North Carolina fired football coach Butch Davis on Wednesday, saying the past year of turmoil amid an NCAA investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct was doing too much damage to the school’s reputation.
The school issued a statement announcing Davis’ dismissal nine days before the start of preseason practice. Chancellor Holden Thorp said the decision was not prompted by any changes in the ongoing NCAA investigation but said he “lost confidence in our ability to come through this without harming the way people think of this institution.”
Bucth Davis went 28-23 in four seasons at North Carolina.”Our academic integrity is paramount, and we must work diligently to protect it,” Thorp said in a statement. “The only way to move forward and put this behind us is to make a change.”
The school has scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning in Chapel Hill to discuss the change.
Davis compiled a 28-23 record in four seasons with the Tar Heels after taking over for John Bunting. His program looked ready to contend for an Atlantic Coast Conference championship and a BCS berth last year before NCAA investigators arrived on campus last July.
Davis, whose Tar Heels had a promising season derailed in 2010 when 14 players missed at least one game and seven were forced to sit out the entire year because of academic and eligibility issues, said earlier this week at the ACC’s media day that he had not thought about quitting amid an NCAA investigation of his program for improper benefits and academic misconduct.
Davis said it had been “reassuring” to have the support of school administration through the probe. He also said he took responsibility “fully and completely” after the NCAA outlined numerous potential major violations in its notice of allegations sent to the school last month.
That included unethical conduct of former associate head coach John Blake, whom the NCAA accused of trying to steer players to late NFL agent Gary Wichard.
But Thorp and athletic director Dick Baddour had remained publicly supportive of Davis over the past year, including at a joint appearance with the school’s board of trustees in November.
Though Davis’ personal cell phone records are scheduled to be released soon, the source said that no new allegations had been brought forward.
The decision to fire Davis could be beneficial when penalties are being decided by the NCAA Committee on Infractions at a meeting in October. UNC is facing a possible loss of scholarships, vacation of wins and probation and less likely a bowl ban.
“It helps if UNC argues a coaching change was needed to ensure comprehensive monitoring of the football program by the head coach,” said attorney Michael Bucker, who represents schools and programs with NCAA issues.
via Butch Davis fired as North Carolina football coach – ESPN.