Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Davis calls firing 'a total surprise'

Former North Carolina football coach Butch Davis said in an ESPNU interview Tuesday that his firing in July was “a total surprise.”

Davis appeared as a guest college-football analyst on “The Experts,” and told host Anish Shroff that he had no idea that he was going to get fired by chancellor Holden Thorp.

“We’d gone through spring practice, through recruiting, all the summer time preparations for this season, and ultimately the decision totally rested with the chancellor,” Davis said. “It’s within his right, and I certainly respect his authority to be able to make that decision, but obviously I totally disagree with the decision.”

Davis’ interviews on Tuesday with Shroff and with ESPN’s Jesse Palmer on Monday marked his first on-camera reaction to his firing since its announcement July 27. Although Davis taped some guest analyst segments, ESPN publicist Gracie Blackburn said there are no plans for Davis to serve as a regular on-air personality for ESPNU.

Davis told Shroff that he was proud of the way his team responded last season, when 14 players missed at least one game and seven were held out the entire season during the NCAA’s investigation of impermissible benefits and academic fraud in the UNC football program.

North Carolina went 8-5 and defeated Tennessee in the Music City Bowl.

“But you look at it and all the players that didn’t get a chance to play, it certainly was a tragedy,” Davis said. “It’s one I didn’t want to have to go through, another university didn’t want to have to go through, and hopefully those are the kind of things that don’t happen to any other institution in the country.”

UNC officials will appear in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions on Oct. 28 in Indianapolis to answer charges of nine major violations. The school already has self-imposed two years of probation, vacated its wins from the 2008 and 2009 seasons and cut three football scholarship for each of the next three academic years as it waits to learn if the NCAA will impose harsher penalties after the hearing.

Davis said the violations occurred even though UNC officials took a lot of pride in educating athletes about NCAA rules.

“Some of the things that transpired in our program are things that we felt like we were doing everything we could to explain those kinds of things,” Davis said. “I think maybe additional background checks on people that had access to your athletes, that’s really a critical and important aspect of it.”

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

I'm sure it was a total surprise. After all he oversaw the transformation of Carolina's reputation from a public Ivy into a smoking ruin. And the PTB did NOTHING. Why would he expect that to change?

Anonymous said...

They're all the same guy. Butch got fired because the N&O, who is run by a bunch of wolfpack club members now, wanted him gone because he was going to take UNC to the highest level in football.

Anonymous said...

You gotta give Holden credit for saving the reputation of UNC. He has been belittled for it....but UNC will return, they don't need Davis to be a great team. Time to move on.

There are lots of good coaches out there, always cracks me up how people get so bothered by a coach doing something wrong and getting let go like they can't succeed again.

Anonymous said...

The N&O isn't a bunch of Wolfpack Club members, it's a bunch of journalists who graduated from UNC. What would you suggest, that a news outlet ignore a scandal of historic proportions at UNC?

George Hanson said...

He'd have to be a complete moron to be surprised about getting fired.

So, he's a moron.

Anonymous said...

8:10-I share your disdain for Butch Davis. But the General Assembly has done far more long-term damage to Carolina's reputation than he has.

8:35-what planet are you on? 9:33 has the right take.

Anonymous said...

Butch Davis was going to take UNC to the highest level in football? Now that's funny. UNC never had a winning conference record while he was there. And the N&O had absolutely nothing to do with nine major violations that were committed.

Anonymous said...

Neither did Davis.

Anonymous said...

John Drescher, N&O EinC: Wolfpack Club member, season ticket holder

JP Giglio: State alum
Luke DeCock: Syracuse alum
Caulton Tudor: ECU alum

Not a UNC grad on the sports staff.

Anonymous said...

Even if Davis knew nothing was going on, which I find hard to believe, he should have. So in that sense, he most certainly had a lot to do with the 9 major violations.

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know about the N&O, but their sister paper in Charlotte has a crapload of UNC grads working in the sports dept, including EinC Mike Persinger.

TarHeel-InBred said...

Can you say "Narcissistic personality disorder" (NPD) for BMFD? No one cared to review his means for recruiting talent that normally would not have blinked at UNC. He was immune, invincible until the ruse came to light thanks to Anchorman Austin, his pals and Assistant HEAD COACH chosen by Paul Davis to recruit these same folks without ever asking how he did it. This won't end pretty, watch out Roy Williams!! Holden Thorp finally grew a pair.

Cliff said...

John Drescher is a UNC grad. He edited the Daily Tar Heel and graduated in 1982. Kudos to him, the N & O and most impressively, the current Daily Tar Heel staff for aggressively and objectively reporting this sad chapter in UNC history. With this open and nearly behind us, perhaps everyone, whether they be UNC fans, State fans or ECU fans can get together and challenge the GOP controlled legislature to reverse their gutting of our university system.

Anonymous said...

To Cliff: Well said my friend, well said.