My sports marketing career began in Charlottesville at UVA in the late-70s. That's where I became one of those ABC fans - anybody but Carolina. The UVA-UNC hoops rivalry wasn't as intense as it is here with NC State or Duke...but it was THE Univ of Virginia vs THE Univ of North Carolina, and Wahoo Coach Terry Holland even named his dog Dean Smith. I would say that qualifies as a fierce rivalry.
In 1991 I moved to RDU and assumed my company's broadcasting affiliations with Duke and NC State. I really put ABC to work!
...but today you might say I'm a recovering ABCer, because I was won over by Dean Smith's progressive faith and politics as well as his generosity. It began in 2003 with the ALS Assn's "Field of Dreams Gala." (I was on the chapter board for a decade.) Smith came to the DBAP to film a public service announcement for the event. He had a strong connection to ALS. It had claimed the life of his friend, Skipper Bowles, another UNC legend.
Smith attended the 2003-2005 Galas and played in the 2006 Catfish Classic ALS Golf Tournament. Chapter President Jerry Dawson refreshed my memory this week: Coach Smith agreed to let us auction the three other spots in his foursome, and it sold for $5,000 on eBay. He signed many items for us over the years which helped raise funds for the fight. He was a great guy, but I am a little biased because he is one of my heroes!
It's great to be a legend, even more impressive to end one's life a bonafide hero for accomplishments on and off the court.