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Withers Named Interim Head Coach

The default choice.

After not having its crap together in time for the press conference this morning, the UNC administration got around to naming an interim head coach this evening in the form of defensive coordinator Everett Withers.

University of North Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp and Director of Athletics Dick Baddour have named Everett Withers interim head football coach, effective immediately.

“We’ve selected Everett Withers to lead the football program,” said Baddour. “The Chancellor and I spoke with him this afternoon and we believe he has the leadership qualities to help our student-athletes deal with the challenges ahead. We are fortunate to have someone with his credentials and background. He is ready for this position.”

“I believe Everett is the right person for our football program under these challenging circumstances,” said UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp. “I am impressed with the relationships he has built with our players and staff, and it is our top priority to help our student-athletes going forward. I believe he can help our students succeed at the highest level both on and off the field and in the classroom.”

“I’m excited for this opportunity and I’m honored the Chancellor and Dick Baddour have faith in me to do this job,” said Withers. “I realize this appointment is coming during a tough transition for our football players and staff. My job and the job of our assistant coaches is to prepare these students to perform at the highest level this season. I love Carolina and this community, and I will do everything I can to make the Tar Heel fans proud of this team.”

Withers has Holden Thorp’s support which means he could very well be fired next week. I imagine there will be rumblings from the fan base but what choice was there here really? Sam Pittman was an assistant coach in Oklahoma when John Blake was head coach there. John Shoop is better off staying in the booth because if he is on the sideline he might actually call third down pass plays that actually go past the sticks(oh wait that would be a good thing.) I thought maybe Ken Browning might be considered but I am guessing his lack of even coordinator experience probably hurt. Since UNC’s strength is the defense, it probably makes sense to let the DC run the show. Yes, this is one of those “it is what it is” situations that is in now way permanent so the a minimal amount of complaining is probably in order.

In other news:

-Roy Williams released a statement praising Dick Baddour calling him “one of the finest gentleman I have ever known.” Along with this statement there has been an outpouring of supportive messages from current and former Tar Heel athlete. Leslie McDonald and Bobby Frasor both had nice tweets about Baddour. It seems that regardless of what fans may have thought of him, he was highly regarded within the athletic department.

-Thorp has said the release of the 216 phone records would be up to Butch Davis. It turns out UNC does not have copies of them. UNC used outside legal counsel to review the records which stayed with Davis. Sounds like a smart move by all involved. Since UNC does not and never did have the records they cannot be compelled to turn them over. Davis maintains privacy by never surrendering the records. At this point I don’t know why Davis would release them since UNC has done all they can do to him.

-For a good read on the end of the Butch Davis era, be sure to check out Every Day Should Be Saturday’s Spencer Hall who frames the Davis tenure nicely.

The Tar Heels rolled Davis’ head toward the NCAA-the Tressel Bouquet, if you will-and can now only hope for the court’s mercy. Make fun of management books all you like, but one phrase from one of those seems really apt here. It’s from one of the most cliched, management-speak classics of all time, Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s number two on the list: “Begin with the end in mind.”

Keep in mind, this is a terrible rule in the existential sense. (See Keynes’ answer to this, “In the long run, we are all dead.”) However, if Butch Davis had thought about this the minute he considered hiring John Blake, he might have hesitated and reconsidered, and we’d be talking about how Butch Davis was getting fired for being mediocre in 2013, not about how he was thrown to the wolves of the NCAA in 2011 for making bad hiring decisions in 2007.

Hall points out, rightly, that is wasn’t just hiring Blake or the off the field issues but Davis hired a mediocre staff in general. The subsequent results were equally mediocre which means even without the NCAA scandal, Davis was looking at lean times.

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21 comments to Withers Named Interim Head Coach

  • Andy In Omaha

    With this clown at the helm, I predict a 4-8 campaign.

  • It’s only for one season and its not like there were a ton of choices here.

  • OldSchool

    Torbush all over again. Welcome back to the lower tier in ACC football, and don’t expect any top 25 recruiting classes anytime soon. Like the previous years under Torbush and Bunting, we will struggle just to beat Wake Forest, Duke, Miami of Ohio, etc. At least hoops season is just around the corner.

  • JeffS91

    Don’t worry, Thorp said he is committed to seeing the football program be successful. (sarcasm..) He’s probably setting up a deal where the football team can join division II and win a championship.

  • smallandpettypat

    You guys are pitiful. Sac up, the Heels will be just fine. Be happy that BGDD and Dickie are gone, cheer on the boys, and ac like good fans. Don’t be like State fan.

  • I don’t think there is anyone here who isn’t going to cheer on the team that is there and the players. However I will not “be happy” at a coach being fired and Baddour resigning. This is a dark day for UNC. In the long run I hope these decisions now bear fruit but right now I am not seeing much to be happy about.

  • Asheville Heel

    Agree with THF; Butch hired a mediocre staff and hence we have a mediocre interim. One who plays a Dad Gum prevent defense like he’s up by 30 points in a 1-point game! The good news is that maybe Withers will have to relinquish the defensive coordinator duties. We can only hope! Maybe Marty S. would consider coaching our defense as a retirement diversion for one year. Crazy yes, but, after yesterday (a Thursday by the way) what IS the definition of “crazy”?

  • smallandpettypat

    You do you, THF. I’m going to keep my big boy pants on and know for a fact that today is better than yesterday, and yesterday was better than Wednesday. Every day that those two bumbling fools are gone from UNX is a better day than the day before it. GO HEELS!!!

    On a completely unrelated not, Asheville Heel, my girlfriend and I are heading up your way today for as long weekend. Any suggestions on some good eateries? Sunday brunches and whatnot? And yes, I do know that Bele Chere starts today.

  • Asheville Heel

    ^ S&PPT, If you are getting into the Belle Chere thing there are all sorts of good eateries down town. If you like Sushi, Wasabi, Asian, Doc Chey’s Noodle House, seafood, The Lobster Trap, high-end Vincenzio’s on Market Street. Night Life, Magnolia’s Raw Bar. Sunday Brunch, Chelseas Tea Room in Biltmore Village or Tupelo Honey in South Asheville on Hwy 25. If you want to stay outside the Belle Chere cluster, lots of places in Biltmore Village or try Biltmore Park Town Square in South Asheville: lots of choices there too.

  • Andy In Omaha

    If Withers gives up his playacting responsibilities on defense, this could work. If we don’t see the prevent defense every freaking time, this could work.
    Out of having two of the fastest, most athletic OLB’s in the conference and quite possibly the country, Withers’ astounding defensive genius only managed 5.5 sacks between them. Withers’ defensive schemes also had a propensity for getting torched by average to above average QB’s, and let’s not forgettje absolutely atrocious play his defenses at Minnesota had.
    IF Withers stays away from game plans, this MIGHT work.

  • notoriousii

    I am not happy about what happened with Butch Davis, but hanging people out to dry, lies, and judgement followed by punishment without proof seems to have become the Carolina Way. Seems to me if one was most concerned about the academic side of things, someone in academic support and a professor or two should face the guillotine.

    Anyhow, Ralph Friedgen will be our new head coach (wouldn’t be surprised if it was announced this afternoon). I like him; his graduation rate is high too, and his experience as an offensive lineman combined with the experience of being betrayed by his alma mater after doing an exemplary job, have prepared Friedgen for the completely thankless job of coaching football at UNC, where a fare percentage of the fanbase has used this scandal as an excuse to tear apart a program they never wanted to see succeed in the first place (Like Clay Morrow using LeAnne’s death as an excuse to shut down Caracara).

    On a related but somehow unrelated note, depending on how one thinks… I enjoy UNC football, and am tired of hearing fans root for Miami, FSU, Texas, Nebraska, OSU, etc. during football season, then rejoining UNC’s ranks from February through April. Either be a Heel or do not be a Heel. Go Heels!

  • chapelhillfan

    I don’t know a single person (and I am an alum) who is a TRUE Carolina fan who roots for another school OVER Carolina in football and then roots for Carolina in basketball. If there are folks like that, they are casual bandwagon fans who don’t deserve to be called Carolina fans.

  • chaucer1350

    ^^^Unless you grew up in Alabama and got accepted at UNC.

    Fortunately, Alabama and UNC do not play much in any sports. I just look at it as a no-lose scenario.

  • makeitWayne22

    or you really dont enjoy college football and prefer the pro game…. College football is too basic for my taste but I do soley root for UNC.

    Each his own, but UNC is doomed for a long time

  • BC4UNC

    I believe UNC did screw up for firing Coach Davis without probable cause. They most certainly should have done it last year if they were going to do it! I really liked Butch Davis but now that he is gone everyone seems to think that carolina is going to go back to the team they were before Davis came. I truly believe that is not likely. UNC might have lost their coach but they did not lose their team. They still have the same players and coaches that were there while Butch was and are going to be running the same offenses and defenses. I think if the heels do play good this year which they should that things will not be that bad for UNC! Thats if they dont get slammed by the NCAA in Oct.!!!

  • Asheville Heel

    At this point I don’t know that the NCAA could do more damage to us than we have managed to do to ourselves this week.

  • chaucer1350

    The damage was coming, one way or the other. Butch was going, one way or the other. Frankly, I’d rather move forward with an interim than limp along with a lame duck. This move had to come. Now it’s over with. The advantages in that, long-term, outweigh the negatives.

    Should have been done 4 months ago. But better now than December.

  • UNCBlueEyes

    The only school to ever give itself the death penalty.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    Good lord. I left for the mountains on Monday and didn’t get back until yesterday. No news, no internet … imagine my surprise.

    I guess my reaction can be best summed up as: Why now?

    It’s no secret I wanted UNC football to go in a different direction, but I didn’t want its complete destruction. Thorpe acted too late to save UNC’s reputation, and now he’s pulling the trigger too early to salvage the season the football program’s future. When it comes to football, UNC simply can’t do anything right. Maybe I should just get used to it…

    I expect Withers will look decent in his first year with Butch’s recruits the same way Torbush looked decent in his first year with Mack’s recruits. Then what? Make the same mistake we made with Torbush and make Withers our guy? Probably.

    Why didn’t Thorpe do this at the end of last season instead of a week before the beginning of this season? Senseless. Short sited. Amateurish. He literally could not have handled this whole episode any worse.

    UNC should throw itself at the mercy of the conference commissioner and beg John Swofford (who is both a pro and a UNC lifer) to help us find our new coach and AD and get us out of this huge mess that Thorpe, Baddour and Davis made.

  • JeffS91

    This might be kind of cheesy, but I wanted to post it anyway.

    Possible transcript from the October NCAA Infractions Committee Hearing …..

    Infractions Committee : “Mr. Thorpe, we have called you here today to respond to the serious allegations levied against your University. Please explain…

    Holden Thorp : “Well, first let me say that I have the utmost respect for the integrity of this NCAA Infractions Committee. Our University understands the level of embarrassment caused by this scandal and have taken appropriate measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

    Infractions Committee: “What did you do to ensure that?”

    Holden Thorp: “Well, um…uh…last year we immediately fired the assistant football coach and terminated any association with the offending tutor. We also implemented new sign out policies for the players and did a thorough review of our academic procedures. Oh…and right before the season started we um…..fired Coach Davis.”

    Infractions Committee: “You did what?”

    Holden Thorp: “We…um…fired… our head football coach.”

    Infractions Committee: (minor chuckling amongst the committee members) “Mr. Thorp, are you aware that Mr. Davis was not named in the letter of allegations?”

    Holden Thorp: “Um…Yes sir… we were. We fully supported Mr. Davis… until we didn’t.

    Infractions Committee: (louder chuckling amongst the members) “Mr. Thorp, can I ask why you fired Coach Davis if it was without cause, and during a most critical time for your football program?”

    Holden Thorp: “S…Sir…I know the timing was terrible….but …but…our …you see…our reputation was being tarnished….the competence and integrity of our University was being called into question… it was the right thing.”

    Infractions Committee: (loud raucous laughter amongst the members) “Mr. Thorp, we see how well you’ve handled the situation and can recommend no further punishment upon your University. You’ve done quite enough.. (committee members rolling on the floor). Your football program and your school’s integrity and competency will be talked about for years to come.”

    (Whoops, meant to post this in the Train Wreck thread)

  • Pettengill

    Thorp has said the release of the 216 phone records would be up to Butch Davis. It turns out UNC does not have copies of them. UNC used outside legal counsel to review the records which stayed with Davis. Sounds like a smart move by all involved.

    Sounds like Failure to Monitor. UNC had an obligation for ongoing monitoring of his phone records, as spelled out in NCAA Bylaw 2.8.1.

    It shall monitor its programs to assure compliance and to identify and report to the Association instances in which compliance has not been achieved.

    Specifically as it relates to NCAA Bylaws 13.1.3 which details permissible calls to recruits.

    Seems pretty cut and dried. I’m not sure how this wasn’t in the NOA, unless the NCAA was unaware that UNC was not monitoring Butch Davis’ calls.