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.