Monday, November 13, 2006

Carolina blue goes Butch…

Looks like Carolina is getting a name coach this time. After replacing Mack Brown with two guys better suited to be coordinators or position coaches, UNC has decided to go after a big name. But is this going to work?

Davis had a pretty successful stint as the Head Coach at the “U”. He was able to get them through a period of probation and then turn the program over to Larry Coker to win a title. Davis went on to coach the Cleveland Browns to many losses.

In the mid-90’s, under Mack, UNC was bringing in future NFL players by the bus load. For one three year stretch, the only school that put more guys in the league was Florida St. Those days are LONG gone and it is going to be tough to bring in the talent. Whether Butch still has connections to the South Florida talent pipeline that served him so well at Miami, remains to be seen. John Bunting brought in some talent. But, talk to former players and you will find that many recruits were turned off by the hard ass disciplinarian approach Bunting took. So, Davis is walking into a program that doesn’t have a real solid recruiting base at this point, regardless of the rosie picture the school might like to paint.

The facilities at UNC are pretty solid. During the Mack years, the school raised around 50 million to build one of the nicest football centers in the country. Carolina is a pretty wealthy school with an alumni base that isn’t afraid to hand over the dough. So, Davis should have the financial backing to start rebuilding.

Right now, the expectations are so low for the program that Davis isn’t going to be under pressure to win immediately. Talking to several former players and alumni at the recent homecoming, there wasn’t even a buzz or much excitement about the prospects for the program or the pending naming of Davis as the coach. Folks were focused on the start of hoops season and the squad that Roy Williams had assembled for the upcoming season. Imagine that.

The same reasons Mack Brown left (ie, football will always take a back seat to hoops) despite putting together a top 10 program are going to continue to be an issue. Carolina has a history of having some real solid football years, but no staying power. And that will continue under Butch.

Davis may be able to get Carolina to the upper half of the ACC, but do you really think he will be around long enough to BUILD a power? The reality is, Carolina is a stepping stone program: tons of resources and a top brand name (because of hoops) but not a destination spot for top coaches (more of layover stop). We think Davis will get some wins at UNC and bring them to a bowl game or two, but in less than 5 years, UNC will be searching for another coach.

But, by then the basketball program should have another NCAA championship banner hanging in the rafters of the Dean Dome, so it won’t really matter.

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