ROSES to Mike Fox, UNC's baseball coach, who has been named National Coach of the Year by Baseball America.It's an honor well deserved. Fox has proven himself one of the top coaches in the nation over the past several years, leading the Tar Heels to the College World Series three straight years.This year Carolina finished 54-14 and took eventual champion Fresno State to the wire in the semifinals. You may hear some grumble that Fox hasn't won the big one. True, he hasn't brought home a national championship -- yet. But there's a lot more to being a great coach than winning national titles, and Fox has proved himself a winner all the way around. Besides, you may recall another UNC coach who is considered a pretty fair coach even though he came up empty more than once before he finally won the crown: Dean Smith didn't win the NCAA championship until his seventh trip to the Final Four.
RASPBERRIES to whoever wrote threatening and racist graffiti in the bathroom at the Chapel Hill Public Works Department, and to the supervisors who failed to promptly remove the offensive words and images.Jerry Neville, a sign maker in the department and past chairman of the Black Public Works Association, said the writing identified him by name, calling him the "N" word, and was accompanied by a drawing of a noose.He told the Town Council that although he reported the incident promptly, the writing remained for months. The town filed a report with the police, and Town Manager Roger Stancil told the council the town takes the incident seriously and is pursuing it.But if, as Neville says, the hateful scrawling remained on display for any length of time beyond whatever the police might need to investigate, that's inexcusable. As council member Mark Kleinschmidt said, if something like that is up for five minutes, "it's five minutes too long."
ROSES to Samuel Katz, a pediatrician who calls Carrboro home but whose reach extends to the whole world.Katz, one of the researchers on the team that developed the vaccine against measles, was honored recently with the North Carolina Children's Lifetime Legacy Award from Action for Children North Carolina. For decades he has been an international leader on vaccine issues. He was among the team at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Boston that developed the measles vaccine. Few developments have had a more positive impact on children's health; childhood deaths from measles worldwide have gone from as many as 6 million each year to about 200,000 -- still too many, he said, but certainly a sign of progress.At 81, Katz, now a pediatrician at Duke, still tools around town on his bicycle, and he still works to improve the heath of children throughout the world.