For reasons that pass understanding someone over at the News and Observer allowed Dennis Rogers to wander over into the sports section and pen a heartfelt missive expressing his affection for John Bunting.
The hyenas are closing in on a wounded John Bunting. Demands that he be fired as the head football coach at Carolina have grown from dark mutterings to full-throated howls.
That's what happens when you lose. Although Bunting has not thrown an interception, missed a tackle or fumbled the ball, he is getting the blame and possibly his walking papers.
That's a shame. I've been a Carolina fan for a long time, and Bunting, more than any coach I've seen yet, represents what I want for my university.
First of all, can we please stop with the whole "It's not his fault because the players are the ones of the field" routine. Bunting is ultimately responsible for the team he fields. Yes there will be games where the players do not show up but over the last six years there have been way too many trouncings to assume that Bunting is not a fault for either bad coaching or not identifying players with good character, work ethic, and talent. People act like this season is the first bad season UNC has had under Bunting and Saturday was some kind of rare blowout we have never seen happen to a Bunting team during his tenure. It's not so please step outside the bubble and join the rest of us in the sixth year of this nightmare.
And yes, I think we call can agree that Bunting has some admirable qualities about him. His handling a team discipline is commendable and a refreshing change from the Miami's of the world. Yes, if we were living in a perfect utopia we could all sit around and say winning does not matter. In a perfect world we could celebrate that despite fielding teams that get routinely smack around the football field Bunting is a great ambassador for the school and a builder of men's character. Wait, did I just wander into a Coach K commercial? This is not the reality we live in. Bunting is getting paid a handsome sum of money to do these things but mainly he is getting paid to win football games. So spare me the usual mantra about loving a coach only when he wins because the last I checked that was the point. And losing like UNC lost Saturday does not represent the university it makes it a laughingstock.
Since I cannot bring myself to directly quote anymore of it I will tell you the rest of the article offers us some nice sentimentality about Bunting taking his players on the Old Well Walk and preaching the value of feeling connected to the campus as an extension of your passions for the school you represent. Again, this is all fine and dandy, heck I was in Chapel Hill last week and although I am not a graduate of that campus of the UNC system I think Chapel Hill is a special place. But excuse me if I think that Bunting is not getting paid a million dollars to be Charles Kurault. I would bet my left arm that Roy Williams has more passion and love for UNC in his pinkie than most of the fan base has in their whole body and he actually does us the service of winning games and championships at the same time. The two are not mutually exclusive nor can you reasonable expect people to ignore futility on the field because a coach loves the school and has a special understanding of what it means to be a UNC graduate.
So if the N&O editors can do me a favor and keep Dennis Rogers in the "Local/State" section pontificating on the subtleties of Southern culture and Eastern NC BBQ I would greatly appreciate it.