One part of a coaching transition is how the recruits presently committed to the school react to the loss of the coaches that recruited them. This was and still is a side effect of the coaching change at NC State and will undoubtedly have an impact here. It is expected some recruits will jump ship and the best hope you have is that it will not be any of your top recruits. So needless to say there has been a great deal of fear and trepidation from UNC fans that QB Mike Paulus will change his mind if the coaching situation is not settled to his liking. In fact we know this because he went as far as to tell us so:
Paulus, whose brother, Greg, plays basketball at Duke, made it publicly known he wants assistants Frank Cignetti Jr. and Dave Brock to stay, and he told athletics director Dick Baddour as much Monday.
"It seemed like it really did matter to him," Paulus said. "He understands I'm the ringleader, and if I de-commit, others might step back."
Now, Paulus was apparently instrumental in bringing other players in once he committed in April, so in one respect he feels he has a certain degree of power in regards to some of the other members of the recruiting class.
On the other hand, who does Paulus think he is Archie Manning? At the risk of sounding extremely unpopular among my fellow Tar Heel fans, but I am of the opinion that a high senior recruit has no business attempting to influence the coaching transition at UNC. Who UNC hires and which coaches are ultimately retained in that hire are decisions which have a deep and very long term impact beyond Mike Paulus' potential career at UNC. Paulus made a commitment to the University of North Carolina, not to John Bunting. Now I understand that players will make recruiting decisions as much on the connection with the coach as they do the school itself. However in this case Paulus has declared himself a "ringleader" and has essentially dictated a set of terms to Dick Baddour. Those terms state that if UNC does not retain Frank Cignetti and Dave Brock as assistants, then Paulus might be inclined to look elsewhere.
I do not know about anyone else, but that is exceptionally arrogant on his part. Someone tell me what the difference is between what Paulus said and straight up blackmail? And when are you are talking about an AD who, one at least previous occasion, deferred to the players over a coach, it is even more frightening. Basically Mike Paulus is out there dangling his commitment in front of UNC in an effort to influence how the program's coaching staff should be built. What's more he is also saying that other recruits might be inclined to follow his lead if he is not satisfied with what happens.
Now, I want Paulus to come to UNC just as much as the next Tar Heel fan. He is as good a QB recruit as UNC has seen in a very long time. At the same time I also understand that the program is bigger than one player. The decision being made by UNC officials is about building a successful program of winning football not just for the next four or five years of Mike Paulus and this class but for years beyond that. Those of us who advocated Bunting's dismissal fully understood that losing recruits would be a part of this equation, much the same way NC State fans did when they pushed Herb Sendek out the door. We also advocated that change in hopes the next coach could not only recruit the Mike Pauluses of the world but implement such a player to the tune of 8+ wins a season. So in my mind whatever Paulus decides to do will ultimately be inconsequential if the correct personnel decisions are made by Baddour. The attention of this search should be devoted to ascertaining what kind of program UNC wants and hiring the coach that will make that happen. If Cignetti is part of that plan, that's great. If that coach brings in his own assistants which have been a part of his previous success, then that is what needs to happen. And if Mike Paulus wants to get on board with whichever coaching staff takes the job in Chapel Hill in the near future then that is fine.
If Mike Paulus does not like the coaches that are hired, then he can take his ball and go home because I personally have no time for an 18 year old with the degree of arrogant self importance this one is showing right now.