After the ill-timed firing of North Carolina’s head football coach, the Tarheels will begin moving in a new direction. Butch Davis was hired to lead UNC to ACC Titles and BCS games. Instead he leaves town without delivering even a single division crown during his tenure. All there is to show from his reign are NCAA sanctions. To say that the Davis regime was a failure is an understatement. Does this mean that Butch Davis is a bad coach? Not at all. Will he ever land another job? You can expect to see him in Conference USA in a year or two.
The Davis experiment is another example of a basketball school looking for greener pastures. UNC was willing to go to great lengths to have its football program with the elites. Last season the expectations were as high as they were during the Mack Brown era, even higher. Davis had a team stacked with top draft picks, including a Defensive line which could have started on most NFL teams. Early in the summer most people had UNC in the running for an ACC crown. Some even thought that they had a national title shot with some big out of conference wins. But it all unraveled when a few players were caught attending a party in Miami with a professional agent. After that incident, more issues began to emerge.
The details are publicized, but needless to say, UNC somehow salvaged a season by winning eight games and beating Tennessee in a bowl game. Butch Davis could have been coach of the year considering he went without most of his key players during the season. But that didn’t stop the drums from the UNC faithful to beat to the rhythm of “Butch must go.” UNC didn’t have any major NCAA infractions since Frank McGuire was the basketball coach in 1960. With Davis they were facing several major violations. High profile alums were livid, many calling for Davis to step down in private, while others voiced their opinion publicly. A UNC alum who wishes to remain anonymous thinks Butch Davis has disgraced the University. “I’d rather go 5 – 8 every year and not go to a BCS game, just as long as we do it the right way, and Butch did it the wrong way, so he must go.” Apparently this sentiment is shared by Chancellor Thorpe.
Davis wasn’t afraid to answer questions about the infractions in Pinehurst, NC. He seemed relaxed for someone who was under intense pressure. But most people on the UNC staff did keep their distance from Butch. He was the lone coach, wandering the halls. The UNC administration knew that Butch Davis was done for in Chapel Hill. They just waited for the dust to settle at the ACC Kickoff.
The resignation of Athletic Director Dick Baddur after the Davis firing, sent a clear message
UNC will no longer tolerate indiscretions within the athletic department. The school chancellor is admitting that Butch Davis embarrassed the school, and he deserves to pay the price. With Butch Davis gone, Carolina fans can go back to ignoring the football team and hyping their hoops. They are expected to be the #1 basketball team this year. November can’t come soon enough.