Join the NC Reads Statewide Book Club and Read Game Changers by Art Chansky

Game Changers: Dean Smith, Charlie Scott, and the Era That Transformed a Southern College Town by Art Chansky has been selected as the March bookclub selection for North Carolina Reads: North Carolina Humanities’ statewide book club.

The free bookclub features five books, from February through June, that explore the history and culture of North Carolina and highlight issues of racial, social, and gender equality. The 2023 book selections pose critical questions about how North Carolinians view their role in helping to form a more just and inclusive society and UNC Press is proud to have two books on this years list (Game Changers, in March, and Step It Up and Go, in June). Held virtually, these monthly book club events will allow participants to hear from the authors and other guest speakers.

At the heart of North Carolina Reads is NC Humanities’ desire to connect communities through shared reading experiences.

Visit the NC Humanities website to register, download the reading schedule and discussion questions, learn where to get books, and find out more about the bookclub.

Game Changers: Dean Smith, Charlie Scott, and the Era That Transformed a Southern College Town by Art Chansky

One of the most insightful and intriguing books ever written about college sports.

Caulton Tudor, NC Sports Hall of Fame Writer

Among many legendary episodes from the life and career of men’s basketball coach Dean Smith, few loom as large as his recruitment of Charlie Scott, the first African American scholarship athlete at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Drawn together by college basketball in a time of momentous change, Smith and Scott helped transform a university, a community, and the racial landscape of sports in the South. But there is much more to this story than is commonly told. In Game Changers, Art Chansky reveals an intense saga of race, college sport, and small-town politics. At the center were two young men, Scott and Smith, both destined for greatness but struggling through challenges on and off the court, among them the storms of civil rights protest and the painfully slow integration of a Chapel Hill far less progressive than its reputation today might suggest. 

Drawing on extensive personal interviews and a variety of other sources, Chansky takes readers beyond the basketball court to highlight the community that supported Smith and Scott during these demanding years, from assistant basketball coach John Lotz and influential pastor the Reverend Robert Seymour to pioneering African American mayor Howard Lee. Dispelling many myths that surround this period, Chansky nevertheless offers an ultimately triumphant portrait of a student-athlete and coach who ensured the University of North Carolina would never be the same.