Lenox Rawlings enters the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame with fondest memories of his parents, who provided him with an endless stream of books, magazines and newspapers, and his paternal grandfather, who exposed him to New York newspapers and the superbly chosen words of acclaimed sportswriter Red Smith. He recalls with gratitude the athletes, coaches and personalities about whom he has written, and fellow members of the sportswriting fraternity, including 1977 inductee Dick Herbert of The News & Observer, his first sports editor.
The inductee is the son of the late Gloria Thompson Rawlings and Lenox D. Rawlings Jr. He was born in 1950 in Rocky Mount and grew up in Wilson. He is a 1968 graduate of Fike High School, where he was a member of the basketball team, and a 1972 graduate of the University of North Carolina, where he majored in journalism.
Rawlings is best known as a sports columnist for the Winston-Salem Journal, a position he held from 1978 until his retirement in December 2012. He covered all of the big events – Masters, Olympics, World Series, U.S. Open golf, NCAA Final Four, ACC Tournament, Daytona 500, Appalachian State’s three national football championships – and quite possibly was the only sportswriter in attendance when both Hank Aaron (1974) and Barry Bonds (2007) broke baseball’s all-time home run record.
In addition to The News & Observer, Rawlings worked for The Wilson Daily Times, the Greensboro Daily News and the Atlanta Constitution before joining the Winston-Salem Journal as a political reporter in 1976. Two years later his life and career changed forever when he moved over to the sports department, made his permanent home in Greensboro, married Janice Johnson Karabin and became a step-father to her daughter, Jennifer, and her son, Barak.
Rawlings flourished in his newfound role as a sports columnist, earning numerous awards from the N.C. Press Association and, more importantly, the respect and admiration of his peers. “Lenox did things the right way,” said longtime Winston-Salem Journal sportswriter Dan Collins. “He was never a bully, but he was fearless. If a question needed to be asked, Lenox was the guy who asked it.”
Wilt Browning, a N.C. Sports Hall of Fame member and former sports columnist, called on Rawlings to write the chapter on auto racing for “Nothing Finer,” a history of North Carolina sports published last year. “The English language is a marvelous thing because its lexicon contains the exact words writers need at exactly the time they need them,” Browning said. “No one in the newspaper business in North Carolina ever mastered the written word in that regard more successfully than Lenox did.”
Rawlings was honored three times as N.C. Sportswriter of the Year and in 2013 received the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Marvin “Skeeter” Francis Award for his coverage of the league. He is a past president of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and 2013 inductee of the USBWA Hall of Fame and the Fike High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Norman Sloan, the volatile basketball coach at N.C. State from 1966 to 1980, once told a pack of sportswriters that if it weren’t for A.J. Carr, he could say he hated all of the writers who covered him.
Sloan described the sportswriters with a series of words, one of which rhymes with snitch. But Sloan put Carr in another category – and indeed Carr was in his own category as a great writer and an even better person.
Carr reported on sports for The News & Observer from 1966 until he retired in 2009. He received the North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in 1978 and 2008, which showed that he “played” at a high level for a long, long time.
Big-time coaches aren’t known for their tact or patience. Many distrust reporters, believing they are out to get them. It’s true reporters get paid to ask the hard questions, the ones fans want answered. Carr thrived in that environment. He could ask the hard questions, but he did it in a way that endeared him to players and coaches. He spoke softly, with humility, and was always polite. His religious faith – he’s been an active member of Millbrook Methodist Church for years – is vital to him and influenced his work.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said players and coaches sensed Carr’s sincerity and commitment and opened up to him. “When you talk about honest, trustworthy and good, A.J.’s picture comes up,” Krzyzewski said when Carr retired.
Former UNC coach Dean Smith agreed. “He’s very thorough,” Smith said in 2008. “It always came out right. I had a lot of confidence in him.”
Carr was born and raised in Duplin County in eastern North Carolina. He was an excellent athlete at Wallace-Rose Hill High School, playing baseball, basketball and football, earning all-conference honors in the last two.
He was a 5-foot-7, 135-pound blur of energy. Carr said he remembers from his playing days how disappointed players and coaches are after a loss. “The games mean as much to them as does a Carolina Final Four game to Roy Williams or a Duke Final Four game does to Coach K,” Carr once said. “To me, every story is important.”
Carr was a graceful writer, even on deadline. He wrote with flair. He had a gift for writing about athletes as people. He also could break the hard-to-get story. He was competitive and his phone calls were almost always returned. Terry Holland, the former Virginia basketball coach who was later the athletics director at East Carolina, said Carr was rarely scooped on a story because “he knows everyone and none of us can lie to or mislead him.”
When Carr retired, Holland told the N&O’s Chip Alexander: “Most of us would settle for the kind of inscription that could easily be his epitaph: ‘Here lies the nicest, kindest man you could hope to meet … and a darn good sportswriter.”
Hugh Morton’s long and illustrious life as a civic leader, owner of Grandfather Mountain and a world-class photographer made him an icon in his beloved home state of North Carolina. His photography ventures and passion for the Tar Heel state left a lasting impression on the hearts of countless individuals that had the pleasure of knowing him.
Morton was born in 1921 in Wilmington. He left the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1942 to join the Army during World War II, serving as a combat photographer. He returned home after being severely injured by a Japanese explosion in the Philippines and was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery and Purple Heart for his service and sacrifice.
When he returned home to UNC, he became the sports photographer for the school’s student newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel. Becoming friends with and photographing UNC football legend Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice had a major impact on his life. For the next seven decades, Morton served as the university’s “unofficial” sports photographer.
When UNC drama student Andy Griffith made his first public rendition of “What It Was Was Football” in Kenan Stadium, Morton was there taking photographs (Morton had had a hand in Griffith being discovered and helped set up the event). Any time a major historical event took place at UNC, magazines such as Sports Illustrated knew that Morton was the person to contact for pictures.
When the Atlantic Coast Conference was formed in 1953, Morton’s primary sports interest shifted from football to basketball. He photographed every ACC Tournament except one until his health failed him. In 1981, Morton joined with Hall of Fame sportswriter Smith Barrier to author The ACC Basketball Tournament Classic, a book that outlined every ACC Tournament since the conference’s birth. Smith was responsible for the writing content while Morton was responsible for photos.
In 1959, Morton founded the ACC Mountain Outing. His purpose was to help create a family atmosphere within the conference through an escape – via golf and fellowship – from the fiercely competitive tone of the sports season. The event celebrates its 54th year in 2013. The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association bestowed Morton with its highest service honor, the Skeeter Francis Award, in 1992 for his enduring contributions to the conference.
Hugh Morton’s esteemed and lifelong photography career began early. A 14-year-old Hugh photographed a golf scene that was featured in a North Carolina tourism ad in LIFE magazine. His last photograph, of a bear cub in a tree at Grandfather Mountain, was taken a week before he died at age 85.
Whether he was photographing Bob Hope and General MacArthur in World War II, Mildred the Bear at Grandfather Mountain, Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice running for a touchdown, Michael Jordan dunking a basketball for the Tar Heels or a beautiful scenic shot of his home state, Morton generously shared his photography with the North Carolina media. He donated his extensive collection of more than half a million photos and 60,000 linear feet of movie film to the North Carolina Collection at the UNC library. His historic photos have been shared in four books: Hugh Morton’s North Carolina; Hugh Morton: North Carolina Photographer; Making a Difference in North Carolina; and The ACC Basketball Tournament Classic.
In his later years, his life focus turned primarily to protecting our state’s environment. He filmed and produced a movie depicting the threat of acid rain, narrated by his good friend, Walter Cronkite. He traveled across the state to show a presentation on environmental threats to any organization that would invite him, in the hopes of enlightening the population to the immediate dangers the natural world was facing within the state of North Carolina.
One of his strongest passions was protecting Grandfather Mountain, which he inherited in 1952. His most publicized battle was against the National Park Service when it condemned the upper reaches of Grandfather Mountain as the future route of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Morton said blasting the solid rock cliffs to carve out a road would be “like taking a switch blade to the Mona Lisa.” He won the battle and today Parkway travelers enjoy a compromised route featuring the beautiful and famed Linn Cove Viaduct.
Morton’s accolades comprise a laundry list of leadership positions and honors in photography, civic service, travel and tourism, education, environmental stewardship and sports. His legacy lives on through his photos, his environmental protection efforts and his contributions to North Carolina sports and the state’s tourism industry.
Bob Quincy was born in Panther, West Virginia. His mother was a teacher, his father a doctor. By the time Bob was 13, his parents realized that their tiny town could not provide the education that their only child needed. So Quincy was sent to Oak Ridge Military Academy near Kernersville, where he was the school’s youngest student. He thrived in academics and sports, and he loved North Carolina, leaving it only briefly for military service. By the time he had graduated from high school, he had earned a basketball scholarship to UNC.
World War II interrupted Quincy’s education. He said that there were a few term papers staring him in the face, and he thought it might be a good idea to do the patriotic thing and go down to the recruiting office on Franklin Street. Rising to lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, Quincy flew 30 missions with the 8th Air Force over Germany toward the end of the war, then returned to Chapel Hill to finish his education.
With a journalism degree and a strong ability to paint pictures with words, he had no trouble landing a job with the Rocky Mount Telegraph. A few years later he was hired at the Charlotte News, eventually becoming sports editor and assembling one of the finest group of sports writers the Queen City would ever see. Furman Bisher and Sandy Grady were in his department, and Charles Kuralt was in the newsroom. Quincy’s quest for perfection occasionally frustrated him to the point of explosion. Stories of him throwing typewriters out of the second floor window were legendary, until the editor, Brodie Griffith, put a stop to it, saying someone on the sidewalk was going to get killed.
In 1962, Quincy took a job at his alma mater as sports information director. Four years later, WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, convinced him to become its sports editor. Not really liking being in front of a camera, he found a better fit in radio and moved to Big WAYS as sports director. In 1971, the Charlotte Observer offered Quincy a job as daily sports columnist, and he returned to his first love, print journalism. He continued to do his morning sports show on WAYS and was with both companies until his death.
Affectionately known as “Coach” to friends and colleagues, Quincy’s trademarks in his writing were fairness and accuracy. If he were told some information “off the record,” it would stay that way, until the go-ahead was given to publish. His writing reflected a vast knowledge
of sports and athletes with an encyclopedic memory for facts. He rarely ever took notes in an interview, but without fail got the quotes correct. Much of his writing was filled with humor so that the reader could picture himself there and laugh out loud at the situation. As funny in conversation as he was on the printed page, Quincy sometimes joked about himself but never put other people down. Asked one time about Dean Smith picking him as a golf partner in a charity match, Quincy said it was kind of like Hitler choosing Mussolini as an ally.
Honors, accolades, and awards were abundant for Quincy. Five times he was named National Sportswriter of the Year for North Carolina. He was inducted into the N.C. Boxing Hall of Fame for his work with Golden Gloves. In 1980, he was chosen Sportsman of the Year by the Charlotte Sportsman Club, which later renamed the honor the Bob Quincy Award after his death. In the last days of his life, his friend, Dean Smith, came by his home to present him with the Precious Gem Award from UNC. In 2005, he was posthumously inducted into the UNC School of Journalism Hall of Fame.
Quincy authored two books. Choo Choo chronicled the life and talents of football great Charlie Justice – the two had been friends since their college days together in Chapel Hill. The other title, They Made the Bell Tower Chime, was a composite of sketches about UNC athletes. After his death, the Bob Quincy Scholarship was created in the UNC School of Journalism.
In 1984, Quincy lost a two-year long battle with cancer. He showed the same dignity in his last days as he had throughout his life, always being considerate of those around him. He is remembered as one of North Carolina’s greatest sports writers and a gentleman to all who knew him. Bob was survived by his wife, Kathleen, and six children.
Gene Overby was recognized throughout the Atlantic Coast Conference as the “Voice of the Deacons” for his work with the school’s radio network. Overby was twice named the North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year and began his play-by-play work for the Demon Deacons in 1972. A native of Reidsville, N.C., Overby’s initial involvement with the ACC came as a radio announcer in Durham covering the Duke Blue Devils. He and his family moved to Winston-Salem in 1966 when he began broadcasting minor league baseball and Winston-Salem State University football. Wake Forest recognized Overby with its “Honorary Alumnus” Award in 1984. He was inducted into the Wake Forest University Sports Hall of Fame in the fall of 1988. [more…]
Wilt Browning of Kernersville was long considered one of the southeast’s premier sports writers and columnists. [more…]
Pioneer Raleigh sports broadcaster 1939-73 whose network covered all Big Four schools at one time. Best known as voice of N.C. State Wolfpack basketball and football during the heyday of coaches Everett Case and Earle Edwards. [more…]
His name was a household word in southern broadcasting for more than half a century. Was on the first ACC-TV network. Also did radio broadcasts of Washington Redskins, East Carolina, and Appalachian State among others. [more…]
First to serve as president of both U.S. Basketball Writers and Football Writers of America. Longtime sports editor of Raleigh News & Observer. Named to USBWA and Duke HOF. Received Curt Gowdy Award by Naismith HOF. [more…]
Longtime sportswriter/editor at Greensboro News & Record. Three-time winner of national golf writing competition. Member N.C. Journalism and Carolinas Golf HOFs. Co-founder and former assistant director ACC Service Bureau. [more…]
Widely acclaimed sports journalist and national magazine contributor for Charlotte Observer for 16 years and later sports information director at UNC-Chapel Hill. National SID Member of the Year award named for him. [more…]
An outstanding and dedicated sports journalist. Longtime Executive Sports Editor of Greensboro Daily News. Served as president of U.S. Basketball Writers, 1970-71. First Service Bureau Director of ACC. Member USBWA HOF. [more…]
Denton native and the first sports writer inducted into N.C. Journalism HOF. Past President Football Writers of America and recipient of Bert McGrane Award and Jake Wade Award. Longtime sports editor of Atlanta Journal. [more…]
One of the early producers of TV college sports. Produced the first live ACC basketball telecast on December 7, 1957. Also produced first ACC football regional telecast. Played football at the University of Pennsylvania. [more…]
Served as commentator and sports director during 16 years at CBS. Regular on The Masters broadcast crew for many years, and has covered most all major sporting events. Served as executive director of both the Carolinas PGA and the World Golf HOF. [more…]
Durham native who served 20 years as an assistant commissioner of ACC. SID at Wake Forest for 16 years. President College Sports Information Directors of America 1977. Member CoSIDA, USBWA and Wake Forest HOF. [more…]
A pioneer for female sportswriters in N.C. Moved from the society pages to sports during World War II with the Twin City Sentinel. Served as president of Atlantic Coast Sportswriters. Member N.C. Journalism HOF and N.C. Tennis HOF. [more…]
Sports Information Director at Duke for nearly half a century. The first SID inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame. Served as the second president of the College Sports Information Directors of America. Was president of the Carolina Baseball League for nine years. [more…]
Durham has been the “Voice of the Tar Heels” for over three decades. A native of Mebane, he grew up in Albemarle and began his broadcasting career with WZKY radio at age 16. The 1963 University of North Carolina graduate began his play-by-play duties at his alma mater in 1971. The Chapel Hill resident has been named North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year 10 times. [more…]
One of North Carolina’s pioneer football and basketball radio play-by-play broadcasters. Penfield, a resident of Asheboro, called Duke and Wake Forest games, and he was behind the microphone for numerous North Carolina high school all-star game broadcasts from Greensboro and Charlotte. He was the Duke Sports Information Director when the Blue Devils hosted the 1941 Rose Bowl game in Durham. He died in Asheboro on April 30, 2010. [more…]
With time running out at the 1992 NCAA East Regional championship game, Duke basketball star Christian Laettner was not the only one who made history. Bob Harris’ description of Laettner’s buzzer-beating basket to send the Blue Devils to the Final Four has become one of the most famous broadcasting calls ever in intercollegiate athletics. The Duke-Kentucky overtime thriller was televised by CBS Sports, but it is Harris’ definitive radio call that usually accompanies the videotape in promos, advertisements, special features, documentaries and other broadcast reflections on the classic NCAA Tournament finish. A clip of Laettner’s shot at the Basketball Hall of Fame included Harris’ description, and it was once rated as the second most recognizable basketball call ever, behind Johnny Most’s “Havlicek stole the ball, Havlicek stole the ball” in a Boston Celtics game.
Harris has been entertaining radio audiences as the play-by-play voice of the Duke Blue Devils for more than four decades. A native of Albemarle, he moved to Durham in 1975 to work for WDNC as a salesman. He also hosted a sports talk show and served as the color man for several Duke Football games, before getting the opportunity to do his first play-by-play for the Blue Devils at the Big Four Tournament in January 1976. When veteran announcer Add Penfield was unable to make a trip to Maryland a few weeks later, Harris got the nod again. He has been behind the microphone for virtually every football and basketball game since.
Working from his “crow’s nest” perch overlooking the floor in Cameron Indoor Stadium, and from press boxes and courtside tables at arenas all over the country, Harris has witnessed many of the signature moments in Duke history and brought them to life for his listeners. Final Fours, ACC championships, classic confrontations with archrivals, buzzer-beaters and blowouts, more than 100 NCAA Tournament games, six football bowl games — Harris has been on hand for it all, providing Duke fans with its team’s story every night, win or lose. His popularity among fans is such that many mute the audio on television broadcasts to listen to his account. When Duke fans hear “How sweet it is!” they don’t think of entertainer Jackie Gleason who made the phrase famous, but of Harris punctuating his call of a momentum three-pointer or dunk on the Duke Radio Network.
A three-time broadcaster of the year in North Carolina, Harris was influenced early by pioneers Penfield, Ray Reeve and Charlie Harville, as well as by Brooklyn Dodgers broadcasts that he could pick up on summer nights during his Albemarle youth. He followed the exploits of Hal Bradley’s Duke teams in the mid-1950s, UNC’s 1957 NCAA title team and Everett Case’s program at N.C. State, the school he attended in the early 1960s. He became a full-fledged Duke enthusiast when he began working for the radio team in 1975-76, and there hasn’t been anyone more loyal to the program in the 40+ years he’s been on the job.
Along with his game broadcasts, Harris has hosted the weekly coaches’ television shows and conducted daily interview programs with the coaches for local and internet broadcast. And he has been extremely involved in community service, with countless celebrity appearances as well as behind-the-scenes work for a host of charitable causes.
One of the distinguished North Carolina sportswriters, Green served as sports editor for the Charlotte News and as columnist for the Charlotte Observer for over two decades. He is a member of the NC Journalism and US Basketball Writers halls of fame and has been named national golf writer of year 3 times. Green has covered four Olympic Games, three British Opens, 25 Super Bowls, 25 US Opens and countless Final Fours plus 51 Masters. Named the 2006 recipient of the PGA of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The Charlotte resident is also the author of four books. [more…]