It’s been a hot minute since we’ve featured a Tar Heel fan’s collection of mementos, but this one was worth the wait.
Tom Hicks—a Durham resident, but Chapel Hill native—is the latest Tar Heel to share his Carolina Fan Cave with Tar Heel Blog. Tom, a second-generation Tar Heel, was born on campus, and maintains close ties to the school and athletic program as a Rams Club member and season ticket holder for football, basketball (men’s and women’s), and baseball. Let’s hear how Tom put together this spectacular collection:
Tar Heel Blog: When did you first become a Tar Heel fan? Were you born into it or is it because it was the home team?
Tom Hicks: I’m the classic “Tar Heel born, Tar Heel bred,” having been born at what was then known as Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill. My dad attended UNC, and started taking me to baseball, football, and basketball games when I was very young. I go back far enough to have attended hoops games in Woollen Gym, and baseball games at Emerson Field. I have missed just four home football games since 1964... three because I was in either Vegas or Hawaii with the hoops team.
THB: When did you begin collecting items?
TH: I really haven’t been collecting stuff for all that long... maybe 20 years? My favorite piece is the Carmichael chairs. I actually have two sets of them, but one is pretty beat up. My summer job between my junior and senior years at UNC was helping to remove the original chair seats in Carmichael and replace them with the bench seats. One day after work, a set of three chair seats somehow managed to end up in the trunk of my car! Those seats were mounted on my parent’s deck, and stayed there about 30 years before the house was sold. As you can imagine, they are fairly weatherworn. They are stored in my garage.
THB: What is your favorite piece? How did you acquire it?
TH: The set of five Carmichael seats mounted in my house was acquired about 15 years ago. A friend was moving to Florida, and was going to have a yard sale to get rid of a lot of stuff. When I saw he was going to sell his Carmichael seats, I said there was no way I would let anyone else get them.
THB: Are your signed magazines bought, or have you run into players/coaches to get them signed?
TH: I only have one signed magazine cover, and my wife got Tyler Hansbrough to sign it. Other signed items include a reprint of the 2004-05 hoops season ticket signed by Roy, and a large photo of Hansbrough and Dustin Ackley in their uniforms in front of the Old Well. Both were national player of the year when the photo was taken. The signed season ticket was acquired at a fund raising auction for Reece Holbrook... now a member of the UNC baseball team. The signed photo was acquired during the auction portion of the First Pitch Dinner to raise money for the UNC baseball team.
THB: Do you have any rituals for game day? Do you watch in your Fan Cave? Are others allowed in there with you?
TH: I don’t have any game day rituals, other than watching from the John Elway recliners in the room, although I attend pretty much every football game both home and away, as well as all home and some road hoops games, so that limits the number of games watched at home.
If you have an amazing Carolina Fan Cave like Tom, hit me up on Twitter at @LABMcKay so I can share your story!