1961–62 North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball team

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1961–62 North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball
North Carolina Tar Heels logo.svg
ConferenceAtlantic Coast Conference
1961–62 record8–9 (7–7 ACC)
Head coachDean Smith (1st season)
Assistant coachKen Rosemond
Home arenaWoollen Gymnasium

The 1961–62 North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball team was Dean Smith's first as the head coach at North Carolina. The 1961–62 team finished with an 8–9 overall record, despite a young and inexperienced roster.[1] They tied for fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 7–7 record. Their season ended with a first round loss in the ACC Tournament to South Carolina. This was Dean Smith's only losing season as a head coach at North Carolina.


Name Height Year Hometown [2]
Bruce Bowers 6–8 Sophomore Wellesley Hills, MA
Larry Brown 5–11 Junior Long Beach, NY
Charlie Burns 6–2 Junior Wadesboro, NC
Peppy Callahan 6–2 Junior Smithtown, NY
Mike Cooke 6–2 Sophomore Mt. Airy, NC
Jim Donohue 6–8 Senior Yonkers, NY
Jim Hudock 6–7 Senior Tunkhannock, PA
Harry Jones 6–7 Senior Charlotte, NC
Art Katz 6–7 Sophomore Williston Park, NY
Dieter Krause 6–5 Junior Norfolk, VA
Bryan McSweeney 6–5 Sophomore Hewlett, NY
Charlie Shaffer 6–3 Sophomore Chapel Hill, NC
Richard Vinroot 6–7 Sophomore Charlotte, NC
Donnie Walsh 6–0 Senior Riverdale, NY

Pre Season[edit]

At the conclusion of the 1960–61 season, North Carolina, hired Dean Smith to replace Frank McGuire as head coach. McGuire was North Carolina Men's Basketball Head Coach from 1953–1961, but was forced to resign by Chancellor William Aycock due to the program's placement on NCAA probation in 1960.[3] Aycock, however, hired Smith, one of McGuire's assistants and who had been at North Carolina for two seasons already. Smith, who was only 30 at the time, was instructed by Aycock to run a clean program and represent the University well. Wins and losses were an afterthought to the Chancellor.[4] However, in Smith's first season he was faced with a number of challenges, including a limited game schedule and the loss of two key players.

Prior to the start of the 1961 season, the ACC experienced a point shaving scandal. Four N.C. State players were accused of altering the score of several games and one UNC player was found to be involved with a gambler.[5] As a result of this, the Dixie Classic was abolished and William Friday, the President of the University of North Carolina system, also de-emphasized basketball by allowing only sixteen regular season games. Therefore, Smith was limited to only two games against out of conference opponents. Smith kept the two most challenging opponents on the schedule, Notre Dame and Indiana, both games which would be played in North Carolina, one in Greensboro and the other in Charlotte, respectively.[6]

The 1961–62 squad should have included Ken McComb and Yogi Poteet, both projected starters, but they were ruled academically ineligible before the season started. This was a big blow for the Tar Heels since they also had to withstand the lost of two All-Americans, Doug Moe and York Larese, to graduation.[1] As a result, Smith's first team was young and inexperienced.

Season summary[edit]

Dean Smith's illustrious career started on December 2, 1961, with a victory against Virginia in Chapel Hill. The Heels and Smith rolled to their first victory, defeating the Cavaliers 80–46. UNC won their next game at Clemson by a narrow margin, 54–52. They split their next two games against out-of-conference opponents, Indiana and Notre Dame. Despite the betting odds in Notre Dame's favor, the Heels dominated the Fighting Irish, 99–80.[7] Through January, the Heels had an accumulated a 6–2 record, but the rest of the season was not as successful. In February, they lost four straight games, all to Tobacco Road opponents (Duke, Wake Forest, and North Carolina State), before rebounding to win two of their last four games, with victories against Clemson and Maryland. Their season ended with a two-point loss to South Carolina in the ACC Tournament, which placed the Heels in a tie for fourth place with South Carolina in the final ACC standings.

Junior guard Larry Brown and senior center Jim Hudock led the Heels to an 8–9 overall record and a 7–7 ACC record. Brown averaged 16.5 points per game, eighth in the league, and shot 79.5% from the foul line, third in the league. Hudock averaged a double double over the season, with 14.9 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per game, fourth in the league. Both were named to the All-ACC Second team.[8] Donnie Walsh led the ACC in field-goal percentage for the season, shooting 55.9% from the field.[2]

Despite the challenges faced by Smith's first squad, he credits them as being one of the most hard-working teams in his 36 seasons at North Carolina. They also set North Carolina single-season record for highest field-goal percentage.[9] However, they were the least successful, setting a record for most regular-season conference losses in a single-season (7) and their record against Tobacco Road opponents was only (1–5).[10]

Post Season[edit]

Jim Hudock was drafted in the sixth round of the NBA by the Philadelphia Warriors, which ironically was coached by former North Carolina head coach, Frank McGuire.[11] Donnie Walsh and former Tar Heel, Ken McComb were also drafted by the Warriors in the 11th and 10th round respectively.[12] These former Tar Heels went on to enjoy limited success as players in the NBA. However, Donnie Walsh went on to enjoy various coaching stints in the NCAA and the NBA, before becoming the general manager of the Indiana Pacers for over two decades. After a brief stint as President of the New York Knicks, Walsh returned to Indiana and now serves as a consultant for the team.

After Smith's first season, Adolph Rupp, Kentucky's head coach, called him requesting to set up a ten-year home-and-home series with UNC. Rupp demanded that North Carolina would play at Kentucky six times and home only four times. Despite North Carolina's disadvantage, the Heels won seven of those ten games.[13]

Schedule & Results[edit]

time, TV
Rank# Opponent# Result Record Site
city, state
December 2
Virginia W 80–46  1–0
Woollen Gymnasium 
Chapel Hill, NC
December 5
at Clemson W 54–52  2–0
Clemson, SC
December 11*
Indiana L 70–76  2–1
Greensboro, NC
January 6*
Notre Dame W 99–80  3–1
Charlotte, NC
January 10
at Wake Forest L 72–91  3–2
Winston-Salem, NC
January 13
vs. Virginia W 100–71  4–2
Greensboro, NC
January 15
South Carolina W 81–73  5–2
Woollen Gymnasium 
Chapel Hill, NC
January 17
NC State W 66–56  6–2
Woollen Gymnasium 
Chapel Hill, NC
February 3
at No. 6 Duke
L 57–79  6–3
Cameron Indoor Stadium 
Durham, NC
February 6
at Maryland L 62–79  6–4
College Park, MD
February 10
Wake Forest L 80–87  6–5
Woollen Gymnasium 
Chapel Hill, NC
February 14
at NC State L 57–85  6–6
Raleigh, NC
February 16
vs. Clemson
North-South Doubleheader
W 69–59  7–6
Charlotte, NC
February 17
vs. South Carolina
North-South Doubleheader
L 82–97  7–7
Charlotte, NC
February 19
Maryland W 70–67  8–7
Woollen Gymnasium 
Chapel Hill, NC
February 24
No. 8 Duke L 74–82  8–8
Woollen Gymnasium 
Chapel Hill, NC
March 1*
vs. South Carolina
ACC Tournament
L 55–57  8–9
Raleigh, NC
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll. (#) Tournament seedings in parentheses.


Season Statistics[edit]

Player GP FGM FGA Pct. FTM FTA Pct. Pts. Avg. Hi[15]
Larry Brown 17 90 204 0.441 101 127 0.795 281 16.5 26
Jim Hudock 17 98 215 0.456 57 89 0.640 253 14.9 26
Donnie Walsh 17 85 152 0.559 57 95 0.600 227 13.4 22
Bryan McSweeney 17 43 91 0.473 41 60 0.683 127 7.5 22
Mike Cooke 17 41 106 0.387 17 27 0.630 99 5.8 13
Charlie Shaffer 9 35 55 0.636 24 36 0.667 94 10.4 25
Jim Donohue 14 31 74 0.419 13 20 0.650 75 5.4 14
Dieter Krause 10 16 28 0.571 9 21 0.429 41 4.1 11
Art Katz 11 3 7 0.429 6 8 0.750 12 1.1 6
Charlie Burns 8 6 8 0.750 0 0 0.000 12 1.5 6
Peppy Callahan 9 1 10 0.100 4 7 0.571 6 0.7 3
Harry Jones 5 1 8 0.125 0 1 0.000 2 0.4 2
Richard Vinroot 5 0 1 0.000 1 4 0.250 1 0.2 1
Totals 17 450 959 0.469 330 495 0.667 1230 72.4



  1. ^ a b Smith 61
  2. ^ a b O'Hara 53
  3. ^ Lucas
  4. ^ Aycock
  5. ^ Carr
  6. ^ Smith 62
  7. ^ Smith 64
  8. ^ O'Hara 52
  9. ^ Smith62
  10. ^ O'Hara 52–53
  11. ^ Hoopedia: Frank McGuire
  12. ^ Hoopedia: NBA Draft 1962
  13. ^ Smith 66
  14. ^ 2014-15 North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball record book Archived 2015-02-22 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2015-Jun-01.
  15. ^ O'Hara 55