Scott Fowler

Here’s a throwback Luke Maye picture you must see – and the story behind it

In 2002, former UNC and Independence High quarterback Mark Maye posed for The Observer at his Huntersville home with his four sons. From left to right: Cole, Beau and five-year-old Luke Maye, holding his youngest brother Drake.
In 2002, former UNC and Independence High quarterback Mark Maye posed for The Observer at his Huntersville home with his four sons. From left to right: Cole, Beau and five-year-old Luke Maye, holding his youngest brother Drake. Charlotte Observer file photo

In 2002, as part of a “Where Are They Now?” feature, former North Carolina quarterback Mark Maye posed for The Charlotte Observer with his four young sons. Carefully holding his baby brother Drake in the picture is 5-year-old Luke Maye, the hero of UNC’s last-second win over Kentucky Sunday.

This week I showed that picture to Luke’s parents – Mark and Aimee Maye – and asked them what they remembered about that photo shoot with The Observer in Huntersville nearly 15 years ago. Here are some excerpts from that conversation we had before the Mayes – who both graduated from North Carolina – were scheduled to depart for Arizona along with their two youngest sons, Beau and Drake. They were planning to go watch Luke, now a North Carolina sophomore, play in the Final Four this weekend.

Q. Why was Luke entrusted with holding the baby in this photo?

A. “Luke had good hands, even back then,” Aimee Maye said.

Q. Is this picture an accurate representation of how Mark looks now?

A. “Oh no,” Mark said, laughing. “I look like an old offensive lineman now. I believe all these close basketball games are aging me.”

Q. Why wasn’t Aimee in this picture?

A. “That’s my fault,” said Aimee, who met Mark at Chapel Hill when she was a student and has been married to him since 1995. “Your photographer wanted all six of us in there, but I said just take it of the boys and Mark. Then all of our friends saw it and kept saying to Mark, ‘How are things at the bachelor pad?’

“The story said Mark kept busy raising his four boys. It didn’t even mention him being married! (Editor’s note: This is true. The story was very brief and never mentioned Aimee). So this picture was a big joke with our friends forever. But it was my fault. I didn’t want to be in it.”

Q. Cole, on the far left of the photo, had a huge smile then and is a pitcher at the University of Florida now. Did he enjoy this photo shoot more than anyone else?

A. “Probably,” Mark said. “Cole has always been a character. Out of all the kids, he’s the biggest jokester.”

Q. Luke looks pretty committed to big brotherhood in this picture. Was that an act?

A. “Not at all,” Aimee said. “He’s always been a great big brother. He hates to lose at anything to his younger brothers, but he will go anywhere at any time to see one of their games if he can. I can’t even talk much about how great he is at being a big brother or I’ll get too emotional.”

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