Tar Heel Legend Passes

One of the greatest Tar Heel football players of all-time passed away Friday morning. Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice gained 4,883 yards running and passing at North Carolina from 1946-49, a record that stood for nearly a half century. He was 79.

The two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up was ranked as the No. 14 N.C. sports figure of all-time by Sports Illustrated and No. 97 college football player of all-time by College Football News.

He gained 4,883 yards running and passing at North Carolina from 1946-49, a record that stood until 1994. Justice went on to play for the Washington Redskins from 1950-1954.

"Charlie Justice was one of the most beloved people in the history of this great University," UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour said today. "He was a true Carolina icon. There was only one Charlie Justice, not only because of his football feats, but because of his humility, devotion to his family and teammates and his love for Carolina. His passing is a great loss to so many people who loved and admired him. Our deepest sympathies go out to his lovely wife, Sarah, and all his friends and family.

"It was a privilege to participate last year in dedicating the Kenan Stadium Hall of Honor in his name. People for decades have admired Charlie Justice and that admiration will continue for generations to follow. This year's reunion of the Justice Era teams, which ironically takes place this weekend, will be even more special because of his passing. There will always be a place in Tar Heel hearts for the great Number 22."

"He's up there in a special place," Bunting told TarHeelBlue this summer after meeting with Justice. "He's so revered - so revered - by his teammates. I wanted to find out what he's all about. I got goose bumps shaking his hand. What a thrill. I'd heard of him all my life but never met him. He still has that fire in his eyes.

"All I knew going up to meet 'Choo Choo' was that he was a great, great player in Carolina history," Bunting says. "Then all he does is talk about his teammates. He doesn't want the credit. That was really, really neat. And I looked right down in his eyes a couple of times. They're still burning-burning with pride, burning with energy. He's a player. He's a gamer, I think, as well. That trip made me feel really good. I'm glad I did it."


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