Hilltoppers Loving the HEEL Experience–Student Reflection

IMG_1867As a HUGE sports fan of the North Carolina Tar-Heels, visiting their athletic facilities today was nothing short of Amazing! My dreams came true today. Having the opportunity to visit million dollar facilities of the likes of Dean Smith arena (men’s basketball), Carmichael arena (volleyball/women’s basketball), Kenan stadium (football), Boshamer stadium (baseball), and etc. fueled my enthusiasm in collegiate sports. Karen Sneed, our tour guide, showed nothing but love and enthusiasm for Tar-Heel athletics! She was able to let us view areas of facilities I never thought we would get to see and did not rush us through anything, she let us take our time and ask as many questions as we needed with thorough feedback. The collegiate sports atmosphere is definitely in my heart after the “homey” hospitality shown from Karen and others from the athletic department at UNC Chapel Hill.

We started our tour at the Boshamer stadium where UNC hosts its baseball games. All Carolina game facilities consist of natural grass and is well taken care of. Having a 26.5 million dollar baseball facility that houses about 4,100 seats for students and fans was an epic experience to be in. We had the opportunity to visit suites, locker rooms, training rooms, and even the batting cages and indoor practice area within the facility. Also hosting a baseball hall of fame within the facility is an experience in its own! After witnessing that piece of greatness, another piece of greatness was viewed through Kenan stadium where football is hosted. Kenan stadium has been a part of the Tar-Heel experience since 1927 holds up to 63,000 fans. Its recent remodeling job included an addition to the student success centers as well as for the media and relations personnel. Carmichael stadium is the current home of UNC volleyball and Women’s basketball, as well as gymnastics and wrestling. Formally being home of men’s basketball as well (MJ played here!) hosts a women’s hall of fame area for a must see entertainment site for tourists and fans alike. Housing up to 6,800 seats and a boat load of success banners, the Carmichael arena has a fantastic locker room and training area and plan on having renovations in the next 2 years on its student lounge. Lastly, the Dean Smith center, which is housed a couple minutes outside of the main campus is a story of its own. Being next to the men’s basketball Hall of fame, the Dean Smith center was built in 1986 and has a retro feel to it. Built in 1986 and hosting up to 22,000 fans, the Dean Smith center screams high success and expectations. The most recent renovations of the Smith center was in 2013 and consisted of renovations to the training areas and locker rooms (which we didn’t get to visit).

People, including myself ask how UNC gets all this money for athletics. Karen was nice enough to break down how it all happens. UNC has an operating account, as well as a “special account” geared towards funding. Outside of that, alumni always come back and are able to donate. Each sport also has its own club dedicated to raising money, for example, the baseball teams club is named “Diamond Heels”.

Having this experience got my blood boiling and heart bleeding Carolina blue! Proud I was able to witness this and actually see these facilities and get a feel of bigger collegiate athletics.

–Student Reflection, Andre Scott, Master of Science in Recreation and Sport Administration

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