Late in the fourth period Carolina’s Bunn Hackney was called upon to attempt a field goal. Before taking the field he stopped to rub Rameses’ head for good luck. Seconds later Hackney’s 30-yard dropkick sailed between the goalposts, giving the Tar Heels a 3-0 victory and a legendary mascot. OLD WELL WALK On game days, the North Carolina football team trav- els from the team hotel and is dropped off in the center of campus at the Old Well, one of the University’s most recognized landmarks. From there, the Tar Heels walk from the Old Well through the main quad of campus and into the Kenan Football Center. The Old Well Walk, which began in 2001, is packed each Saturday with thousands of cheering fans, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite player or coach. The Old Well Walk begins approximately two and a half hours prior to kickoff of each game. SCHOOL COLORS The adoption of light blue and white as UNC’s colors dates back to the 19th Century. When the University reopened following the Civil War, most social activities were directed by two literary societies, the Dialectic and Philanthropic. The official color of the Di was light blue and that of the Phi white. On public occasions the student officers, marshals and ball managers were chosen equally from the mem- bership of the two societies. It had long been the custom of each society for its members to wear its color on such occasions. However, the chief marshal and chief ball manager, one from the Di and the other from the Phi, wore combination light blue and white regalias and rosettes signifying that they represented the whole student body. So it seemed only natural for the fans to adorn themselves with the same combination as that used by the chief marshals and ball managers, colors which rep- resented not membership in a society, but a University student body. CAROLINA FIGHT SONGS • HERE COMES CAROLINA Here comes Carolina-lina Here comes Carolina-lina We hail from NCU. We’ve got the spirit in it We’ve got the team to win it We wear the colors White and Blue – So it’s Fight! Fight! for Carolina As Davie did in days of old. As we gather ‘round the ‘Well Cheer that Tar Heel team like hell – For the glory of NCU. • CAROLINA VICTORY MARCH There’ll be a Carolina victory, When cross that field the foe has fled. Cheer that team to victory, For we are Tar Heels born and bred. Rah! Rah! Rah! Glory, glory, UNC. Our hearts will live with thee Fight! Fight! Fight! For the Blue & White are rolling to victory. • ALMA MATER Hark the sound of Tar Heel voices Ringing clear and true, Singing Carolina’s praises, Shouting “NCU.” (chorus) Hail to the brightest star of all! Clear its radiance shine Carolina, priceless gem, Receive all praises thine. (refrain) For I’m a Tar Heel born I’m a Tar Heel bred, And when I die I’m a Tar Heel dead. So it’s – Rah, Rah, Carolina-lina Rah, Rah, Carolina-lina Rah, Rah, Carolina! 190 • Credit: Ed Lewis

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