UNC’s oldest athlete will lead Final Four pep rally

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – UNC’s oldest living athlete will lead a Final Four pep rally and parade on Saturday.

Bobby Gersten, 96 and a half (he insists on the half), played sports for UNC from 1938 to 1942.

“I played against Duke 18 times, baseball and basketball,” he said. “We won 10.”

He added, “It was just by luck that they kept me as the 15th man on the freshman team, but at the end of the season, I was the most valuable player with Bob Ru, two of us.”

After graduation, Gerten stayed involved at UNC. He said he helped coach Frank McGuire bring Dean Smith to UNC as assistant coach after Gersten turned down the job.

“That’s one of the great people,” he said, pointing at a picture of Smith.

“He said, ‘Then help me! Here’s a book of 50. Pick one.’ I picked Dean Smith,” Gersten said.

And he takes credit for keeping Dean Smith after a tough first season.

“People were yelling, ‘Fire him!'” Gersten recalled. ” I begged them to give him another year and he won 20 games!”

Gersten also said that he later helped scout Michael Jordan.

The pep rally and parade will start at the Old Well at noon.

UNC Walk for Health is the organization behind the event.

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