Yesterday in Raleigh, state officials honored the North Carolina Tar Heels for their 2017 NCAA National Championship.
The team arrived in Raleigh and was hosted by Governor Roy Cooper at the Executive Mansion:
Governor Cooper issued a proclamation, declaring “May 3rd, 2017 as a day of recognition for the Tar Heels.”
After visiting the Governor’s Mansion, the team was hosted by Speaker of the House Tim Moore at the State Legislative Building. Speaker Moore and President Pro Tempore Phil Berger greeted Coach Roy Williams:
At the General Assembly, the team and coaching staff were greeted by Speaker Moore, President Pro Tempore Berger, Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest and members of the General Assembly. Afterwards, both houses of the General Assembly gathered in the House chambers to honor the team. House Joint Resolution 921 honored UNC on their National Championship.
Alumni of UNC serving in the General Assembly spoke on the House floor commending the basketball team and coaching staff for their successes this season. Members from both sides of the aisle spoke highly of this team and the accomplishments of Coach Williams and the Carolina program. Here is the joint session, via WRAL.
There were several highlights from the debate on the resolution celebrating UNC’s season. Representative Verla Insko, who represents Chapel Hill, expressed the love North Carolinians have for this team, and that no matter the past, this team exemplifies The Carolina Way.
Representative Gregory Murphy gave his own rendition of A Visit from St. Nicholas that began “'Twas the night after Houston, in all our despair, a national championship vanished in thin air...” The poem went on in humorous fashion to describe Carolina’s return the final Monday in April and their win in 2017. You can view the poem in its entirety on Representative Murphy’s Facebook page.
Representative David Lewis had some fun with parliamentary procedure as he offered an amendment to the resolution, stating the desire of Carolina fans to repeat the championship in 2018. To do so, the amendment urged Theo Pinson and Tony Bradley to follow Joel Berry II back to the squad next season. Due to Pinson earlier that day announcing his intentions to return next year, the amendment was ruled out of order by Speaker Moore. Here is the proposed amendment from Representative Lewis:
Senator Angela Bryant discussed her involvement with UNC and the UNC basketball team. From 1973 to 1976, Senator Bryant was a graduate assistant with the basketball team during law school. She grew up in the same neighborhood as Phil Ford in Rocky Mount, who was running the Tar Heel offense during her time with the team.
Senator Rick Gunn spoke of Carolina’s “sweet redemption” in winning this year’s NCAA National Championship, nicknaming them the “Redeem Team.” Senator Gunn listed Coach Williams’ accomplishments and, much to the chagrin of Senator John Alexander who was in silent protest of the event by wearing a red coat and NCSU tie, noted that Roy Williams has the same number of NCAA National Championships as career losses to NC State.
After the resolution passed unanimously by both chambers, Coach Roy Williams addressed the members, staff, and guests. Coach Williams began by saying that the new version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas might be read at his family Christmas this year. He thanked the body for the honors and hospitality, and then went into a short message about teamwork. Williams spoke about the persistence and determination of this team and how they were able to accomplish team and individual goals. Education was noted as being close to Williams’ heart and urged lawmakers to reach across the aisle and work together to achieve common goals, particularly in the field of education.
Williams then continued on where Senator Gunn left off, noting that it was “very satisfying” seeing elected officials wearing red in the audience because they “really don’t want to be here today,” and those with clothing in darker shades of blue did not want to be there either.
He went on to say that North Carolina is home and that elected officials needed to be a team like the one being honored that day. Williams said that one player in particular could one day join their ranks, especially since he can “talk better than anyone.” Theo Pinson stood and gave a point and a wave to applause.
Williams finished by thanking the General Assembly for the honor and kind words, emphasizing the tremendous teamwork that led to the NCAA National Championship.
Editor’s note: Information for this article was gathered from publicly available sources. The writer attended the event yesterday in a personal capacity and not as a member of the press.