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It’s official: Butch Davis out as UNC’s head coach

Virginia Tech v North Carolina Getty Images

Move over, Jim Tressel.  You have some company in the coaching unemployment line.

Stunningly, unexpectedly and, perhaps most importantly, just 38 days ahead of the first game of the 2011 season, North Carolina has fired Butch Davis, mere days after the now-former head coach expressed gratitude for the support he’s received from the athletic department and university throughout the scandal-plagued last 12 months.  The move came a few hours after rumors began circulating that the would’ve-been fifth-year coach was out.

The press release stated that the decision to dismiss Davis — and the school used the word “dismissed” — 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.

Additionally, the school has yet to name an interim head coach, although Sam Pittman was promoted to associate head coach.

UNC chancellor Holden Thorp and athletic director Dick Baddour will meet with the media Thursday at 11 a.m. ET to address the stunning turn of events, which comes just eight days before the start of summer camp.

“To restore confidence in the University of North Carolina and our football program, it’s time to make a change,” said Thorp. “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.”

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 said in a statement. “That’s why we have to put this behind us and move forward.”

“The last 13 months have been some of the most difficult that anyone associated with the athletic department and football program have dealt with,” Baddour said. “At this time, a decision has been made to change the leadership of the football program to help the entire University community move forward.

“I want to thank Butch Davis and his family for their four-plus years of service and dedication to the University and the Chapel Hill community. My staff and I will work with Chancellor Thorp to transition to an interim head coach as soon as possible. It is critical that we do all we can to help our students and other staff members on the football team since preseason training camp begins in just eight days.”

Davis’ four years in Chapel Hill resulted in an overall record of 28-23 record, including a 15-17 mark in ACC play.  During his time with the Tar Heels, they finished third twice and fourth twice in the Coastal division.

Beyond the subpar record in conference play, Davis’ legacy will likely be the baker’s dozen players who missed all or part of the 2010 season due to the agent/academic scandal that’s plagued the program for over a year.  Additionally, one of his most trusted assistants and his most gifted recruiter, John Blake, resigned last September under a cloud of controversy for his alleged role in the agent side of the scandals.

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8 Responses to “It’s official: Butch Davis out as UNC’s head coach”
  1. seanb20124 says: Jul 27, 2011 6:34 PM

    Sub .500 record in ACC play should get any coach fired w/exception of Duke

  2. paulbrownsrevenge says: Jul 27, 2011 6:47 PM

    I just picture Butch walking alongside the pool at his resort, Tressel laying out with his sweatervest on with no shirt under it off to the side, and Mike Leach handing his a frozen margarita. Welcome to retirement Butch. Screw em’. Your set for life already.

  3. polegojim says: Jul 27, 2011 6:53 PM

    @sean20124- sure and yes, and that would fly… if that was really the reason he was fired.

    Mr. Thorpe – This just plain dumb – does the University and AD lack that much forsight to make these decisions NOW? You’d have been better off saying “with the information that has recently come to light, we felt it was in the best interests of the University and football program….” But don’t say it has nothing to do with NCAA investigation, and you waited unit NOW, NOW, NOW to pull the plug????

    You sir, have just added another nail in the UNC Coffin of Credibility. RIP

  4. reallionnaire says: Jul 27, 2011 7:40 PM

    Welcome back to the NFL Butch…..

  5. mdnittlion says: Jul 27, 2011 8:01 PM

    Okay I’m going to say it and if Deb or anybody else comes on here later to correct me so be it. He should have just played the kids he suspended, especially since most people with common sense knew he’d get the axe eventually. I mean with half of the talent gone he still almost beat LSU. Every pro scout at the combine this year was so surprised by all the talent from UNC. For God sakes they had 9 guys drafted this past year, tied for most with USC. Scouts from 12 different franchises had the same comment, if you all played you probably would have won the National Championship. I would have just put them on the field, got the crystal ball, gave the guys their rings and worried about the NCAA in at the end of season after I got my BCS Championship hat. If the college is going to force you out at least knowing you beat the best is a decent send off.

  6. effjohntaylornorelation says: Jul 27, 2011 8:37 PM

    The irony here is at his last college head coaching job Butch tok over a program left on life support by NCAA, well deserved, penalties. Now that he is older and purportedly wiser he leaves his latest and final college coaching job on life support. Hmm….

  7. monk316 says: Jul 27, 2011 8:56 PM

    Wow, I’ve been a big supporter of Butch and UNC and this is just stupid. The time to fire would have been when the scandal broke at the beginning of last season or at the end of last season, giving time to get new coaches and staff in. This just shows the University doesn’t care about their program or the guys in it.

    The NCAA rules are garbage anyway. Why punish a school or players for agents being dirty.

  8. downhillrider says: Jul 27, 2011 10:44 PM

    the timing of this just set back any progress UNC was making on the football front. I dont know enough to make a judgement either way, but with less than 2 months to go before the start of the season, it just looks real bad.

    It seems the administration saw what happened with tressel and got scared a little.

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