They grow up so fast. Ten years is like 70 or something in internet years right?
On this day 10 years ago I said, "Oh why not?" and started a blog on Blogspot. Before that I had bounced around Inside Carolina and the old 850 the Buzz Blog dropping my own comments on various sports topics. While that was fun, I ultimately decided to create my own site for me to write about UNC athletics and other topics. My wanting a place to simply express my opinions probably explains why this rather random topic was the first post. I am not sure what I expected when I started the site or if I even thought it was become what it has. I was just a guy who liked writing and the Tar Heels. Ten years later here we are.
The original name of the blog was Tar Heel Fan and I actually jumped into it smack in the middle of the basketball season. Six months later I started doing regular game coverage for football, did the same for basketball and off we went. The site moved from Blogspot to a subdomain on Wordpress.com. Later I purchased a domain name for the site and eventually moved to my own web host.
For the first almost four years I operated the site solo but in 2010 added two writers. Doc Kennedy and Chris Strohsahl joined the team. Chris became the resident stat and numbers guy while Doc added depth to the site both in terms of analysis, historical perspective and became a key contributor in our coverage of the NCAA scandal. Both have proven to be invaluable sounding boards for me and their presence has undoubtedly made the site much better from a quality standpoint.
In 2012, the site was so busy, the comments section wouldn't work properly during on game threads. Just prior to infamous Austin Rivers Game in Chapel Hill I moved to an upgraded web host. I also decided to change the name to Tar Heel Blog and dropped my anonymity. A year later we were approached by SB Nation about merging with Carolina March. That site's proprietor T.H. was a gracious host as we made the move in fall of 2013. Our inclusion on SB Nation gave us credibility as part of a media organization opening doors previously closed to us.
In 2013 we were credentialed by UNC to cover the Tar Heels on press row at home games. In 2014 we added another member to the writing staff in Paul Kushner to augment our football and basketball coverage as well as handling baseball for the site.
The life of this site has crossed some interesting changes in the internet. When we started it was live blogs on the site that required refreshing the page. Later we did it live blogs on Cover It Live which was all fun and games until the 2010 basketball season happened. Twitter later replace live blogging as the means of providing in-game commentary. The advent of Vines, YouTube, Instagram and UNC's own focused on "new media" has led to changes in what what we post and what people care about.
Among the big stories we've seen go by have been John Bunting's demise as Tar Heel head coach followed by my suggestion UNC hire then Navy head coach Paul Johnson instead of Butch Davis. The was the career of Tyler Hansbrough which ended with an NCAA title and included jumping off a fraternity balcony. There was the summer of 2008 with UNC players testing the waters that ended with everyone coming back. The NCAA scandal in football started and was wrapped up. That was followed by the academic scandal, Wainstein Report and another NCAA probe that's still not finished.
We've written about basketball in a three year span of tremendous success followed by a roller coaster. There was figuring out the correct timestamp on Marvin Austin's Club Liv tweet, piece after piece analyzing and at times making fun of NCAA scandal. We've seen a historically bad defense in football but a ride to remember just a year later. We had the Summer of P.J., Second Half Marcus Paige and at least one post per basketball season telling everyone to step away from the ledge. There was Ty Lawson's toe, Kendall Marshall's wrist and even a post about the length of Marcus Paige's hair.
When I started the site, I wanted it to be a fan site that was intellectually honest that, while biased, provided reasonable analysis of UNC athletics and maybe have some fun at the same time. After ten years I feel like we have done that for the most part or at least done it well enough that you, the readers, keep coming back. Traffic is the life blood of any website and you guys have provided plenty of it.
So a huge thank you to Doc, Chris, Paul, and T.H. for filling the pages with quality content. Thanks to the local media folks who included this site in blogrolls to give it attention and linked to it when we wrote something worth noting. And our thanks and appreciation to the readers, commenters and those who choose to spend time with us.