When I saw this article in the Winston-Salem Journal about how Roy Williams wants to spice up the Dean Dome crowd, I assumed he was pushing for more students near the floor. Unfortunately, this article talks more about improving the TVs and piping in music. Um, Roy, that’s not what made Carmichael so great and it’s not what makes Allen Fieldhouse and Cameron Indoor Stadium rock. What makes a great crowd is a great crowd. By and large, the only way to get a consistently great, loud crowd is to have the students near the court where they can make noise and be seen. They create the atmosphere, not the old-timers with the deep pockets.
The problem at Carolina, and any other school with a modern arena, is that they sold those good seats long ago for big dollars. They can’t just take them back without some lawsuits. The only option is to buy them back. That would be expensive, but if any booster program can do it, it’s the Rams Club, especially now, while the Heels are winning.
The article does have a great anecdote about Carmichael from a game when Virginia and Ralph Sampson came to play:
Williams is hoping for nights in the Smith Center to be as menacing as one night in Carmichael in the ’80s. UNC was playing Virginia and Ralph Sampson and Carmichael was in bedlam before tipoff. The noise was deafening. Nothing could be heard on the floor.
Williams helped Virginia with the starting lineup introductions because he was standing next to the public-address announcer, who couldn’t be heard. Williams yelled the names of Virginia’s players when announced to Craig Littlepage, a Virginia assistant, so that Littlepage could tap each player when his name was called to go out on the floor. Littlepage, who was 10 feet from Williams, couldn’t hear a word Williams said and had to read his lips.