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March Madness

Moments of Hope / David Chadwick
The Truth Network Radio
March 31, 2022 1:15 pm

March Madness

Moments of Hope / David Chadwick

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March 31, 2022 1:15 pm

On this weeks Hopecast, David Chadwick and Jenn Houston discuss the history and lessons that can be taken from the UNC vs. Duke rivalry ahead of this Saturday's massive Final Four match-up. 

Truth Talk
Stu Epperson
Truth Talk
Stu Epperson
Moments of Hope
David Chadwick

One. Welcome to this week's cast with my friends in Houston who is joining me. As always, Jim, thank you for your time and honor to be here, David. Thank you.

We have a fun hope cast today because I want to talk about the final four. What's going on in New Orleans right now as Duke and North Carolina get ready to play another on Saturday evening around 9 o'clock. Jen, are you in high anticipation regarding this gay anticipation, but I wish our listeners could you because I'm I'm.

You seem to be off the charts and it is fine to see if people don't know, I played basketball at the University of North Carolina from 1967 to 71. I was among those early recruits off coach Dean Smith who set the standards for the program. A coach Smith came in in 1962 after there was a cheating scandal that occurred in the University. Frank Maguire, who was the head coach there had won the national championship with an undefeated team in 1957 beating the University of Kansas on a national stage. I remember my dad allowing the whole family to stay awake and watch that game and I remember my older brother Howard is going to be with the Lord as many people know, saying, right before the game. Lord, if you got anything against those Kansas boys take it out on them right now and North Carolina won the game in three overtimes of thrilling game which set the standard for college basketball's success especially in the tobacco Road area well. Frank Maguire was the coach of that team, but got embroiled in a cheating scandal and left and went to coach the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA coach Smith was brought in.

Basically, by the Chancellor and told just take care of this program.

Make sure there's no cheating involved. I really don't care whether you win or lose. Don't let cheating become a part of this program ever again will coach Smith's first two years weren't that great.

In fact, he was hung in effigy. Not once but twice by the student body. They didn't think he was a good coach whatsoever. But he had a recruiting class in 1965 that included some names like Dick Grube or Rusty Clark, Bill Bunting and then he added to that class the next year Charlie Scott and those teams along with my year. I came in the year after Charlie Scott did those teams. In 1967, 68 and 69 are the only teams in the history of the ACC which went to the final four and I was on that 1969 team that went to the final four. I can still remember vividly the pep band playing on the lower quad on the campus and thousands of students there to cheer us on as we got ready to depart for Louisville Kentucky where we played in the final four in freedom Hall.

It was a majestic experience a lot of electricity in the air and a wonderful thing to which I will loop back in just a moment. But those years, set the stage for North Carolina's dominance in basketball in the Atlantic Coast conference but Duke was always there with them almost as good but not quite until 1978, 79, with a coach named Bill Foster who got to go to the file for the intensity of their competition increased and then in 1980 Mike she should ask he was hired by Duke and and Dean Smith had already established himself and those two went loggerheads against one another, though it's interesting to note that Coach K's first two years, like coach. Smith's weren't that successful either.

He had to losing years and many people thought if Duke had made a bad hire but then coach K recruited a class that included Jay Bellus Mark Allie Johnny Dawkins, a great group of players who turn his whole program around and then the intensity of those two loggerheads came against one another and since then they have fought furiously against one another and have always had the game that never does disappoint. As J. Bill is called it.

So it's a fascinating weekend to see this is the first time in the history of their great rivalry that they've ever met postseason in the NCAA and now it's going to be not only in the postseason in the NCAA. But in the final for the semifinal before the final for the national championship. This is fascinating. You don't know about. I mean theology.

We've got basketball and mix it all together in your yard well the basketball part is a big part of my life.

You know, God made me 6'8" tall and I love the game. I love the play. I played for three years in the professional leagues in Europe and I played some thereafter but your bottom line. I had to give it up, but my love for the game was never given up but I been able to follow it and enjoyed all of these years. In fact, the Charlotte Observer asked me to write an article which will be published this Saturday, the day of the game about why I think this is so special Jen and if you don't mind. I love to read it right now and give our listeners kind of an overview of why this game is so special. We love to hear it.

Here it is, my wife Marilyn and I were in the Sudan on a mission trip years ago.

It was late at night, a Sudanese friend took us to a large field in the middle of nowhere where a blanket of darkness engulfed us. He said look up at the stars. You'll probably never see this again. It was breathtaking's darkling the bright stars twinkled in their perfectly ordered constellations we could see every detail my Sudanese friend was correct. We've never seen anything like it more sense that moment has me reflecting on this weekend's final four. Why is it so special so talked and written about. Yes, it involves four blueblood basketball programs Villanova Kansas Duke and UNC.

Yes, it's the pomp and pageantry of the final four is a member of the 1969 you and see final four team. I still vividly remember our sendoff to Louisville, Kentucky, thousands of students gathered to cheer us on the victory. The pep band blaring the Carolina fight song the electric atmosphere of freedom Hall for the final games of the season but this final four seems very different than all the others in the semifinals Duke and UNC square off to schools separated by 11 miles. Their colors to different shades of blue. A long-standing rivalry that covers six decades with every decade having had a UNC and or Duke team in the final 438 times and all you and see 21 times and Duke 17, it's the Carolina family formed under Dean Smith versus the Duke brotherhood created under coach K. These are the nicknames given by the players in each program. Since coach K took over the Duke program in 1980. Duke is 150 games UNC 49 how astonishingly weird is that it's the game that features first-year coach Hubert Davis's first trip to the final four versus Hall of Fame coach case last trip to the final four. There's also the revenge factor UNC upsetting Duke March 5 in Coach K's final home game ever. I doubt that's it. Well with Coach K's players plus every Duke fan in the universe.

In the words of former Duke player and a ESPN analyst Jay Bellus.

It's the game that quote always delivers college basketball fans dub this time of the year as March madness and rightly so.

Regularly David's toppled Goliaths underdogs surprised teams with superior talent memories are created that last a long time even a lifetime. But this year's March madness seems especially mad crazy nerve-racking tense handwringing. The talk of basketball metaphors, even those who aren't basketball maniacs are chattering about it. Why, because in all of the years of the unparalleled Duke and UNC rivalry having played each other, 257 times to be exact. These two college basketball behemoths have never, ever, not once played each other in the final four.

How does that happen that will change Saturday night. Finally, by some quirk of basketball fate. The two will face off against each other in the national semifinals who will win. I really don't know I have my loyalties, other have the years. But here's the one perspective we all should grab watch the game.

It's a once-in-a-lifetime moment. It will be a game we will talk about for a long time. A true shining moment enjoyed to the full salver every second for like that starry night in the Sudan years ago for me and my wife you'll probably never see this again. While it is an amazing moment, Jen, and it's something that we will talk about for a long long time in the future people are asking me my prediction.

I really don't know. I'm going to say UNC by five just because of my deep, abiding loyalties, but Duke is really good and it should be a game for the ages. Something I think a lot of us are really looking forward to one insight I would give the people might not know is about Hubert Davis when Willie Williams was the head coach. I really believe he hired Hubert nine years ago to be his successor. I think he knew at some point he would give it up and wanted to pass it onto Hubert Davis why I think at least partly because Hubert is African-American and Roy had a real commitment to try to bring about racial equality like Coach Smith did as well. When I played Charlie Scott a year ahead of me was the first African-American athlete at the University of North Carolina Smith was committed to civil rights and racial equality, and I was honored to be part of those teams that Charlie was on where we broke the race barrier and I think really wanted to honor Coach Smith in a very special way by allowing there to be an African-American coach who would follow him. I really believe that Coach Smith chose Phil forward for that role, but Phil had some issues that caused him to be derailed in his life's profession in basketball and he couldn't do it but I think Roy wanted to find that right person in order to be able to do so. And by the way, Phil Ford, through his debacles and the things he went through has become a deeply committed follower of Jesus that's been cool to see when Hubert was playing under coach Smith in the late 1980s. His mom died. She was a tremendously powerful influence on his life. He went through a downtime of doubting his faith. He wondered if God really even cared how could he let his mother, whom you love so dearly and was such a strong Christian die, but she did. What happened next is fascinating. Coach Smith demanded that every single player go to church. That was a part of what he demanded, and we had to bring a bulletin back from the church to show that we had been there so Hubert amidst his downtime in his junior season wondering about his faith that was previously strong now denied.

Went to church and he heard something that reignited his faith, so when he told Coach Smith that he had gone to church and something it happened.

Coach Smith smiled, as did coach Guthrie is the assistant coach at that time Hubert began to walk with Jesus. That was very intimate and very real. He is now the head coach of the University of North Carolina and that faith is still very much intact.

When you saw him hug each one of his players coming off the court in those final minutes of the St. Peter's game last week and he hugged them for long seconds, sometimes maybe even as long as a minute, jostling them back and forth in some kind of awkward dance.

The player hugging back tears flowing from Hubert's mind. Many people asked the question what is going on with Hubert why the world is he doing this engine. Here's the answer. With tears flowing down his cheeks and hugging those players is a very committed follower of Jesus following Roy knowing that he's the first African-American basketball coach at the University of North Carolina. He said this when I accepted this job.

I knew it was more than a job. I knew it was a calling and I feel like my calling here is to be a missionary of Jesus to these young men think about that. Hubert Davis thinks that his call is from God to be a missionary of Jesus to those young men and he kept telling them after the game you were winning or losing of basketball games does not define who you are, God defines who you are.

Find your identity in him and you will never be disappointed in life. What's also fascinating is when Hubert took the job to become the head coach of the University of North Carolina. He went to Coach Smith's graveside.

Knowing the Coach Smith was the one who broke the color barrier in Chapel Hill and there's a verse on Coach Smith's tombstone from Micah the sixth chapter verse eight which talks about what God requires of all humans to love justice and to do mercy and Hubert read that line from Micah and he bent by Coach Smith's grave and he prayed this prayer Lord I pray that I'll be as successful as this man was in leading this program. He gave it totally to the Lord and has lived that out.

Ever since, as we've seen this year. The special blessing of God come upon him in his first year going to the final four. Wow, wow, this is all so compelling and I'm drawn to tears. I did not know that he had said that after that St. Peter's game that I watched most of that game and then realized he was in it when I went in the other library online that is so moving when he sees that part of his life is so important engine we've talked about in some different moments of hope times we've done together about the difference between a vocation, and occupation in our work that too many people see their work as an occupation.

Just something to occupy their time during the week, until they get to the weekend when they can really enjoy themselves.

But that's not how God designs it of all God wants our work to be a vocation or calling the word vocation coming from the Latin word folks voice. It's a calling from God and that no matter what we do every single day. We can influence other people for Jesus. Hubert sees his calling at the University of North Carolina being there head coach as a vocation or calling from God, where he is a missionary to those boys helping them learn not only about how to live life but how to serve God and realize again. Their identity is not in what they do but and who they are as similar people called by God to serve him during their years here on the side of eternity will now knowingness is the back story. It will be fascinating to watch these players launch out into the real world. If you know what I mean when Eric collegiate basketball career is finished to see what kind eyes three that well you know it's interesting. Coach Dean Smith and coach Bill Guthrie's were together for 36 years. Then they were succeeded by Matt Doherty and then Roy Williams and now Hubert Davis, what's the one factor involved in all of those people, Dean Smith. Coach Smith put his life in the coach Guthrie to put his life into Matt Doherty, who was followed by Roy Williams and I will report his life for 17 years and Hubert Davis and what we have the continuation of Coach Smith's legacy even though he's long gone to be with the Lord made all of us have that same legacy as we influence people who influence people who influence people until Jesus comes back again, that's amazing and you are a living legacy and and and it's ongoing for your children and through your church family. It's beautiful.

Thank you. I hope the Coach Smith help with that, within the I know my dad did as well and all I know to say Jim is in this hope today is no heels

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