Inside Carolina is reporting that UNC's search for an athletic director is "very deep in the process" and the committee is preparing to give UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp a recommendation.
The 13-member committee, meeting in a Carolina Inn ballroom, quickly motioned to go into closed session after a brief call to order by chairman Lowry Caudill.
The committee began the interview process in late September and interviewed several candidates as recently as last Monday in an all-day session.
“We’re very deep in the process,” Caudill told Inside Carolina after the closed-door meeting. “We began back in August and we started with collecting applicants. We’ve got a big pool of applicants and we’ve been working our way down to those we wanted to interview. We are interviewing candidates and starting to make decisions around the candidates.”
Caudill indicated that were “still some interviews” that would take place, while adding that he could not provide an accurate number of candidates interviewed due to the length of the list. Thorp instructed the committee to recommend a slate of candidates for him to choose from once they had narrowed down their choices.
Multiple sources confirmed to Inside Carolina that three candidates are going to be recommended to Chancellor Holden Thorp with a clearly stated order of preference. The leading candidate, according to sources, is current Tulsa athletic director Lawrence “Bubba” Cunningham.
When asked if any candidates were recommended to Thorp on Monday, Caudill replied: “We have candidates that we are very, very comfortable with and at some point we’ll be bringing them formally to Chancellor Thorp.
ACC Now also spoke to Lowry Caudill who indicated additional dates were added to the search committee schedule extending out until October 26th and that interviews were still ongoing.
I have my doubts as to how many serious interviews for the job are still happening and when I say "serious" I mean people who actually have a prayer of being hired for the position. However who knows what kind of requirements may be hanging out there about how the process is to be handled. As the IC report indicates , Tulsa AD Lawrence "Bubba" Cunningham appears to be the lead candidate out of three names what have been/will be given to Thorp. The final decision rests with Thorp but there is no way in Hades a chancellor thoroughly beaten up by his handling of Butch Davis' dismissal is going to own this decision alone. Thorp is going to extend an offer to whomever the committee says is the top choice and the process will move from there.
Publicly, Caudill appears to be tapping the brakes on how quickly this could unfold whereas if you read the message board insider rumors it is happening much faster than that. As always the truth is somewhere in the middle but this would not be the first time UNC indicates publicly a hiring process is at one point when in reality it has progressed to its conclusion. Besides, all indications have been that UNC wanted this wrapped up by mid-October which is fast approaching. Add to that the benefit of having a new AD named before Thorp, Dick Baddour and Everett Withers appear before the NCAA Committee on Infactations, the easy money is this happens much sooner than later. UNC needs to be able to point to the next guy when talking to the NCAA on October 28th so, barring some complication like the top candidates getting cold feet, I expect UNC will name Baddour's successor very soon.