Two events that made history more than 44 years apart have been added to the Hall’s “Great Moments in North Carolina Sports History” series in 2012. The two honorees: Track star Jim Beatty’s sub-4-minute mile, which took place in Los Angeles on Feb. 10, 1962, and the Carolina Hurricanes winning the 2006 Stanley Cup.
They become the second and third entries in the Great Moments series, which was launched in 2011. The first feat recognized was the University of North Carolina men’s 1957 NCAA basketball title, the result of a 57-54 triple-overtime victory against Kansas. A blue-ribbon statewide panel that included members of the Hall of Fame, at-large voters and the Hall’s Board of Directors participate annually in the selection of the individual and team accomplishments.
“It was no easy choice,” says Dr. Janie Brown, president of the Hall. “There have been so many outstanding sports accomplishments by North Carolina athletes and teams over the years that narrowing the field to only a few can be a daunting task. We are thrilled that these two moments for the ages will be joining last year’s choice, the 1957 Carolina basketball team that won the national championship, on our permanent list of Great Moments as we continue to celebrate the remarkable sports heritage of this state.”
Beatty is a charter member of the Hall. The former University of North Carolina runner was inducted as part of the first class in 1963 within months of his remarkable series of track victories under the colors of the Los Angeles Track Club in early 1962. It was the winter in which Beatty broke 11 American and three world records and became the first-ever recipient of ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year award. But his sub-four-minute indoor mile, the first ever, is the great moment the Hall of Fame panelists singled out. Beatty covered the distance in 3:58.9, shattering the old mark by two and a half seconds, an eternity in distance running.
The other great moment came not on the boards, but on ice, and gave our state its first major professional championship in any sport. And it came in dramatic fashion. On June 19, 2006, in a winner-take-all seventh game against the Edmonton Oilers, rookie goalie Cam Ward stopped 22 of 23 shots as the Hurricanes took possession of Lord Stanley’s cup with a 3-1 victory, thrilling a raucous sellout crowd at the RBC Center (now PNC Arena) and setting off a mad celebration through the streets of downtown Raleigh.