Athletics

UNC letterman’s family flips tradition to fan the Flames

October 22, 2014
Garrett Long, grandson of Albert Long, is now in his junior year as a tight end for the Flames (#81) and was playing on Kenan field for Liberty’s highly anticipated season opener.

Garrett Long is pictured here with his father, Mike Long (center) and grandfather, Albert Long after this years spring game at Liberty.

Albert Long has been a Tar Heel his whole life.

As the only four-sport letterman in ACC history (baseball, football, basketball, and track & field), the former University of North Carolina athlete and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Hall of Champions athlete has passed his love for his ’50s alma mater down to his children and his grandchildren.

But on Sunday, Aug. 30, in Chapel Hill, N.C., the Long family sat in the visitors’ section of UNC’s Kenan Memorial Stadium decked out in Liberty University Flames Football red.

That’s because Garrett Long, grandson of Albert Long, is now in his junior year as a tight end for the Flames (#81) and was playing on Kenan field for Liberty’s highly anticipated season opener.

As the lone Flames fan in a sea of pale blue, Garrett’s father, Mike Long, didn’t seem bothered as he visited Sutton’s Drug Store in downtown Chapel Hill, a hub for UNC fans.

“As many times as we would come here for every single football game — from the time (Garrett) was a baby until today, wearing  Carolina blue — for him to run out on that field wearing the Liberty blue and red is going to be really thrilling for the entire family,” Mike Long said before kickoff.

Garrett Long, who is pursuing a degree in criminal justice, was honored to represent Liberty on the field that meant so much to his father and grandfather.

“Ever since I could walk, I was always put in a Carolina shirt,” Garrett Long said. “To step foot on the field that my grandfather played on is just a dream come true (one that I have had) ever since I was a little boy, playing in his backyard in Durham, N.C.”

Garrett debuted in the fourth quarter of the game against the then No. 23-ranked Tar Heels, which was broadcast on ESPN3. It was the first time Liberty had played a nationally ranked FBS opponent. Cheered on by a packed-out visitors’ section, the Flames took the lead in the third quarter but fell to the Tar Heels 56-29.

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