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225 years of Tar Heels: Stuart Scott

Among notable Tar Heels, sportscaster Stuart Scott stands out as the only one truly as “cool as the other side of the pillow.”

Stuart Scott stands on the court in the Dean Dome.
Photo by UNC Athletic Communications

225 Years.Editor’s note: In honor of the University’s 225th anniversary, we will be sharing profiles throughout the academic year of some of the many Tar Heels who have left their heelprint on the campus, their communities, the state, the nation and the world.

When Stuart Scott was growing up a diehard Tar Heel fan in Winston-Salem, he would cry any time the men’s basketball team would lose.

The 1987 Carolina graduate carried that love for the University with him to ESPN, where he spent 21 years as one of the company’s most beloved personalities. Scott’s ability to discuss and deliver sports highlights in an authentic and relatable way inspired a generation of broadcasters to be true to their experiences.

“I believe those young people will be Stuart Scott’s legacy as a pioneer,” said UNC School of Media and Journalism Dean Susan King at his posthumous induction into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame in 2015.

Scott also displayed his love for Carolina every time he returned to Chapel Hill.

“There’s something very special about this place,” Scott, a 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, told the Class of 2001 in his Commencement address. “It’s a special, unique, shared bond that all of us here at Carolina have.”

Most often, Scott returned for Late Night with Roy Williams, an event he hosted 10 times from 2001 to 2012. At some point during the event, he would walk toward center court and reach down to touch the interlocking “NC.”

“This is what it’s all about,” Scott would say. “This right here. It’s on the floor. It’s on your shirt, and it’s in your heart.”

Scott was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and died in 2015. His public battle with cancer galvanized others to fight it each day.

“When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer,” he said while accepting the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs in 2014. “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.”