Local News

UNC fans in Detroit, Chapel Hill celebrate victory

Posted April 6, 2009
Updated April 7, 2009

— After the last buzzer sounded, Carolina fans – whether in Detroit or Chapel Hill – began to celebrate the University of North Carolina's fifth men's basketball national championship.

Web only: Sky 5 flies over Franklin Street celebrations Web only: Sky 5 flies over Franklin Street

For those who couldn't be in Detroit, Franklin Street was the place to be, where fans crowded into bars and restaurants six hours before tipoff.

Police estimated that 30,000 fans rushed Franklin Street and adjacent areas as soon as the game ended. At one point, WRAL News counted 24 bonfires, and people were jumping through them.

Police said that had had no major problems as of 2 a.m.

Eight additional agencies lent about 275 personnel to help keep the revelers in check.

Officers canvassed the area for potential dangers and were set up to respond to any incidents. Franklin Street and nearby areas were closed to traffic after the game, and police confiscated alcohol, weapons, combustible objects or pets in the closed-off area.

The security operation costs "in the neighborhood of a couple hundred thousand dollars," Chapel Hill Assistant Fire Marshall Dace Bergen said.

Another stream of fans came from the Dean Smith Center, where about 4,000 fans had watched the game on a 15-by-20 foot screen.

"I could have watched it at home, but to be in an atmosphere with thousands of other Carolina fans, cheering on our team in this national event, there is nothing better," Dean Dome attendee Eric Whitehead said.

Gov. Bev Perdue, who was at Ford Field in Detroit, was the winner of a bet with Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Granholm will have to give $100 to a North Carolina food bank and appear on the Internet wearing Carolina colors.

Before the game, Perdue said, Granholm called saying she couldn't' make it because she was sick.

"I told her she's got the 'blue flu.' She's afraid to show up because we're going to whip them – badly," Perdue said.

Also in the stands were about 400 UNC students in a student section close to the game. Like their team, they weren't intimidated by being badly outnumbered by Michigan State fans.

"I don't mind being in the lower number, so long as everybody's quiet at the end of the game and we're walking out happy," UNC student James Ludemann said.

He got his wish.


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  • schoobydooyellow Apr 7, 2009

    Congrats to the UNC basketball team.

    Shame, shame, shame on the student body!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Several bad apples leave a bad taste for me.

    Stealing and damaging the street sign, breaking the cross walk signs, damaging trees, littering, daming the roofs of businesses.

    Who do they think is going to have to pay and replace these items. The University....I think not.

    I'll tell you who.......THE RESIDENTS OF CHAPEL HILL that's who.

    The residents should demand more from the university and make them reimburse for the cost of the night. (several hundred thousand dollars) I bet the parents of the students wouldn't like that bill.

    Go Heels!!!!!!

  • DiamondBucs Apr 7, 2009

    So ECU has a snowball fight and gets negative national attention? UNC starts 24 fires and it's a harmless celebration???

  • 007KnightRider Apr 7, 2009

    Harleyhoney - "I watched the game on tv and that was the quietest 70,000 people I've ever seen. The Heels shut them down early and never looked back. MSU didn't know what hit them. From a State fan, CONGRATULATIONS, HEELS. You represented the ACC awesomely."

    I too found Ford Field to be way too quiet. But when you think about it if I was a Michigan State fan I too would have kept silence knowing we hard a hard battle to fight ATTEMPTING to beat those TAR HEELS.

  • my2cents_RDU Apr 7, 2009

    Congrats to the Heels. It concerns me that the fires are allowed and almost seem expected. Isn't it illegal to start a fire in public like that? It seems that law enforcement bends the rules when they want to.

  • PaulRevere Apr 7, 2009

    "Who exactly paid for that little excursion, Bev?

    The stimulus..errr...I mean we did.

  • Reader Apr 7, 2009

    So, next are we going to declare the New Years' Eve celebration in Times Square every year a horrible mob scene? Come on! A bunch of people happily celebrating is not a mob. A mob is destructive and defiant of authority. You were classy all the way, Heels! And I'm proud to root for NC (State!) basketball.

  • Desiderata Apr 7, 2009

    BIG DEAL WHO CARES??????????????????????NOT I >>HATE B BALL!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Killian Apr 7, 2009

    I personally find it interesting to note that Gov. Purdue had no problem spending the money for herself and whomever accompanied her to fly to Michigan, have meals, security, transportation, and tickets to the game, when her state is cutting people's jobs left and right.

    Who exactly paid for that little excursion, Bev?

  • myrtlebeachrock Apr 7, 2009

    I was impressed with the UNC win and glad to see every one celebrate, but did you notice that the large majority of the guys were just jumping thru the fire...and a lot were just jumping up and down. I didn't see any of the guys with any girls really.

    When you win a national championship wouldn't you think that most guys would grab a pretty girl and kiss her. I went to a rival school in eastern NC and when we won a big football game we would grab a pretty girl and kiss, dance and party. Oh well!

    Here's to the Heels, they played a great game.

  • Here kitty kitty Apr 7, 2009

    I watched the game on tv and that was the quietest 70,000 people I've ever seen. The Heels shut them down early and never looked back. MSU didn't know what hit them. From a State fan, CONGRATULATIONS, HEELS. You represented the ACC awesomely.