Butch Davis is no longer the head coach at the University of North Carolina. Just days after saying that the thought of resigning as head coach amid controversy and NCAA investigations in to the football program, the university made the decision for him. University of North Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp and Director of Athletics Dick Baddour informed Davis of the decision Wednesday morning, a day after the ACC Football Kickoff wrapped up in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
“To restore confidence in the University of North Carolina and our football program, it’s time to make a change,” said Thorp in a press release issued by the university. “What started as a purely athletic issue has begun to chip away at this University’s reputation. I have been deliberate in my approach to understanding this situation fully, and I have worked to be fair to everyone involved. However, I have lost confidence in our ability to come through this without harming the way people think of this institution. Our academic integrity is paramount and we must work diligently to protect it. The only way to move forward and put this behind us is to make a change.”
Raleigh CBS affiliate WRAL reported (via WBTV) that the UNC Board of Trustees met Wednesday afternoon with a closed door session with a meeting with the Audit and Finance Committee and the University Affairs committee scheduled to be a part of the meeting. Information regarding contract details and where the school can go moving forward were likely discussed. Davis was making $1.8 million per year under his contract.
In a release issued by the university Thorp said the decision was not related to any change in the NCAA investigation, but that it was the result of the cumulative damage to the University’s reputation over the past year.
“Athletics and football are an important part of this University, and a successful football program is essential to the overall health of our athletic program,” Thorp continued. “That’s why we have to put this behind us and move forward.”
North Carolina’s football program has been under an NCAA investigation for the past 13 months and it cost a number of players some playing time in 2010. Though Davis was never linked to any infractions directly, but he made it known that the ultimate responsibility fell on his shoulders for failure to monitoring properly what his players were doing off the field. A total of 14 players missed playing time for part or the entire 2010 season, including defensive star Marvin Austin, who was allowed to participate in the East West Shrine Game and attend the NFL Scouting Combine.
The school will hold a press conference Thursday morning, at which point a decision on a head coach, at least for 2011, is expected to be made. North Carolina’s first game of the season is a mere 38 days away, leaving the school little time to find what should be considered a suitable replacement. Expect North Carolina to go forward with an interim head coach and conduct a national search as the season gets progresses.
Davis was 28-23 with the Tar Heels and 79-43 overall in college football. His termination came as a shock to a number of players and recruits, who have taken to Facebook and Twitter to express their feelings on the loss of the coach. Davis won three Big East titles during his previous college stint at the University of Miami, now a member of the ACC.
Sources: UNC Athletics, WBTV
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