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Monday, November 29, 2004

A bit of history.......

In today's column, the N&R's
Jim Schlosser writes about the infamous 1959 brawl between fans and players at the end of the Wake Forest-North Carolina game at the old Winston-Salem Memorial Coliseum.

The brawl is also documented in Four Corners, Joe Menzer's excellent book about Tobacco Road basketball.

"It was more like a riot, with fans with fans rushing onto the court and throwing punches.

"(Bones) McKinney got knocked to the floor during the melee, North Carolina's Frank McGuire got bopped on the head, and Carolina forward Doug Moe received a wicked black eye."

A Wake freshman named Billy Packer, who was sitting in the stands watching the game, remembered it this way:

"This fight is humorous because Carolina has maybe ten fans there. These people were coming out of the stands and just beating the shit out of them. I was probably one of the few in the crowd of eight thousand that wasn't out there mixing it up."

When flipping through Menzer's book, one also comes across this bit of irony: It appears as though Pistons' coach Larry Brown, who was in the middle of the recent brawl at Auburn Hills, is no stranger to such chaos.

Late in a 1960 game between Duke and Carolina in Durham, none other than Brown was driving to the basket when Art Heyman, who was torching the Heels for 36 points, fouled him hard.

Both players went down in front of the Carolina bench, and four Carolina players immediately jumped off the bench and started grabbing Heyman.

The melee was quickly broken up, but Heyman ran back and tackled two of the Carolina players who jumped him. Then the fans got involved.

"It took ten Durham policemen to help restore order. Heyman was suspended from Duke's final three ACC regular-season games, while Brown and and Donnie Walsh of Carolina were suspended for the Tar Heels' last four ACC contests."

How about this scenario in January: No. 1 Wake vs. No. 2 Carolina. Carolina wins a hard-fought game in overtime. A massive brawl breaks out between fans and players in the stands at Joel Coliseum. Gives everyone something to talk and write about for weeks. Pretty cool, huh? Maybe not.