Stuart Scott participated in North Carolina's "Late Night with Roy Williams," the Tar Heels' version of Midnight Madness, for almost as long as the event was held since Williams returned for the 2003-04 season.
Even this season, although Scott was absent physically, his presence was still felt with a video tribute and a sign held up on the floor that read, "#Stuart Strong." The sign remains in the Heels' lounge, which is adjacent to their locker room.
Williams released a statement on the former ESPN anchor and proud Carolina alumnus, who lost his battle with cancer Sunday:
"Extreme sadness. It's the kind of thing where you watch someone on TV and then you get to know them personally and you love so many things about them that it hits you in a sense that you were much closer to them than you really were because he was a part of your life. And so extreme, extreme sadness, and hurt.
"He really is an inspiration. Always has been and always will be. He was a pioneer in the media world with his catchphrases. He was a pioneer in saying things that nobody else would say, or he was the first one to say them. But at the same time, the toughness that he showed and the public perception that was so true about how he fought this battle was something that would make John Wayne envy him. The persona of John Wayne fighting cancer, the persona of Stuart Scott fighting cancer and telling me his dream was to walk down the aisle with his two daughters at their weddings is something that he had to be a tough pioneer, a tough person to let that drive you and he did let it drive him. The last few years showing up to our Late Night, handling our Late Night celebration for eight or nine years, was just one of the true gifts that I was fortunate to be involved in.
"The fun side of just listening to him on the TV. 'Vince Carter -- Tar Heel. Antawn Jamison -- Tar Heel.' I loved that part of it. He was probably the first broadcaster in any form that could show that and it didn't bother people. But he could handle it if it had bothered them because he was showing where his heart was. He came back here so many times and talked to our crowd, particularly to the students, about how much he loved the University and what the University of North Carolina was to him. It was a place in his heart, a special place in his heart and it was never going to go away. I remember him saying, 'I could be gone a year and still when I come back I get those cold chills because I am a Tar Heel. Coming into Chapel Hill to the University of North Carolina, this is our school.' And the message he got out in every one of those statements that he would make in front of the 21,750 people was so evident in the way he lived his life, and so evident in his broadcasts and the whole bit.
To me personally he was a friend, he was a guy that I idolized. Stuart Scott, he was a hero to me. Stuart Scott. Tar Heel."