Squeeze the Charmin: Hatchell Wins No. 500

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Carolina’s latest basketball milestone made all the papers. But there was one paper Sylvia Hatchell probably didn’t want to hear anything about.

On Monday, Feb. 4, Hatchell’s team drove to Durham and took care of the usually tough Blue Devils, 93-76. As she has done in the past, the coach stopped the bus on Franklin Street and let her players engage in the celebration that keeps on giving the next morning: They rolled a couple of trees.

Only this time, the Chapel Hill cops were not amused, and they warned Hatchell about littering and told the team to try to clean it up, to which they obliged.

On Thursday, three days later, Clemson got in the way of a team — and a program — on a roll. The Heels’ 79-47 rout was No. 500 for Hatchell in her 22nd year at Carolina. The 500 is against 194 losses. Her overall coaching record was 772-274 after the Clemson game.

You wouldn’t know Hatchell had lost 30 points a game when Ivory Latta and Camille Little graduated last spring. So far, the Heels have run through their conference schedule unbeaten, losing only to national powers Tennessee and Connecticut. Less than a week after the UConn loss, they beat No. 4-ranked Maryland in two overtimes.

Hatchell was named national coach of the year in 1994, when Carolina won it all, and again two years ago, when the Heels made the first of two straight trips to the Final Four.

She has coached eight ACC championship teams and is a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

All her previous head coaching was at Francis Marion College from 1975 through 1986. Hatchell received her undergraduate physical education degree at Carson-Newman College and her master’s from the University of Tennessee.

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