Meet the Author — Art Chansky

Sunday, May 7, 2017  ***Note different day/date***
Refreshments: 3:30    Program: 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Chapel Hill Public Library, Room B
Free and open to the public

Game Changers: Dean Smith, Charlie Scott, and the Era That Transformed a Southern College Town is an amazing story about Dean Smith as a young humanitarian who changed the history of sports in the South and, at the same time, transformed a university and a community.

Art Chansky is well-known in Chapel Hill as a sports columnist and commentator for and WCHL radio for more than thirty years.  He’s produced movies on the Duke-Carolina rivalry.  He’s written seven books on the history of UNC Basketball and Dean Smith prior to this one,  They included March to the Top, The Dean’s List , The Dean’s List , Dean’s Domain, Blue Blood , Light Blue Reign  and The Blue Divide. 

And now, aftergame_changers all those books plus columns and feature stories about the game, he’s written a new kind of book – more sociology than basketball sports writing, although there’s plenty of that as well. Art has said that he believes “the university has not done enough to recognize the courageous path that Charlie Scott, the first black scholarship athlete at UNC, had blazed for other black athletes in Chapel Hill but also for thousands of minority students who have since attended and graduated from Carolina.”  He also feels there was a side of Dean Smith that hadn’t been fully revealed.   So he took things into his own capable hands and wrote a book about these two heroes.  His book draws on extensive personal interviews from members of a community that Art Chansky knows extremely well

This is the story of five Morehead Scholars from 1967 who all ended up on the freshman basketball team.  The Morehead Scholarship is a highly prestigious academic scholarship awarded to UNC students.  Carolina basketball teams over the years have had an occasional Morechanskyhead recipient but to have five on the same team was remarkable.  It is also the story of Dean Smith’s humanity and concern for his players to make sure they were comfortable both on and off the court, Scott said of Smith, “When you played for him, he was your coach, your disciplinarian, your teacher [and after graduation] he became a friend, a father, and a mentor.”

Art Chansky was a classmate and a student journalist covering the varsity Tar Heels for the Daily Tar Heel in 1968-70.  He knew the 1967 freshmen personally and has since attended class reunions with them.  He also knew Dean Smith whose first season as head coach was in 1961-62.  At that time, basketball was a lesser sport than football at the university, and UNC athletics was not racially integrated.

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