North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams has carried on many of the traditions he learned from his mentor Dean Smith. Avoiding games against non-ACC in-state opponents isn’t one of them.
A few weeks after UNC Wilmington announced a two-for-one series against Williams’ Tar Heels, with a game at Trask Coliseum next Dec. 5, Elon has also revealed a game against UNC in 2018-19.
The Tar Heels will help the Phoenix open its new Schar Center in a season-opening game on Friday, Nov. 9. It will be the 23rd all-time meeting between the schools, but UNC’s first game on Elon’s campus in Burlington since 1950.
As is the case with the UNCW deal, Elon will return the home game with two future trips to the Smith Center — in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
“This facility will have a tremendous impact on our campus and community and we are thrilled for everyone to experience all that Schar Center has to offer,” Elon athletic director Dave Blank said of the soon-to-be-opened 5,100-seat arena. “We’re very appreciative of Coach Williams, Bubba Cunningham and the UNC Tar Heels for agreeing to be part of Phoenix history as we play our opening men’s basketball game on November 9.”
This isn’t the first time Williams has helped a mid-major in-state school dedicate a new arena. In November 2011, UNC also played the first game at UNC Asheville’s Kimmel Arena.