Dean Smith knew how important it was, and I reckon he passed that knowledge down to Roy Williams. By all reports, Mack Brown understands the same thing. It is, after all, a vital part of their jobs. When Coach goes to another town, somewhere that isn’t called the southern part of heaven, there is something he absolutely has to keep in mind. You see, on the recruiting trail, in the course of trying to persuade a star recruit to spend a few years in Chapel Hill as a Tar Heel, winning over the kid is very important, sure—
But not quite as important as Mom.
My mom graduated from Carolina in 1986, and loved it so much she went ahead and did it again in 2003. I have her to thank, in large part, for my good fortune to have grown up in Chapel Hill, rooting for the correct blue. I have her to thank for so much more than that, of course, but I have to save something for her card.
I got to live most of my life in Chapel Hill as a direct result of my mom’s years at UNC, spending fall Saturdays in Kenan Stadium and celebrating the big wins on Franklin Street. In addition to being the reason I’m here in the most general sense, she’s most of the reason I’m here in Chapel Hill; the reason I learned to sing the UNC fight song (and alma mater) at the same age that I learned to sing the national anthem.
There are plenty of stories out there, from star players and backups alike, about going to play for the coach that Mom liked best. It makes sense; moms can be one of the most powerful guiding forces in a young person’s life, and the opinion of Mom carries significant weight in terms of schools, friends, and many other aspects of the weird time we spend doing our best to grow up. Mother knows best, as they say, and any coach that can win over Mom is a breakaway favorite to coach the kid in the following years.
Coaches Williams and Brown understand how important a mom is, and today is a day for the rest of us to take a moment to remember it, as well. I know the word Mom means different things to different folks, but I hope today you are able to celebrate in whatever way best suits you.
Go Heels, and call your mother.