A national championship, five Final Fours (or NCAA Tournament semi-finals), and five ACC regular season or tournament championships. There were also awards won and records set—both individual and team achievements. Some might say that it was just a typical year for North Carolina, but typical or not, it was an extremely successful year and one that should be celebrated and bragged about.
If you don’t think that five ACC Championships is impressive, just look at this tweet from Adam Lucas:
At times, it seems easy to take the success that Carolina has had for granted and just brush it off as another typical year for the Tar Heels. However, we should all know that success can come and go, and in some cases, it may not come around often (just ask your friends that wear red in Raleigh about that).
Here are just a few of the highlights from 2016-2017, so that we can truly appreciate what a great year it has been, and celebrate that fact (or rub it in for family and friends who might support the wrong shade of blue):
- The men’s basketball team won the ACC regular season title and the national championship.
- The baseball team currently sits at No. 2 in the country, has won the ACC Coastal Division, and has a team that is good enough to make it to the College World Series.
- The women’s field hockey team was runner-up in the NCAA Tournament.
- The football team had the number two overall NFL Draft Pick (Mitch Trubisky) and six total players drafted.
- The men’s golf team advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2007.
- The women’s golf team had their highest finish in the NCAA Championships since 2011.
- The women’s lacrosse team won the ACC Tournament.
- The men’s lacrosse team won the ACC Tournament.
- The women’s soccer team made it to the NCAA Tournament Semi-Finals.
- The women’s volleyball team won the ACC Title.
- The men’s soccer team made it to the College Cup (NCAA Semi-Finals).
- The men’s tennis team had the most wins in a single season and advanced to the national championship for the first time in school history.
- The women’s tennis team won the ACC Championship. Hayley Carter has the most wins in ACC singles history.
- Kenny Selmon and Ceo Ways each won individual ACC titles in their respective events at the ACC Track and Field Championships.
(Note: There is still room for more trophies and accolades as the men’s golf team is competing at the NCAA Championships, and the baseball team is in the midst of the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.)
Also, I didn’t mention many of the individual achievements and accolades from this past year, or the academic success of the athletic program, but they are important parts of what makes North Carolina one of the most successful athletic departments in the country.
If you are a listener of The Weekly Tar Heel Podcast (shameless plug), you will know that in recent interviews with Jones Angell and Turner Walston, we have discussed the success of this past year and that one of the many things that makes UNC so great is that it supports a well-rounded athletic program. The focus is not solely on one sport, but in giving the coaches and student-athletes of each of the 28 varsity sports the support, equipment, and facilities that they need to all be successful and compete at the highest level in the NCAA.
The Learfield Directors’ Cup is an award given each year (to Stanford) to the program that earns the most number of points based upon their standings/finish in certain sports. After the winter season was completed, UNC was in 6th place overall in the Learfield standings (the highest ACC team). With the success of the spring season, UNC will probably remain near the top of the standings and further prove that 2016-2017 was a successful year for the whole program.
Tar Heel fans should be proud to wear their 2017 National Champions shirts and should brag to their friends and relatives about how great it is to be a fan of the “University of National Champions.” However, it should not just be because of the men’s basketball national championship because it was a great year 2016-2017 for the entire UNC athletic department.