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210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Not for publication Aug. 15, 1997 -- No. 557

Tuesday, Aug. 19, noon,

Sheraton Imperial, Research Triangle Park

Coach Smith to endorse midnight basketball league

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Coach Dean Smith will speak at an invitation-only corporate luncheon promoting the new Triangle Midnight Basketball League Tuesday (Aug. 19). The luncheon will be at noon at the Sheraton Imperial in Research Triangle Park.

Media representatives are invited to cover the event. Limited seating is available on a first-registered, first-served basis for those who wish to eat lunch. To register, call Laura J. Toler, 919-962-2091. Media who do not wish to eat lunch do not need to register.

More than 100 Triangle corporation representatives are expected to attend the event, sponsored by Glaxo Wellcome and IBM.

Smith, whose men's basketball teams won national titles in 1982 and 1993, will endorse the new league and ask for corporate support.

UNC-CH's Dr. Jim Johnson, who initiated the league, also will address the luncheon, as will league commissioner Jimmy Black, a Durham investment broker and point guard on Smith's 1982 championship team.

The league, which tips off Sept. 2 at the new Downtown YMCA Family Center in Durham, aims to provide activity for men ages 18-25 at night, when crime rates are higher; provide self-esteem and character-building workshops for players; and link players with job possibilities through corporate mentoring.

Summer practices indicate that 60 to 90 young men will participate on at least a dozen teams, with eight teams expected from Durham and three or more from Raleigh.

Corporate sponsors so far include Harris Teeter, Kenan Oil, Morgan Keegan of Durham, Bassett Furniture, The News & Observer of Raleigh and individuals. Additional corporate sponsors are needed to help fund uniforms, referees, trainers, building maintenance, security and other expenses.

Sponsors of the new league are the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise at UNC-CH, Durham Parks and Recreation and the Durham YMCA.

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Note: Johnson can be reached at 962-2214 or 962-1535.

Contact: Laura J. Toler