'I Think We Got It Right'

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Director of Athletic Communications Steve Kirschner spoke to reporters during a media tour of the new Carolina Basketball Museum on Friday afternoon.

On the museum artifacts:
"Every item that is in here is an authentic game-worn item, except for the two jerseys in the 2000's tournament case. There's some replica jerseys of Jawad [Williams] and Rashad [McCants], and then some of the rings that we have in the Final Four and the NCAA [room]. We had the ring maker go back and redo a ring to represent the MVP's in the Final Four's – [Lennie] Rosenbluth, [Sean] May, Donald Williams and James Worthy… They're the same ring as would have been given – it's not Sean May's Final Four ring, but we just had them redo [the rings]. They still had the diecasts. But everything else is an authentic piece."

On the interactive player database:
"That's the one item that is in progress. There are currently 53 players that have some kind of video, but we can add video to every player that's in there… Every player's going to have a bio, [and] every player will have a still photo… This database will grow and eventually we're going to have every player's game-by-game stats in every game they played in, every team stat, every game that UNC ever played in, our stats and the opponents' stats."

On the former players' feelings about the museum:
"I think they were very proud of it – they really were. I think they were a little bit in awe that they were all a part of this. I think they appreciated the fact that we tried to represent everybody, and not just the great players."

On the difficulty going forward:
"Our challenge is going to be to keep it up. We don't want this to be where you come in a year from now and people are like, ‘Well, there's nothing new. I've seen everything before.' We won't update the videos right away, because hopefully those have some time to them. Freddie Kiger wrote all of the videos, and did just a phenomenal job. He knew the history and he's written openings for the Olympics, for Duke-Carolina games on ESPN. I think he's just a master wordsmith, and to combine that with his knowledge and love of Carolina basketball, he was the perfect choice to do the writing. So we'll tweak them and we'll update them…

"When [Tyler] Hansbrough gets his seventh free throw from now and breaks the school record, [Associate Director of Athletic Communications] Matt [Bowers] has got to go get the ball. If it's at home, it's easy, but if it's Florida State, he's got to go pry it out of Chuck Walsh's hands… Now we're in the museum business, and we've got to think like museum curators. Last year at the bloody Duke game, Matt went in as soon as the game ended, because we were in artifact collection mode at that point, and as soon as the game ended, Matt ran in to get the jersey because we were like, ‘What would be cooler than a bloody jersey?' Except that the minute he took it off, they threw it in the wash. And that was even before the game ended. So we were like, ‘Gosh, we missed a great one.'

"But we did get Tyler's mask from the Michigan State game… [Trainer] Marc Davis said, though, that if we ever need another mask, we may have to borrow it from the museum... I'm much more concerned with going forward – how do we keep it fresh and updated and current – than I was getting it to this point. Because you would really have had to screw it up to not do this right, given the history and the stuff we had to show. And I think thus far – I think we got it right."

On deciding what the museum would entail:
"It was about two years ago when we hired Gallagher and Associates out of Bethesda, Md. Terry Healy's the principle of that group. They're designing the Gettysburg museum now, they've done the National Museum of Sports and they've done stuff with the Basketball Hall of Fame… We had meetings with the people on the museum committee and said, ‘Okay, we know what we've got from Coach [Dean] Smith, we know we've got what we already own – stuff all over campus – we know what we have and we know our history. We know that we want to highlight ACC Championships, Final Fours, point guards or great shooters or whatever. How do we pull all of this together?' Well, we told them what we have and we told them what we wanted and then they came back with a schematic."

On developing the idea for the final trophy room:
"A bunch of us went to see about four different museums – Churchill Downs, Kentucky basketball at Rupp Arena, the Packers at Lambeau Field and University of Oklahoma football, which some of these groups had worked in before. The Packers have a room where you walk in and the only thing that you really can see are the three Lombardi Trophies and their rings. So we were like, ‘Well, that's how we want to finish. We want to kind of bring it down to a sort of austere, respectful level of the championships… This room is set up to easily accommodate four more national championships."

On what he hopes fans will get out of the museum:
"I think it's more than just looking at old artifacts and old uniforms. I think it's to get that sense of their feeling of pride of being a Carolina basketball fan. I think the audios and the videos are designed to bring out some emotion from our fans. Not just to show them something, but to make them feel part of something… It's more than just balls and rings and stuff – it's the history and the stories behind it."

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