North Carolina Tar Heels football

North Carolina Tar Heels football
North Carolina Tar Heels football
Current season
97pxpx North Carolina Tar Heels football logo.png
First season 1888
Head coach Everett Withers (interim)
2011 year, 6–3  (.667)
Home stadium Kenan Memorial Stadium
Stadium capacity 63,000
Stadium surface Bermuda Grass
Location Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Conference ACC
Division Coastal
All-time record 646–488–54 (.566)
Postseason bowl record 13–15
Conference titles 9
Consensus All-Americans 13
Current uniform
Colors Carolina Blue and White            
Fight song Here Comes Carolina
I'm a Tar Heel Born
Carolina Fight
Mascot Rameses
Marching band The Marching Tar Heels
Outfitter Nike
Rivals Duke
Wake Forest
NC State

The North Carolina Tar Heels football team represents the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in collegiate level football. In Carolina’s first 121 seasons of football competition, the Tar Heels have compiled a record of 646–488–54, a winning percentage of .566. Carolina has played in 28 bowl games in its history and won three Southern Conference championships and five Atlantic Coast Conference titles. Thirty Tar Heel players have been honored as first-team All-Americas on 38 occasions. Carolina had 32 All-Southern Conference selections when it played in that league until 1952 and since joining the ACC in 1953, has had 174 first-team All- ACC choices. [1] The team's most recent bowl appearance came in the 2010 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl with a double overtime win against the Tennessee Volunteers; the final score was 30-27. Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1953, the team has won five conference championships, with the most recent title coming in 1980.

One very important contribution to the game of football by North Carolina is the modern use of the forward pass; they were the first college team to use the play in 1895. Bob Quincy notes in his 1973 book They Made the Bell Tower Chime: "John Heisman, a noted historian, wrote 30 years later that, indeed, the Tar Heels had given birth to the forward pass against the Bulldogs (UGA). It was conceived to break a scoreless deadlock and give UNC a 6–0 win. The Carolinians were in a punting situation and a Georgia rush seemed destined to block the ball. The punter, with an impromptu dash to his right, tossed the ball and it was caught by George Stephens, who ran 70 yards for a touchdown.”

While not consistently successful, the North Carolina football program has had intermittent success and has featured a number of great players, many of whom have gone on to prominence in the National Football League, including Lawrence Taylor, Charlie Justice, Chris Hanburger, Ken Willard, Don McCauley, Jeff Saturday, Alge Crumpler, Willie Parker, Greg Ellis, Dré Bly and Julius Peppers.[citation needed]



1888-1893: The Beginnings

The University of North Carolina, one of the institutions involved in the first intercollegiate football game in the state of North Carolina’s history, holds a special place in the annals of the game, both in the Tar Heel state and the nation as a whole. Carolina, which began playing the sport in 1888, will embark on its 121st season of football competition in 2011. The Tar Heels do that with a history of gridiron greatness, including some of the top coaches in the game, a lineage of talented running backs and one of the most beautiful and historic facilities in college football.

Surprisingly, football is actually not the oldest varsity sport at North Carolina. Baseball holds that honor, having fielded its first varsity squad back in 1867. But while football started 21 years later in 1888, its history is replete with memories that have thrilled legions of Carolina fans as the decades have elapsed.

The first North Carolina team played but two games, losing both and being outscored 22-4. That inauspicious beginning belies the success of the program since then, but those football pioneers are nevertheless credited with starting football at Carolina. In the fall of 1888, the sophomore class at North Carolina had formed a team and after vanquishing all the other classes at North Carolina, began to look around for stiffer opposition. The North Carolina team challenged the Wake Forest squad to a game which was scheduled during the State Fair in Raleigh on October 18, 1888. Wake won the game 6- 4 in what came to be acknowledged as the first intercollegiate football game in the history of the state of North Carolina. Later that same fall, Carolina challenged Trinity (now Duke) to a Thanksgiving Day contest in Raleigh that drew a crowd of 600 for a 16-0 Trinity triumph. One member of that 1888 North Carolina team was John Motley Morehead, who went on to great fame as the founder of Union Carbide and who endowed the Morehead Scholarship program and several buildings on the Carolina campus. That first Carolina team’s results may not have been what was expected, but the leaders of the ’88 team did get the ball rolling.

Just a few months after the loss to Trinity in 1888, North Carolina acquired the services of Hector Cowan, former great tackle and captain at Princeton, to help teach the North Carolina players the fundamentals of the game. Cowan arrived in February 1889 and drilled the Tar Heel troops on the existing athletic field, located on the current site of Bynum Hall. The 1889 team played two games in the spring and two in the fall. On March 1, 1889, Carolina earned its first win in football as it routed Wake Forest 33-0 before a crowd of 500 in Raleigh. North Carolina went on to post a 2-2 record that year and earn a share of the state championship with Trinity and Wake Forest.

After a Carolina player suffered a broken collarbone that fall, the University faculty voted to discontinue the sport of football in January 1890 and Carolina did not compete at all the following fall. That is one of only three years since the start of football in 1888 in which the Tar Heels have not fielded a team; play was also suspended during World War I in 1917 and 1918. The following year, students petitioned to have football restored at North Carolina and the ban was lifted with the help of Professors Horace Williams, F.P. Venable and Eban Alexander. At this time, athletic control passed from the hands of students to the faculty, a situation that still exists today. Football returned to North Carolina that fall with W.P. Graves as coach and North Carolina compiling an 0-2 record.

The following year, 1892, is considered by most to be the first year of real football at North Carolina with a representative six-game schedule being played. That squad also earned the distinction of being North Carolina’s first good team. Mike Hoke acted as team captain and the entire squad consisted of just 15 players, with North Carolina using only one substitute the entire season. The team opened the year with a 40-0 rout of Richmond and after a loss to Virginia in the next game, it went on to win its last four. Carolina’s 5-1 mark was the best record in the South that year. That season also marked the first year in which University teams were referred to as "Carolina," with the appellations "University" and "Chapel Hill" being dropped from the popular vernacular.

A meeting in December 1892[2] signaled the start of the formation of what would become the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association in later years. Eight schools, including North Carolina, were involved in the meeting and Dr. Venable was voted temporary chairman of the group.[2] Later that same year, on May 12, the UNC athletic association approved the awarding of varsity letters for the first time. Although the 1893 team managed only a 3-4 record, it did have the distinction of being the first Southern team to play in New York City as Carolina lost a 34-0 decision to Lehigh on November 25, 1893.[3]


A year later, Carolina brought in Vernon K. Irvine from Princeton as coach and he led Carolina to a 6-3 mark, attesting to the fact that experienced coaching benefited the team’s performance. That North Carolina team finished second in the South and won the state championship. It was also the first to be forced to stage closed practices because of problems with crowd control at open sessions. In 1895, T.C. "Doggie" Trenchard came from Princeton to coach the Tar Heels and he led North Carolina to an outstanding 7-1-1 season marred only by a loss to Virginia. A crowd of 12,000 was on hand for the meeting between the Tar Heels and the Cavaliers in Richmond, which Virginia won 6-0. Twice during the game spectators ran onto the field to block the path of Tar Heel runners who had broken into the clear on apparent touchdown runs.

Carolina began to gain some consistency in the sport of football with the arrival of William A. Reynolds of Princeton as head coach in 1897. Reynolds produced four winning Carolina teams in his four-year tenure at Chapel Hill. His first squad finished at 7-3 and was followed in 1898 by what is still the only unbeaten, untied team in school history. That 1898 squad was a perfect 9-0 and outscored its opponents by an amazing 201-8. The team finished the season by beating Virginia for the first time in six years, 6-2, in Richmond. Reynolds’ final two teams also posted respectable records, going 7-3-1 in 1889 and 4-1-3 in 1900.

Reynolds yielded the coaching reins after the 1900 season to Charles Jenkins, who led North Carolina to seven straight wins prior to a pair of season-ending losses in 1901. Carolina beat all of its state opponents to win its seventh state championship since 1892. In 1901, letters began to be awarded by an advisory committee of the athletic association. Previously, anyone who played had lettered. The next 11 seasons saw Carolina with nine different head coaches. The 1905 Carolina squad was coached by William Warner, the brother of the famed "Pop" Warner.

Trenchard returned as Carolina’s coach in 1913 for a three-year run. His 1914 squad was outstanding. Sixty men reported for the team and North Carolina went on to win its first 10 before losing to Virginia 20-3 before a record crowd of 15,000 in Richmond. That North Carolina team outscored its opponents 359-52 and became the first team in the South to display players’ numbers on their jerseys. Trenchard’s 1915 squad did not fare as well, finishing the campaign with a 4-3-1 mark. Seven regulars missed the Virginia Military Institute game and the reserves struggled, fumbling 16 times en route to a 3-3 tie. That same year, Trenchard started the first athletic training table at North Carolina in his home, feeding the 56 squad members on a daily basis.

The year 1916 found the Tar Heels in a new home as Carolina began to play its games at Emerson Stadium, the site of the current Davis Library. Freshmen were banned from varsity participation for the first time and the team went 5-4 and won its sixth successive state championship. All of the members of the 1916 squad had entered the military service in World War I by the following fall and varsity football was dropped for the second time in North Carolina history, this time for a two-year hiatus.[3]


Carolina made its full-fledged return to the gridiron in 1919, going 4-3-1 under Coach Thomas J. Coleman. Carolina twice broke its single game home attendance record that year as it won the state championship. The Tar Heels defeated N.C. State, 13-12, before a crowd of 7,500 and then topped that with 9,000 for a 6-0 win over Virginia. That game marked the first time the Cavaliers had ever played in Chapel Hill. The 1920 campaign was a dismal one as North Carolina went 2-6 and scored only 16 points in eight games. But a more positive era in North Carolina football began a year later with the hiring of Bill and Bob Fetzer as co-head coaches. Their hiring also marked a change in athletic policy at North Carolina as the Fetzers were assured of long-term positions instead of the usual one-year contracts. Carolina went 5-2-2 under the Fetzers in 1921 and 10,000 filled Emerson Field for Carolina’s 7-3 win over Virginia. That year also marked the first for North Carolina’s participation in the Southern Intercollegiate Conference, the official name for what has come to be known today simply as the Southern Conference. At a February 25, 1921 meeting in Atlanta, the SIC was formed with a 16-school membership. The conference agreed to bans on postseason play, freshman eligibility and athletic training tables, required eligibility forms for players and disallowed organized practice before September 10. Carolina would go on to have great success in the Southern Conference, tying for the league crown in 1922 and winning it outright in 1934, 1937, 1946 and 1949.

The Fetzers’ greatest team was probably the 1922 edition which posted an impressive 9-1 mark, won the South Atlantic championship and tied for the Southern Conference crown. That team lost only to Yale, 18-0, and had three touchdowns called back by penalties in the game. The squad was ranked 11th in the nation by I.B. Thomas in the January 1923 issue of Intercollegiate Athletics and played before a record 68,500 fans during the course of the campaign. The 1923 team was ravaged by injuries but limped to a 5-3-1 record nevertheless and a state championship for a second straight year. A year later, the Tar Heels were only 4-5 but they did play before their largest crowd to that date, 25,000 at New Haven’s Yale Bowl in a 27-0 loss to the Bulldogs. The 1925 season would prove to be the Fetzers’ last as co-coaches. The Tar Heels responded with an excellent season, going 7-1-1 and winning the state championship. The only loss came at the hands of Wake Forest. A crowd of 16,000 jammed Emerson Field (capacity 2,400) to see the Heels and Virginia play to a 3-3 tie in the season finale.

The following year began a new era in Carolina football as Chuck Collins came on the scene as head coach. He had the longest tenure (eight years) of the early Carolina coaches. Collins, who was one of the seven mules in the offensive line for Notre Dame’s famed Four Horsemen, served as Carolina’s coach from 1926 through 1933. The 1926 season also brought onto the scene the infamous Kay Kyser, later to be a renowned Big Band leader and radio and motion pictures personality, as head cheerleader and his Cheerios as the first major organized cheer block at Carolina.

New stadium plans were also in the works in 1926. Carolina alumni in Durham and Chapel Hill met on May 24, 1926, to form the Durham Stadium Committee. On November 13 of that same year, William Rand Kenan, a New York City engineer and 1893 North Carolina football letterman, gave the University a gift of $275,000 to help build the stadium. The first game played in Kenan Memorial Stadium was on November 12, 1927 with North Carolina beating Davidson 27-0 before a crowd of 9,000 fans. The following Saturday, North Carolina beat two-touchdown favorite Duke 18-0 in Durham. The stadium was officially dedicated on Thanksgiving Day 1927 with 28,000 attending as Carolina edged Virginia 14-13. John Sprunt Hill officially made the presentation of the stadium to Governor A.W. McLean who accepted on behalf of the University and state. Carolina won its first state championship since 1925 during the 1928 season. Its 5-3-2 record that year included a 65-0 win over Wake Forest in the season opener. That still stands as the largest margin of victory in North Carolina history. President Calvin Coolidge attended the Carolina- Virginia game in Charlottesville that year and saw the Tar Heels pull out a 24-20 win. It was the first time a U.S. President had ever attended a game in the South.

Collins’ first great team was the 1929 edition which went 9-1 and outscored its opponents 346-60. The only loss of the year came to Georgia and only Southern California scored more points during the course of the season. Ray Farris was the captain of that North Carolina team and was a unanimous All-Southern Conference choice at guard. Carolina was called the "Team of a Million Backs" and drew a record attendance of 139,500. The 1931 team, coached by Collins, went 4-3-3 and won the state championship. The Carolina-Duke game went big time for the first time that year as a crowd of 20,000 in Durham watched the two teams play to their second straight scoreless tie. Johnny Branch, a great all-purpose runner, was the star of that squad.[3]


The quiet Dutchman, Carl Snavely, came to Chapel Hill in 1934 from Bucknell to take over the coaching reins of the Tar Heels. It would be the first of two tours of duty for Snavely as head coach. The 1934 team went 7-1-1 and was led by George Barclay, North Carolina’s first All-America in football, at guard. Carolina lost only to Tennessee and it tied N.C. State that season. The Carolina-Duke game drew state and Kenan record crowds as the Tar Heels eked out a 7-0 victory. The 1935 team also proved to be a great one as Snavely led his squad to an 8-1 record. Carolina won its first seven of the season and there was talk that the Tar Heels were headed to the Rose Bowl. But arch-rival Duke made sure that didn’t happen on Saturday, November 16 in Durham as the Blue Devils played an error-less game, winning 25-0. That game drew a new Southern attendance record of 47,000 and in total 149,500 saw North Carolina play during the course of the year, another record. After losing to Duke, North Carolina came back to pummel Virginia 61-0 and ended up eighth in the final Associated Press rankings. Ace passer Don Jackson was named a second-team All-America.

Ray Wolf came to Carolina in 1936 to coach after Snavely had gone on to Cornell. Wolf had six successful seasons at North Carolina, producing winning teams the first five. The 1936 team went 8-2 and lost only to Tulane and Duke. That squad was led by end Andy Bershak, who was a second-team All-America in 1936 and a first teamer a year later. Wolf’s teams continued their success, going 7-1-1, 6-2-1, 8-1-1 and 6-4 in subsequent years. Some of Wolf’s outstanding players were Jim Lalanne, Paul Severin and George Stirnweiss. The World War II years were an unsettled time in Carolina athletic history. From 1942 through 1944, North Carolina had three different head coaches who put makeshift teams through the paces against adjusted schedules which included some military teams. Jim Tatum, an outstanding player at Carolina in the 1930s, coached the 1942 unit. He would return for another coaching tenure later.

Snavely returned to Chapel Hill in 1945 and during the next five years produced some of the best teams in Carolina football history. His 1948 team finished third in the AP poll, the highest final ranking ever for the Tar Heels. An Omaha, Nebraska native, Snavely was a 1915 alumnus of Lebanon Valley College. He had coached Carolina teams in 1934 and 1935 to a 15-2-1 record and returned in 1945 after nine years at Cornell. In fact, at Cornell in 1940, Snavely was involved in an infamous contest which would be recounted repeatedly some 50 years after the fact. Snavely was the coach who, upon learning it had taken a fifth down for his Big Red to defeat Dartmouth, wired the opposing coach Red Blaik and relinquished the victory. His 1945 team did well, finishing 5-5 after winning only one game the previous season.[3]

1946-1949: Charlie Justice's Dominance

Then the incomparable Charlie Justice arrived a year later, and with his compatriots, North Carolina went to three major bowl games and won two Southern Conference titles in the period from 1946-49. Snavely’s 1946 team was 8-2- 1, won the Southern Conference championship and lost to Georgia, 20-10, in the Sugar Bowl. The 1947 team was probably the best of the four. It finished 8-2, winning its last seven, but went uninvited in the postseason. The 1948 unit had only a regular-season tie with William & Mary to mar its record. It went on to lose to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. Finally, the 1949 team was unbeaten in the conference and finished 7-4 overall, losing to Rice in the Cotton Bowl. Justice was not the only star of those Snavely teams. Art Weiner and Ken Powell were tremendous ends on those teams and Hosea Rodgers was a great rugged fullback of the era. But Justice was the main attraction. He ran and passed for over 4,000 yards in his four-year career and he averaged over 42 yards a punt. He had only two punts blocked in his career and both of those were in the first game of his freshman year. When he was done after the 1949 season, Justice had established NCAA records in total offense and punting and was considered the greatest punter of all time. As a triple-threat All-America halfback, Justice captured the imagination and fancy of the football fan as no one else ever had. He was idolized and the attention he received from the fans and the media was almost unheard of in that time. A native of Asheville, he had served in the Navy in World War II and was already 26 years old by the time of his senior year in 1949. He capped his amazing career by being named the Most Valuable Player in the 1950 College All-Star Game in Chicago.[3]


The departure of Justice from campus coincided with a 20-year drought in North Carolina’s football fortunes. Snavely, despite all his earlier successes, could not produce a winning team after the Justice era. George Barclay, Carolina’s first All-America player back in 1934, was brought in as head coach, but he encountered little success in his three years of running the program. That’s when Carolina successfully lured Jim Tatum back to the fold. Tatum was a great North Carolina player in the 1930s and had coached the Tar Heels during World War II in 1942. He had since been at Maryland, where he led the Terrapins to the national championship in 1953. Tatum’s first season back in Chapel Hill, in 1956, was rather undistinguished. The Tar Heels went 2-7-1 with victories over Virginia and Maryland. In 1957, in Tatum’s first return trip to College Park where he had enjoyed so much success, the Carolina-Maryland game was marked by the appearance of Queen Elizabeth II. The queen and her entourage watched the Terrapins beat the Tar Heels 21- 7. But that 1957 team finished 6-4 as did the 1958 team under Tatum’s steady leadership.

It appeared Carolina had the corner turned when Tatum died suddenly in the summer of 1959 from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. He was replaced by assistant Jim Hickey whose teams did not meet with a great deal of success in his eight seasons as head coach. Hickey produced only one winning record, that in 1963 when the Tar Heels finished 9-2 and shared their first Atlantic Coast Conference title. That team went on to post the school’s first win in a bowl game, a 35-0 decision over Air Force in the Gator Bowl. That 1963 squad was led by the running of Ken Willard, the passing of Junior Edge and Gary Black and the pass receiving of Bob Lacey. Linebacker Chris Hanburger was a stalwart on defense for the Tar Heels.[3]

1967-1987: Great Successive Coaches

1967-1977: Dooley Era

After Hickey resigned after a 2-8 season in 1966, North Carolina looked to Bill Dooley to revitalize its football fortunes. The choice proved to be a wise one. Dooley’s teams won 69, lost 53 and tied two in his 11-year tenure. ACC championships were won under Dooley in 1971, 1972 and 1977. Bowl trips became a regular feature — six in all during the Dooley years. After three rebuilding seasons, Dooley’s first good team was in 1970. It finished 8-4 and went on to play Arizona State in the Peach Bowl. Tailback Don McCauley, who had gained 1,092 yards rushing in 1969, returned for a 1,720-yard season in 1970. He was the first of North Carolina’s 23 1,000-yard rushers. The Garden City, N.Y. native broke what was then O.J. Simpson’s single-season NCAA rushing standard. Dooley’s teams won back-to-back ACC titles in 1971 and 1972. The ’71 team lost to Georgia 7-3 in the Gator Bowl in a match-up of coaching brothers, Vince Dooley being the head mentor of the Bulldogs.

The 1972 team had an 11-1 record marred only by a loss at Ohio State. It won a thrilling 32-28 decision from Texas Tech in the Sun Bowl. The mid-1970s brought more success as North Carolina made bowl appearances in 1974 (Sun), 1976 (Peach) and 1977 (Liberty). Sammy Johnson was a 1,000-yard rusher for Carolina in 1973, as was James Betterson in 1974. But the outstanding offensive player of this era was Mike Voight who gained over 1,000 yards in 1974, 1975 and 1976, including 1,407 yards in ’76. Voight was named the ACC Player of the Year in both 1975 and ’76 for his efforts. The 1977 team would prove to be Dooley’s last at North Carolina. It won the ACC title and earned a berth opposite Nebraska in the Liberty Bowl. A rugged defense led by All-America tackle Dee Hardison helped Carolina lead the nation in scoring defense that season. UNC allowed only 81 points in 11 regular-season games. The new offensive star was a freshman tailback named Amos Lawrence, who rushed for 1,211 yards and was named ACC Rookie of the Year. Dooley resigned in January 1978 to accept the dual role of head football coach and athletic director at Virginia Tech.[3]

1978-1987: Crum Era

At that time, Carolina turned to the "Cradle of Coaches" at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, to find its new head coach, Dick Crum. Crum had just completed an outstanding four-year run at Miami. His 10 years as head coach at North Carolina were equally brilliant. The winningest coach in Tar Heel history, he compiled a 72-41-3 ledger at the North Carolina helm. He took six of his 10 North Carolina teams to bowl games, winning on four occasions, and the 1980 squad won the ACC championship. After a 5-6 record in 1978, Crum’s teams from 1979 through 1983 went to five successive bowls and won 45 games. North Carolina posted four consecutive bowl wins over national football powers, beating Michigan in the 1979 Gator Bowl, Texas in the 1980 Bluebonnet Bowl, Arkansas in the 1981 Gator Bowl and Texas again in the 1982 Sun Bowl.

In 1980 and 1981, North Carolina became the first team in league history to finish in the Top 10 of both wire service polls in successive years. The 1980 team was 11-1 and ranked ninth by United Press International and 10th by Associated Press. The 1981 unit was 10-2 and rated eighth by UPI and ninth by AP. Two more Carolina teams coached by Crum would later go to bowl games, the 1983 team to the Peach Bowl to face Florida State and the 1986 corps to the Aloha Bowl for a meeting with Arizona. There was a plethora of outstanding players at Carolina during the Crum era and the Tar Heel football record book was being constantly updated.

In 1980, linebacker Lawrence Taylor was named the ACC Player of the Year and he went on to All-Pro status with the New York Giants. That season, Taylor led what was one of the greatest defenses in ACC history. Other great defensive players at North Carolina included linebacker Buddy Curry, defensive tackle Donnell Thompson, linebacker Darrell Nicholson, defensive back Steve Streater, defensive tackle William Fuller and outside linebacker Mike Wilcher. All of those players were All-ACC selections and several went on to have distinguished pro careers. Fuller made four first-team All-America squads in 1983.

Although Crum’s teams were known for their rugged defense, Carolina also excelled offensively, leading the ACC in total offense four times in the 1980s and ranking sixth nationally in 1986. There were several reasons behind the offensive fireworks. First, there was a succession of outstanding running backs. Five different players gained 1,000 or more yards rushing in a season a total of 10 times under Crum’s tutelage. After his brilliant freshman year, Lawrence went on to gain 1,000 yards three more times. He is one of only four players in college football history to gain 1,000 yards rushing in each of their four seasons. Kelvin Bryant overcame an injury-marred career to gain 1,000 yards on three occasions. Ethan Horton turned the trick twice in his career and Tyrone Anthony and Derrick Fenner had one 1,000-yard rushing season each. A second reason behind North Carolina’s offensive success was the presence of some outstanding linemen in the ’80s, four of whom gained first-team All-America status - guard Ron Wooten in 1980, guard David Drechsler in 1981 and ’82, tackle Brian Blados in 1983 and tackle Harris Barton in 1986.

Carolina’s offense also became more diversified in the Crum era and the passing section of the Carolina record book was basically rewritten at that time by a string of accomplished starters at quarterback– Matt Kupec, RodElkins, Scott Stankavage, Kevin Anthony and Mark Maye. At the conclusion of the 1987 season, Crum resigned to return home to his native Ohio and was replaced by Tulane head coach Mack Brown.[3]

1988-1997: Mack Brown's Transformation

Mack Brown's first two teams struggled throughout their game to 1-10 records. Center Jeff Garnica was a third team All-America and the Jacobs Blocking Trophy recipient in 1988 as the best offensive lineman in the ACC. Offensive guard Pat Crowley became only the second offensive lineman in ACC history to be named All-ACC in three successive years when he accomplished that feat in 1989. The blocking of those two players was instrumental in tailback Kennard Martin leading the ACC in rushing in 1988 with 1,146 yards.

The Tar Heels turned things around in 1990, however, and put together a solid 6-4-1 record and even returned to the Top 25 at one point in the season. Inside linebacker Dwight Hollier led the ACC in tackles for the second consecutive season and rookie tailback Natrone Means capped a stellar second half of the season with a 256-yard, three-touchdown effort vs. Duke. Along the way, Carolina tied Georgia Tech 13-13; the stalemate proved to be the only blemish on the Yellow Jackets’ otherwise-perfect national championship ledger. In 1991, Means became the 11th Tar Heel to rush for more than 1,000 yards. Means ran for 1,030 yards and topped the 1,000-yard plateau on an electrifying, 68-yard scamper in the Tar Heels’47-14 rout over Duke. Means, inside linebacker Tommy Thigpen and offensive guard Brian Bollinger each were first team All-ACC selections.

1992 was another season filled with great players, spectacular plays and electrifying memories. The Tar Heels won nine games, including a 21-17 victory over Mississippi State in the Peach Bowl, and finished the season ranked in the Top 20 in both major polls. Means rushed for 1,195 yards, the 21st 1,000-yard rushing season in Carolina history. He had a 249-yard day at Maryland and once again dramatically crashed the 1,000-yard club with a 76- yard touchdown run against the Terrapins. The Tar Heels defeated Top 20 opposition on consecutive weekends in mid-season, the first time in the program’s history the team accomplished that feat. Carolina accepted a bid to play in the Peach Bowl and provided one of the year ’s most entertaining bowl games. Trailing Mississippi State by two touchdowns in the third quarter, North Carolina rallied for a 21-17 win. Means, a repeat first-team All-ACC selection, gained 128 yards and was named the game’s Offensive MVP. Strong safety Bracey Walker tied the game when he blocked a punt, his second of the game, and returned it 41 yards for a score. Walker, the game’s Defensive MVP, set up the game-winning touchdown when he forced an interception with a jarring fourth quarter hit. Cornerback Cliff Baskerville picked the loose ball out of the air and raced 44 yards for the winning touchdown.

The 1993 Tar Heels provided one of the most entertaining seasons in Carolina history. North Carolina won 10 games for the first time in a dozen years, finished second in the ACC, 19th in the Associated Press poll and played in a bowl game for a second consecutive season. North Carolina set nearly 40 team and individual records, including most points, points per game and total offense. Walker was named first-team All-America by several organizations and was a first team All-ACC selection along with tailback Curtis Johnson and offensive tackle Ethan Albright. Johnson and red-shirt freshman tailback Leon Johnson each rushed for 1,000-plus yards. Curtis rushed for 1,034 yards and set a school record with a 90- yard score vs. Maryland; Leon was named the ACC Rookie of the Year as he rushed for 1,012 yards and led the conference with 16 touchdowns and 100 points. Quarterback Jason Stanicek set North Carolina single-season records for total offense (2,284 yards), total yards per game (190.3), completion percentage (64.1) and pass efficiency rating (145.79). Corey Holliday concluded his brilliant career as Carolina’s all-time leading pass receiver. Twice selected a captain by his teammates, Holliday finished his four years with 155 receptions for 2,447 yards and caught a pass in an ACC-record 45 consecutive games. He had nine receptions, a North Carolina postseason record, versus Alabama in Carolina’s 24-10 loss in the Gator Bowl.

In 1994 Carolina went 8-4, losing to Texas, 35-31, in the Sun Bowl in an exhilarating contest. Stanicek concluded his career as the school’s all-time total offense leader. Stanicek passed "Choo Choo" Justice’s mark, which had stood since 1949, in the fifth game of the season and finished his standout career with 5,497 yards. Stanicek also set North Carolina career records for most pass completions (372), attempts (622), yards (4,683) and completion percentage (.598). He tied Matt Kupec’s school mark for most wins by a starting quarterback with 24. Marcus Wall set a Tar Heel record for most touchdown catches in a season with nine and added a touchdown catch in the Sun Bowl. He also returned a kickoff for a score against Duke, returned a punt for a touchdown against Texas and had a rushing touchdown against N.C. State. Carolina beat Duke 41-40 in one of the most exciting games in the storied history of that rivalry. The Blue Devils scored a pair of quick touchdowns in the fourth quarter to go ahead, 38-34, with less than 3:00 to play. Mike Thomas quickly connected with freshman Octavus Barnes on a short crossing route and Barnes raced past the entire secondary for a 71-yard game-winning score. Barnes established an ACC record for receiving yards in a season by a freshman with 609. He had 165 yards on receptions, the third-highest single-game figure in Carolina history, in the regular-season finale at Duke and again in the Sun Bowl against Texas.

The 1995 Tar Heels rebounded from an 0-2 start to post a winning season for the sixth consecutive year and received an invitation to the Carquest Bowl in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Defensive tackle Marcus Jones was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and became the first North Carolina player in nine years to be named consensus first-team All-America. Jones topped Lawrence Taylor’s career North Carolina sack record as he concluded his four years with 24, three more than Taylor. Mike Thomas set numerous single-season total offense and passing records, including most yards of total offense (2,489), most yards passing (2,436), most pass attempts (332) and most completions (185). He threw for more than 200 yards in each of the first six games and concluded his career with nine 200-yard outings. Tailback Leon Johnson and split end Octavus Barnes each surpassed the previous school record for pass receptions in a season. Johnson led the team in rushing with 963 yards and added 54 receptions. Barnes had 53 catches for 970 yards. Johnson rushed for 195 yards and a touchdown in the 20-10 win over Arkansas in the Carquest Bowl. That is the highest rushing total in Carolina postseason history. Barnes established a North Carolina record with four 100-yard receiving games. He caught three touchdown passes and totaled 211 yards receiving, the second-highest figure in school history, in a 62-0 rout of Ohio. Marcus Jones was named first-team All-America by the Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association, the Walter Camp Foundation and United Press International.

1996 was one of the finest seasons in Carolina history. The Tar Heels went 10-2, won the Gator Bowl and finished 10th in both national polls. Mack Brown was named the ACC Coach of the Year as he directed a new-look offense to record-setting heights. Seven Tar Heels earned first-team All-ACC honors led by quarterback Chris Keldorf, a junior college transfer, who set North Carolina single-season passing records for completions (201), yards (2,347) and touchdowns (23). Leon Johnson set all-time North Carolina records for scoring (306) and touchdowns (50) and established the all-time ACC mark with 5,828 all-purpose yards. He earned All-ACC honors as a kick returner. The Tar Heel defense, coached by National Defensive Coordinator of the Year Carl Torbush, led the country in scoring and was second with 225.6 total yards per game. Redshirt freshman cornerback Dré Bly led the country in interceptions with an ACC-record 11 and was a consensus first-team All- America. Bly was just the fifth freshman in history and the first freshman defensive player to be named an AP All-America. The year began with a 45-0 win over Clemson and included a 52-20 rout over N.C. State. Carolina went to Syracuse in the second week and beat the No. 9 ranked Orangemen, North Carolina’s first road win over a Top 10 team since 1966. The Tar Heels tied for second in the ACC. They played West Virginia in the Gator Bowl without Keldorf, who suffered a fracture dislocation of his left ankle in the last regular-season game. Oscar Davenport came off the bench to win MVP honors as he completed 14 of 26 passes for 175 yards and passed and ran for scores.

The 1997 season may go down as the most memorable in Carolina football history. The Tar Heels went 11-1, won the Gator Bowl for the second year in a row and finished fourth in the final coaches’ poll and sixth in the final Associated Press poll. North Carolina lived up to lofty preseason predictions and spent the entire year in the Top 10. The Tar Heels were once again led by a stifling defense. North Carolina allowed just 209.3 yards per game, the second-lowest figure in the NCAA and the lowest total by an ACC team since 1963. It was the fewest yards allowed by Carolina since 1948. The defense featured three first-round draft picks (defensive end Greg Ellis, defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday and linebacker Brian Simmons), a Butkus Award finalist (linebacker Kivuusama Mays) and three first-team All-Americas (Ellis, Simmons and Bly). Bly became the first North Carolina football player in history to earn consensus first-team All-America honors in more than one season. He had five interceptions to lead a secondary that was third in the country in passing yards allowed. Carolina was the only defense in the country to have finalists for the Lombardi (Ellis), Butkus (Mays) and Thorpe (Bly) Awards. Davenport earned Team MVP honors by completing 62.8 percent of his passes and leading the Tar Heels to come-from-behind wins over Stanford, Virginia and Georgia Tech. His season ended in the ninth week when he suffered a broken ankle in the loss to Florida State. That game featured the second-ranked Seminoles and fifth-ranked Tar Heels and was played in front of 62,000 fans, the largest crowd ever at Kenan Stadium. Keldorf began the fall as the reigning All-ACC quarterback, lost his starting job, and finally replaced an injured Davenport late in the season. He set a single- game North Carolina record at Texas Christian by throwing for 415 yards, set the school record for career passing touchdowns with 35 and finished his career with sensational performances in wins over Clemson, Duke and Virginia Tech.[3]

Brown's Sudden Departure

Keldorf engineered the Tar Heels’17-10 win at Clemson, Carolina’s first triumph in Death Valley since 1980. Keldorf wrapped his remarkable two-year career with an MVP performance in win over the Hokies in the Gator Bowl as he threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns. The 1997 season was the last for Mack Brown as head coach. He resigned on December 5th to become the head coach at Texas. Brown finished his 10-year career at Carolina with a 69-46-1 record. The 69 wins equal the second-most in North Carolina history. Athletic director Dick Baddour promoted defensive coordinator Carl Torbush to head coach on December 8, 1997. Torbush, defensive coordinator since 1988, directed the Tar Heels to a 42-3 win over Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl.[3]

1998-2006: Inconsistent Performances

Torbush Era

The 1998 season began with three straight defeats, but Torbush rallied the Tar Heels to six wins in the last eight regular season games. That earned an invitation to the Las Vegas Bowl, where the Tar Heels beat San Diego State, 20-13. Davenport was injured on the first series in the season opener. That injury forced the debut of freshman Ronald Curry, who would establish North Carolina single-season freshman records for passing yards (975), touchdown passes (six), completions (66) and total offense yards (1,394). Curry had a 48-yard touchdown run and was named Offensive MVP of the Las Vegas Bowl. Na Brown tied his own school record with 55 receptions for 897 yards and became Carolina’s all-time leading receiver with 165 catches. His most memorable grab was the game-winning touchdown pass from Davenport in overtime to beat NC State, 37-34. The game was played in Charlotte, N.C., before a record crowd of 68,797. It was the most people to ever see a college football game in North Carolina. Ebenezer Ekuban set a single-season North Carolina record with 23 tackles for losses, earned the ACC’s Top Senior Student-Athlete Award and was named first-team All-ACC. Ekuban was joined on the All-ACC squad by Bly, who set the conference career record for interceptions with 20. Bly was named first-team All- America by the Walter Camp Foundation and became the only player in ACC history to be named first-team All-America in three different seasons.

Carolina was beset by injuries early in the 1999 season but improved throughout the course of the year. The Tar Heels did not allow a touchdown in the final 10 quarters of the season. North Carolina defeated rivals Duke and NC State, with the win over the Wolfpack coming via a classic goal-line tackle by Errol Hood and David Bomar that preserved a 10-6 win. Brian Schmitz set an ACC and North Carolina record by averaging 47.8 yards per punt and was named a first-team All-America by The Sporting News. Schmitz’s career punting average of 44.4 yards per kick is best in ACC history.

The 2000 season was full of ups and downs as the Tar Heels opened the season 3-1 only to lose four consecutive games before defeating Maryland and Duke to finish 6-5 overall. Despite a winning record, Carolina did not receive a bowl invitation for the second straight year and Carl Torbush was dismissed as head coach. He was replaced by former letter-winner John Bunting on December 11, 2000. Bunting was an All-ACC linebacker at Carolina in 1971 and played on two bowl teams.[3]

Bunting Era

Bunting’s first season was one of the most exciting in Carolina history as the Tar Heels’ turned around an 0-3 start to win eight of their last 10, including a 16-10 win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl. The eight wins were the most ever by a first-year head coach at North Carolina. Perhaps the most thrilling win was Carolina’s 41-9 upset of No. 6 Florida State, who had lost just twice in conference play since joining the league. The Tar Heels trailed 9-7 at the half, but shutout the Seminoles in the second period and rallied for 34 unanswered points. The win set off a wild on-field celebration as Bunting notched his first win at his alma mater. Individually, defensive end Julius Peppers led the nation with 15 sacks, just one shy of the North Carolina record, and was named a first-team All-America. Peppers did establish a school record with 24 tackles for losses, breaking the mark set by Ekuban in 1998. Led by Peppers, Carolina’s defense posted a school-record 53 sacks and had at least three sacks in every game. Peppers, who was the second overall pick in the NFL Draft following the season, became the first Tar Heel to win a major college football award, bringing home the Lombardi Award as the nation’s top lineman and the Bednarik Award as the nation’s top overall defensive player.[3]

According to the Saragin rankings, the Tar Heels had the sixth toughest schedule in the country. Bunting's success dropped off quickly in the first game of the 2002 season, losing the opening game of the season to Miami (OH) 27-21. Place-kicker Dan Orner, who transferred to North Carolina from Michigan State and sat out last season, kicked three field goals over 50 yards (52, 51, 55) in Carolina’s 30-22 victory vs. Syracuse. Orner tied an NCAA record with three field goals of at least 50 yards in the same game. Orner’s 55-yard kick was a school record and the longest ever by a Syracuse opponent. The previous North Carolina record was a 54-yarder by Kenny Miller against Florida State in 1985. Darian Durant, the Tar Heels starting quarterback, threw for a school-record 417 yards and five touchdowns against Arizona State on October 5 and was named ACC Offensive Back of the Week. It was the first 400-yard game of his career and was the second-best game by an ACC quarterback in 2002. The following week against NC State, Durant threw for 266 yards, setting a school record for most passing yards (683) in two consecutive games. The previous record of 680 was set by Ronald Curry in 2000 season against Marshall and Georgia Tech. Darian Durant, broke his thumb on a helmet in the Tar Heels game against the Virginia Cavaliers. Against Maryland, Sam Aiken had a career-high 10 catches for 102 yards to become just the fifth player in Carolina history to top 2,000 receiving yards in a career. The Tar Heels ended their six game skid with their thirteenth consecutive win over Duke. Durant, coming off of breaking his thumb, returned to the field to help The game came down to the wire, with Dan Orner kicking a 47-yard field goal as time expired to make the score 23-21, in favor of North Carolina. In 2002, wide receiver Sam Aiken set the single-season school record with 68 receptions and 990 receiving yards, becoming just the second Tar Heel ever with more than 900 yards receiving. Aiken led in the ACC in receptions per game (5.67) and was second in receiving yards per game (82.5). He finished his Carolina career third in receiving yards (2,205), third in touchdowns (15) and fourth in receptions (146). Junior free safety Dexter Reid was one of the bright spots on the Carolina defense in 2002, leading the ACC and finishing second in the nation with 13.8 tackles per game. Reid was named first-team All-ACC after finishing the year with 166 total tackles, the second-highest figure in school history and just five shy of the school record of 171 set by linebacker Buddy Curry in 1979.

North Carolina closed out the 2003 season with a disappointing 30-22 loss to Duke at Kenan Stadium. The Tar Heels finished the year with a 2-10 overall mark, 1-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (9th). It marked the first time Carolina had posted 10 losses since the 1990 season. Carolina’s wins came at East Carolina (28-17) and at home to Wake Forest (42- 34). Despite the won-lost record, several Tar Heels posted individual marks worth noting and quarterback Darian Durant essentially re-wrote Carolina’s record book with his brilliant season. Durant set single-season school records in completions, passing yards and total offense and eclipsed Carolina’s career marks in those categories as well. Quarterback Darian Durant broke Carolina’s all-time total offense record at Clemson on October 25, 2003. He finished his junior season with 7,204 total yards of offense. He had 208 yards passing and 110 yards rushing against the Tigers to break the record held by quarterback Ronald Curry, who had 6,236 total yards from 1998-2001. It took Durant just 936 plays to set the record, 107 less than Curry (1,043 attempts). Legendary quarterback Charlie “Choo-Choo” Justice (1946-49) held North Carolina’s total offense record with 4,883 yards for 45 years until it was broken by Jason Stanicek in 1994. Several young players enjoyed breakout seasons, led by second-year wide receiver Jarwarski Pollock. Pollock caught 71 passes to break the single-season school record for receptions. True freshman tailback Ronnie McGill led the team in rushing with 654 yards. He registered 244 of those yards in the Tar Heels’ win over Wake Forest. It was the ninth-highest single-game rushing total in school history and the third-best effort by a North Carolina freshman. Senior Michael Waddell led the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 31.7 yards per return, while freshman Mike Mason was 18th at 26.0 yards per return.

North Carolina’s 2004 schedule ranked as the most difficult in the country, according to the Sagarin rankings. Carolina played eight ranked teams and three teams that finished in the top 10 in the country.Predicted to finish 10th in the 11-team Atlantic Coast Conference at the preseason media kickoff, North Carolina tied for third in the ACC and earned a berth in the Continental Tire Bowl in Charlotte. The Tar Heels (6-6 overall, 5-3 ACC) had one of the best offensive teams in the league, finishing second in total offense. The third place finish was the highest for the Tar Heels since finishing third in 2001. Kenan Stadium was the site of several exciting victories, including wins over William & Mary, Georgia Tech, NC State and Miami. Three of those games ended with Tar Heels making plays to either win or cement a victory. Against the Yellow Jackets, linebacker Hilee Taylor forced a fumble, scooped up the ball and raced the final 21 yards for a touchdown as time expired in a 34-13 victory. A few weeks later, Carolina made another great defensive play, stopping NC State’s T.A. McClendon at the goal line on successive attempts. The Tar Heels won the game 30-24. Following a disappointing 46-16 loss at Utah on October 16, North Carolina limped home to Chapel Hill 3-4 overall and looking ahead at a schedule that featured difficult home games vs. No. 4 Miami and No. 18 Virginia Tech and road games at Wake Forest and Duke. What followed was one of the most memorable turnarounds in school history. First, the Tar Heels knocked off No. 4 Miami, 31-28, beating a top five team for the first time in school history. The game down to the wire, with Connor Barth nailing a 42-yard field goal as time expired to lead the Tar Heels to victory. After a three-point loss to the Hokies, Carolina beat Wake Forest 31-24 when Darian Durant connected with Jesse Holley in the final two minutes and safety Gerald Sensabaugh picked off Wake’s final offensive play of the game with just nine seconds remaining. In the season finale vs. Duke, Carolina reclaimed the Victory Bell with a 40-17 win. Three days later, head coach John Bunting accepted a bid to the Continental Tire Bowl in Charlotte. Over 65,000 Tar Heel fans, thought to be the most ever to see a Carolina team in person, packed Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte to watch the final game of the season. The Tar Heels lost to Boston College Eagles in the Continental Tire Bowl, the Eagles ended the game with sixteen unanswered points, making the score 37-24.

The Tar Heels facing off against Virginia Tech in 2006.

North Carolina finished the 2005 season 5-6 overall, 4-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tar Heels came up one win shy of qualifying for postseason play, falling to No. 5 Virginia Tech in the season finale. The season was highlighted by victories over rivals NC State and Virginia and a payback victory over Boston College who had knocked off the Tar Heels in the Continental Tire Bowl a year earlier. The season began poorly with a pair of losses to Georgia Tech in Atlanta and at home to Wisconsin. Facing the prospect of an 0-3 start, Carolina rebounded with a thrilling 31-24 victory at NC State. It was Carolina’s second consecutive victory over NC State and fifth in the last six visits to Carter-Finley Stadium. Later in the season, Carolina’s defense held Virginia to just 199 yards and Cedrick Holt picked off a pass to thwart a late Virginia drive and give Carolina a 7-5 win. It was the first win over Virginia since 2001. North Carolina’s Brandon Tate was named a first-team freshman All-America by The Sporting News. A true freshman in 2005, Tate was among the nation's top kick and punt returners all season. He finished second in the ACC in kickoff and third in punt returns. Nationally, he ranked 22nd in kickoff returns with a 25.8 average. Tate returned the opening kickoff vs. Utah 96 yards for a touchdown. Senior Jarwarski Pollock established the Carolina career reception record with 177 catches. He broke the record held by Na Brown, who caught 165 passes from 1995-98, against Maryland.

The Tar Heels opened the 2006 season with a 21-16 loss to Rutgers at Kenan Stadium and never recovered. The only victory in the first nine games came against Division I-AA Furman, 45-42. Carolina closed out the year with wins over in-state rivals NC State and Duke to finish 3-9 overall, 2-6 in the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Six-year head coach John Bunting was dismissed days after a 23-0 loss at Virginia that dropped the Tar Heels to 1-6, but coached the remainder of the season. He was replaced by former Miami Hurricanes and Cleveland Browns coach Butch Davis on Nov. 13, 2006. Carolina’s win over NC State was its third straight over the Wolfpack and its 11th in the last 14 meetings. Carolina’s win over Duke was its fourth straight over the Blue Devils and its 16th in the last 17 meetings. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks set a school freshman record with 39 receptions for 660 yards. Nicks was named a freshman All-America by The Sporting News and Kick returner Brandon Tate finished second in the country in 2006 with 902 kickoff return yards. Tate set the single-season school record with three touchdowns on kick returns in 2006 (two kickoffs and one punt). Senior safety Kareen Taylor finished his career with a school-record 206 interception return yards.

2007-2010: Davis' Revival & Downfall

Connor Barth kicking a field goal against Maryland.

On November 13, 2006, the program hired as head coach Butch Davis, former head coach of the Miami Hurricanes and Cleveland Browns. In addition, the school pledged that they would fund the football program to the same extent that their men's and women's basketball teams are funded.[citation needed]On February 7, 2007, Davis and his coaching staff inked one of the top recruiting classes in North Carolina football history, earning recognition from North Carolina completed its first season under head coach Butch Davis with a 20-14 overtime victory over Duke on Nov. 24. The Tar Heels finished 4-8 overall and 3-5 and fourth in the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference. North Carolina lost six games in 2007 by a combined total of 24 points. The Tar Heels lost by three at East Carolina, two vs. Virginia, seven at Virginia Tech, six vs. South Carolina, four at NC State and two at Georgia Tech. Four times the Tar Heels lost by four or fewer points (two to Virginia and Georgia Tech, three to ECU and four to the Wolfpack). Carolina’s eight losses were decided a combined total of 78 points (9.75 avg). In comparison, last season the Tar Heels lost nine games by a total of 168 points (18.7 avg.).Sophomore wide receiver Hakeem Nicks set the single-season school record with 74 receptions, eclipsing the previous mark of 71 by Jarwarski Pollock in 2003. Senior place-kicker Connor Barth set the school record with 19 consecutive field goals and established the North Carolina career record with 54 made field goals. Junior kick returner Brandon Tate broke the ACC career record for kickoff return yards with 2,383 yards. Tate also set North Carolina single-season records 39 kickoff returns and 939 kickoff return yards. Redshirt freshman T.J. Yates set the single-season school record for most passing yards with, 2,655. Yates also set North Carolina freshman marks for completions and attempts. North Carolina’s defense improved nearly 60 positions in the NCAA rankings, moving from 92nd in 2006 to 35th in 2007. Durell Mapp had 132 tackles, ranking second in the ACC and 10th in the nation in tackles per game. North Carolina safety Deunta Williams was voted the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Atlantic Coast Conference Sports Media Association. A native of Jacksonville, N.C., Williams received 48 votes to outdistance teammate and fellow defensive back Charles Brown. North Carolina sold out five of its six home football games in 2007 and averaged 57,417 fans, the most in more than a decade. Average attendance was up nearly 18 percent from the 2006 season when Carolina drew 48,857 per game.

Brandon Tate returning a kick against McNeese State.

North Carolina was 8-5 in 2008, a four-game improvement from 2007 and advanced to a postseason bowl game for the first time since 2004. The Tar Heels were in contention for the ACC title until the final week of the season and spent nearly half the season ranked among the top 25. Carolina posted wins over three ranked teams – Connecticut, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech – and notched impressive victories at Miami and vs. Notre Dame in Kenan Stadium. The Tar Heels opened their season with two consecutive victories over McNeese State and Rutgers. The Tar Heels blew a seven point lead in the fourth quarter against the Virginia Tech Hokies in their third game of the season. The next week, the Tar Heels traveled to Miami, FL to face off against Miami. That game came down to the wire, as North Carolina safety Trimane Goddard intercepted a pass in the end zone as time expired to seal the victory for North Carolina. The next week, the Tar Heels faced off against the Connecticut Huskies in Kenan Stadium. The game was highlighted by North Carolina linebacker Bruce Carter, who blocked three consecutive punts. While the game was in play, the lights suddenly went out, and the crowd began to do the wave. A week later, Notre Dame came to Chapel Hill. This game came down to the fourth quarter, when a 4-yard run by North Carolina quarterback Cam Sexton sealed the game for the Tar Heels 28-24. The Tar Heels next game came against their old rival, the Virginia Cavaliers. The game was sent into overtime, where the Cavaliers scored on their second drive and the Tar Heels didn't, thus losing the game. Boston College and Georgia Tech were next on the schedule for the Tar Heels, both teams didn't pose much of a threat for the Tar Heels, with the Heels winning comfortably in each game. The Tar Heels then went on a two game skid, losing to the Maryland Terrapins and a blow out loss to their fierce rival NC State. The Tar Heels then beat their arch rival, Duke, 28-20 to retain the Victory Bell. The Tar Heels fell to West Virginia, 31-30, in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte on Dec. 27 to close the season. The first quarter was highlighted by a high offensive display, with each teams scoring 35 points collectively. North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks put on a dazzling performance, he Nicks caught eight passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. On the final drive for North Carolina, after the Mountaineers scored to make the score 31-30 with 7 minutes remaining in the game, T.J. Yates threw his first interception of the game, ending Carolina's aspirations of winning the game. Linebacker Bruce Carter led the nation with five blocked kicks, including three in one game vs. Connecticut. Carter is believed to be the only player in NCAA history to block four consecutive punts (one vs. Miami and three vs. UConn.) Linebacker Quan Sturdivant led the nation with 87 primary tackles. Brandon Tate became the NCAA all-time leader in combined kick return yards with 3,523. He set the school record with his sixth kick return for a touchdown. Against McNeese State, he set the school record with 397 all-purpose yards. Tate's season was cut short due to an injury that occurred during the game against Notre Dame.

In July 2010, it was reported that the program was being investigated by the NCAA due to possible connections with sport agents.[4] Following an NCAA investigation into misconduct, in September 2011, the program decided to vacate all its wins from the 2008 and 2009 seasons, reduce its scholarship athletes by 3, begin serving two years of probation, and pay a $50,000 fine.[5]


Carolina Blue & White

The adoption of light blue and white as North Carolina’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 membership 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 represented not membership in a society, but a University student body.

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 purchase 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 Virginia Military Institute 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

The Old Well.

On game days, the North Carolina football team travels 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.


Duke Blue Devils

Rameses and the Blue Devil mascot in 1957.

The football rivalry between Duke and North Carolina began in 1888, when Duke was known by the name of Trinity. Trinity won the first game in the now-longstanding series. While the two teams are more known for their basketball rivalry, they have been known to have some great games every now and then. The Victory Bell was introduced for the 1948 match-up, which North Carolina won 20-0. It's tradition for the school that has possession of the bell to paint the bell in the shade of blue of their school. The longest consecutive win streak in the series is a 13 game win streak by the Tar Heels from 1990-2002. The all-time series record is 55-35-4 (excluding the two Carolina vacated victories).

North Carolina State Wolfpack

The 2007 game between the Tar Heels and the Wolfpack.

The first football game between the NC State Wolfpack and the Tar Heels occurred in 1894, and the Tar Heels won 44-0. The two teams played every now and then until the formation of the ACC. Since the two teams have been apart of the ACC, they have played every year since 1953. In the past few years, the rivalry has been more highly contested than the Tar Heels rivalry with Duke. The 1998 and 1999 games were held at Bank of America Stadium, the Tar Heels won both games. The longest consecutive win streak in the series is 9 games, from 1943-1955 by the Tar Heels. The Tar Heels have currently lost five straight to the Wolfpack, matching a five-game losing streak from 1988-92. The all-time series is 63-32-6 in favor of the Tar Heels.

Virginia Cavaliers

Ronald Curry is sacked by the Virginia defense in 2000.

The Tar Heels' rivalry with the Virginia Cavaliers began in 1892, and the rivalry has come to be known as the "South's Oldest Rivalry." The teams played twice during the 1892 season, with the Cavaliers winning the first game and the Tar Heels winning the second. The is also known as the "Gentlemen's Rivalry." One reason is because of the stereotypical image of both schools' fanbases as being subdued, well behaved & mannered, wine-n-cheese crowds who dress up for games and do more socializing than being rowdy during sporting events, especially when compared to other ACC fan bases. The Tar Heels did go through a losing streak in Charlottesville, the home of the Cavaliers. After the Tar Heels 1981 victory in Charlottesville, they lost every game played there until the 2010 game. The two teams have played a total of 116 times, more than the two teams have played any other program. It is the 4th most played rivalry game among college football's BCS conference schools. The all-time series record is 58–54–4, in favor of the Tar Heels.

Head Coaches

Tenure Coach Years Record Pct.
1889 Hector Cowan 1 2–2 .500
1894 V. K. Irvine 1 6–3 .667
1895 T. C. Trenchard 1 7–1–1 .833
1896 Gordon Johnston 1 3–4–1 .438
1897–00 W. A. Reynolds 4 27–7–4 .763
1901 Charles Jenkins 1 7–2 .778
1902–03 H. S. Olcott 2 11–4–3 .694
1904 R. R. Brown 1 5–2–2 .667
1905 William Warner 1 4–3–1 .563
1906 W. S. Keinholz 1 1–4–2 .286
1907 Otis Lamson 1 4–4–1 .500
1908 Edward Green 1 3–3–3 .500
1909–10 A. E. Brides 2 8–8 .500
1911 Branch Bocock 1 6–1–1 .813
1912 W. C. Martin 1 3–4–1 .438
1913–15 T. C. Trenchard 4 19–8–1 .696
1916–19 Thomas Campbell 2 9–7–1 .559
1920 M. E. Fuller 1 2–6 .250
1921–25 Bill Fetzer 5 30–12–4 .696
1926–33 Chuck Collins 8 38–31–9 .545
1934–35 Carl Snavely 2 15-2-1 .833
1936–41 Ray Wolf 6 38–17–3 .681
1942 Jim Tatum 1 5-2-2 .667
1943 Tom Young 1 6–3 .667
1944 Gene McEver 1 1–7–1 .167
1945–52 Carl Snavely 8 44–33–4 .568
1953–55 George Barclay 3 11–18–1 .383
1956–58 Jim Tatum 3 12–15–1 .429 [6]
1959–66 Jim Hickey 8 36–45 .444
1967–77 Bill Dooley 11 69–53–2 .565
1978–87 Dick Crum 10 72–41–3 .634
1988–97 Mack Brown 10 69–46–1 .599
1998–00 Carl Torbush 3 17–18 .486
2001–06 John Bunting 6 27–45 .375
2007–10 Butch Davis 4 12–23** .343
2011– Everett Withers (Interim) - 6-3 .667
1889–2010 33 coaches 114 629–484–54[6] .568
  • During the years 1888 and 1891–93, North Carolina had no official head coach. Over those four seasons, the team went 8–9.
  • In 1890, the North Carolina Tar Heels did not field a team.
    • On September 19, 2011, North Carolina self-imposed sanctions against their football program, including forfeiting their wins from the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

Conference Affiliations

  • 1888–1894: Independent
  • 1895–1921: Southern Conference Athletic Association
  • 1922–1952: Southern Conference
  • 1953–current: ACC




Year Conference Overall record Conference record
1895 SIAA 7-1-1 5-0
1922 Southern 9–1 5–1
1946 Southern 8–2–1 4–0–1
1949 Southern 7–4 5–0
1963 ACC 9–2 5–1
1971 ACC 9–3 6–0
1972 ACC 11–1 6–0
1977 ACC 8–3–1 5–0–1
1980 ACC 11–1 7–0
  • 9 conference championships

Bowl History

Bowl Record

North Carolina has played in 28 bowl games in its history with a record of 13–15.

Date Bowl Name Result Opponent PF PA
January 1, 1947 Sugar Bowl L Georgia 10 20
January 1, 1949 Sugar Bowl L Oklahoma 6 14
January 2, 1950 Cotton Bowl Classic L Rice 13 27
December 28, 1963 Gator Bowl W Air Force 35 0
December 30, 1970 Peach Bowl L Arizona State 26 48
December 31, 1971 Gator Bowl L Georgia 3 7
December 30, 1972 Sun Bowl W Texas Tech 32 28
December 28, 1974 Sun Bowl L Mississippi State 24 26
December 31, 1976 Peach Bowl L Kentucky 0 21
December 19, 1977 Liberty Bowl L Nebraska 17 21
December 28, 1979 Gator Bowl W Michigan 17 15
December 31, 1980 Bluebonnet Bowl W Texas 16 7
December 28, 1981 Gator Bowl W Arkansas 31 27
December 25, 1982 Sun Bowl W Texas 26 10
December 30, 1983 Peach Bowl L Florida State 3 28
December 27, 1986 Aloha Bowl L Arizona 21 30
January 2, 1993 Peach Bowl W Mississippi State 21 17
December 31, 1993 Gator Bowl L Alabama 10 24
December 30, 1994 Sun Bowl L Texas 30 35
December 30, 1995 CarQuest Bowl W Arkansas 20 10
January 1, 1997 Gator Bowl W West Virginia 20 13
January 1, 1998 Gator Bowl W Virginia Tech 42 3
December 19, 1998 Las Vegas Bowl W San Diego State 20 13
December 31, 2001 Peach Bowl W Auburn 16 10
December 30, 2004 Continental Tire Bowl L Boston College 24 37
December 27, 2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl L West Virginia 30 31
December 26, 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl L Pittsburgh 17 19
December 30, 2010 Music City Bowl W Tennessee 30 27 (2OT)


1947 Sugar Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
Georgia 0 0 13 7 20
North Carolina 0 7 3 0 10

The 1947 Sugar Bowl, which pitted the Tar Heels against the Georgia Bulldogs, took place on January 1, 1947. The game was played in Tulane Stadium, which was located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Through the first quarter of play the game remained scoreless. Bob Mitten, a Carolina defensive player, intercepted a Bulldog pass, which eventually led to the first score in the Sugar Bowl. North Carolina scored first, in the second quarter of play, off a 4 yard run by Walt Pupa. After the successful PAT, the score was 7-0 in favor of North Carolina. The score remained that way until halftime. In the third period, Georgia's defensive right end, Joe Tereshinski intercepted a Tar Heel pass, on the Georgia 24 yard line. Tereshinki the lateraled the ball to his teammate, Dick McPhee who ran 52 yards, being tackled on the Carolina 14 yard line. The Tar Heels argued that the lateral was a forward lateral, but the referees thought otherwise. The Bulldogs capitalized on the turnover, by scoring on a 1 yard quarterback sneak, executed by Johnny Rauch. North Carolina retaliated with a 27 yard field goal, kicked by Bob Cox. North Carolina regained the lead, 10-7. Less than three minutes later, after the UNC score, the Bulldogs scored off a 67 yard pass from Trippi to Dan Edwards. However, the PAT was missed, leaving the score at 13-10 in favor of the Bulldogs. In the fourth quarter, Johnny Rauch scored the final touchdown of the game, this time off a 13 yard run. With the made PAT, the score was 20-10 in favor of the Georgia Bulldogs. The Tar Heels lost their first bowl game.

1949 Sugar Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
Oklahoma 7 0 7 0 14
North Carolina 6 0 0 0 6

The Tar Heels returned to the Sugar Bowl in 1949 and were defeated 14-6 by the University of Oklahoma, representing the Big Seven Conference. A record crowd of 85,000 turned out to see the Charlie Justice-led Tar Heels battle Bud Wilkinson’s Sooners. Carolina threatened early, advancing via a Justice to Art Weiner 23-yard pass play to the Oklahoma 15. Justice’s next pass, however, was intercepted by linebacker Myrle Greathouse who rumbled 59 yards to the Carolina 13. Sooners’ quarterback Jack Mitchell scored the first points of the day on a two-yard run. The Heels capitalized on an Oklahoma fumble later in the first quarter and Justice marched the team down to the two, from where Hosea Rodgers scored. The conversion was wide right. Carolina advanced to the Oklahoma eight yard line late in the first half, but could not score. The Sooners regained the lead for good in the third quarter. Quarterback Darrell Royal connected for 37 yards with Frankie Anderson and two plays later, Lindell Pearson ran it in from eight yards out. Justice was brilliant, rushing for 84 yards and passing for another 57 yards.

1950 Cotton Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
Rice 0 14 7 6 27
North Carolina 0 0 0 13 13

Charlie Justice had another great day in the 1950 Cotton Bowl, but it just wasn’t enough as the Tar Heels fell to fifth ranked Rice, 27-13. The Owls had a 9-1-0 record, while Carolina came in at 7-3 and was ranked 16th. Rice and Carolina played to a scoreless draw in the opening quarter, but Rice opened the scoring in the second quarter when quarterback Tobin Rote hooked up with Billy Burkhalter for a 44-yard touchdown. Bobby Lantrip’s three yard run built a 14-0 halftime lead, and the Owls kept right on rolling i n the third quarter. On its second possession of the second half, Rice traveled 77 yards in six plays, capped by Rote’s 17-yard scoring pass to “Froggie” Williams. Burkhalter made it 27-0 with a 12-yard fourth quarter score. The Tar Heels got two touchdowns in the final eight minutes. Justice hit Paul Rizzo for a two-yard touchdown pass and then Rizzo ran it in from two yards. Justice managed 59 yards rushing and another 63 in the air, while Art Weiner led the Tar Heels with five receptions for 41 yards. Billy Hayes topped the UNC rushing attack with 107 yards on 19 carries. The 1950 Cotton Bowl marked the end of the “Choo-Choo” Justice era that began in 1946. The Tar Heels went 32-9-2 in that time and played in three major bowl games.

1963 Gator Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
Air Force 0 0 0 0 0
North Carolina 6 14 8 7 35

It had been 13 years since Charlie Justice had led Carolina to the 1950 Cotton Bowl, so when the Tar Heels got a chance to play in the 1963 Gator Bowl, they made the most of it. The Tar Heels walloped the Air Force, 35-0. Ken Willard was the hero of the day. He ran for 94 yards on 18 carries and scored the first touchdown which keyed the runaway victory. When Willard wasn’t running in this rout, he did his share of the offensive blocking. Joe Robinson scored on a five-yard pass and also caught a two-yard conversion to give the Tar Heels a 20-0 lead at intermission. Coach Jim Hickey’s Tar Heels had 23 first downs to the Academy’s 14, and piled up 370 yards in total offense compared to 260 for the Falcons. Gary Black completed all six of his passes for 71 yards and one touchdown and he rushed for another score. Junior Edge was good on five of his nine throws for 42 yards. Carolina finished the season 9-2, its best record in Hickey’s eight years at the helm.

1970 Peach Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
Arizona State 7 14 20 7 48
North Carolina 0 26 0 0 26

The Tar Heels exploded for 26 second quarter points but couldn’t hold off Arizona State in the final two quarters as the Sun Devils rallied for an exciting 48-26 victory before 52,126 fans at Grant Field. Carolina spotted unbeaten Sun Devils 14 points on a pair of touchdowns runs, from eight and 33 yards, by Bob Thomas. Don McCauley got the Tar Heels on the scoreboard with a one-yard plunge set up by a long pass from Paul Miller to Ricky Lanier. Arizona State scored on its next series, though, on a 67-yard TD catch by J.D. Hill. Carolina then scored the final three touchdowns of the first half to go into the intermission with a 26-21 lead. First, Miller passed 37 yards for a score toTony Blanchard. Then McCauley rushed in from 17 yards out. And finally, the All-America McCauley scored again from four yards. Arizona State dominated a second half which was played in a heavy Atlanta snowstorm and without Miller, who left with an injury. Monroe Ely scored twice and Thomas reached the end zone for the third time in the Sun Devils’ 27-point second half.

1971 Gator Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 0 0 3 0 3
Georgia 0 0 7 0 7

For the first time since 1950, the Tar Heels were playing in a bowl game for the second consecutive season. This time, the Tar Heels would fall, 7-3, to the Georgia Bulldogs. The game produced a bowl first — brothers coaching against each other. Bill Dooley led the Tar Heels and older brother Vince coached the Bulldogs. The game was a defensive struggle with all the points coming in the third quarter. In the opening half, Carolina had the best chance as linebacker Jimmy Webster, voted the Tar Heels’ MVP this day, blocked a punt out of bounds at the Georgia 24. A fumble, though, denied Carolina any points. A pair of long runs by Lewis Jolley brought the Tar Heels down to the Georgia 16 on North Carolina’s first possession of the second half. But a procedure penalty forced the Heels to settle for a 35-yard field goal by Ken Craven. A 31-yard pass play from Andy Johnson to Roy Hunnicutt set up the Georgia touchdown. Jimmy Poulos, on the very next play following Hunnicutt’s catch, took it in for a score from 25 yards. Poulos rushed for 161 yards on the afternoon and was named the Georgia MVP.

1972 Sun Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 3 6 7 16 32
Texas Tech 0 7 14 7 28

Carolina capped an 11-1 season in the 1972 Sun Bowl by defeating Texas Tech, 32-28. Quarterback Nick Vidnovic brought the Tar Heels from behind with a late scoring drive which he capped by tossing a 13-yard touchdown pass to wingback Ted Leverenz. That play, with a minute to go in the game, gave Carolina a 30-28 lead. Carolina added two points moments later as Ronnie Robinson sacked quarterback Joe Barnes in the end zone. The Tar Heels led 9-0 in the second quarter on a field goal by Ellis Alexander and touchdown run by Dick Oliver. The Red Raiders rallied, however, for the next 21 points and a 21-9 lead. Vidnovic hit Leverenz for a 62-yard touchdown and Billy Hite carried it in from three yards to reestablish a 24-21 Carolina lead. Tech gained the advantage, 28-24, with 7:41 to play in the game. Vidnovic completed 14 of 26 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Ike Oglesby rushed for 71 yards and Sammy Johnson added 52. The Red Raiders had a touchdown called back in the second quarter. All-America guard Donald Rives ran a blocked punt back for an apparent score, but Tech was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and the points were nullified.

1974 Sun Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 7 0 14 3 24
Mississippi State 7 3 10 6 26

Despite mounting 402 yards in total offense, the Tar Heels dropped a 26-24 decision to Mississippi State in a record setting Sun Bowl. Terry Vitrano’s two-yard touchdown with 3:41 remaining was the game-winner. That capped a 16-play, 80-yard drive which lasted nearly seven minutes. Carolina had taken a 24-20 lead with 10:26 to play on an Ellis Alexander field goal. The Bulldogs totaled a Sun Bowl record 499 yards in total offense — 455 of those yards came on the ground via the veer offense. Walter Packer rushed for 189 yards, Vitrano added 164 and quarterback Rockey Felker gained another 69. The Tar Heels also got big ground gains from Mike Voight and James Betterson. Voight picked up 90 yards on 19 carries and Betterson chipped in with 84 on 17 rushes. But Voight was stopped a yard shy of a first down on Carolina’s last offensive play of the game. Chris Kupec, who led the nation in pass completion percentage, connected with Jimmy Jerome for 29 yards and a touchdown.

1976 Peach Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 0 0 0 0 0
Kentucky 0 0 7 14 21

Playing without an injured Mike Voight, the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, the Tar Heels managed just five first downs and 108 yards total offense in a 21-0 loss to Kentucky. Voight, who had rushed for 1,407 yards, injured his ankle in practice two days before the game when he stepped in a hole going out on a pass play. Ironically, Voight had caught just four passes the entire season. The teams battled to a tie at the half, but Carolina thought it had put up points in the first quarter. On the Tar Heels’ opening drive, Matt Kupec hit split end Walker Lee with a 50-yard touchdown pass, but officials ruled the Tar Heels offside and the play came back. Early in the third quarter, Kentucky defensive end Bud Diehl knocked the ball from Kupec’s grasp and the Wildcats recovered at the North Carolina 21 yard line. That set up the first of three rushing touchdowns by fullback Rod Stewart. Stewart, who finished with 104 yards and the game’s MVP trophy, added fourth quarter scores from 13 and three yards. Subbing for Voight, freshman Doug Paschal led the Tar Heels with 41 yards rushing.

1977 Liberty Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 0 14 3 0 17
Nebraska 0 7 0 14 21

No. 12 Nebraska scored two fourth quarter touchdowns and rallied for a 21-17 victory over 13th-rated North Carolina. Reserve quarterback Randy Garcia came off the Cornhuskers’ bench in the final period to toss a pair of touchdown passes, including a 33-yard game-winner to Tim Smith with 3:16 left in the game. That came six plays after Nebraska recovered a fumble at the Carolina 43 yard line. Tar Heel quarterback Matt Kupec, voted the game’s Most Valuable Player despite the loss, had led the Tar Heels to a 17-7 lead in the third quarter. Kupec, who connected on seven of his 11 passes, threw touchdown passes to Brooks Williams and Bob Loomis. Tom Biddle added Carolina’s final points with 4:17 left in the third on a Liberty Bowl record 47-yard field goal. Carolina led the nation in scoring defense in 1977, allowing just 7.4 points per game through the regular season. Nebraska was the only team to score more than 14 points against North Carolina all season. Bill Dooley resigned in January 1978 to accept the dual position of head football coach and athletic director at Virginia Tech.

1979 Gator Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
Michigan 0 9 0 6 15
North Carolina 0 7 7 3 17

Matt Kupec completed 18 of 28 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown and Amos Lawrence rushed for 118 yards to lead North Carolina to a 17-15 win over Michigan. Trailing 9-0, the Tar Heels rallied for the next 17 points and then held off a Michigan threat late in the game to post the first of Dick Crum’s four consecutive bowl wins. Carolina had two chances early on to score first, but high winds knocked down a pair of Jeff Hayes field goal attempts. Michigan did score first following a turnover and added a 53-yard touchdown reception by Anthony Carter to move ahead 9-0. Doug Paschal put the Heels on the board with a two-yard touchdown. Early in the third, Kupec engineered a 16-play, 97-yard touchdown drive which culminated in a 12-yard pass to Phil Farris. Hayes added a 32-yard field goal in the fourth for a 17-9 North Carolina lead. Michigan, thwarted once already in the fourth when Lawrence Taylor scooped up a loose ball, did manage another Carter touchdown with 1:28 left, but the two-point conversion pass to Carter fell short. Kupec and Lawrence were named co-Most Valuable Players.[9]

1980 Bluebonnet Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 6 7 3 0 16
Texas 0 7 0 0 7

Amos Lawrence rushed for 104 yards and one touchdown and the Tar Heel defense allowed just two first downs and 36 total yards in the second half as Carolina played error-free football to defeat Texas, 16-7, in the Bluebonnet Bowl. Lawrence, the game’s Most Valuable Offensive Player, scampered 59 yards for a touchdown on the Tar Heels’ fourth play from scrimmage for a 7-0 lead. Following a Texas touchdown in the second quarter by Mike Luck, Carolina regained the advantage for good on a one-yard run by Kelvin Bryant. Jeff Hayes converted a fumbled punt snap by the Longhorns into a 31-yard field goal with 2:03 to play in the third quarter. The defense, which allowed 224 yards and 11 Texas first downs in the opening half, dominated the second 30 minutes. Carolina safety Steve Streater was named the defensive MVP as he had an interception, recovered a fumble and also boomed a 63-yard punt, longest in Bluebonnet Bowl history. Carolina’s 11-1 record matched the best season in North Carolina history. The Tar Heels finished ranked eighth by the Associated Press and ninth by UPI.

1981 Gator Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 3 7 14 7 31
Arkansas 7 3 0 17 27

Kelvin Bryant rushed for 148 yards and Ethan Horton added 144 to lead the Tar Heels to a 31-27 victory over Arkansas in the Gator Bowl. Bryant and Horton shared Most Valuable Player honors, but it was a key defensive stop by seldom-used freshman Ronnie Snipes which saved the night for Carolina. After building a 31-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Carolina watched as Arkansas rallied for two touchdowns and had the ball again inside Tar Heel territory with less than a minute to play. But on third down, Snipes, who had played just two previous downs in the contest, sacked quarterback Brad Taylor for a 17-yard loss. The game was deadlocked at 10-10 at the half, but Carolina came right out to open the third quarter and put together a 13-play, 85-yard drive which was capped by Horton’s one-yard scoring run. North Carolina quarterback Rod Elkins scored on a one yard sneak on the Tar Heels’ next drive. He was set up by a 21-yard run by Horton and a 13-yard scamper by Bryant. Horton then churned out 42 yards on six plays and went in from four yards out to give the Heels a 31-10 lead with 7:29 to play in the game. The Razorbacks scored with 5:05 to play, recovered an onside kick and scored again with 2:44 left. North Carolina's punter Jeff Hayes took an intentional safety with 1:44 to play. That gave the ball back to Arkansas and set up Snipes’ defensive gem.

1982 Sun Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 0 3 0 23 26
Texas 7 3 0 0 10

North Carolina scored the final 23 points of the game in the final quarter and held seventh-ranked Texas to 48 total yards in the second half as the Tar Heels became the first ACC team to win four consecutive bowl games. Ethan Horton was the offensive star of the game, rushing for 119 yards in the second half as Carolina won 26-10. He replaced injured starter Kelvin Bryant, who totaled 45 yards before leaving the game with an injured ankle. Trailing 10-3 after three quarters, the Tar Heels vaulted into the lead via three consecutive field goals. Sophomore walk-on Rob Rogers, who had connected from 53 yards in the second quarter, hit a 47-yard field goal with 14:51 to play to narrow the Texas lead to 10-6. Brooks Barwick was then successful from 24 and 42 yards, the latter putting the Heels into the lead at 12-10 with 4:56 left. Horton tacked on a three-yard touchdown with 2:17 remaining and Mike Wilcher fell on a loose ball in the end zone for another touchdown with 1:35 to play. The defensive series of the game came five minutes into the third quarter with Texas leading 10-3 and with the ball, third-and-goal at the Carolina one. Two times, Texas fullback Ervin Davis tried to find the end zone, but twice he was hurled back. First, it was Wilcher who made the hit and then on 4th-andgoal, Greg Poole made the stop which changed the game. The Christmas Day affair was played with intermittent snow flurries and a wind-chill reading that hovered around 12 degrees.

1983 Peach Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 0 0 0 3 3
Florida State 14 7 0 7 28

Florida State scored the first two times it had the ball and penalties and turnovers cost the Tar Heels dearly, as the Seminoles whipped Carolina 28-3 in a miserably cold and half-empty Peach Bowl. Played before only 25,648 fans in low-20 degree temperatures, the Peach Bowl loss snapped the Tar Heels’ consecutive bowl- game winning streak at four. The Seminoles held the Tar Heels’ running game to just 32 yards and three first downs. One thousand yard rushers Ethan Horton and Tyrone Anthony were held to 30 and 27 yards, respectively. Florida State quarterback Eric Thomas, making his first start, connected with Weegie Thompson on touchdown passes on the Seminoles first two series. Midway through the second quarter, the Tar Heels fumbled away a punt at their own 16 and Florida State converted via a 1-yard touchdown run. Carolina put up its only points of the day on Brooks Barwick’s 36-yard field goal. The loss was the fourth in the final five games of the season and ended a season in which Carolina had been ranked third in the nation.

1986 Aloha Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
Arizona 0 13 17 0 30
North Carolina 0 0 7 14 21

Arizona converted four North Carolina fumbles into 20 points and then held off a furious Tar Heel rally in the fourth quarter to win the 1986 Aloha Bowl, 30-21. Carolina dug itself a 30-0 hole and did not put points on the board until freshman tailback Torin Dorn broke a 58-yard touchdown run with 2:19 left in the third quarter. The Tar Heels fumbled five times in the first three periods and the Wildcats turned them into two touchdowns and two field goals. Following Dorn’s electrifying run, the Tar Heels quickly moved back within striking distance with two more touchdowns in the next seven minutes. Mark Maye hit Randy Marriott with a six-yard touchdown pass after a Norris Davis interception and then followed a Davis punt block with a two yard scoring run of his own to narrow the margin to30-21 with 9:10 to play. That, however, was as close as Carolina could challenge. A couple of dropped passes thwarted two more Carolina drives. Dorn was the game’s leading ground-gainer, rushing for 101 yards on only seven carries. Maye completed 17 of 34 passes for 171 yards; he hooked up with Eric Starr a game-high seven times for 53 yards.

1993 Peach Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 0 0 14 7 21
Mississippi State 14 0 0 3 17

Defensive MVP Bracey Walker blocked consecutive third-quarter punts, returning one of them for the tying touchdown, and forced a fourth quarter interception which Cliff Baskerville returned 44 yards for a touchdown to lead Carolina to a 21-17 Peach Bowl win over Mississippi State. Walker’s heroics capped a fierce second-half comeback in which the Tar Heels came from 14 points behind to score three times, although just once on an offensive possession. Mississippi State took a two-touchdown lead in the first quarter and had two more scores in the second quarter called back due to holding penalties. Carolina regrouped at halftime, however, and cut the lead to 14-7 just six plays into the third quarter. Mike Thomas connected with Bucky Brooks for a 53-yard completion on the fourth play of the half and Natrone Means scored from a yard out two snaps later. Means led the Tar Heel offense with 128 yards rushing and was named the game’s Offensive MVP. Later in the third quarter, Walker blocked a punt but Carolina’s field goal try was unsuccessful. On the next series Carolina again forced the Bulldogs to punt and this time Walker blocked the kick, picked up the loose ball and raced 24 yards untouched for the tying score. Early in the final quarter Walker forced a midair loose ball with a jarring hit and Baskerville plucked the ball out of the air and sprinted 44 yards down the left sideline for what proved to be the winning score.

1993 Gator Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 0 10 0 23 33
Alabama 0 10 7 7 24

Quarterback Brian Burgdorf threw for two touchdowns and ran for another to lead 18thranked and defending national champion Alabama to a 24-10 victory over 11th-ranked Carolina in Outback Steakhouse Gator Bowl. Corey Holliday caught nine passes for 125 yards and was North Carolina’s MVP. After a scoreless first period, Alabama took the lead on a 22-yard field goal by Michael Proctor. Carolina quarterback Jason Stanicek then led a seven- play, 80-yard touchdown drive in just 1:36 to take the lead, 7-3, on the ensuing possession. Stanicek hit Holliday with completions of 29 and 22 yards and executed one of his trademark option pitches to freshman tailback Leon Johnson for an 18-yard gain. William Henderson plunged in from a yard out for the lead. The Crimson Tide went up 10-7 Burgdorf scored from 33 yards out on a quarterback draw. With 1:44 left before intermission, Stanicek led what would be the final Tar Heel scoring drive. He hit Holliday with passes of 12 and nine yards and Curtis Johnson ran twice for 20 yards before the drive stalled and Tripp Pignetti hit a 23-yard field goal to tie the game at 10. The Alabama defense was the key to the game, holding North Carolina to a season-low 42 net yards rushing on 25 carries. Carolina could only muster 40 total yards and four first downs in the second half.

1994 Sun Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 7 10 0 14 31
Texas 7 14 0 14 35

Priest Holmes rushed for 161 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winner with 1:17 to play, to lead Texas to a 35-31 win over the Tar Heels before a Sun Bowl record crowd of 50,612. Holmes’ four-touchdown performance wrestled away MVP honors from North Carolina quarterback Mike Thomas, who had the finest passing day of his career. Thomas completed 23 of 39 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns. He set North Carolina bowl game records for completions and yards and tied the mark with two scoring tosses. He was 15 for 19 in the first half and completed 20 of 29 before a final desperation drive. Wide receivers Marcus Wall and Octavus Barnes were two more standouts for the Tar Heels. Wall was selected the game’s Most Valuable Special Teams Player. He gave the Tar Heels a 24-21 lead in the fourth quarter when he returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown. Barnes set North Carolina bowl game records for most catches and yards with nine receptions for 165 yards and one score. The 165 yards were also the most in Sun Bowl history. With Carolina up, 31-21, Texas quickly went on a 68-yard touchdown drive in only 2:38. On the next series, Texas took over at its own 32 and drove 68 yards in 10 plays for the winning score. Holmes carried the last three plays on the drive for nine, two and finally the five yard touchdown run.

1995 CarQuest Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
Arkansas 7 0 3 0 10
North Carolina 7 0 13 0 20

Leon Johnson rushed for a Carolina bowl record 195 yards and Mike Thomas threw for two scores as the Tar Heels knocked off Arkansas, 20-10, in the Carquest Bowl. Johnson’s 195-yard effort topped the previous high of 148 yards by Kelvin Bryant, also against Arkansas, in the 1981 Gator Bowl. Johnson had just 23 yards on eight carries in the first half, but exploded for 172 yards in the second half. All-America tackle Marcus Jones capped his career with four tackles for losses, including a quarterback sack on Arkansas’ last play from scrimmage - his final collegiate play. Trailing by a touchdown the Tar Heels quickly moved into position to tie the game. On third-and long quarterback Mike Thomas rolled right, threw back across the field to Ashford, who sprinted around the left flank into the end zone. The Razorbacks managed to take a 10-7 lead in the third quarter on a 26-yard field goal by Latourette. Two series later Carolina went into the lead for good. On third-and-eight from the 28, Thomas ran the option around the right corner, turned up field and then pitched the ball to Johnson, who was trailing the play perfectly. Johnson ran untouched for a 28-yard, go-ahead score.

1997 Gator Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 0 17 3 0 20
West Virginia 0 3 7 0 10

Oscar Davenport, starting in place of injured first-team all-conference quarterback Chris Keldorf, completed 14 of 26 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown as Carolina defeated West Virginia 20-13 in the 52nd annual Toyota Gator Bowl. Davenport, who also rushed for one touchdown, was named the game’s MVP. Carolina broke the scoring drought early in the second quarter when Davenport found Octavus Barnes in the back corner of the end zone on an 18-yard pass. As time was running down in the first half, Davenport and Leon Johnson led the Tar Heels on a five-play touchdown drive. Johnson caught a pass for 13 yards and rushed twice for 19 yards in the drive. Davenport scored on a 5-yard option keeper for a 17-3 lead. West Virginia opened the second-half scoring with a 34-yard touchdown pass to close within seven points. A fumble recovery by Greg Williams ended one West Virginia threat, but West Virginia had one last chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Carolina stopped the Mountaineers on 4th-and-6 at the North Carolina 24 yard line with just under two minutes remaining. Dre’ Bly, Carolina’s consensus first-team All-America, picked off two second-half passes. Carolina’s defense forced four West Virginia turnovers; the Mountaineers had 10 in 11 regular-season games.

1998 Gator Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
Virginia Tech 0 0 3 0 3
North Carolina 16 6 6 14 42

Chris Keldorf threw for 290 yards and three scores and Carolina’s defense and special teams added touchdowns as the Tar Heels pounded Virginia Tech, 42-3, in the Toyota Gator Bowl. The victory, North Carolina’s most lopsided in a bowl game, secured a No. 4 final ranking in the coaches’ poll for the 11-1 Tar Heels. The game was Carl Torbush’s first as Carolina’s head coach. Torbush, North Carolina’s defensive coordinator the past 10 years, was elevated to head coach on December 8th after Mack Brown accepted the same position at the University of Texas. Keldorf completed 17 of 28 passes, including touchdown throws of 62 and 14 yards to wide receiver Octavus Barnes and four yards to fullback Jamie Carrick. Carolina amassed 427 total yards and held the Hokies to just 185 yards. Leading 3-0, Keldorf hit Barnes with a 62-yard bomb down the left sideline for a 10-0 lead. Later in the first quarter, Carolina forced Virginia Tech to punt deep in Hokie territory. Quinton Savage blocked the punt and Dre’ Bly scooped it up at the 6-yard line and scored for a 16-0 North Carolinaadvantage. One minute and 10 seconds after Bly’s touchdown, Ellis fell on a loose ball in the Tech end zone for another touchdown. Carolina scored 16 firstquarter points in the entire regular season, but scored 16 in the first quarter of the Gator Bowl and six more just seven seconds into the second quarter. The 42 points were the most in North Carolina postseason history and the three touchdown passes by Keldorf set a North Carolina bowl game record.[10]

1998 Las Vegas Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
San Diego State 7 3 0 0 10
North Carolina 12 8 0 0 20

Ronald Curry rushed for a season- high 93 yards and a touchdown, punter Brian Schmitz was outstanding despite windy conditions and the Tar Heel defense did not allow a TD in the last 59 minutes as Carolina defeated San Diego State, 20-13. Curry, the game’s Most Valuable Offensive Player, gave Carolina the lead for good with a 48-yard touchdown run on the final play of the opening quarter. He rushed for 93 yards on 10 carries and accounted for 96 of Carolina’s 196 total offense yards, despite playing just four series. The game was played winds gusting to 47 miles per hour. Passing was almost impossible. In fact, Carolina won the game despite completing just four passes for 33 yards. Schmitz averaged 44.0 yards on five punts and pinned the Aztecs inside their own 11-yard line four times. Late in the second quarter, Schmitz unloaded a 66-yard punt into the wind. San Diego State took an early 7-0 lead in the first minute of the game before the Tar Heels scored 20 unanswered points to close the first half. After two second-half field goals cut it to 20-13, the Aztecs had one final chance to tie the game. With just over a minute left, Dre’ Bly broke up a pass in the end zone. On the following play, Brandon Spoon tipped Brian Russell’s pass in the air and the ball was intercepted at the goal line by Keith Newman with 59 seconds remaining.[11]

2001 Peach Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
North Carolina 7 3 6 0 16
Auburn 0 0 0 10 10

Willie Parker rushed for 131 yards and Ryan Sims led a spirited defensive effort as North Carolina won its fifth consecutive postseason bowl appearance with a 16-10 victory over Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Parker, who started his first game since September, was spectacular, scoring on a 10-yard run in the first quarter and setting up a second-quarter field goal with a 43-yard dash. Parker had the fifth-best rushing day in North Carolina bowl history and it was the 11th time a Tar Heel had rushed for more than 100 yards in a bowl game. Parker’s touchdown was set up by Carolina’s defense, which allowed just 32 total rushing yards and shutout Auburn for three quarters. In the first quarter, cornerback Michael Waddell forced a fumble at the Auburn 26-yard line that defensive end Joey Evans picked up and rumbled to the Auburn 8-yard line. Two plays later, Parker’s touchdown gave Carolina a 7-0 lead. Curry, who was named the game’s Offensive MVP, scored on an incredible touchdown run in the third quarter to give Carolina a 16-0 advantage. Defensively, Carolina came up with several big plays throughout the game and held off a furious Auburn comeback in the fourth quarter. Sims, the Defensive MVP, had six tackles, including two sacks and was constantly disrupting the Auburn backfield. After scoring twice in the fourth quarter, Auburn attempted an onside kick, but North Carolina’s Richard Moore covered the ball and the Tar Heels ran out the clock.[12]

2004 Continental Tire Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
Boston College 14 7 0 16 37
North Carolina 7 14 3 0 24

Kicker Ryan Ohliger scored on a 21-yard fake field goal run to seal Boston College’s 37-24 victory over North Carolina in the Continental Tire Bowl. Clinging to a 27-24 lead over North Carolina (6-6) in the fourth quarter, BC quarterback Paul Peterson was injured as he tried to run outside for a first down on third-and-1 and was brought down awkwardly by Tommy Davis. On the next play, Ohliger, a 5-foot-9 freshman, took the hand off from holder Matt Ryan and raced into the end zone, breaking a tackle along the way, for a 34-24 lead with 10:32 to play. Before leaving, Peterson went 24-of-33 for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Virginia represented the ACC in the first two Tire Bowls, so the inclusion of North Carolina was a welcome change of scenery. Tar Heels fans snapped up over 65,000 tickets, washing out the scattering of Boston College supporters in a sea of light blue. They had plenty to cheer about early as North Carolina seized the momentum by scoring a pair of touchdowns after Peterson’s fumble and Ohliger’s missed field goal. North Carolina quarterback Darian Durant threw for 260 yards and three TDs in his final game as a Tar Heel. He finished his storied career with 51 school records, including all major passing and total offense records. Wide receiver Derelle Mitchell caught seven passes for 116 yards.[13]

2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
West Virginia 21 0 3 7 31
North Carolina 14 9 7 0 30

Pat White threw for 332 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Alric Arnett midway through the fourth quarter to send West Virginia to a 31-30 win over North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. The senior quarterback was voted MVP, helping West Virginia (9-4) overcome Hakeem Nicks’ big day for North Carolina. Nicks caught eight passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns for the Tar Heels (8-5), but T.J. Yates was intercepted by Pat Lazear with under 2 minutes left to end Butch Davis’ hopes of a bowl win in his second year at North Carolina. White completed 26 of 32 passes and threw one interception. The NCAA’s all-time leading rushing quarterback added 55 more yards on the ground to finish with 4,480. After J.T. Thomas recovered Shaun Draughn’s fumble at the West Virginia 30, White threw a 41-yard pass over the middle to Jock Sanders, picked up nine yards on a running play and then rifled a pass between two defenders to Arnett for the go-ahead touchdown with 7:14 left. Yates couldn’t find the dynamic Nicks on the Tar Heels’ final drive, eventually throwing his first interception of the game. Nicks already set three school receiving records and shattered his career-high in yards receiving - with 10:37 left in the second quarter. It was part of a dizzying offensive display by both teams that produced six touchdowns in the game’s first 20 minutes. Nicks’ 25-yard TD catch from Yates early in the second quarter was his 178th career reception - another school record - and gave North Carolina a 23-21 lead. The action thrilled a sellout crowd at Bank of America Stadium that included thousands of fans from both schools.

2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl

1 2 3 4 Total
Pittsburgh 0 13 3 3 19
North Carolina 7 3 3 0 13

Dion Lewis rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown, and Dan Hutchins kicked a 33-yard field goal with 52 seconds left to give the 17th-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers a 19–17 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels. Winning 10 games for the first time since Dan Marino was the quarterback in 1981, Pitt (10–3) converted on fourth down at its own 30 and took advantage of a key offsides penalty to set up Hutchins' fourth field goal. T.J. Yates threw two touchdown passes to Greg Little, but his incomplete pass on fourth and 10 from his own 49 with 6 seconds left sent the Tar Heels (8–5) to their second straight bowl loss. Yates was 19 of 32 for 183 yards and an interception, while Little caught seven passes for 87 yards. Ryan Houston rushed for 83 yards. But North Carolina's defense, which came in sixth in the nation overall and ninth against the run, struggled to contain the shifty Lewis. The match-up featured old coaching buddies who won a national championship and Super Bowl together. Pitt's Dave Wannstedt and North Carolina's Butch Davis worked on Jimmy Johnson's staff at Oklahoma State, Miami, and the Dallas Cowboys. Their careers then included NFL head coaching jobs before they returned to college. It Took Wannstedt's big gamble to help Pitt end a two-game losing streak after North Carolina took a 17–16 lead late in the third quarter on Yates' second touchdown pass to Little.

2010 Music City Bowl

1 2 3 4 OT 2OT Total
North Carolina 7 10 0 3 7 3 30
Tennessee 7 7 0 6 7 0 27

1000-yard Rushers

North Carolina has been call "Tailback U" for their number of 1000-yard rushers. Over the years, there have been 24 1000-yard rushers. North Carolina did lead the NCAA among 1000-yard rushers, until the Trojans of Southern Cal broke their record in 2004 with Lendale White rushing for 1000 yards. Four times in Carolina's history, have two running backs rushed for over 1,000 yards in the same season. It occurred in 1974 (Jim Betterson & Mike Voight), 1980 (Amos Lawrence & Kelvin Bryant), 1983 (Ethan Horton & Tyrone Anthony), and 1993 (Curtis Johnson & Leon Johnson).

When Jonathan Linton rushed for 199 yards in Carolina’s 50-14 win over Duke in the 1997 regular season finale, he became the 14th Tar Heel running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Linton finished that 11-1 season with 1,004 yards. North players have accomplished the feat 24 times, formerly an NCAA record. Those 24 1,000-yard seasons have been achieved in the last 33 years, beginning with Don McCauley, who had back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns in 1969 and 1970. Linton was the fourth different Tar Heel back to gain 1,000 yards in the 1990s. Natrone Means had 1,030 yards as a sophomore in 1991 and 1,195 yards in leading North Carolina to nine wins in 1992. In ‘91, Means topped 1,000 yards on his final carry of the season, a 68-yard touchdown run versus Duke. He vaulted past 1,000 in similar fashion a year later as he reached the magical figure on a wild, 76-yard scoring scamper at Maryland. Means entered the NFL Draft after his junior year, but Curtis Johnson and Leon Johnson responded with tandem 1,000- yard seasons in 1993. That was the fourth time in North Carolina history that not one, but two, players topped the 1,000-yard mark.

Carolina’s 24 1,000-yard seasons are more than the next two ACC schools have combined. Virginia is second in number of 1,000-yard seasons with 12 and Clemson is third with 10. NC State has nine, Wake Forest has eight, Florida State has seven, Georgia Tech and Maryland each have six and Duke has four. In a 12-year period from 1973 to 1984, Carolina had at least one player break the 1,000-yard mark each season. Three times in that era, the Tar Heels had two tailbacks get 1,000 yards in the same season. It has been rare in college football for a school to produce two 1,000-yard backs in one year. When it has happened it has generally been with option attacks– the veer or the wishbone. But, on all four occasions when Carolina has had a pair of 1,000- yard rushers, the players actually shared the same position– tailback in an I-formation. Carolina and USC have each had two players rush for 1,000 yards three times– Mike Voight and Kelvin Bryant of the Tar Heels and the Trojans’ Charles White and Anthony Davis. In addition, Carolina’s Amos Lawrence had an amazing four 1,000-yard seasons. Lawrence, Pittsburgh’s Tony Dorsett, New Mexico State’s Denvis Manns and Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne are the only major college players ever to hit the 1,000-yard mark four times. Lawrence rushed for a career-high 1,211 yards in 1977 as he earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors. Lawrence didn’t even play in the first game that year and still managed to run for over 1,200 yards in just 10 games. He was eighth in the nation in rushing and became the first freshman to ever lead the ACC in a major offensive category. Lawrence, from Norfolk, Va., added 1,043 yards in 1978, 1,019 yards in 1979 and 1,118 yards and a career-high 11 touchdowns in 1980.

McCauley rushed for 1,720 yards in 1970. At that time it broke O.J. Simpson’s all-time NCAA single-season yardage record. McCauley’s 1970 season is one of the finest in ACC history. His 1,720 yards, 19 rushing touchdowns, 10 100-yard rushing games, 2,021 all-purpose yards and 126 points all were single season ACC records. The first UNC back to earn consensus All- America honors since Charlie Justice, McCauley capped his brilliant career with a memorable game against Duke as he rushed 47 times for 279 yards and five touchdowns in a 59-36 win over the Blue Devils. One local sportswriter wrote of McCauley’s final Kenan Stadium effort, "McCauley’s performance against Duke was the greatest one-man show since King Kong climbed the Empire State Building." Another scribe from the Charlotte Observer wrote, "Don McCauley may be the finest football player the Atlantic Coast Conference has ever seen." McCauley is one of only two Tar Heel 1,000-yard backs from outside the ACC’s geographic area. He is a native of Garden City, N.Y. Linton, from Catasauqua, Pa., added to that short list in 1997. Bryant, Tyrone Anthony, James Betterson, Ethan Horton, Sammy Johnson, Kennard Martin, Means, Curtis Johnson and Leon Johnson are all North Carolinians. Lawrence and Voight grew up in Virginia, and Derrick Fenner is from Maryland.

Many of Carolina’s 1,000-yard rushers went on to successful careers in the professional ranks. McCauley played with the Baltimore Colts for 11 seasons and broke many of the club’s rushing and scoring records set by Alan Ameche and Lenny Moore. Bryant was the USFL’s Player of the Year in that league’s first season. He joined the Washington Redskins in 1986. Means led the Chargers to the Super Bowl in 1994 and was named to the Pro Bowl. He set the single-season rushing record for the Chargers in just his second season when he compiled 1,350 yards in 1994. Means was second in the AFC and fourth in the NFL in rushing yards and he set a Charger record with five consecutive 100-yard games. He was the offensive spark which led Jacksonville to the AFC Championship Game in 1996 in the franchise’s second year of existence. Horton, Sammy Johnson and Leon Johnson were recruited as quarterbacks. All of the others were high school running backs, although McCauley was more highly regarded as a defensive back.

Fenner set the ACC rushing record in 1986 by gaining 328 yards against Virginia, although that mark was surpassed by Wake Forest’s John Leach in 1993 against Maryland. Martin had 291 in 1988 against Duke. Lawrence had 286 against Virginia in 1977 and McCauley gained 279 against Duke in 1970. Then comes Voight’s 261 against the Blue Devils in 1976. In 1990, Means rushed for 256 yards in the season finale vs. Duke. Two of the top single- season efforts ever in the ACC are McCauley’s 1,720 yards in 1970 and Voight’s 1,407 in 1976. McCauley and Voight are the only Carolina players to be named ACC Player of the Year in two seasons. McCauley was the top ACC player in 1969 and 1970 and Voight earned that award in 1975 and 1976.

Ethan Horton is the only other North Carolinaplayer to be named ACC Player of the Year in the same season he rushed for 1,000 yards. Leon Johnson is the only player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be in the top five in career all-purpose yards, top five in career touchdowns, top five in career scoring, top 10 in career rushing yards and top 10 in career receptions. He is first in all-purpose yards in league history, second in touchdowns and fifth in scoring. He scored 50 touchdowns in his career, just one shy of the all-time ACC record held by Ted Brown of N.C. State. He scored 306 points, one of just four players in league history to top the 300- point mark. He and Brown are the only two non-kickers to accomplish that feat.

Linton alternated for much of his career between tailback and fullback. He was a reserve behind Leon Johnson for several years, but then became a standout as a senior. Linton became the first player in Carolina history to rush for 100 yards and catch passes for 100 yards in the same game. He rushed for 138 yards and added 137 receiving yards in Carolina’s 16-13 win at Georgia Tech. Despite suffering a knee injury days before the Gator Bowl, Linton rushed for 68 yards and caught six passes for 81 yards in Carolina’s 42-3 win over Virginia Tech.

Year Player Yards
1969 Don McCauley 1,092
1970 Don McCauley 1,720
1973 Sammy Johnson 1,006
1974 Jim Betterson 1,082
1974 Mike Voight 1,033
1975 Mike Voight 1,250
1976 Mike Voight 1,407
1977 Amos Lawrence 1,211
1978 Amos Lawrence 1,043
1979 Amos Lawrence 1,019
1980 Amos Lawrence 1,118
1980 Kelvin Bryant 1,039
1981 Kelvin Bryant 1,015
1982 Kelvin Bryant 1,064
1983 Ethan Horton 1,107
1983 Tyrone Anthony 1,063
1984 Ethan Horton 1,247
1986 Derrick Fenner 1,250
1988 Kennard Martin 1,146
1991 Natrone Means 1,030
1992 Natrone Means 1,195
1993 Curtis Johnson 1,034
1993 Leon Johnson 1,012
1997 Jonathan Linton 1,004


Notable Players


Year Player(s)
1929 Ray Farris
1933 George Barclay
1934 George Barclay*, Jim Hutchins
1935 Don Jackson
1936 Andy Bershak
1937 Andy Bershak*
1938 Steve Maronic*
1939 George Sternweiss, Jim Lalanne, Paul Severin*
1940 Paul Severin*
1943 Ray Poole
1946 Charlie Justice
1947 Charlie Justice, Walt Pupa
1948 Charlie Justice*, Art Weiner*, Len Szafaryn
1949 Charlie Justice*, Art Weiner*, Ken Powell*
1950 Irv Holdash*
1958 Al Goldstein*, Phil Blazer
1961 Jim LeCampte
1963 Bob Lacey*
1964 Ken Willard
1969 Ed Chalupka
1970 Don McCauley*
1972 Ron Rusnak*, Jerry Sain
1974 Ken Huff*, Charles Waddell*
1976 Mike Voight, Mark Cantrell
1977 Dee Hardison*, Mike Salzano
1979 Ricky Barden*, Ron Wooten
1980 Ron Wooten*, Amos Lawrence, Donnell Thompson, Lawrence Taylor*, Rick Donnalley
1981 Greg Poole, David Drechsler*
1982 David Drechsler*, William Fuller*
1983 William Fuller*, Brian Blados*, Ethan Horton
1986 Harris Barton*, Derrick Fenner
1987 Carlton Bailey
1988 Jeff Garnica
1989 Pat Crowley*
1990 Kevin Donnalley
1992 Randall Parsons, Natrone Means
1993 Bracey Walker*
1994 Marcus Jones
1995 Marcus Jones*
1996 Dré Bly*, Greg Ellis, Brian Simmons*, Freddie Jones
1997 Dré Bly*, Greg Ellis*, Brian Simmons*, Kivuusama Mays
1998 Dré Bly*
1999 Brian Schmitz*
2000 Julius Peppers*
2001 Julius Peppers*, Ryan Sims
2004 Jason Brown*

(*) Denotes First Team All-American

Jersey Honorings

Retired jerseys

Number Player
22 Charlie Justice
46 Bill Sutherland
50 Art Weiner
59 Andy Bershak
99 George Barclay

Honored jerseys

Around the front of second tier of stands in Kenan Stadium, there are strips of metal with names of former Tar Heel footballers with their numbers, these are the honored jerseys.

Number Player
99 George Barclay
59 Andy Bershak
46 Bill Sutherland
22 Charlie Justice
50 Art Weiner
10 Danny Talbott
23 Don McCauley
62 Ron Rusnak
68 Ken Huff
44 Mike Voight
71 Dee Hardison
98 Lawrence Taylor
95 William Fuller
12 Ethan Horton
71 Marcus Jones
87 Greg Ellis
41 Brian Simmons
31 Dré Bly
49 Julius Peppers
44 Kelvin Bryant
67 Harris Barton
60 Brian Blados
25 Irv Holdash
85 Bob Lacey
20 Amos Lawrence
87 Paul Severin


Year Player(s)
1888 Bob Bingham, Steve Bragaw
1889 Lacy Little, Steve Bragaw
1891 Mike Hoke, George Graham
1892 Mike Hoke
1893 A. S. Bernard
1894 Charles Baskerville
1895 Edwin Gregory
1896 Robert Wright
1897 Arthur Belden
1898 Frank Rogers
1899 Samuel Shull
1900 Frank Osborne
1901 Albert M. Carr
1902 Frank Foust
1903 G. Lyles Jones
1904 R. S. Stewart
1905 Foy Roberson
1906 Romy Story
1907 Joseph S. Mann
1908 George Thomas
1909 C.C. Garrett
1910 Earl Thompson
1911 Bob Winston
1912 William Tillett
1913 L.L. Abernethey
1914 Dave Tayloe
1915 Dave Tayloe
1916 George Tandy
1919 J.M. Coleman
1920 Beemer Harrell
1921 Robbins Lowe
1922 Grady Pritchard
1923 Roy Morris
1924 Pierce Matthews
1925 Herman McIver
1926 Manly Whisnant
1927 Garret Morehead
1928 Harry Schwartz
1929 Ray Farris
1930 Strud Nash
1931 -
1932 -
1933 Bill Croom
1934 George Barclay
1935 Herman Snyder, Harry Montgomery
1936 Dick Buck
1937 Andy Bershak, Crowell Little
1938 Steve Maronic, George Watson
1939 George Stirnweiss, Jim Woodson
1940 Paul Severin, Gates Kimball
1941 Harry Dunkle, Carl Suntheimer
1942 Joe Austin, Tank Marshall
1943 Craven Turner
1944 Bobby Weant
1945 Bill Voris, Bill Walker
1946 Chan Highsmith, Ralph Strayhorn
1947 George Sparger, Joe Wright
1948 Hosea Rodgers, Dan Stiegman
1949 Charlie Justice
1950 Dick Bunting, Irv Holdash
1951 Joe Dudeck, Bob Gantt
1952 George Norris, Bud Wallace
1953 Ken Yarborough
1954 -
1955 Will Frye, Roland Perdue
1956 George Stavnitski, Ed Sutton
1957 Dave Reed, Buddy Payne
1958 Phil Blazer, Curtis Hathaway
1959 Jack Cummings, Wade Smith
1960 Rip Hawkins, Frank Riggs
1961 Bob Elliott, Jim LeCompte
1962 Joe Craver, Ward Marslender
1963 Gene Sigmon, Roger Smith
1964 Chris Hanburger, Ron Tuthill
1965 Hank Barden, Ed Stringer
1966 Bob Hume, Hank Sadler, Danny Talbott
1967 Jack Davenport, David Riggs
1968 Gayle Bomar, Mike Smith
1969 Sam Bounds, Ed Chalupka, Bob Hanna, Don Hartig, David Jackson, Ken Price, Saulis Zemaitis
1970 Don McCauley, Flip Ray, Bill Richardson
1971 John Bunting, Paul Miller
1972 Gene Brown, Ron Rusnak
1973 Sammy Johnson, Terry Taylor
1974 Ken Huff, Chris Kupec
1975 Deke Andrews, Roc Bauman, James Betterson, Bill Paschall, Ray Stanford, Bobby Trott
1976 Craig Funk, Ronny Johnson
1977 Alan Caldwell
1978 Bernie Menapace, Bunn Rhames, Mike Salzano
1979 Buddy Curry
1980 Rick Donnalley, Steve Streater, Lawrence Taylor, Ron Wooten
1981 Shelton Robinson, Lee Shaffer
1982 David Dreschsler
1983 Brain Blados, William Fuller
1984 Brian Johnston
1985 Carl Carr
1986 Walter Bailey
1987 Carlton Bailey, Mark Maye
1988 Bryan Causey, Jeff Garnica, Antonio Goss, Creighton Incorminias, John Keller, Mitch Wike
1989 Clarence Carter, Pat Crowley, Torin Dorn, Cecil Gray, Jonathan Hall
1990 Dwight Hollier
1991 Dwight Hollier
1992 Corey Holliday, Randall Parsons, Jonathan Perry, Tommy Thigpen
1993 Corey Holliday, Rick Steinbacher
1994 Jimmy Hitchcock, William Henderson, Mike Morton, Jason Stanicek
1995 Eric Thomas, Marcus Wall
1996 Greg Ellis, James Hamilton, Leon Johnson, Freddie Jones, Chris Keldorf, Jeff Saturday, Brian Simmons, Rick Terry
1997 Greg Ellis, Vonnie Holliday, Jonathan Linton, Jeff Saturday, Brian Simmons
1998 Na Brown, Ebenezer Ekuban, Deon Dyer, Keith Newman, Brandon Spoon
1999 Ryan Carfley, Deon Dyer, Billy-Dee Greenwood, Brian Schmitz
2000 Alge Crumpler, Ronald Curry, Sedrick Hodge, Brandon Spoon
2001 Ronald Curry, Quincy Monk, Jeff Reed
2002 Sam Aiken, Dexter Reid, Ronald Brewer
2003 Dexter Reid, Jeb Terry, D.J. Walker
2004 Darian Durant, Jason Brown, Gerald Sensabaugh, Jonas Seawright, Greg Warren
2005 Matt Baker, Tommy Richardson, Wallace Wright
2006 Melik Brown, Ronnie McGill, Kareen Taylor
2007 Kentwan Balmer, Connor Barth, Scott Lenahan, Garret Reynolds, Hilee Taylor
2008 Ryan Taylor, Matt Merletti, Garrett Reynolds, Hakeem Nicks, Trimane Goddard, Mark Paschal
2009 Jordan Hembley, Kyle Jolly, Quan Sturdivant, Cam Thomas, Kennedy Tinsley, E.J. Wilson, T.J. Yates
2010 T.J. Yates, Johnny White, Bruce Carter, Tydreke Powell, Ryan Taylor, Zach Brown

National Award Winners

Hall of Fame

College football


Pro Football Hall of Fame


Tar Heels in the NFL

Tar Heels in the Drafts

Tar Heels in the NFL Draft
Year Player Round # Pick # Overall # Team
1938 Andy Bershak 5 6 36 Detroit Lions
1938 Tom Burnette 8 4 64 Pittsburgh Pirates
1938 Henry Bartos 12 9 109 Washington Redskins
1939 Steve Maronic 5 7 37 Detroit Lions
1939 Jack Kraynick 12 4 104 Philadelphia Eagles
1939 George Watson 14 10 130 New York Giants
1940 George Stirnweiss 2 1 11 Chicago Cardinals
1940 Charley Slagle 19 8 178 Washington Redskins
1941 Jim LaLanne 10 8 88 Chicago Bears
1941 Paul Severin 12 2 102 Pittsburgh Steelers
1941 Gates Kimball 16 3 143 Chicago Cardinals
1942 Carl Suntheimer 18 4 164 Chicago Cardinals
1943 Tank Marshall 21 6 196 New York Giants
1944 Hugh Cox 18 6 181 Green Bay Packers
1944 Ray Jordan 26 6 269 Green Bay Packers
1945 Chan Highsmith 15 4 146 Boston Yanks
1945 Ralph Strayhorn 18 2 177 Chicago Cardinals
1946 Hosea Rodgers 3 5 20 New York Giants
1946 Ted Hazelwood 16 4 144 Chicago Bears
1946 Howard Weldon 28 4 264 Chicago Bears
1946 Bill Voris 30 5 285 New York Giants
1947 Ernie Williamson 10 4 79 Washington Redskins
1947 Jack Fitch 12 3 98 Pittsburgh Steelers
1947 Walt Pupa 18 10 165 Chicago Bears
1947 Baxter Jerrell 28 7 262 Green Bay Packers
1947 Don Clayton 32 7 300 New York Giants
1948 Bill Smith 3 10 23 Chicago Cardinals
1948 Jim Camp 8 10 65 Chicago Cardinals
1949 Len Szafaryn 3 7 28 Washington Redskins
1949 Mike Rubish 8 2 73 Pittsburgh Steelers
1949 Bob Kennedy 8 7 78 Washington Redskins
1949 Bob Mitten 19 8 189 Chicago Bears
1949 Joe Romano 20 1 192 Detroit Lions
1949 Bob Cox 23 9 230 Chicago Cardinals
1949 Stan Marczyk 25 8 249 Chicago Bears
1950 Art Weiner 2 2 16 New York Bulldogs
1950 Charlie Justice 16 5 201 Washington Redskins
1950 Kenneth Powell 18 8 230 Pittsburgh Steelers
1951 Irv Holdash 7 8 82 Cleveland Browns
1951 Roscoe Hansen 29 7 346 Philadelphia Eagles
1953 Tom Higgins 6 9 70 Chicago Cardinals
1953 Bud Wallace 16 8 189 Philadelphia Eagles
1954 Jack Maultsby 12 9 142 Los Angeles Rams
1954 Ken Yarborough 27 7 320 Washington Redskins
1955 Larry Parker 11 3 124 Washington Redskins
1956 Bill Koman 8 6 91 Baltimore Colts
1956 Stew Pell 11 2 123 San Francisco 49ers
1956 Ken Keller 11 5 126 Philadelphia Eagles
1957 Ed Sutton 3 8 33 Washington Redskins
1957 Don Klochak 12 3 136 Los Angeles Rams
1957 Jack Stillwell 20 4 233 Cleveland Browns
1958 Buddy Payne 8 5 90 Washington Redskins
1958 Phil Blazer 8 12 97 Detroit Lions
1958 Leo Russavage 10 11 120 Cleveland Browns
1959 Ron Koes 3 6 30 Detroit Lions
1959 Emil DeCantis 10 3 111 Chicago Cardinals
1959 Alan Goldstein 10 9 117 Los Angeles Rams
1959 John Schroeder 15 2 170 Chicago Cardinals
1959 Don Redding 16 8 188 Chicago Bears
1959 Fred Swearingen 21 11 251 New York Giants
1959 Rabe Walton 30 3 351 Chicago Cardinals
1960 Jack Cummings 4 9 45 Philadelphia Eagles
1960 Don Stallings 5 4 52 Washington Redskins
1960 Earl Butler 12 6 138 Pittsburgh Steelers
1960 Jim Williams 12 10 142 San Francisco 49ers
1961 Rip Hawkins 2 2 15 Minnesota Vikings
1961 Henry Clement 11 6 146 Pittsburgh Steelers
1961 Bob Elliott 14 8 190 St. Louis Cardinals
1964 Bob Lacey 6 5 75 Minnesota Vikings
1964 Ed Kesler 16 9 219 Pittsburgh Steelers
1965 Ken Willard 1 2 2 San Francisco 49ers
1965 Chris Hanburger 18 7 245 Washington Redskins
1967 Bo Wood 6 21 159 New Orleans Saints
1967 Danny Talbott 17 13 432 San Francisco 49ers
1968 Jeff Beaver 15 23 404 Baltimore Colts
1969 Mike Richey 4 1 79 Buffalo Bills
1971 Don McCauley 1 22 22 Baltimore Colts
1971 Tony Blanchard 12 14 159 Cleveland Browns
1972 Lewis Jolley 3 4 56 Houston Oilers
1972 John Bunting 10 14 248 Philadelphia Eagles
1973 Bob Thornton 14 22 360 Dallas Cowboys
1974 Robert Pratt 3 15 67 Baltimore Colts
1974 Sammy Johnson 4 12 90 San Francisco 49ers
1974 Paul Lamm 14 1 339 Buffalo Bills
1975 Ken Huff 1 3 3 Baltimore Colts
1975 Charles Waddell 5 21 125 San Diego Chargers
1975 Chris Kupec 15 19 383 Buffalo Bills
1976 James Betterson 8 15 224 Denver Broncos
1976 Milton Butts 12 4 323 New Orleans Saints
1977 Mike Voight 3 20 76 Cincinnati Bengals
1977 Mark Griffin 8 14 209 Detroit Lions
1977 Mark Cantrell 9 25 248 Dallas Cowboys
1977 Tom Burkett 10 18 269 Cleveland Browns
1978 Dee Hardison 2 4 32 Buffalo Bills
1978 Brooks Williams 8 5 199 New Orleans Saints
1978 Walker Lee 8 4 202 Washington Redskins
1979 Bob Hukill 5 11 121 Dallas Cowboys
1979 Dave Simmons 6 16 153 Green Bay Packers
1979 Mike Salzano 6 23 160 Dallas Cowboys
1980 Buddy Curry 2 8 36 Atlanta Falcons
1980 Doug Paschal 5 11 121 Minnesota Vikings
1980 Phil Farris 11 20 297 Denver Broncos
1981 Lawrence Taylor 1 2 2 New York Giants
1981 Donnell Thompson 1 18 18 Baltimore Colts
1981 Rick Donnalley 3 17 73 Pittsburgh Steelers
1981 Amos Lawrence 4 20 103 San Diego Chargers
1981 Ron Wooten 6 19 157 New England Patriots
1981 Harry Stanback 6 26 164 Atlanta Falcons
1982 Calvin Daniels 2 19 46 Kansas City Chiefs
1982 Darrell Nicholson 6 17 156 New York Giants
1982 Bill Jackson 8 16 211 Cleveland Browns
1983 Mike Wilcher 2 8 36 Los Angeles Rams
1983 Dave Drechsler 2 20 48 Green Bay Packers
1983 Kelvin Bryant 7 28 196 Washington Redskins
1984 Brian Blados 1 28 28 Cincinnati Bengals
1984 Tyrone Anthony 3 13 69 New Orleans Saints
1984 Mark Smith 7 27 195 Washington Redskins
1984 Aaron Jackson 10 10 262 Cincinnati Bengals
1985 Ethan Horton 1 15 15 Kansas City Chiefs
1985 Brian Johnston 3 17 73 New York Giants
1985 Greg Naron 4 9 93 Philadelphia Eagles
1985 Micah Moon 9 4 228 Atlanta Falcons
1986 Larry Griffin 8 5 199 Houston Oilers
1986 Tommy Barnhardt 9 2 223 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1986 Carl Carr 10 23 272 New York Jets
1986 Arnold Franklin 11 21 303 Miami Dolphins
1987 Harris Barton 1 22 22 San Francisco 49ers
1988 Tim Goad 4 5 87 New England Patriots
1988 Reuben Davis 9 4 225 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1988 Carlton Bailey 9 14 235 Buffalo Bills
1989 Darrell Hamilton 3 13 69 Denver Broncos
1989 Derrick Fenner 10 17 268 Seattle Seahawks
1989 Antonio Goss 12 12 319 San Francisco 49ers
1990 Torin Dorn 4 14 95 Los Angeles Raiders
1990 Cecil Gray 9 24 244 Philadelphia Eagles
1991 Kevin Donnalley 3 24 79 Houston Oilers
1992 Brian Bollinger 3 20 76 San Francisco 49ers
1992 Dwight Hollier 4 13 97 Miami Dolphins
1992 Roy Barker 4 14 98 Minnesota Vikings
1992 Deems May 7 6 174 San Diego Chargers
1992 Eric Blount 8 6 202 Philadelphia Eagles
1992 Andrew Oberg 10 5 257 Green Bay Packers
1993 Thomas Smith 1 28 28 Buffalo Bills
1993 Natrone Means 2 12 41 San Diego Chargers
1993 Rondell Jones 3 13 69 Denver Broncos
1993 Tommy Thigpen 5 11 123 New York Giants
1994 Bucky Brooks 2 19 48 Buffalo Bills
1994 Austin Robbins 4 17 120 Los Angeles Raiders
1994 Bracy Walker 4 24 127 Kansas City Chiefs
1994 Sean Crocker 4 27 130 Buffalo Bills
1995 William Henderson 3 2 66 Green Bay Packers
1995 Jimmy Hitchcock 3 24 88 New England Patriots
1995 Mike Morton 4 20 118 Los Angeles Raiders
1995 Eddie Mason 6 7 178 New York Jets
1995 Oscar Sturgis 7 28 236 Dallas Cowboys
1996 Marcus Jones 1 22 22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1996 Sean Boyd 5 16 148 Minnesota Vikings
1997 Rick Terry 2 1 31 New York Jets
1997 Freddie Jones 2 15 45 San Diego Chargers
1997 James Hamilton 3 19 79 Jacksonville Jaguars
1997 Leon Johnson 4 8 104 New York Jets
1997 Andre Purvis 5 14 144 Cincinnati Bengals
1998 Greg Ellis 1 8 8 Dallas Cowboys
1998 Brian Simmons 1 17 17 Cincinnati Bengals
1998 Vonnie Holliday 1 19 19 Green Bay Packers
1998 Omar Brown 4 11 103 Atlanta Falcons
1998 Kivuusama Mays 4 18 110 Minnesota Vikings
1998 Robert Williams 5 5 128 Kansas City Chiefs
1998 Jonathan Linton 5 8 131 Buffalo Bills
1999 Ebenezer Ekuban 1 20 20 Dallas Cowboys
1999 Dré Bly 2 10 41 St. Louis Rams
1999 Russell Davis 2 17 48 Chicago Bears
1999 Keith Newman 4 24 119 Buffalo Bills
1999 Na Brown 4 35 130 Philadelphia Eagles
1999 Mike Pringley 7 9 215 Detroit Lions
2000 Deon Dyer 4 23 117 Miami Dolphins
2001 Alge Crumpler 2 4 35 Atlanta Falcons
2001 Sedrick Hodge 3 8 70 New Orleans Saints
2001 Brandon Spoon 4 15 110 Buffalo Bills
2001 Dauntae' Finger 7 5 205 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2002 Julius Peppers 1 2 2 Carolina Panthers
2002 Ryan Sims 1 6 6 Kansas City Chiefs
2002 David Thornton 4 8 106 Indianapolis Colts
2002 Joey Evans 7 8 219 Cincinnati Bengals
2002 Ronald Curry 7 24 235 Oakland Raiders
2002 Quincy Monk 7 34 245 New York Giants
2003 Sam Aiken 4 30 127 Buffalo Bills
2004 Dexter Reid 4 17 113 New England Patriots
2004 Michael Waddell 4 28 124 Tennessee Titans
2004 Jeb Terry 5 14 146 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2005 Jason Brown 4 23 124 Baltimore Ravens
2005 Gerald Sensabaugh 5 21 157 Jacksonville Jaguars
2005 Madison Hedgecock 7 37 251 St. Louis Rams
2006 Chase Page 7 17 225 San Diego Chargers
2008 Kentwan Balmer 1 29 29 San Francisco 49ers
2008 Hilee Taylor 7 14 221 Carolina Panthers
2009 Hakeem Nicks 1 29 29 New York Giants
2009 Richard Quinn 2 32 64 Denver Broncos
2009 Brandon Tate 3 14 83 New England Patriots
2009 Garrett Reynolds 5 20 156 Atlanta Falcons
2009 Brooks Foster 5 24 160 St. Louis Rams
2010 E. J. Wilson 4 28 127 Seattle Seahawks
2010 Cam Thomas 5 15 146 San Diego Chargers
2011 Robert Quinn 1 14 14 St. Louis Rams
2011 Bruce Carter 2 8 40 Dallas Cowboys
2011 Marvin Austin 2 20 54 New York Giants
2011 Greg Little 2 27 59 Cleveland Browns
2011 Da'Norris Searcy 4 3 100 Buffalo Bills
2011 Johnny White 5 2 133 Buffalo Bills
2011 T. J. Yates 5 21 152 Houston Texans
2011 Quan Sturdivant 6 6 171 Arizona Cardinals
2011 Ryan Taylor 7 15 218 Green Bay Packers


Tar Heels in the AFL Draft
Year Player Round # Pick # Overall # Team
1961 Rip Hawkins 2 2 9 Boston Patriots
1961 Roy (Milam) Wall 11 3 73 Buffalo Bills
1962 Jim LeCompte 7 4 52 Buffalo Bills
1962 Bob Elliott 31 1 241 Oakland Raiders
1963 Joe Craver 12 3 91 New York Jets
1964 Bob Lacey 11 3 83 New York Jets
1964 Ed Kesler 22 6 174 Houston Oilers


Tar Heels with Super Bowl Rings

Super Bowl Player Position Team
XLIII Willie Parker RB Pittsburgh Steelers
XLIII Jeff Reed K Pittsburgh Steelers
XLIII Greg Warren LS Pittsburgh Steelers
XLII Russell Davis DT New York Giants
XLII Madison Hedgecock FB New York Giants
XLI Dexter Reid S Indianapolis Colts
XLI Jeff Saturday C Indianapolis Colts
XL Willie Parker RB Pittsburgh Steelers
XL Jeff Reed K Pittsburgh Steelers
XL Greg Warren LS Pittsburgh Steelers
XXXIX Dexter Reid S New England Patriots
XXVI Riddick Parker DL New England Patriots
XXXIV Dré Bly CB St. Louis Rams
XXXIV Mike Morton LB St. Louis Rams
XXXIV Nate Hobgood-Chittick DT St. Louis Rams
XXXI Bucky Brooks DB Green Bay Packers
XXXI Bernardo Harris LB Green Bay Packers
XXXI William Henderson FB Green Bay Packers
XXX Oscar Sturgis DE Dallas Cowboys
XXIX Harris Barton OL San Francisco 49ers
XXIX Brian Bollinger OL San Francisco 49ers
XXIX Antonio Goss LB San Francisco 49ers
XXV Lawrence Taylor LB New York Giants
XXIV Harris Barton OL San Francisco 49ers
XXIV Antonio Goss LB San Francisco 49ers
XXIII Harris Barton OL San Francisco 49ers
XXII Kelvin Bryant RB Washington Redskins
XXII Dave Truitt TE Washington Redskins
XXII Tim Morrison DB Washington Redskins
XXII Danny Burmeister DB Washington Redskins
XXI Lawrence Taylor LB New York Giants
XXI Brian Johnston C New York Giants
XVII Jeff Hayes P Washington Redskins
XVI Amos Lawrence RB San Francisco 49ers


Current NFL players


Future schedules

North Carolina has non-conference games scheduled at South Carolina and at home against Minnesota in 2013 and at Minnesota in 2014.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b "Southern Colleges Unite" (PDF). The Sporting Life (Philadelphia, PA: The Sporting Life Pub. Co.): p. 1. 31 December 1892. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "2002 UNC Football Media Guide:Historical Essay" (in English). University Directories. 2002. p. 226-233. Retrieved 25 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Giglio, J.P. (16 July 2010). "NCAA begins probe of UNC". The News and Observer. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "UNC files response to NCAA notice of allegations". Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Two 1956 wins vacated for use of ineligible player.
  7. ^ a b
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External links

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