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North Carolina Tar Heels
UniversityUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
ConferenceACC (primary)
EAGL (women's gymnastics)
NCAADivision I (FBS)
Athletic directorBubba Cunningham
LocationChapel Hill, North Carolina
Varsity teams27
Football stadiumKenan Memorial Stadium
Basketball arenaDean E. Smith Student Activities Center
Baseball stadiumBryson Field at Boshamer Stadium
Soccer stadiumDorrance Field
Other venuesWilliam D. Carmichael Jr. Arena
NicknameTar Heels
Fight songI'm a Tar Heel Born
Here Comes Carolina
ColorsCarolina blue and white[1]
Atlantic Coast Conference logo in North Carolina's colors
Atlantic Coast Conference logo in North Carolina's colors

The North Carolina Tar Heels are the intercollegiate athletic teams that represent the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The name Tar Heel is a nickname used to refer to individuals from the state of North Carolina, the Tar Heel State. The campus at Chapel Hill is referred to as the University of North Carolina for the purposes of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.[2] The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was chartered in 1789, and in 1795 it became the first state-supported university in the United States.[3] Since the school fostered the oldest collegiate team in the Carolinas, the school took on the nickname Carolina, especially in athletics. The Tar Heels are also referred to as UNC or The Heels.[3]

The mascot of the Tar Heels is Rameses, a Dorset Ram. It is represented as either a live Dorset sheep with its horns painted Carolina Blue, or as a costumed character performed by a volunteer from the student body, usually an undergraduate student associated with the cheerleading team.[4]

Carolina has won 47 NCAA Division I team national championships in seven different sports, eighth all-time, and 52 individual national championships.

Sports sponsored

Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross country
Cross country Fencing
Fencing Field hockey
Football Golf
Golf Gymnastics
Lacrosse Lacrosse
Soccer Rowing
Swimming & diving Soccer
Tennis Softball
Track and field Swimming & diving
Wrestling Tennis
Track and field
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.


Main article: North Carolina Tar Heels baseball

North Carolina Tar Heels baseball

The baseball team has had recent success, reaching the championship series of the College World Series in 2006 and 2007 losing both times to Oregon State. They also appeared in the College World Series in 1960, 1966, 1978, 1989, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2018.

Men's basketball

2008 men's basketball players Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, and Deon Thompson
2008 men's basketball players Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, and Deon Thompson

Main article: North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball

Carolina has enjoyed long success as one of the top basketball programs in the country. Overall, the Tar Heels have won six NCAA National Championships and were retroactively awarded one for the 1923–24 season by the Helms Foundation and the Premo-Porretta Power Poll.[5]

Under coach Frank McGuire, the team won its 1st NCAA championship in 1957. After McGuire left, legendary coach Dean Smith established the team as a powerhouse in college basketball. In 31 years at Carolina, Smith set the record for the most wins of any men's college basketball head coach, a record broken in 2007 by Bob Knight. Under Smith, the Tar Heels won two national championships and had numerous talented players come through the program. Smith is also credited with coming up with the four corners offense. More recently, the Tar Heels won the national championship in 2005, 2009, and 2017 under coach Roy Williams. Williams passed his mentor Smith's all-time wins mark in 2020, and reached 903 wins during his time as a head coach, including his previous stint at Kansas.

Williams retired in April 2021, and was replaced by assistant coach Hubert Davis. Davis, a former player for the Tar Heels under Smith, also had a lengthy career as an NBA player, and spent several seasons as an analyst for ESPN. He becomes the first African American head coach for UNC men's basketball.

JV Basketball

North Carolina is one of the few remaining Division I schools to sponsor a junior varsity basketball team. The JV Tar Heels play games against community colleges and preparatory schools. Current varsity head coach Hubert Davis was the coach of the JV team for several seasons, and Roy Williams also held a stint as the JV head coach when he was an assistant under Dean Smith.

Women's basketball

Main article: North Carolina Tar Heels women's basketball

Field hockey

2007 field hockey team with President George W. Bush
2007 field hockey team with President George W. Bush

Main article: North Carolina Tar Heels field hockey


2006 football team playing Virginia Tech
2006 football team playing Virginia Tech

Main article: North Carolina Tar Heels football

Men's lacrosse

Men's lacrosse in the 2009 ACC tournament final.
Men's lacrosse in the 2009 ACC tournament final.

Main article: North Carolina Tar Heels men's lacrosse

Women's lacrosse

Main article: North Carolina Tar Heels women's lacrosse

Men's soccer

Main article: North Carolina Tar Heels men's soccer

Women's soccer

Offensive Player of the Year Yael Averbuch
Offensive Player of the Year Yael Averbuch
2006 women's soccer player Robyn Gayle
2006 women's soccer player Robyn Gayle

Main article: North Carolina Tar Heels women's soccer

Women's tennis

Jamie Loeb attended UNC for her freshman and sophomore years (2013–15), during which she became the first freshman in close to 30 years to win both the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championship (making her the NCAA Women's Singles Tennis National Champion) and the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship.[6] She was also the first singles national champion in UNC women's tennis history.[7][8][6] In both her freshman and her sophomore seasons she was named Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Player of the Year.[9][7]

The women's tennis program, under head coach Brian Kalbas, won ITA Indoor National Championships in 2013, 2015, 2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022, becoming one of the more successful programs in indoor tennis in the country.

Men's golf

The men's golf team has won 14 conference championships:[10]

Two Tar Heels have won the NCAA individual championship, Harvie Ward in 1949 and John Inman in 1984. Ward also won the British Amateur in 1952 and the U.S. Amateur in 1955 and 1956. The team's best finish was second place in 1953 and 1991.

Tar Heel golfers who have had success at the professional level include Davis Love III (20 PGA Tour wins including 1997 PGA Championship) and Mark Wilson (five PGA Tour wins).


Following Coach Sam Barnes who built the modern wrestling program at UNC (1953–1971), Head coach Bill Lam led the Tar Heel wrestling program for 30 years until his retirement in 2002, where his former wrestler and 1982 NCAA Champion, C.D. Mock, became his replacement. Under Lam, the Tar Heels were a consistent top 25 NCAA team. Lam led the Tar Heels to 15 ACC tournament titles in addition to being named ACC coach of the year 10 times. Following the Lam era, Mock was named ACC Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006 in addition to claiming two ACC team titles.[11] In 2015, Mock was fired as head wrestling coach for defending his son against a false sexual assault allegation. He was replaced by Olympic bronze medalist and Oklahoma State University graduate Coleman Scott.

The Tar Heel wrestling program boasts many ACC champions, All-Americans, and has 4 individual NCAA champions, with 6 championships amongst them: C.D. Mock (1982), Rob Koll (1988), T.J. Jaworsky (1993, 1994, 1995), and Austin O'Connor (2021). Jaworsky is known as one of the greatest college wrestlers of all time as he is the first and only ACC wrestler to win three NCAA titles in addition to winning the inaugural Dan Hodge Trophy, given to college wrestling's most dominant wrestler. Koll is now the head coach at Cornell University where he has led the program to new heights with multiple top 10 NCAA finishes.

UNC wrestling All-Americans include: C.D. Mock, Dave Cook, Jan Michaels, Bob Monaghan, Mike Elinsky, Rob Koll, Bobby Shriner, Tad Wilson, Al Palacio, Lenny Bernstein, Doug Wyland, Enzo Catullo, Pete Welch, Shane Camera, Jody Staylor, Marc Taylor, Stan Banks, Justin Harty, Evan Sola, Chris Rodrigues, Evan Henderson, Ethan Ramos, and Joey Ward.

Other notable alumni include C.C. Fisher, a 1998 ACC champion and Most Outstanding Wrestler, who went on to become a successful wrestler on the international stage, where he was as high as second on the United States Olympic latter. Fisher also went on to become a successful coach for multiple Division I wrestling programs including Iowa State and Stanford. Also, the late Sen. Paul Wellstone attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) on a wrestling scholarship. In college he was an undefeated ACC wrestling champion.

The Tar Heel wrestling program has won 17 total ACC championships: 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2006

UNC's best finish at the NCAA tournament was 5th in 1982.[12] They also took 6th in 1995.

Carmichael Arena is currently the home to the Tar Heels Wrestling team, located centrally on campus.[13]

Women's rowing

Head Coaches - Thomas Revelle, Emilie Gross

Founded 1997/98 season

Other sports

2005 men's soccer team playing SMU
2005 men's soccer team playing SMU

See also: North Carolina Tar Heels softball

See also: North Carolina Tar Heels handball

Other national championship victories include the women's team handball team in 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011; and the men's handball team in 2004, 2005, and 2006. The men's crew won the 2004 ECAC National Invitational Collegiate Regatta in the varsity eight category. In 1994, Carolina's athletic programs won the Sears Directors Cup which is awarded for cumulative performance in NCAA competition.


Carolina also fields non varsity sports teams. North Carolina's rugby team competes in the Atlantic Coast Rugby League against its traditional ACC rivals. North Carolina Men's Rugby finished second in its conference in 2010, led by conference co-player of the year Alex Lee. The North Carolina Men finished second at the Atlantic Coast Invitational in 2009 and again in 2010. North Carolina has also competed in the Collegiate Rugby Championship, finishing 11th in 2011 in a tournament broadcast live on NBC.[14]

The North Carolina Women's Rugby Team is a Division 1 team competing in the Blue Ridge Rugby Conference and has repeatedly competed at the National Level, including a run at the Final Four in 2016. Notable Alumni of UNC Women's Rugby include All-American Emily Pratt (Second team 2003, First team 2006), All-American Kira Cervenka (First team 2004-5), All-American and US 7s National player Katie Lorenz (Second team 2010, 2011–present), and All-American and professional US 7s National player Kimber Rozier (First team 2011, 2011–present). Current distinguished players include U20 National team winger Holly Zoeller (2010–11) and U23 South All-Stars Jessica Meidinger (2011) and Carrie Moss (2010-11). Alumni Kimber Rozier and Naya Taper play on the USA Nationals 15s Team, with Tapper having competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


North Carolina’s Ultimate (sport) teams compete nationally in USA Ultimate’s College division. The men’s team, Darkside, won national championships in 2015,[15] 2018,[16] 2021, and 2022.[17] The women's team, Pleiades, also won back-to-back national championships in 2021 and 2022.[17] Individuals on both Darkside and Pleiades have won the Callahan Award, a collegiate MVP award determined by a vote of their peers. Callahan winners include Leila Tunnell (2011), Jonathan Nethercutt (2015), Matt Goechoe-Hanas (2019), Anne Worth (2020), and Dawn Culton (2022).[18]


NCAA team championships

North Carolina has won 48 NCAA team national championships.[19]

Other national team championships

Below are 23 national team titles that were not bestowed by the NCAA:

(*) Pre-NCAA tournament title (retrospectively selected by Helms Foundation in 1943 and Premo-Porretta Power Poll in 1995.)
(**) There was only one AIAW soccer tournament, thus making North Carolina the only women's soccer team to win an AIAW championship
(***) ITA National Team Indoor Championships
(****) USA Ultimate College Championships


Main articles: Carolina-Duke rivalry, Carolina-NC State rivalry, and South's Oldest Rivalry

See also: Tobacco Road (rivalry)

Carolina's most heated rivalries are with its Tobacco Road counterparts Duke, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest. In recent years, the Carolina-Duke basketball series has attracted the most attention. HBO even made a documentary in 2009 called "Battle for Tobacco Road: Duke vs. Carolina".[20] The Tar Heels also have a rivalry with Virginia in college football, known as the South's Oldest Rivalry. UNC and UVA are the two oldest schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

North Carolina Cheer

I'm a Tar Heel Born

Carolina's main fight song is I'm a Tar Heel Born. Its lyrics appear in the 1907 edition of the university's yearbook, the "Yackety Yack," although how long it existed before that is not known.[21] Some say that it was in the late 1920s that it began to be sung as an add-on (or "tag") to the school's alma mater, "Hark The Sound", although the current version of the sheet music for "Hark the Sound" includes the "I'm a Tar Heel Born" tag as an integral part of the alma mater and credits the full song to William Starr Myers with a date of 1897.[22] Today, the song is almost always played immediately after the singing of "Hark The Sound", even during more formal occasions such as convocation and commencement. Just before home football and basketball games, the song is played by the Bell Tower near the center of campus, and is often played after major victories.[23]

As it appears in its 1907 printed form, the final words of the song are "Rah, rah, rah!" Starting in the 1960s, however, "Rah, rah, rah!" was "unofficially" replaced with "Go to hell, State!"; NC State was UNC's main athletic rival for much of the first half of the 20th century. From the late 1980s onward, the "unofficial" final lyrics have been "Go to hell, Duke!"; reflecting Duke eclipsing State as Carolina's main rival.

Simply known as "Tag" by many Marching Tar Heel alumni, and titled as such on some recorded albums, "I'm a Tar Heel Born" has been adopted by at least three other colleges for their use, including the University of Rhode Island, the University of Richmond, and Brown University (see [1]).

Here Comes Carolina

Another popular song is Here Comes Carolina.

As its title implies, it is most commonly played when a Tar Heel team enters the field of play. Traditionally, the band plays a version of the traditional orchestral warmup tune before launching into the song when the first player charges out of the tunnel. During the warmup tune, fans stand and clap along. The effect is similar to that of a train coming down the track.

From the early 1990s to around 2004 at basketball games, the band played the first seven notes of the song in different keys during player introductions, modulating a half step each time before launching into the song in the normal key after the final player was announced.

The last part of the song's melody come from an old revival song, "Jesus Loves the Little Children".

Notable alumni

Main articles: List of alumni and List of Olympians

Notable graduates from the athletic programs include Michael Jordan from men's basketball, Mia Hamm from women's soccer, Charlie Justice from American football, Davis Love III from golf, B.J. Surhoff from baseball and Marion Jones from women's basketball and track & field.


  1. ^ Primary Identity (PDF). Carolina Athletics Brand Identity Guidelines. April 20, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  2. ^ "University of North Carolina". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved March 28, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica (October 24, 1945). "University of North Carolina | university system, North Carolina, United States". Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  4. ^ "The Ram as Mascot". July 15, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  5. ^ ESPN, ed. (2009). ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game. New York, NY: ESPN Books. p. 536. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2.
  6. ^ a b "Meet Jamie Loeb, a 20-Year-Old From Ossining, NY, Who Will Make Her Pro Tennis Debut at The U.S. Open," Tablet Magazine.
  7. ^ a b "UNC's Jamie Loeb finishes spectacular season, claims individual title" |
  8. ^ "Malan Award-winning Loeb likes to talk tennis as much as playing it," Midland Daily News.
  9. ^ "Rising Jewish star Loeb ousted," The Jerusalem Post.
  10. ^ "Carolina Men's Golf 2012–13" (PDF). Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  11. ^ "UNC Wrestling C.D. Mock Bio". University of North Carolina Athletics. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  12. ^ "Wrestling History in the NCAA" (PDF). NCAA Wrestling. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  13. ^ "UNC Tar Heels Facilities". University of North Carolina Athletics. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  14. ^ "Big turnout for Rugby Sevens tournament at PPL Park".
  15. ^ "2015 College". Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  16. ^ "2018 College". Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  17. ^ a b "Event Details | Play USA Ultimate". Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  18. ^ "History". The Callahan Award. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  19. ^ "NCAA Records" (PDF). Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  20. ^ "HBO's Duke-UNC documentary". Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved 2010-11-26.
  21. ^ 1907 Yackety Yack p.294.
  22. ^ "UNC School Songs". Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  23. ^ "UNC School Songs". Archived from the original on April 24, 2006. Retrieved March 9, 2008.