Chapel Hill's trophy case makes rivals blue with envy
Editor's note: Since these essays were submitted, six UNC women's field hockey players helped the United States qualify for the 2008 Games in Beijing. It will be the Americans' first Olympic appearance in the sport since 1996.
TitleTown USA is Chapel Hill, N.C., because of its national championships: five men's basketball, one women's basketball, five field hockey (including an undefeated championship this year), one men's soccer, four men's lacrosse, and 19 (yes, that stat is correct) women's soccer national championships. UNC has also produced athletes such as Mia Hamm, Lawrence Taylor and Michael Jordan who have won in the professional ranks and the Olympics.
UNC can lay claim to many of the greatest figures in sports. It has produced such basketball players as Michael Jordan, considered by many to be the greatest player in the history of the game, Sam Perkins, Phil Ford, Vince Carter, J.R. Reid, Antawn Jamison, Ed Cota, Rasheed Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse, Eric Montross, Hubert Davis, Kenny Smith, George Lynch, Lennie Rosenbluth and James Worthy. The men's basketball program has produced Larry Brown, who has won championships at the collegiate, Olympic and NBA levels. It has produced Roy Williams, winner of a national championship. It has produced George Karl, who is now the head coach of the Denver Nuggets. It has produced Mitch Kupchak, who is now the GM of the L.A. Lakers. Dean Smith, the career wins leader in NCAA history until recently passed by Bob Knight, won two national championships.
Its football program has produced champions as well. Willie Parker is the starting tailback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and has recently won a Super Bowl. Julius Peppers plays for the Carolina Panthers, who were the NFC champions in 2003 and narrowly lost to New England in the Super Bowl. Jeff Saturday, a center for the Indianapolis Colts has recently won a Super Bowl. One of the greatest linebackers to play the game, Lawrence Taylor, played his college ball at UNC. UNC has also produced Mack Brown, who recently won a national championship with the University of Texas. UNC is currently coached by Butch Davis, who developed the players who won a national championship at the University of Miami in 2000.
Several of the players who kick-started the nation's interest in women's soccer began their careers at UNC. Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Cindy Parlow, Carla Werden [Overbeck], Staci Wilson, Tiffany Roberts and April Heinrichs all played at UNC. Current U.S. national team stars include Heather O'Reilly, Lindsay Tarpley, Lori Chalupny and Cat Whitehill. The greatest coach in the history of women's soccer, Anson Dorrance, has been the coach at UNC for many years. On the men's side, Eddie Pope has represented the United States in the World Cup, Olympics and MLS. He also was a kicker for Mack Brown's football teams in his years at UNC.
Sports and Academics
tatafreeman : UNC has one of the largest athletic programs in the ACC. Also, the school is well known as an academic stalwart. The town and region are crazy for the university's teams. In Chapel Hill they even have Carolina Blue fire trucks. The football team is improving under Butch Davis, and the atmosphere on home game Saturdays is very enjoyable. As a graduate of the university, I valued my time there and look forward to returning to Chapel Hill to watch the teams play and win. Go Heels!!
ACCNation: My choice for TitleTown USA is Chapel Hill, NC 27514. WHY? The town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina is known for three things: books, blue skies, and great athletics. It's the home of the University of North Carolina -- the nation's first state university to open it's doors - and the UNC Tar Heels, one of college basketball's winingest programs. At UNC, basketball is more than a sport -- it's a way of life, and has been for over 96 years. Having produced some of the most gifted players and incredible moments in sports history. Carolina Basketball is truly a phenomenon like no other.
All these athletes and players represent a small microcosm of the greatness of UNC athletes. There are simply too many great athletes to name....
[But] to get to the essence of what makes Chapel Hill great, one has to view the rabid fan base. UNC has its own color, Carolina Blue, and everyone in Chapel Hill bleeds that beautiful color. The street signs are Carolina Blue. The fire trucks are Carolina Blue. The helicopters are Carolina Blue. Nearly every restaurant has memorabilia from Carolina's rich athletic history. The mascot Rameses is one of the most unique and recognizable mascots in the country. Everywhere one looks there are students clad in Carolina Blue. Franklin Street is a famous street in Chapel Hill that becomes crowded with mobs and bonfires after basketball wins over Duke. The student population is supportive of all the teams, with programs such as Carolina Fever to bring support to every team. The men's basketball team may get the most support, but Chapel Hill residents and Tar Heel fans bleed Carolina Blue for every team. UNC also has one of the most widespread fan bases in the country. The fans certainly aid in qualifying UNC for the name of TitleTown, USA.
When compared to other cities and towns in the United States, none of them can compare to Chapel Hill, a town rich in unparalleled athletic history. UNC is responsible for numerous championships and great athletes and is certainly TitleTown USA.
Oh, the sweet rolling baby blue skies of Chapel Thrill. Where do we begin? Do we talk about the amazing amount of talent born to the country here? Jordan, the original LT, Vince Carter, Julius Peppers, Mia Hamm? Yes, yes amazing talent. Or how about two legendary coaches, both with bling on their fingers, Dean Smith and Roy Williams?
Ah, but nothing can start this tour but this fact from Tar Heel Nation, 35 national championships in six different collegiate sports. Everyone knows about the men's basketball team in national titles in 1924, 1957, 1982, 1993, and 2005. ... Those five men's titles are nothing to laugh at, but 17 ACC titles too? Chapel Hill holds precedence over all cities as the real college town in America, and not only because of the male-female ratio. The oldest state University in the nation has more than a one-trick pony sports franchise.
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Chapel Hill's trophy case makes rivals blue with envy
L.A. walks, talks, acts like TitleTown
Boston has recent success, history
Detroit is a hockey, baseball, basketball town
Gators swim in success
Green Bay won't give up TitleTown
Louisville tries to slug its way to title
This TitleTown belongs to the Little Leaguers
Massillon, Ohio, earns title stripes in football
ESPN writers, announcers
Green Bay: There is no other TitleTown USA
Chicago: The real TitleTown USA
Three words make L.A. TitleTown
Pittsburgh: So good, they donate champions
Four in nine makes San Antonio TitleTown USA
Other fan submission
Artesia, N.M., lives high school football
Iowa City's hopes pinned on wrestling
Long Beach tries to spike competition
South Bend has golden dreams
List of TitleTown USA nominees