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Thursday. April 24, 1980 The Daily Tar Heel B-7
lasts a career
"...O'Koren chipped in 16, including
two on a devastating dunk and two on a
baseline drive which was so perfectly
executed it could have been used for a
DTH Sports Editor Grant Vosburgh
describing the 1976 Blue-White game
When Tar Heel fans got their first
glimpse of Mike O'Koren on Nov. 13,
!976, it might have been the first time any
North Carolinian had fallen in love at
first sight with a Northerner speaking
Brooklynese by way of Jersey City.
He was just one of six Tar Heel
freshmen that year. Dave Colescott,
Steve Krafcisin, John Virgil, Jeff Wolf,
Rich Yonakor and O'Koren comprised
the country's best rookie class. And they
all went to the NCAA finals in 1977.
Krafcisin moved to Iowa, but the other
four join O'Koren in closing out strong
O'Koren started his first game,
becoming only the second freshman
(after Phil Ford) to do so. And his last
home game against Duke might just go
down in the history books, too for noise
levels. "That last game against Duke was
probably the highlight of my career,"
O'Koren said this week while waiting to
play a pick-up game in Woollen Gym.
But there are other remembrances, like
that trip to the national finals and playing
"with guys like Phil (Ford), Walt (Davis),
(Tommy) LaGarde, Dudley (Bradley).
I've had a good career, made a lot of
friends. And I think I played the best ball
O'Koren's name will be high in the
Carolina record books: seventh in points,
seventh in rebounds, fifth in assists. Only
Larry Miller joins O'Koren in the Top 10
of all three.
"Mike's had a tremendous career,"
UNC head basketball coach Dean Smith
said. "He made (at least) one first team
AU-American team in each of the last
three years. He personified the team
player during his four years." Tack on
All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in
his sophomore and his senior seasons,
Sports just fun
When James Herman "Jim" Rouse
hangs up his No. 22 Carolina baseball
jersey for the last time when this season
ends, he'll have a long career in both
football and baseball to remember. - "
"Athletics is just so much fun for me,"
Rouse said. "You can come out here and
run around and enjoy yourself, I think it's
Rouse, a native of Wilmington, was a
part of Carolina baseball when Walter
Rabb, who was head coach for 31 years,
retired and present coach Mike Roberts
took over. Rouse said the change brought
quite a few differences.
"Coach Roberts scheduled so many
more games, we became so much more
competitive," Rouse said. "He scheduled
50 or 60 games and that takes a lot out of
you, especially at a university so fine
academically as this."
But Rouse has not forgotten Coach
Rabb. "He's like a grandfather to me,"
When Rouse leaves, he will take with
him ihe school's career stolen base record
and the Itiemory of one special moment
from the spring of 1979 a home run off
Ed Figueroa in an exhibition game
against the New York Yankees. "That's
one of the highlights of my life."
In comparing football and baseball,
Rouse said while football can be more
rewarding, baseball is more enjoyable.
"Because you play so many games," he
said, "you can get over a bad day quicker
because you know you're going to play
again tomorrow. If you have a bad day in
football, you have to live with that for a
Wrestler reaches his potential
in Carolina mat program
When Carter Mario came to North
Carolina in 1976, the wrestling program
was still in the growing stages, looking to
rise above the rest of Atlantic Coast
Conference. Leaving UNC with two
straight ACC team titles and a national
ranking is a credit to his leadership.
"He's an excellent leader," UNC coach
Bill Lam said. "He's the type of
competitor I wanted for the program.
Carter leads by example by working hard
In addition to the two ACC team titles,
the Tar Heels have compiled a 26-1
record over the last two seasons,
including 23 consecutive dual meet wins.
Many of these wins were close, and it
was in these tight matches that Mario's
leadership was felt.
"Whenever I would need a key win.
Carter would come up with one," Lam
said. "He saved a couple of years of my
life by taking the pressure off with big
Mario reached his potential his junior
year as he swept undefeated through the
dual meets in the 1 58-pound class and the
But there's more to Mike O'Koren.
"He's done so much for so many people,"
Smith said. ,"He seldom said no' to
charitable organizations. He visits
children at the hospital. He works with
the Newman Center."
The future looks good for O'Koren.
"I'm proud of the fact that I'm
graduating," he said. "Come May 11th,
I'll be walking with my mom in the
crowd." And after graduation? "I'll go in
the first 10 (NBA draft) picks, it looks
like. ..I'd like to play in New York (the
Knicks) or for the (New Jersey) Nets."
That way mama Rose will get to enjoy
what we have since that Blue-White
toJ.R! J.R! J.R!
:.S -A f Vr-9-
DTH Andy James
Rouse said another fond memory from
his Carolina years is the 1978 College
World Series. He said he's not counting
on professional baseball, but hedges a
little and said he won't turn down an
opportunity if it comes.
Rouse has been a crowd favorite in
baseball and said he thinks he knows
why. "Maybe," he said with a gleam in his
eye, "they see that I'm having just as much
fun as they are."
Tar Heels won their first regular-season
He excelled in post-season
tournaments, winning the ACC 158
pound title and advancing to the round of
16 in the NCAA tourney.
As a senior he moved up a weight class
to 167 pounds, perhaps the most difficult
class in the conference.
He started off well in the new weight,
taking second places in both the Carolina
Invitational and the prestigious Lehigh
After some midseason problems, he
rebounded to gain key w ins in close ACC
matches against N.C. State, Clemson and
Virginia. He finished the season w ith an
He was sidetracked in his effort to win
a second ACC individual title, but his 10
2 win for third place over Virginia's Jerry
Young was necessary for Carolina to edge
N.C. State for the team title.
Mario w ill stay in Chapel H ill next year
and help Lam with the wrestling
Yes, Carolina athletes
are a little bit special
They come to Chapel Hill from faraway places like Jersey City, N.J., and
Montgomery, Ala., from tiny towns like Burgaw and Sylva, from cities right in the
backyard of the University, like Durham and Sanford.
They arrive on campus like any other student, anxious to see how much Mr. or
Ms. Roommate has in common with them, apprehensive about college classes and
the social scene.
But they come with another purpose: They, are athletes.
They are athletes who are students, or, as they are more often called, student
athletes, folks who happen to excel at football, basketball, baseball, gymnastics. .
volleyball, track and field, tennis or any of a number of other sports.
They hit the line, bat the ball, do the flips, run the mile, set up a spike or make a
They're good at what they do, or they wouldn't be playing their sport at Carolina.
Often they were the best at their sport during Little League, junior high and high
school, but when they arrive on campus on a hot August day of their freshman year,
all that changes.
Like the high school smartie who discovers at the University he is not the only
calculus whiz around, the athletes find out there are others around who are just as
good as they.
Life becomes more complex.
Four years later, when the wary freshman is a wise senior ready to collect a
diploma, life is still complex.
Was four years sometimes five years, if an athlete was red-shirted of practice
time and sweat worth it?
Most athletes who leave Carolina would say the time spent was worth it. whether
the result is an A.B. and a six-figure contract or a B.S. anda$I5.000-a-yearjob.
But, for those athletes that get neither, the time can be a hiatus between being a
kid and growing up and a time for trouble to brew.
Skip Wise, who left the Clemson basketball program after his freshman season a
couple of years ago, is an example of the worst that can happen to a college athlete.
After being named All-Atlantic Coast Conference his rookie year. Wise chose to
,turn professional and signed with the Baltimore Claws of the now-defunct
American Basketball Association.
The Claws and the ABA folded before the Clemson star ever put on a
Baltimore uniform. The next anyone heard of Skip Wise, he was in prison on drug
Wise was named to that all-star team ahead of a fellow freshman named Phil
There aren't any Skip Wises among this group of Tar Heel seniors. They've
completed successful collegiate athletic careers in their respective sports at North
Carolina's first state university.
And that's something playgrounds full of kids from the coast to the mountains
dream about doing someday, kids who spend their afternoons on city park tennis
courts and backyard dirt basketball courts-working to someday become a Tar Heel
It is athletes like these seniors who fuel their dreams. For that reason, if for no
other, they are saluted.
in UNC career
A young national tennis champion
from Milwaukee, Wis., came to North
Carolina four years ago. Now he leaves
with a couple of Atlantic Coast
Conference individual titles, a couple of
ACC team crowns, a 76-21 record and a
But more important to senior captain
Gary Taxman is his development into a
"In my four years at Carolina I've
matured and developed," Taxman said.
"The things I've learned as a Carolina
student and a tennis player will be
reflected in me throughout life."
Taxman came to Carolina from
Milwaukee for several reasons: the
weather, the campus, a former tennis
circuit partner and UNC player, Cliff
Skakle, and his head coach, Cliffs father
Coach Skakle compiled a 416-51
record in 21 years before his death last
Friday morning in Winston-Salem prior
to the 1980 ACC championships.
"His (Skakle's) record speaks for
itself," Taxman said. "I like his style and
it's reflected through his players."
Taxman was the national junior
doubles champion at 14 and was the No. 1
player in Wisconsin as a high school
"I never liked the cold weather in
Wisconsin so I knew I was going either
West or South," he said.
At No. 6 singles as a freshman,
Taxman immediately contributed with a
league championship and a 17-3 record.
" During my freshman year, qualifying for
(Jbr Bat hi
The stories and pictures on this and the
preceding page are about some of the best
Carolina athletes who finished their
collegiate careers this year. Every senior
isn't profiled here, because space
limitations won't permit it. 779 Daily Tar
Heel hopes these pages will suffice.
4 Years latzz-..
Or t i
the NCAAs came a close second to
winning the ACC as what I remember
most over my career."
Playing No. 4 as a sophmore, Taxman
had his most rewarding season. On top of
an ACC championship tie with N.C.
State, Taxman won the doubles title, was
runner-up in singles competition and
compiled a 25-4 record.
Taxman plans to enter the U.S. Tennis
Association circuit after graduation and
maybe in a couple of years law school in
California. "But," Taxman said, "I will
always have a part of Carolina and
Carolina tennis in me,"
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Last season rewarding for QB
Someday, Matt Kupec hopes to be an athletic director.
Today, he thinks about next week's National Football League draft.
In the yesterdays of his North Carolina football career, Kupec thought quarterback.
And two different Tar Heel head coaches thought a lot of him -with good reason.
Kupec leaves the University after playing for both Bill Dooley and Dick Crum. He
leaves with school career and season records for pass completions, attempts,
touchdowns and total yards. In 1979 he threw 18 scoring passes, an Atlantic Coast
Mixed with the success was both physical and emotional pain. At times during his
career, the Syosset, N.Y.. native was injured, at other times he battled several
quarterbacks for playing time, and sometimes he disagreed with coaching tactics and
spoke out, later catching grief for it.
Through everything, he said he has learned.
"I had an up-and-down career, that's for sure." Kupec said. "My football career was a
growing experience. I learned a lot. This wasn't all glory. I've made mistakes and people
learn from mistakes."
Kupec wants to give pro football a chance, and he said if he isn't drafted, he w ill try out
this summer as a free agent.
But eventually, whether after a year off, or after a pro football career, Kupec w ants to
study athletic administration. He came to UNC surprised that the state universities in his
home state didn't have big-time athletic programs. He'd like to see that change.
Kupec's career had several individual highlights, including being named Most
Valuable Player in the 1977 Liberty Bowl and leading the Tar Heels to two last-minute
wins over Duke.
He's especially fond of those Duke wins, but he said the Gator Bowl win over
Michigan capped it all last December.
"It was really rewarding, for myself and for the team," he said. "It was really a
tremendously rewarding season. We were coming off such a disappointing year ( 1978),
when we were expected to do so well and we didn't."
In Kupec's eyes, his improvement from the 1978 to 1 979 seasons was an example of the
entire team's progress. "Until this point ('79 season) 1 hadn't produced like I should have.
I worked hard in the spring, and lifted weights, to get stronger, like the rest of the team."
It was an effort to improve, and Kupec's statistics last season showed it: almost 1 .600
yards passing and a 54 percent completion rate.
He did every thing but run well, with foot speed not his forte. But if he becomes a pro
quarterback, he won't be asked to run much.
Maybe it's no coincidence the athlete he most admires was a pretty fair passer named
I- fJ ' v. N!! f- 1 1
r v . ' - yi i
The final season for lacrosse co-captain
Bret Steidle has been a successful one. His
senior leadership is partly responsible for
the young Tar Heels being only a victory
away from sharing their first Atlantic
Coast Conference lacrosse title.
The wait for a championship has been
difficult, but for this year's team it has
been rewarding. "I'm hoping that we'll
make it to the national, tournament,"
Steidle said. "This is the year."
The Narbeth, Pa., native has played
tough all over the turf from his midfield
position. UNC coach Willie Scroggs
wants his midfielders strong on defense
and offense as well, and Steidle fits this
Steidle credits Scroggs with Carolina's
leap into the national lacrosse rankings.
"The program is improving a lot," he
said. "Scroggs has turned it around. He's
all business out on the field. He wants to
win. We don't mess around out there."
Scroggs' lacrosse practices consist of
two-and-a-half hours of intense hitting
and hard running, but neither the
practices nor the game pressures take
Volleyball ivalk -
Making any varsity team as a walk-on
at UNC is an admirable feat. To go on
and be an all-state selection and the
captain of the team four years later is even
But that's exactly what fifih-ycar
senior Jackie Kimbro did for coach Beth
Miller's volley ball team. An astute
instructor spotted Kimbro in his
volleyball class, referred the freshman to
Miller and the road to volleyball uccc!
Kimbro made the team as a
sophomore, was a triapiain and an all
state selection her junior year. She vka
team captain in 1979. , But her
contributions to the team were a much
spiritual as physical. Miller said.
-Jackie isn't a real flashy player."
Miller said, "but he consistent. Shc'
the most consistent player we've ever had
on the team."
That consistency contributed to her
leadership both on and off the court.
r.- - ' - -- -J
of sport's spread
away from Steidle's pleasure on the
"I enjoy playing lacrosse," he said.
"There arc a lot of tough spots you have
to endure, but I love lacrosse."
Steidle's playing time increased last
year in Scroggs' first season. The Tar
Heels finished the year with a 5-3 record,
but a loss to N.C. State to conclude the
year prevented them from going to the
This season has been highlighted by a
!4-5 defeat of top-ranked Virginia. A
spot in the nationals is waiting for
Carolina if it can beat State and
Washington & Lee to conclude the year.
The growth of the lacrosse program at
UNC is indicative of the sport's spread
from the traditional areas of Maryland
and New York. By being part of Carolina
lacrosse, Steidle has helped shape this
trend one he said he hoped will
"Lacrosse is an expanding sport," he
said. "It's becomingvery popular in many
on turns all-star;
Although she' basically a low-kcycd
person, her encouragement and team
support earned the respect that go along
with the title of team captain.
"Her manner itself u a tablimg
factor." Miller said of the Greensboro
resident. "She'k basically a quiet person
and is real dedicated. That type of
influence is an important factor."
Kimbro agreed with Miller's
assessment and characterized herself a a
"My leadership role has been more of a
silent one because I'm not a real outgoing
person." $he aid. "I do what I think,
should be done and help people who
come off the bench by talking to them and
relaxing them. Most of all I try to be
cosistent on the court."
"Jackie is a good leader," Miller said,
"and not just leamwive. Her values help