Former University of North Carolina football coach Butch Davis said in a statement late Thursday night that he believes UNC chancellor Holden Thorp didn't promptly communicate to Davis any concerns Thorp had about the recruitment of Davis' son, Drew.
"I’m disappointed Chancellor Thorp has chosen to mention our son publicly as a part of his explanation for the decision to terminate my job," Davis said. "The first time I was made aware the chancellor had any concerns whatsoever about the recruiting of my son was the Friday before I was fired — and he did not communicate those concerns to me personally. Once I was made aware that he had become uneasy about the situation, I immediately called him to discuss it. I left a message on his voice mail that was not returned."
Thorp, who fired Davis on July 27, said Thursday afternoon that Davis offered a scholarship to East Chapel Hill High quarterback Drew Davis without first consulting Thorp or athletic director Dick Baddour.
As he has repeatedly, Thorp said Thursday there were many factors that led to Davis' firing as the football program was charged with nine major NCAA violations in June. With respect to the Drew Davis scholarship offer, Thorp said he would have preferred for Butch Davis to consult with Baddour or Thorp first so they could be on the same page with all the controversy surrounding the program
In Davis' statement, he said Drew Davis had already decided to come to UNC as a walk-on in order to give someone else a scholarship opportunity.
"My wife and I had also decided that in addition to the financial gifts we already make to the university annually, we would also contribute a scholarship through UNC’s Family Scholarship Fund so a member of an employee’s family could attend the university," Davis said.
"It's clear Chancellor Thorp knew for some time that Drew was being recruited by our football program. But he expressed no concerns to me whatsoever. I can assure you that if he'd given me any indication during those months that he was the least bit concerned, I would gladly have taken the time to sit down and discuss the issue with him."
David Scott has been with the Observer for 28 years and has written about ACC, SEC and other college sports in the Charlotte region. He covers Wake Forest, South Carolina and college soccer for the Observer and (Raleigh) News & Observer.
J.P. Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997, and the Observer.
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Chip Alexander covers the Carolina Hurricanes and college football for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1979, and the Observer.
Luke DeCock has worked for The News & Observer since 2000. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a sports columnist for the Observer and News & Observer in August 2008.