Art Weiner, remembered as one of the best who played football at North Carolina, died Wednesday night, six decades after twice earning All-America honors in an era of two-way players and helmets without bars. He was 87.
UNC announced Weiner’s death Thursday morning. He is one of five players whose jersey number – No. 50, in Weiner’s case – the school has retired.
Weiner played from 1946 to 1949. He earned All-America honors in his final two seasons, and was a three-time first-team All-Southern Conference selection. North Carolina played in the Southern Conference before it became a founding member of the ACC, which formed in 1953.
Weiner played a starring role for the Tar Heels during some of their finest football seasons. He formed a memorable duo with Charlie Justice who, like Weiner, is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Weiner and Justice led UNC to three New Year’s Day bowls from 1946 to 1949.
During Weiner’s time at UNC, passing offenses weren’t nearly as developed as they are today. Yet the tight end caught 106 passes in his four years, and that record stood for 36 years. The 18 touchdown passes he caught also set a record, and that one stood until 1997.
Weiner averaged 16.3 yards per catch, which is still the fifth-highest average in school history. His 52 receptions in 1949 led the nation. Weiner also was a capable defensive player, and he earned most outstanding lineman honors in the Senior Bowl in 1949. That same season, his blocked field goal preserved UNC’s lead near the end of a 21-20 victory against Duke.
The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame inducted Weiner in 1972. He became a member of the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
Weiner, a native of Newark, N.J., died at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro. At the time of his death he was with his wife of 65 years, Boots, and his sons, Gregg and Patrick, and his daughter, Beth. In addition, he is survived by eight grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
Carter: 919-829-8944; Twitter: @_andrewcarter