Current and former fans of Tarheel basketball were able to see Chapel Hill alumnus, Denver resident and writer Scott Fowler this past Monday night.
He was there to sign copies of his latest book, â€œNorth Carolina Tar Heels: Where Have You Gone?â€ at the Florence Shanklin Memorial Library in Denver.
Fowler said that his love of writing dates back to his days in the first grade.
â€œI would make up little stories and even change fairy tales around,â€ he said.
It wasn`t until he was a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that he discovered his love for journalism.
â€œI`m originally from Spartanburg, S.C., and I was home for spring break when my mom asked me if I had a summer job lined up.â€
Fowler told her â€œno,â€ and she told him to go look for one.
â€œI applied everywhere, to grocery stores and other businesses,â€ he said.
One of Fowlerâ€™s stops on his quest for a summer job was the local Spartanburg newspaper.
â€œThe editor asked me if I had any clips, and I told him that I didn`t,â€ said Fowler.
Fowler said the editor made what was for him a life-changing suggestion: Go back to Chapel Hill and get on the college newspaper staff.
Fowler followed that suggestion.
â€œI sent him everything I did,â€ said Fowler.
When he came home for summer break in 1984, the editor hired him for a paltry $4 per hour, a maximum of 20 hours per week.
â€œHe asked me if I wanted to do news or sports, and I picked sports,â€ said Fowler.
He has been doing sports in newspapers for the past 20-plus years.
It wasn`t until an unusual meeting at a Carolina Panthers game that Fowler decided to add â€œauthorâ€ to his list of accomplishments.
â€œAn agent of the Panthers came to me and a colleague and asked us to write a book,â€ said Fowler.
The product of that meeting was a 1997 book on the Carolina Panthers.
After his first book came out, he met and married Elise Mundy of Denver.
â€œHer father is former Rock Springs School principal Jim Mundy,â€ said Fowler. â€œPart of the deal in marrying his daughter is I had to move to Denver, and I did so in 1998.â€
In the seven years Fowler has lived in Denver, he has written two more books. The second was another book on the Panthers in 2004. It was where Fowler discovered he liked working with his publishing company, Sports Publishing, LLC.
â€œThey asked me if I had any ideas,â€ Fowler said. He turned to one of his loves, Tarheel basketball, for inspiration.
Fowler worked on the book from 15 months and said the work wasn`t easy.
â€œI feature 35 players in the book that covers a 50-year span from the 1950s to 2001,â€ he said. â€œI tried to pick out 35 players from stars to obscure people.â€
One familiar name missing from the book is basketball phenom Michael Jordan. Fowler makes no apologies for not including Jordan.
â€œI`ve even got the fact that Jordanâ€™s not in the book as the first line of the introduction,â€ he said. â€œWe know what happened to him.â€
Of the three books written, this latest was by far the most challenging, said Fowler. There were many more phone calls made, many more interviews and a lot more reporting that went into this book.
By far his most memorable interview in writing the book was Charlie Scott.
â€œHe was the first black scholarship at Chapel Hill,â€ said Fowler. â€œIt was UNC`s version of Jackie Robinson. He broke the color barrier.â€
Fowler said the book`s appeal is to anyone who was, or knows somebody who is, a Tarheel fan.
â€œAlmost any generation will find a player they can identify with,â€ Fowler said.
Want an autographed copy?
Scott Fowlerâ€™s next book signing will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Birkdale Village, Huntersville. For more information on â€œNorth Carolina Tarheels: Where Have You Gone,â€ visit: www.scottfowlerbooks.com
by Jon Mayhew