DTH: How does your role as a manager shift in the NCAA Tournament, if it does at all? Obviously it’s a bigger deal now, with the further UNC goes, but does that change anything for you personally?
FR: My role doesn’t necessarily change, but maybe just becomes more amplified. So all of the things I do become a whole lot more important because the ticket list must be perfect so that Coach (Williams) can have an exact number of have many tickets he has left to give to lettermen and donors and things of that nature. I also have to make sure the team is outfitted with the proper gear and such for things like open practices. They have to have the right jersey with the right number so it is on us as managers to make sure they have clean practice gear.
DTH: Do you guys get to have more free time than the basketball players when you’re on the road or is it just as much time on the court and in the locker room for you guys?
FR: Wherever the team goes, we go so not much difference in free time. How we spend it is probably different because the guys like to nap and relax and we enjoy going out and seeing what the cities have to offer. The ACC Tournament was obviously fun in D.C. and Philly was neat too.
DTH: What do you all do for fun when you’re on the road? What’d you do in Philadelphia? What are you planning on doing in Houston?
FR: So like I said we go and see things that the cities are famous for. D.C. has so much history and monuments and things of that sort and Philly had the Liberty Bell and their famous cheesesteak places. So we like to explore. Houston is a neat place for me because it is famous for BBQ. Since I am from Lexington — The BBQ Capital of the World — I’m interested to see how their BBQ holds up.
DTH: For you personally, what has this run into the NCAA Tournament meant, after being on a team that was ranked No. 1 preseason and was questioned at times throughout the season, but seems to be playing the best basketball in the country at the most important time?
FR: This season has meant a lot to me because I feel so involved and attached. In years past, it was like I knew we probably were not going to accomplish our dreams and goals, but this year I never doubted the team or coaches and knew what we were capable of. So to be a small part of something that has the potential to be historic is special. To be with Coach Williams and his staff everyday is special. And to be with the players, some of whom I call me best friends, is special. And of course to be with my other five managers means the world because we put so much into this. It is very rewarding to feel like it is paying off.
DTH: What’s something that people would be surprised about or wouldn’t expect that you have to do or get to do as a manager?
FR: This may not relate to basketball, but us managers are often a lifeline for the guys.
Brice (Johnson) and I recently talked about what we were getting for our girlfriends for Valentine’s Day, and the guys are always asking us what we would do in certain situations. So it is kind of funny knowing that the guys ask us regular people for advice from time to time.
DTH: What was it like when the team won the East Region and you got to celebrate with all the guys on the court, cut the nets down for the second time in as many weeks and get your picture taken with the trophy?
FR: Those are the type of moments I will cherish forever. I actually cried on court which looking back on I wasn’t too proud of, but it was such a relief to finally be able to get those seniors to the Final Four and see how happy they were and how happy everyone was.Everything else like cutting the nets and pictures with the trophy is just an added bonus. Being there and being a part of the win was what meant most to me.
DTH: Best moment as a UNC manager?
FR: For now (laughs), I’d say the best moment was beating Duke in Cameron to win the ACC regular season. That was a great experience and to do it in Cameron (Indoor Stadium) was even better.
DTH: Funniest moment?
FR: Theo (Pinson) crashing the presser is up there, (Johnson) getting the tech (against Notre Dame) was hilarious to me — not to (Williams).
I’d say my favorite funny moment was when Coach had a huge typo when writing on the white board at the ACC Tournament and everyone gave him grief for it and even he was laughing. He combined two letters into a single letter that looked like a dog or something and all the guys were killing him and he took it all in stride.
DTH: Best and worst parts of the job?
FR: Best part of the job is the friendships and relationships that you build along the way.
The people I have met through basketball have given me entrance into what I consider the best fraternity on campus: UNC basketball.
The worst part is knowing it will all end eventually and the magical ride that it has been will stop. I will always cherish the opportunity Coach Williams and his staff gave me to be a part of something so special and renown as Carolina basketball.