UNC die-hard Tar Heel fan always there for her team

Big Tournament

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – UNC will continue their quest for a national championship, set to square off Friday against Auburn in the next round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Lillian Lee is a die-hard Tar Heel, always there to send off the team, especially in March. 

“I just want them to know that this grandmother loves them dearly,” Lee said. 

From Carmichael Arena to the Dean Smith Center, Lillian and her husband, Howard, have followed the Heels since 1965. 

The couple has scored a nearly perfect record, when it comes to home games. 

“Over that time, I’ve missed very few basketball games,” Lillian Lee said. 

The Lees said their involvement in Carolina basketball tipped off after a visit to Binkley Baptist Church in the 1960s, where they met a coach by the name of Dean Smith. 

“When Coach Smith decided that he wanted to recruit black players, it was natural for him to turn to us,” Howard Lee said. “Lillian has become somewhat like the ‘den mother’ for many of the players that have come through.”

Howard Lee said those players included Michael Jordan, Bill Chamberlain, Antawn Jamison and King Rice. 

“Each year she would find ways to bring them in, and serve a massive dinner,” Howard Lee said. “She makes a carrot cake to die for. All of the players come through here, thinking they’re going to have some of Ms. Lee’s carrot cake. One of those strongest advocates for that carrot cake is Michael Jordan.”

The Lees would like to see the Heels cut down the nets. They’ll continue to stand by their team, hoping for happiness to cap off March Madness. 

Tip-off between the Tar Heels and Tigers is set for 7:29 p.m. Friday. 

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