With basketball growing in popularity following the 1957 national championship, UNC decided in the early 1960s to build a new arena. Completed in 1965, Carmichael Auditorium, as it was then named, was the home of the Tar Heel basketball team for more than twenty years. Originally seating 8,000 fans (later expanded to more than 10,000), the notoriously loud venue played host to many of Coach Dean Smith's greatest teams, including the 1981—82 national champions. Built along South Road next to Woollen Gym —the previous location of home basketball games —Carmichael was completed in time for the October 12, 1965, University Day celebrations. Lectures and concerts were also held there, including a performance by the Supremes just a month after it opened. In the fall of 1982 Carmichael hosted a week of lectures by evangelist Billy Graham.
The first men's basketball game in Carmichael was played on December 4, 1965, a UNC victory over William and Mary. By the 1980s the men's basketball team was in need of an even larger venue and moved to the Dean Smith Center once it was completed. Carmichael underwent an extensive renovation in 2010 and was renamed Carmichael Arena when it reopened. Carmichael currently hosts Tar Heel volleyball, gymnastics, wrestling, and women's basketball.
The building is named for William D. Carmichael Jr., a university administrator in the 1940s and 1950s. A native of Durham, Carmichael graduated from UNC in 1921 and was a captain of the basketball team. He had a successful career on Wall Street before returning to Chapel Hill in 1939 to serve as controller for the UNC System (coincidentally, he succeeded Charles T. Woollen, namesake of the building Carmichael Auditorium was built to replace). Carmichael, a successful fund-raiser, was named acting head of the university after Frank Porter Graham left in 1949 and was considered a possible successor to Graham. He was later named vice president and finance officer of the UNC System, serving in that role until his death in 1961.
Date Established: 1965
Date Range: 1965 – Present