Don McCauley will be enshrined in the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame tonight, and the former North Carolina tailback did much to earn his plaque in the hall.
In 1970, his senior season at UNC, he rushed for 1,720 yards, breaking O.J. Simpson's NCAA record. He scored 21 touchdowns, then an ACC record, and had 279 yards rushing and five TDs against Duke. He was the ACC's player of the year and later named ACC athlete of the year.
"But the thing I'm proudest of is that in that senior season we turned around the program," McCauley says. "The fact we left as winners means so much to me, and I'm proud to represent that team."
The Tar Heels were in their fourth season under coach Bill Dooley and had gone 2-8, 3-7 and 5-5 in the first three. In 1970, they finished 8-4 and played in the Peach Bowl.
"We had respect throughout the country after that season," McCauley says. "After all that hard work, all that time asking 'Will it ever happen' we went out winners. We believed in the system and made our mark."
A first-round draft pick of the Baltimore Colts in 1971, McCauley spent 11 seasons with the Colts and had a solid NFL career. He's now major gift director for UNC's Rams Club.
And now, he's a member of the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame.
"I live 30 miles west of Raleigh and it took me 40 years to get back here," McCauley says. "It's very special."
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