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All-Time UNC Football Countdown: No. 20 Art Weiner

Despite being overshadowed by another all-time Carolina great, Art Weiner also had legendary career in Chapel Hill.

Photo courtesy UNC Athletic Communications

This summer, Tar Heel Blog will profile the top 25 players in the history of the North Carolina football program. The rankings were determined by votes from readers and staff.

The North Carolina Tar Heel football teams of the late 1940’s are mostly known for one man: Charlie Justice. In some respects, that’s fair enough. “Choo-Choo” is in the discussion for the greatest UNC football player of all time.

He’s far from the only legendary Tar Heel to play in that era, though. At the same time Justice was writing his legend, Art Weiner was also putting his name in the Carolina history books.

UNC career

After serving in the US Marine Corps, Weiner enrolled at UNC in 1946. He was a two-way player with the Tar Heels but was more noted for his play on the offensive side of the ball. As a freshman, he had just three receptions for 94 yards. Weiner broke out in his sophomore season and began accumulating record-setting numbers that would last for years after he left Chapel Hill.

Over the course of his next three seasons at UNC, Weiner caught over 100 passes for over 1600 yards and 15 touchdowns. His best season came as a senior when he had 52 catches for 762 yards and seven touchdowns. Those 52 catches in 1949 led the nation that year.

In those three seasons, Weiner, Justice, and coach Carl Snavely led the Tar Heels to three-straight New Year’s bowl games, the first three bowls of any kind in program history. That run of consecutive New Year’s games still hasn’t been matched in the team’s history.

Weiner finished his career with 106 total catches and 18 touchdown receptions, both records at the time. The catches record lasted for over 30 years, while the touchdowns record stood until 1997.

Awards and Honors

Weiner was a two-time All-American, making the first team in both 1948 and ‘49. He was all-Southern Conference first team three times from 1947-49. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1973, and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993. His #50 was retired by the program and is just one of five numbers to have that honor.

Most Notable Game

Despite setting all the records on the offensive side of the ball, Weiner’s most notable moment arguably came on the defensive side. In the Duke game in 1949, the Tar Heels held a 21-20 lead as the Blue Devils lined up for the potential game-winning kick. Weiner managed to break through the line, smother the kick, and make a tackle to save the game and give UNC the win.

After UNC

Weiner played one season in the NFL for the New York Yanks in 1950. In that year, he picked up where he left off at UNC, reeling in 35 catches for 722 yards and six touchdowns. However, a knee injury cut his professional career short.

After football, Weiner settled in Greensboro, where he worked for Burlington Industries and later owned a travel agency. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 87.