Saturday, November 13, 2010

Good start doesn't translate to good game for Tar Heels

North Carolina has been a slow-starting, good finishing team this year. That all changed in a 26-10 loss to Virginia Tech in Chapel Hill.

On Carolina's opening drive, the Tar Heels combined a good mix of running and passing and featured a scramble by quarterback T.J. Yates for a first down inside the two. Anthony Elzy, who was starting in place of injured Johnny White, went in for the score to cap an 80-yard drive to put the Heels up 7-0.

Except for a field goal, that was it for the Tar Heels the rest of the way as drives were stalled or ended by penalties or turnovers (Carolina had six).

Carolina managed to lead an evenly contested game at the half by a 10-9 score. But the second half, particularly the third quarter, was disastrous for the Heels. In the first nine games this season, Carolina had outscored opponents 113-59. This time, the Heels were outscored 17-0 in the third period as VT quarterback Tyrod Taylor hit Marcus Davis with a pair of touchdown passes.

The turning point actually seemed to happen in the second quarter. UNC receiver Erik Highsmith and VT safety Eddie Whitley both came down with a Yates pass in the end zone but Whitley wrestled it away for the interception.

“I think that was a gigantic play and a great play," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "Two guys go up and he comes down. That’s why I talk about battling, just battling for the ball. I think that was the key, key play in the ball game."

The Heels did manage to drive into the Hokies' territory a couple of times in the fourth quarter but turned it over, once on an Elzy fumble at the two.

Yates, coming off his best game of the season, had by far his worst game of the season as he threw four interceptions.

Virginia Tech is almost guaranteed the division title while Carolina falls to 6-4 and 3-3 in the conference with its final two games against rivals N.C. State and Duke.

Wolfpack posts mature performance on weak Wake defense

N.C. State accomplished what it had to do on Saturday for homecoming, which says a great deal about the maturity of this team. Good teams win games they are supposed to win, and the Wolfpack did just that in a 38-3 victory over Wake Forest before a throng of 57,161 at Carter-Finley Stadium.

If this was Russell Wilson's last game for the Pack, then he went out with a sharp performance, completing 24 of 35 throws for 300 yards. But Wake wasn't much of a match for him, and that has been the refrain for the Deacons this season.

Jim Grobe rebuilt Wake with a creative offense and sound defense, but his defense has let him down this year. The Deacons gave up 38 points and actually improved their scoring defense average, which came into the game a miserable 38.3 points per game. That brutal defense is the reason Wake is now 2-8 and 1-6 and has an eight-game losing streak, its longest since 1978.

You can pretty much go through the checklist and see why this was such a rout for N.C. State. On just about every pregame question, the Wolfpack came up big:

@ Red zone offense? Check - State scored on all five times inside the red zone, including four touchdowns.

@ Concerns about the kicking game? Check - true freshman Chris Hawthorne of Raleigh made his only attempt, of 25 yards, and also kicked five extra points. Hawthorne kicked off seven times for an average of 63.7 yards.

@ Ready for Nate Irving to break out? Check - he had a school-record eight tackles for loss.

@ Questions about the run game? Well, that remains an issue. State's leading rusher was Wilson, with 17 yards. James Washington had five carries for 13 yards, Curtis Underwood two for 12, Mustafa Greene six for 12 and Dean Haynes one for 1. That hardly strikes fear into the UNC defense.

But other than that, this was a game you expected N.C. State to dominate - and, like a good team should, it did.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Henson has career highs as UNC pulls away from feisty Lipscomb

During North Carolina's 80-66 season-starting victory over Lipscomb tonight, everybody was looking to Harrison Barnes, who did score 14 points, but it was sophomore John Henson who stole the show. Henson won't have smaller guys to pick on when the ACC season starts but he did have career highs with seven blocks and 17 rebounds.

Henson has put on 25 pounds and says he tries to eat five or six times a day in order to keep on weight. Don't hate him 'cause he's thin. He's worked his weight up to 210 and says he's able to hold his ground better and not get knocked off his spot as easily as he did last year.

The biggest shot of the game, however, was made by Leslie McDonald who drilled one from the baseline after the Bisons had cut the lead to just three. The basket started a 10-2 run that opened the game up with less than five minutes to go.

For a game story, please click here. For a photo gallery, please click here.

North Carolina basketball preview: Young Heels should do well

(Editor's Note: The Tar Heels kick off the 2010-2011 season tonight at home against Lipscomb University of Nashville)

After admittedly the most challenging season of his coaching career, and after losing three who would have played significant minutes this season, UNC Roy Williams nonetheless thinks this year’s team has potential to be good.

There’s no doubt that the young players coming in have great potential, especially Harrison Barnes who, after going 53-0 in his last two years in high school, will be in the North Carolina starting lineup and has even already been picked to All-America teams. If he has the kind of season many expect, he could be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, meaning he could be one and done at Carolina.

The Tar Heels went just 20-17 and failed to make the NCAA tournament. Not only is Barnes not used to that but neither is Coach Williams, who has had the team running hard in practice, basing his practice sessions on those of Dean Smith’s 1982 national champions.

“Last year was not much fun. I don’t want to go through that again,” Williams said. “I’m anxious, no doubt about it. I hope we can put it behind us by coming out and playing well.”

Williams said he won’t know what the true identity of the team will be for a while. A lot of guys have been lost – Ed Davis to the pros, Marcus Ginyard and Deon Thompson to graduation, Travis and David Wear to transfer and Will Graves to suspension.

The expected starting lineup to begin the year is Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Harrison Barnes, Dexter Strickland and Larry Drew II. Before the ACC season begins in January, don’t be surprised if freshmen Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall are getting more playing time than Strickland and Drew.

But, on the other hand, Strickland has been playing well so far in inter-squad and preseason games, and Drew is a better scorer than Marshall and was coming on at the end of last season.

Carolina doesn’t have a lot of depth at center and forward but if they stay healthy that should be fine. Lanky Henson has put on 25 pounds and was finally living up to his billing late in the season as the Heels made a run to the finals of the NIT.

Barnes will play every minute he’s not tired and transfer Justin Knox is the most physically solid player on the team and will be valuable off the bench.

But make no mistake, even though he’s not a rah-rah leader, this is junior Tyler Zeller’s team. As he goes, so goes the team. He’s had problems with injuries but if he can stay healthy, this should be a special season for him. The 7-footer can run the court, block shots, play stingy defense, score from the inside and medium range, and can be the experienced leader the Heels need.

Barnes may be more talented and have a bigger upside but if this is going to be the ACC’s second best team as predicted by the sportswriters, Zeller has to step forward, especially with point guard Drew sharing court time.

Guards Justin Watts and Leslie McDonald could be keys off the bench, especially if there are injuries or foul trouble. They could be needed to give minutes at forward. Both can score. In fact, this team, particularly by adding freshmen Barnes and Bullock, is loaded offensively. That’s good news for Williams who saw his team last year shoot the third worst of any UNC team since 1960 and the worst of any UNC team from 3-point land. In fact, even free throw shooting was the worst since 1954.

Still, the Tar Heels start the season as the eighth ranked team in the nation by the Associated Press. Of course a lot of that has to do with the North Carolina written on the front – and Barnes written on the back. The 6-foot-8 Barnes can score and rebound, and Coach Williams even compares him to Tyler Hansbrough as far as his work ethic.

While we’ll know more about Barnes when the ACC season starts in earnest, we should know something about how good the team is going to be following a three-game stretch starting Nov. 28 against the College of Charleston (who famously beat the Heels last season). On Nov. 30 the Heels play at tough Illinois in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and then play at home against Kentucky Dec. 4.

Besides the Duke games, the matchups against talented N.C. State this season are intriguing as is the Jan. 13 home date with Virginia Tech, which figures to battle the Heels for second behind heavily favored Duke.

The Tar Heels should enter the ACC tournament with a 25-5 or 24-6 record with maybe four losses in the league. If there are no season-ending injuries, UNC has the talent and, yes, the potential to make it to the ACC finals and the NCAA Elite 8.

High school football playoffs begin today - predictions below

The regular season for high school football wound down last week but playoffs start tonight. Here are predictions for tonight's games involving Triangle-area teams. Friday night's weather is expected to be clear and fairly cold with temperatures in the mid to low 40s. Most games are at 7:30 p.m. You might want to check with local officials as some games start at 7. In bold below are the predicted winners. My record of predicting games was 8-2 last week, making the final regular season total now 97-23, which is an 81 percent accuracy.

Broughton at Garner

Cary at Fuquay-Varina

Harnett Central at Southeast Raleigh

Hoggard at Clayton

Lee County at Northern Durham

Middle Creek at Leesville Road

Millbrook at WF-Rolesville

New Hanover at Southern Durham

Overhills at Cardinal Gibbons

Southview at Panther Creek

Southeast Guilford at Durham Hillside

Wakefield at Wilmington Laney

Whiteville at Carrboro

Check the scores in our Sports Roundup on the left navigation bar.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

UNC tells former tutor Wiley not to associate with football program

In a sternly worded letter, the University of North Carolina has disassociated itself from former tutor Jennifer Wiley, the school announced late Thursday afternoon.

Athletics director Dick Baddour sent Wiley a letter earlier this month asking Wiley not to have any contact with the football program for five years.

Baddour wrote that Wiley provided impermissible benefits worth in excess of $2,000 and ,in 2009 and 2010, "provided impermissible academic assistance to some of our student=athletes. As a result of your actions, the eligibility status of some of our student-athletes has been adversely affected."

Carolina also said five individuals contributed impermissible benefits to UNC players. Those individuals were Hakeem Nicks ($3,300), Omar Brown ($1,865), Mahlon Carey ($140), Vernon Davis ($20) and a person from Miami for whom UNC didn't have a full name.

This Zeller gets away from UNC basketball program

Cody Zeller, the brother of North Carolina's Tyler Zeller, has decided to play basketball at Indiana and not UNC, according to  WTHI in Terre Haute, Ind. 

Zeller, who is 6 feet 10, also considered Butler, according to the station. He averaged 20.5 points and 11.1 rebounds last season.

Local media left out as Duke students look for basketball info

Interesting moment at Duke Thursday in a graduate political science class. The professor, to make a point about the changing nature of the media, asked the group of 20-some students where they went for information on the Duke men's basketball team.

Goduke.com, the school website, was the first answer. Then The Chronicle, the student newspaper. Then ESPN. And after some coaxing, DukeBasketballReport.com (which picks out reports of interest in Duke fans) and DukeBluePlanet.com, the official site of the team.

So what was missing? The News & Observer ... The Durham Herald-Sun ... WRAL ... WTVD ... Local radio shows. ... Shoot, no mainstream local media was even mentioned (not even the Capital Sports Report). It was an interesting moment that highlighted how much consumer patterns are changing and how many options there are when it comes to media products.

Also interesting was that none of the options the students mentioned (except for ESPN) were sources that did unbiased reporting on their own, and of course ESPN will cover Duke but does not do so on a daily basis. An interesting moment, and a telling one as media habits change.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

N.C. State, like UNC, faces uncertainty at running back

N.C. State’s situation at running back has been unsettled much of this season, and that’s the case again as the Wolfpack heads into Saturday’s home game with Wake Forest. Dean Haynes, the surprise starter at the beginning of the season, took a blow to the head against Florida State, and coach Tom O’Brien held him out of the Clemson game.

O’Brien said Haynes is “full go this week,” but would not commit to how much he will play.

“He’s back in the mix. We’re still - because of some situations - not sure who will start on Saturday,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien should be commended for holding Haynes out in a sport where concussions rank as real problems. Many doctors, led by Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz at UNC, have urged football coaches and leagues to take the threat of concussions seriously, since one concussion can lead to another. (In case you missed it, NBC 17’s Penn Holderness just did a piece on Guskiewicz).

O’Brien pointed out that he held Russell Wilson out in a similar situation after Wilson took a blow to the head at South Carolina in 2008.

Haynes, a redshirt freshman, lacks Mustafa Greene’s explosive talent. But Greene, a true freshman, His game-by-game rushing totals are 35, 55, 84, 68, 91, 11, 75, 76 and then 26 against Clemson.

“Consistency is tough to get out of a freshman,” O’Brien said.”There are so many things that go into playing and participating football-wise and campus-wise and everything else.”

But, O’Brien said, “We’ve gotten a lot of good football out of Mustafa and he’s got more to give.” 

Furr could get significant minutes this week depending on Houston decision

With the running back situation unsettled for Carolina - is Shaun Draughn healthy? will Ryan Houston burn a redshirt year - it appears Hunter Furr has become a key part of the UNC offense.

Furr, who ran three times for 27 yards on the game-winning drive last week against Florida State, has been the scout team runner this season. Those are the guys who prepare the starters for the opposition and don't play in the game. "He's not on the scout team anymore," UNC coach Butch Davis said with a laugh, adding that he's been getting 20-30 percent of the snaps with the starters in practice.

Davis said that drive last week at the end of the game against FSU was the best drive the Tar Heels have had during his tenure as coach. "The whole team was ecstatic for Hunter," Davis said. "He's been very unselfish. He's been willing to play whatever role we gave him."

Primarily, in addition to the scout team, he's played a lot on special teams with the short-handed Heels. "With four senior running backs, he knew this wasn't going to be the year he was going to get an awful lot of opportunities but he continued to practice hard, study and know the game plans," Davis said.

Furr, a sophomore from Lewisville, said he felt ready when he was forced to enter the game after Johnny White, Shaun Draughn and Anthony Elzy all got injured during the course of the game.

"In our pre-game running back speech, Coach (Ken) Browning told us that your roles will change during the game unexpectedly, and you never know," Furr said. "Since I've been here Coach Davis has always preached you've got to watch film, you've got to be ready you never know when you're time's going to come, and I guess my time came."

For those wanting to know more about Furr, he wears No. 40 in honor of Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who was killed serving in the military. His favorite off-day activities are playing golf with teammates, hunting and fishing, and his dream job is to coach football at UNC.

UNC's Davis won't give any hints on running back situation

North Carolina coach Butch Davis refused to say Wednesday if Ryan Houston will redshirt this season or play against Virginia Tech on Saturday at Kenan Stadium.

Davis said that may be a "game time" decision.

Asked specifically if Shaun Draughn is healthy and would play, Davis refused to give any hints.

“We’ll release a medical report on Thursday that will give everybody an update on everybody’s health,” he said.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Canes' Skinner is better than advertised


Jeff Skinner is better than advertised, and it won’t be long before he’s mentioned with Eric Staal and Cam Ward as the cornerstone players of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Tuesday night was just another example of the impact he is having. Edmonton brought Taylor Hall, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, to the RBC Center, but Hall had no impact in his 8 minutes and 47 seconds of play.

Skinner was enormous. He took a pass from Staal and made a beautiful feed to Erik Cole on a power play goal that put Carolina up 2-0. He finished with a goal and two assists in a 7-1 Canes win that seemed effortless.

Skinner handles the puck skillfully and his ability to pass is extraordinary. Carolina has 48 goals, the second-highest total in the NHL, and those goals are a product of some exceptional passing. Now, Edmonton’s defense lacked a physical element Tuesday, and the Canes often had free reign around the net, but when you watch the Canes, you see a quick, explosive team with some young legs and real grit.

For this team to be where it is after that nasty opening stretch is impressive, and Skinner is a big reason. Canes fans already have caught the wave, with many signs around arena sporting his name and plenty of Skinner jerseys available for sale.

This is no fluke. Skinner is not overly big or even fast, but he has a magical touch with his stick that is making a difference for Carolina.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Duke cancels student 'Tailgate' after incident before UVa game

Duke is cancelling its popular "tailgate" for students before the upcoming home football game with Boston College,  the school told students Monday night.

Tailgate is widely popular with Duke students, but is also known for being a drunken revelry. Here is the note Duke Vice President of Student Affairs Larry Moneta sent out Monday night:

Dear students,

Last Saturday, many of us enjoyed a terrific, hard fought victory over Virginia in Wallace Wade Stadium. I want to acknowledge the tremendous effort of our team and wish more students could have been on hand to celebrate this win. Unfortunately, the positive experience in Wallace Wade was dampened by an incident in tailgate...an incident  involving a teenage youth which easily could have been tragic.

This incident has vividly revealed that tailgate as is practiced at Duke must come to an end. It has long lost its value as a pre-football, spirit building activity and has become increasingly dangerous in every iteration. Thus, there will be no student 'tailgate' this Saturday in advance of the game against Boston College.

Over the spring, we will work with students, Athletics and many others to develop a new form of football game day celebration....one that will support our student athletes, be safe and healthy, and showcase the pride of "Dear Old Duke". We will invite your ideas and suggestions and be prepared to celebrate the fall 2011 season with the class and spirit for which Duke is known.

But, before we focus on next year, we have critical games ahead and need your full support of our team. I really hope that you'll all turn out and cheer on the team to a win over Boston College. With the UNC game over Thanksgiving weekend, this will be the last time this year for most of you to show your support. Please join us in Wallace Wade this Saturday!

Larry Moneta
Vice President for Student Affairs

Yates, Helfet win player of the week honors in the ACC

GREENSBORO, N.C. – North Carolina senior quarterback T.J. Yates has been named the Offensive Back of the Week in the Atlantic Coast Conference while Duke tight end Cooper Helfet was named Offensive Lineman of the week.

Yates, who claimed his second recognition of the season, threw for a school-record 439 yards and three touchdowns in the Tar Heels’ 37-35 win at then-No. 24 Florida State. He became the first player in school history to register two 400-plus passing games in a career and currently has the top two performances in the conference this year. The win was the first for North Carolina in Tallahassee.

Yates was 24-of-35 for a school-record 439 yards and three touchdowns in Carolina’s 37-35 win at Florida State. It was his fifth career 300-plus yard game and his second career 400-plus yard game. He became the first player in program history to pass for 400-plus yards twice in a career and the second player all-time in the ACC to have the two performances in the same season against nationally ranked opponents (No. 24 Florida State and No. 21 LSU). Yates, who passed for 412 yards earlier this season against LSU, has the top two passing performances in the ACC this season. He threw touchdown passes of 67, 14 and 4 yards in the Tar Heels’ first ever win in Tallahassee.

Helfet helped Duke to a 55-48 win over Virginia, catching seven passes for a career-high 122 yards and one touchdown. His scoring reception covered 30 yards. Five of his seven catches produced first downs, and he averaged 17.4 yards per reception. On Duke’s game-winning, 91-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes, Helfet caught two passes for 30 yards and two first downs. He helped create holes for the Blue Devils’ rushing attack, which totaled 230 yards on the ground and six rushing touchdowns. Helfet’s receiving performance came against a Virginia defense that had ranked second in the league in pass defense.

UNC's Houston should remain a redshirt

Ryan Houston is suddenly in a tough position, but the smart choice here is for him to not burn a redshirt year with North Carolina facing just three games on the schedule, plus a bowl.

The Tar Heels may need him, and UNC coach Butch Davis said Monday that he will discuss the situation with Houston this week. Let's be honest here - when a $2 million a year college football coach says, "Son, we need ya," it takes a lot for a college kid to say, "Whoa, I'll pass."

But this is a situation where returning is a big blow for Houston, and for little gain. N.C. State faces a similar situation with true freshman Chris Hawthorne, a kicker from Raleigh. But as O'Brien pointed out, the Wolfpack has a shot at an ACC title - when you're playing for a championship, all bets are off.

That's not the case with UNC. The Heels are too far behind Virginia Tech to have a realistic chance. Houston is a senior who could redshirt because he hasn't played at all this year. He is faced with giving up a full year as the likely start for three games in a season that's going to end somewhere like Nashville, Tenn.

Carolina has faced an amazing amount of adversity this year, and the season-ending injury to Johnny White is yet another blow. But playing Houston would be a short-term gain and long-term mistake. It's in his interests, and UNC's, for him to remain a redshirt.

With Czajkowski out, State lean on experience at kicker

N.C. State's last three games will be played without kicker Josh Czajkowski, who was injured on the Pack's final kickoff at Clemson Saturday.

Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien said State will look at junior Ellis Flynt, a former Hofstra kicker, and Chris Hawthorne, who played at Leesville Road in Raleigh, will compete for the job. O'Brien said it might work out that one kicks field goals and other kicks off, depending on how practice goes.

Hawthorne, by the way, is a true freshman - O'Brien mistakenly said he went to Wakefield High - but will not be redshirted because of Czajkowski's injury.

Saturday's game could be Wilson's last at Carter-Finley

N.C. State's game with Wake Forest Saturday is the Wolfpack's final home game of the season, which means it could well be Russell Wilson's final home game with the Pack. Wilson is just a junior in eligibility but already has graduated and could wind up playing baseball. So State coach Tom O'Brien said Wilson will be honored with the seniors at the game.

Wilson is always coy about his future and O'Brien wasn't giving any clues about Wilson's future at his news conference Monday. Asked when he would discuss the future with Wilson, O'Brien said, "I think afer the season's over. There are too many things for us to worry about this year than to worry about next year."

O'Brien has a strong point. N.C State hasn't won the ACC title since 1979, but will reach the ACC Championship Game if it wins its final three contests. State is at UNC and at Maryland to close the season.

Saturday's 14-13 loss at Clemson was frustrating for O'Brien and his team. State had a chance to pull ahead in the race for the Atlantic Division title but blew some opportunities and lost a game it really should have won. The Wolfpack is 11th in the ACC in red-zone scoring percentage, getting points just 75 percent of the time. N.C. State has been inside the opponents' 20-yard line 48 times and scored just 24 touchdowns. State has kicked 12 field goals but missed four times.

"We're not getting the ball in the endzone," O'Brien said. "That's the bottom line. Field goals are good because they are still points. But we have to do a better job."

Here's an interesting way to look at it. State has been inside the 20 a total of 48 times, the highest total in the ACC. But State is one of only two ACC teams (Boston College is the other) that has failed to get a touchdown more than half the time it gets in the redzone.

Duke leads the ACC in red-zone offense, with 32 chances netting 19 touchdowns and 11 field goals. North Carolina is second, with 34 chances, 21 touchdowns and nine field goals.

Panthers should trade down, try to stockpile talent

The last time the Carolina Panthers had the first pick in the NFL Draft was the first time they participated, back in 1995. The Panthers feinted interest in Ki-Jana Carter, then traded from No. 1 to No. 5 to draft quarterback Kerry Collins of Penn State.

They picked up a second-round pick in the deal and landed defensive end Shawn King of Northeast Louisiana, a decent pass-rusher who had a marginal career.

But this is a time Carolina must again consider trading down. Watching the Panthers this season is painful, and you can't help but be jarred by how little talent the team has.  It didn't help Monday when the Panthers announced that quarterback Matt Moore (shoulder) and linebacker Dan Conner (hip) are out for the season.

The only other Carolina season to rival this one came in 2001, when the team finished 1-15 and George Seifert got fired.

Jerry Richardson hired John Fox, and the turnaround began with the 2002 draft. Carolina had the No. 2 pick and passed on quarterback Joey Harrison to take Julius Peppers.  The rest of that draft was unremarkable,  but Peppers teamed with a terrific 2001 draft - Dan Morgan, Kris Jenkins and Steve Smith were the first three picks - to spark a Carolina turnaround.

The Panthers are not one or two players - or even one good quarterback - from being a winner. The offense is just brutal, even with Pro Bowl level players in DeAngelo Williams, Jordan Gross and Smith. How they can fail to find an effective second receiver to Smith is unexplainable. Carolina's touchdown-to-interception ratio of 6-to-14 is unheard of in this era of the NFL.

All this means a huge load for the defense, and this is a unit that is substandard as well. Say what you want about Peppers, but at least he demanded double-teams. No NFL line is scared of the current Panther front of Charles Johnson, Ed Johnson, Derek Landri and Tyler Brayton. Carolina has only 12 sacks all season.

Carolina needs talent, and plenty of it. If the Panthers keep their top pick, they need a real force on the defensive front like De'Quan Bowers of Clemson or Marcell Dareus of Alabama. Andrew Luck of Stanford would be tempting, but defense is the better play here.

The smart move, though, would be to trade down and gather good players. UNC's Robert Quinn might be available a few steps below the top selections. And smart teams can find good receivers in the second round - Carolina did just that once with Muhsin Muhammad. This disaster of a season needs a strong 2011 draft if the Panthers want to be viable any time soon.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Baseball legend Clyde King was a true Tar Heel to the end

Talk about a Tar Heel born and a Tar Heel bred, Clyde King was that and more. The former UNC baseball player died last week in his hometown of Goldsboro at age 86 after a six-decade baseball career.

King, who was born in Goldsboro in 1924, was the first person in his family and the only one of seven siblings to attend college. He came to Carolina without a scholarship.

At the end of his college career, the next day, he tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers. As recounted in this excellent and insightful article from three years ago, King pitched in the very first big league game he ever attended, against the cross-town rival New York Giants, the very next day. Over seven seasons, he pitched for the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds. His best season was 1951, when he went 14-7.

King, who married his college sweetheart and is survived by her, coached the Reds, the Cardinals, the Pirates, the Giants, the Braves and finally the Yankees. He then served as general manager of the Yankees in 1985 and 1986 and was a member of the coaching staff again in 1988. From 1998 to 2005, he was a special assistant to the general manager.

King was instrumental in the Steinbrenner family's $1 million pledge to name the courtyard to the entrance at UNC's Boshamer Stadium.

"It has been my great pleasure to get to know Clyde and Norma King during my time here at UNC," UNC baseball coach Mike Fox told CapitalSportsNC after attending King's wake. "Clyde was a special person who had an amazing career in baseball that spanned six decades. He traveled all over the world and played with and managed some of the greatest players ever to play the game. Yet he was always a Tar Heel and he came back to Chapel Hill regularly. He supported me and our program in many ways and he loved UNC."

His granddaughter, Hadley, worked in the Carolina baseball office for three years.

"I was able to visit Mr. King in Goldsboro last summer and had one of most enjoyable evenings of my life there," Fox said. "Clyde was a great man whose faith was and will always be how he will be remembered."

Tar Heel born, Tar Heel bred, Tar Heel dead... but never forgotten.

Yet another Tar Heel lost for the season - this time it's injured tailback

University of North Carolina senior tailback Johnny White fractured his right clavicle (collar bone) in the first half of the Tar Heels’ 37-35 victory at Florida State. White, the team’s leading rusher with 720 yards, will miss the remainder of the season.

A native of Asheville, White also was Carolina’s third-leading receiver with 24 catches for 288 yards. He currently ranks fourth in the ACC in all-purpose yards (112.0/gm) and sixth in rushing (80.0/gm). White finishes the year with 130 rushing attempts for 720 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns.

Thirty UNC scholarship players have missed at least one game this year due to injury (16) or the NCAA/UNC investigation (14), including 19 defensive players.

White will become the 31st scholarship player this season to miss a game. On offense, the Tar Heels have now lost their starting tight end (Zack Pianalto) and tailback for the season. Pianalto was leading the team in receptions and receiving yards when he fractured his right fibula in the win at Virginia.