The ACC School Mount Rushmores: North Carolina
Continuing with our Mount Rushmores… only two schools left. Today, we will go with North Carolina.
As we discussed previously, these school-wide Mount Rushmores are limited to sports only–players and coaches. That being said, athletes that have gone on to have careers that have furthered their legend are rewarded also. And negative publicity will also be factored in. We do not believe that USC would put OJ Simpson on its Mount Rushmore. It is what it is. Admittedly, there will be a recency bias too. While historical accomplishments are typically quite impressive, coaching college football (as an example) in 1955 was a lot different than coaching today, where coaches rarely get 5 years to make their mark anymore. Similarly, in an era of up to 14 college football games or 40 college basketball games, as well as daunting pressure from the fans and media, today’s game is more challenging. That’s our opinion and we are sticking to it.
The Confidential gives the first spot to Dean Smith. North Carolina always had some decent basketball during its first 40 years of playing the sport (i.e. the pre-Dean Smith era). However, the team plays its home games in the Dean E. Smith Center for a reason. Smith finished his career with the then-most wins ever of any NCAA Division I coach (879). Smith won the ACC regular season championship 17 times, won the ACC tournament 13 times, went to the NCAA tournament 27 times, appeared in 11 Final Fours, and won two NCAA national tournament titles (1982 and 1993). This is a such a no-brainer that no more needs to be said.
The #2 spot for North Carolina goes to another guy that some people may have heard of… Michael Jordan. Although his surge to international fame took place after his time in Chapel Hill, Jordan was a major name in the sport even in college. As a freshman, he hit the game-winning shot against Georgetown to give Dean Smith his first national title. He was the first North Carolina player to win the Naismith award (1984), while also winning the Wooden award that year as well. And then he went on to enter the discussion as the greatest player in basketball history, win 6 NBA titles, and put his face all over television/movies. While Jordan has had some hiccups (gambling/NBA front office work), nothing that takes his star level too far down.
The #3 spot is a very tough one. Just think of all the great basketball names: Phil Ford, James Worthy, Antawn Jamison, Tyler Hansbrough, Frank McGuire, George Giamack, Lennie Rosenbluth, Sam Perkins, and Tyler Zeller, to name a few. Then there are a number of football names, such as Lawrence Taylor and Julius Peppers in the modern era, and college football stars like Charlie Justice, Don McCauley, Art Weiner, and Jim Tatum. Non-revenue sports? How about Marion Jones (track), Davis Love III (golf), Willie Scroggs (mens lacrosse), and Anson Dorrance (womens soccer). The latter has a .930+ winning percentage, but has been sued a few times for sexual harassment. So maybe he has a future at Rutgers.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Moonlight Graham from the movie Field of Dreams was a real player for the Tar Heels?
Anyway, for the #3 spot, the Confidential is going with Mia Hamm. Hamm won four national titles for North Carolina, impressively losing only one game out of 95 played. That is unreal. If there was an award, she won it. Along the way, and thereafter, she became the face for womens’ soccer–if not womens’ sports in general in the United States. She was on the 1999 World Cup Champion team. The Confidential has yet to hear a negative story about Hamm. That is the combination of athletic dominance, overall impact, fame, and positivity that merits a Mount Rushmore spot.
And that leads us to the number four spot. So that is where you come in–let us know who should be #4. Any thoughts on the first three? Let us know.
Who will be the Confidential’s fourth North Carolina Tar Heel on its Mount Rushmore?
Other Mount Rushmores:
- Maryland Preliminary Maryland Final
- Boston College Boston College Final
- Wake Forest Wake Forest Final
- Miami Miami Final
- Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Final
- Syracuse Syracuse Final
- Virginia Virginia Final
- Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Final
- North Carolina State North Carolina State Final
- Clemson Clemson Final
- Georgia Tech
- Notre Dame
- North Carolina
- Florida State (coming soon)