Roy Williams to head home for 2011 opener

Here’s an interesting note from Ken Tysiac of the Raleigh News & Observer – North Carolina will open its 2011-12 basketball season at UNC-Asheville as UNC-A unveils a new arena.

Williams, of course, is from Asheville, and he has shown a willingness to play in a new arena early. This past season Carolina played at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium, losing to Texas, and the College of Charleston’s new arena.

That Charleston game in particular was a big night … for Charleston. UNC lost and that game may have contributed to the downward spiral of the season.

Former Tar Heel signs with Redskins

Veteran defensive end Vonnie Holliday has signed to play for the New Over-the-Hill Gang Washington Redskins. A former Tar Heel All-ACC player, Holliday, 34, was selected in the first round of the 1998 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers.

That draft was the first time in UNC school history that three Tar Heels were selected in the first round – Greg Ellis went to the Dallas Cowboys while Brian Simmons went to the Cincinnati Bengals. All three played defense. The 1997 Tar Heels (11-1) ranked as one of the strongest defensive units in school history, posting a program-record 42 sacks while placing second nationally in rushing defense, third in total defense and fifth in turnover margin.

The Redskins plan to use Holliday in its new 3-4 defense as a third-down player, or as a backup to Albert Haynesworth, or even as a starter if the oft-injured, expensive, overrated and unhappy Haynesworth is traded (possibly to the Vikings). Holliday had success in the 3-4 when with the Dolphins 2005-2008. He had been a starter every year until serving as a backup for the Broncos last year where he still proved to be a strong pass rusher.

Raleigh-Durham has the strongest out-of-market fan base for the Redskins, according to a national survey conducted by DirecTV. That’s not a big surprise considering that the Redskins were the “home team” for the area for more than 50 years until the Panthers moved into Charlotte.

Heels now leading for Knox

InsideCarolina is reporting North Carolina is the leader for Alabama transfer Justin Knox, and Roy Williams is telling Knox he’ll play if he’s wearing light blue next season.

Carolina lacks inside punch now that the Wear twins have transferred and Knox, who is 6 feet 8, is one of the few post players available. He is scheduled to graduate in three years – IC is reporting he has to finish in summer school – and thus would be eligible next season.

Carolina the best college baseball team in North and South Carolina

Coastal Carolina that is. The Chanticleers are 45-6 and should get a nice seed in the NC AA tournament. Two years ago Coastal Carolina fell to the North Carolina Tar Heels in the NCAA Super Regionals in Cary. The Tar Heels, who stand at 32-20 and 11-16 in the ACC, probably won’t qualify for the ACC tournament and are on the bubble for getting an NCAA bid.

UNC lost pitching and hitting but few thought the Heels would fall this far, this fast. One of the biggest differences between this year’s team and last year’s club is power. With the season dwindling down, the Tar Heels have only 36 home runs compared to 69 last year. Carolina was a plus 19 in homers last year and are a minus seven this year.

Of course the main reason for that is the loss of Dustin Ackley, now in the Seattle Mariners minor league system. No one has been able to come close to making up for Ackley’s 22 home runs and .417 batting average from last season.
The Heels’ top hitter this year is Levi Michael, who is batting an impressive .351 but who has only six homers.

Next up for State? Bobby Purcell

N.C. State’s search for the next athletics director should be a short one, and should end over at the Wolfpack Club.

Bobby Purcell has been a coach, an athletics administrator and knows the Wolfpack inside and out. He also knows the Wolfpack fan base – from the big givers to those who just want to be there when they can. No one who has been around Purcell doubts his passion for the school.

He has built the Wolfpack Club into a first-rate organization – and he would have a huge impact as well if moved to the athletic director’s position.

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