Volume One is available now. This volume covers 1911-1961 and will have 474 pages with over 1,000 images. This is a coffee table quality, 9.75" x 12" hardcover book.
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When Ron Smith was in fourth grade, he got Dean Smith’s autograph at a UNC basketball game. His dad, without missing a beat, captured the moment perfectly with his camera, complete with flash and color film.
“We sent Coach Smith a copy, and he sent a thank you note with a signed team picture,” Smith said. “As a nine-to-ten-year-old, that got me started collecting stuff – programs, ticket stubs, photos, anything.”
After more than 30 years of research, Smith finished authoring a comprehensive book detailing the history of the Carolina Basketball program entitled “The Tar Heels: A History of UNC Basketball, Volume One,” otherwise known as The Tar Heel Book.
The Tar Heel Book is the first of a three-part trilogy. Volume One covers every season from 1911 to 1961, Volume Two will cover 1962 to 1997 (the Dean Smith years) and Volume Three will cover 1998 to 2021 (the Roy Williams years).
Not only does The Tar Heel Book trilogy include facts about key figures in UNC basketball like Frank McGuire, Dean Smith, Roy Williams and Michael Jordan, but it also goes beyond the surface to include information about their formative years and the people who contributed to their success.
Smith has sought countless libraries and photographers across the country in pursuit of information and photos for the book. He’s studied every boxscore, identified every player in every team picture, and even put together correct statistics and team rosters for every season.
“We’ve looked all around, and we believe there’s nothing like this book that’s ever been published for any sports team,” Smith said.
The high-quality, chronological images set the book apart, many of which have never been published and would have otherwise been lost. Many early players, who had previously been unidentified in team pictures, will also be highlighted, along with their stories.
“I graduated from UNC in ‘79, so going back to those games when I was in school, I love those memories,” Smith said. “I’ve done a bio for one or two players for every season, so it’s not just about games, it’s also about people.”
Whenever Smith would research a particular season, he would also review the corresponding articles written by The Daily Tar Heel, which are archived online. This revealed many interesting anecdotes, which serve as information-rich segues throughout the book that are weaved together by Smith in vivid detail.
The foreword was written by Larry Brown, a former UNC basketball player and the only coach in basketball history to win an NBA championship and an NCAA title. The book discusses his foundations, explaining why a boy from Brooklyn decided to move south and play for UNC.
“I'm very happy to be a part of The Tar Heel Book by Ron Smith,” Brown said in a testimonial. “I'm pleased to be a part of the Carolina family, and The Tar Heel Book is the best way I know to see how it all happened."
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