Butch Davis and Worldwide Wes

William “Worldwide Wes” Wesley is best known of late by his uncanny ability to influence John Calipari’s recruiting classes at both Memphis and now at Kentucky. The New York Times has repeatedly reported interesting stories about “Worldwide Wes” or “Uncle Wes”…or, as he’s known on internet sports message boards, simply as “WWW”. In fact, GQ Magazine recently dubbed WWW “the most powerful man in sports.” (click here.)

Yes, this guy has been deemed by some to be even more powerful than Nike’s Phil Knight – WWW was there the night Ron Artest went berserk on the fan; he’s often seen lurking in the background of Memphis and Kentucky games and press conferences; he’s been in professional locker rooms throughout the country; and, it all started when roamed the sidelines at University of Miami football games in the 1980s.

The New York Times posted this story about WWW where they connected Wes to Derrek Rose who played one year for Cal at Memphis. Yes. That’s the same Derrek Rose who caused Memphis to have to vacate a Final Four because…get this…someone allegedly took his SAT for him.

Interestingly enough, the University of Memphis conducted its own, internal investigation and cleared Rose of any wrong doing. They allowed him to play. The NCAA later conducted their own investigation and dropped the hammer on Memphis long after Coach Cal had slipped on to Lexington.

Does any of this sound oddly familiar?

Memphis contended that it had learned of the allegations about Rose’s SAT score shortly after he enrolled at the school. It conducted its own investigation, in which Rose was questioned by four school officials. Ultimately, Memphis was unable to find any evidence that Rose had cheated based on what was available at the time, and cleared him to play.[52]

Rose released a statement through his lawyer Daniel E. Reidy: “Mr. Rose is aware of the allegations reported in the press. Mr. Rose cooperated fully with the University of Memphis’ athletic and legal departments’ investigation of this issue when he was a student, and that investigation uncovered no wrongdoing on his part.”

On August 20, the NCAA vacated Memphis’ 2007–08 season. It took the line that even though Rose’s score hadn’t been thrown out until after the season, strict liability required that he be declared ineligible.[7] It also determined that even without the questions about his test score, Rose would have lost his eligibility in December 2007 due to Reggie being allowed to travel for free.[53]

With all of this background on World Wide Wes, what on earth would you supposed that engine of the John-Calipari-recruiting-train could have in common with Butch Davis, defender and champion of the “Carolina Way”? (shhh! Don’t ask, Don’t tell)

The pictures above of North Carolina Head Football Coach Butch Davis and William “WWW” Wesley were taken at a Charlotte Bobcats basketball game this year. You know, the Charlotte Bobcats that are owned by former UNC-CH basketball player, Michael Jordan?

Worldwide Wes is known mostly for his involvement and influence in both college and pro basketball, so it isn’t unreasonable to think that Butch and WWW might be lucky enough to randomly sit together at a game. However with the way the UNC/Butch Davis scandal has developed, there is good reason to look into whether Butch and World Wide Wes just happened to have tickets beside one another at a Bobcats’ game, the same Bobcats owned by the one and only Tarheel Extraordinaire Michael Jordan.

From the New York Times:

Wesley attended Brandywine College, now known as Widener, for a year.

He was better known in the area for his job at a local shoe store, Pro Shoes, where he sold the hottest sneakers to local athletes. He mingled with coaches, college players and professional athletes.

“It wasn’t just a sneaker store,” said Billy Thompson, who starred at Camden High and the University of Louisville, and later played in the N.B.A. “It was the sneaker store.”

As the local stars he met through high school and Pro Shoes went off to college, he would visit them. Two incubators of Wesley’s connections were the University of Miami football program and the Louisville basketball program.

Wesley met Jimmy Johnson, Miami’s coach at the time, when Johnson traveled to Pennsauken to recruit Greg Mark and Jason Hicks.
Johnson said Wesley tipped him off about Mark, who was the only white player on the floor during a basketball game. Mark played the game of his life, and Johnson said Wesley offered him help in recruiting Mark in exchange for some sideline passes. When Wesley would visit Miami, Johnson said, he brought Nike gear for the players.

“He is such a good person,” Johnson said. “He is extremely friendly, and you can trust him right away.”

As the years went on, Wesley’s involvement with the Hurricanes increased. Irvin recalled how Wesley traveled with the team and stayed up all night gambling and playing cards. Irvin said he once won the Nikes off Wesley’s feet the night before a game.

Former NBA player Gary Cobb:

I got to know World Wide Wes  back in the day when I was playing with the Eagles and the Cowboys.  I knew him when he was selling sneakers at Pro Shoes across from the Cherry Hill Mall.

I spent time with him when used to go to the Sixers games with Jerome Brown and other players.¬† Wes was tight with Jimmy Johnson, Michael Irvin and the Dallas Cowboys during their Super Bowl runs in the 90′s.
He had developed those relationships when they were in Miami.  Wes was on the sidelines of their Super Bowl wins.  He would be in the locker room so much, you would think he was on the team.

I’ve jumped in the limo with Wes, some friends and Michael Jordan during the 90′s when the Bulls were running the NBA and Wes was Jordan’s right hand man.

Once he became Jordan’s right hand man, he gained legitimacy with every basketball player on the planet.¬† We could be talking for a minute and the next thing you know, Wes was on the phone with Jordan.

So…now we have WWW, the man some argue is behind Calipari’s recruiting “success”, with an obvious connection to Michael Jordan. And, you don’t really have to look much deeper to find the obvious connections to Butch Davis. Butch Davis, you see, was on Jimmy Johnson’s staff at the University of Miami and also later worked for Johnson – and later with John Blake – on the Dallas Cowboys’ staff of the 1990s. So, the same guy who assisted Johnson in recruiting the guys who played at Miami is the same guy that still holds a relationship with Butch Davis as is evidenced by the pictures above. That’s fascinating, indeed!

Further evidence of connection to the Miami football program was noted by Yahoo! Sports:

Wesley used to run in Chicago with Michael Jordan in the Bulls heydays, a 45-minute flight from his suburban Detroit home. That’s a good play for him. One Chicago source even remembers how close he was with the Miami Hurricanes football program in its run of championships and how he would end up with national championship rings. And never mind how intriguing the possibility of conquering the world with Prokhorov and his arsenal of private jets and exotic vacation locales.

And this from K sports talk :

He has been seen hanging out with Miami Hurricanes players during their run of dominance in college football during the 1990’s. During that run he was also seen going out to lunch with Hurricanes coach Jimmy Johnson.

Surely there is no chance WWW and Davis would interact when Wes is this intrenched in the program.  No Chance!!

The following is from The ACC Report discussing ESPN’s jaw-dropping 30for30 documentary “The U” on the 80’s teams at University of Miami that put the nasty in dynasty:

2. World Wide Wes. William Wesley deserves his own article. To wet your appetite, many legitimate sports publications have called him the most influential person in sports. He ahhh, helped “recruit” for Jimmy Johnson. Despite not being affiliated with the University, he was a fixture on the Miami sidelines during the 80s.

1988 – The 88 team was statically the best Miami team ever. Looking back it wasn’t their most talented team (much of their talent was in their sophomore and junior classes) but it was the last great offensive team of the Miami era. Thanks to an all-star cast of coaches, this was the last Miami team that dominated on both sides of the ball. Their coaching staff was as follows: Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wandstat, Butch Davis, Dave Campo.

As recently as August 1, 2010, the New York Times wrote this piece that addresses WWW’s influence on college sports recruiting and how it may come to an end due to his continually growing involvement with Creative Artists Agency. This story is well worth the read and it’s too long to post all the good pieces. It also has an interesting link to the agent problems arising throughout college football. But here’s a small bit to feed your interest:

“N.C.A.A. rules specifically limit the people who are allowed to recruit on behalf of our institutions,” Humphrey said. “Therefore, the use of agents in the recruiting process would violate our rules.”

Wesley declined to comment for this article. His ties to high-profile recruits like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and Dajuan Wagner, who all played for Calipari at Memphis, have been well documented.

Calipari said he did not know if anything would change with Wesley’s more formal role.

“He doesn’t recruit for anyone,” Calipari said. “Who he knows and the relationships he has, they’ll be the same way they’ve been for 20 years.”

When Wesley’s position was more ambiguous, it allowed him access to more levels. Although ties to C.A.A. and Nike were always suspected, the N.C.A.A. struggled to get a handle on Wesley in part because it could not define his role. But his new role with C.A.A. could limit his effect on grass-roots basketball.

The N.C.A.A. has strict rules on how often college coaches can speak with prospects, and people affiliated with programs are not allowed to talk with recruits on behalf of those programs. Even season-ticket holders who pay a donation to the university are not permitted to talk with a potential recruit.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Just for fun… ask the average Carolina fan what he thinks about John Calipari? Or, maybe you had the forethought to do so not long after the Heels’ loss to John Wall and the Wildcats last year. I’m guessing what you’ll hear will not be the same as what they might say about UNC’s own Butch Davis.

Post Script: Click here for a link to a previous conversation & article focused on World Wide Wes from our message boards.

UNC Scandal

39 Responses to Butch Davis and Worldwide Wes

  1. Dogbreath 09/10/2010 at 6:37 AM #

    Isn’t that John “Big Bad Bag o’ Money” Blake sitting immediately behind Chief Lumbertana and We’tley?

  2. ushum 09/10/2010 at 6:37 AM #

    now we are talking…great job guys…

  3. imawolf 09/10/2010 at 6:49 AM #

    Call me stupid… How deep does all of this actually go? In my opinion, this whole mess is so disturbing……..Is The College Athletic Program so corrupt? Perhaps I should re-consider my puny roll of support and just stop watching and purchasing anything associated with college sports. BAD PEOPLE…… Surely, the system has a way to step in and clean this mess up……….Martha, tell me it’s not so!!! Why in the world would anyone want to call themselves Champion, if they succumbed to cheating in order to achieve the title………It’s beyond me….Sad..

  4. GAWolf 09/10/2010 at 6:57 AM #

    I’m pretty sure that’s Nelly on the left as well.

  5. Moose Hunter 09/10/2010 at 7:05 AM #

    You know, this incredible article is the reason why newspapers are dying. Its sites like this doing the real work. you know, what we call investigative journalism. The NCAA would love to bury WWW. If UNC has finally given them the ammo, watch out.

  6. GAWolf 09/10/2010 at 7:17 AM #

    If you follow all of those links you’ll find at least one mention that WWW has contacts with Wayne Ellington and family.

    SFN: And, you can click here to find out why that may be so damned interesting!

  7. StateFans 09/10/2010 at 7:21 AM #

    Is that Blake behind them?!?

  8. imawolf 09/10/2010 at 7:22 AM #

    I’m Pissed Off….. For years I have pondered how certain programs could maintain top status in sports, especially ones that are prissy self-centered, egotistical and full of poor sportsmanship…..not to mention a Pansy school color……. Now we know….. Now we know…. I often suspected this …. I’ve been to Chapel _ell, twice, each time wearing my school colors, only to be treated very rudely…. I’ve seen my team whip them and actually observed people in the Tar Heel Parking lot taking off their school license plate from the front of their vehicle….when they lose, the game was never played…… I personally won’t set foot in Chapel _ell ever again. Just think, this revelation has come about because two players whom decided not to go pro because “they had some unfinished business to take care of” which I took to mean, they had as yet to beat NC STATE…… Ignorance can be bliss….. THE NCAA, if they are to have any credibility at all will have to HAMMER this Program, as it sure as HECK appears the UNC system is looking to skate through this mess…….. I BET THEY DO……..

  9. newt 09/10/2010 at 7:41 AM #

    Wow, that’s a very interesting article, but you didn’t point out what newspaper it is from?

    …oh, you wrote it. Nice job!

    Sure, this is all innuendo, but the real point is that it just takes a cursory look at UNC athletics to realize that it’s not a very nice place, and that all their holier-than-thou talk over the years is just words, BS words.

    One glance at UNC by the NCAA and we have folks doing athletes’ schoolwork. We know that much.

    Now, what this means for State fans is that everybody can “STFU!” now, and I mean that in the most lighthearted way. We just would like for the double standard to end, that’s all.

  10. Rick 09/10/2010 at 7:44 AM #

    This is a great article.

    And I too am wondering if college sports is not heaping pile of dung

  11. backnine 09/10/2010 at 7:48 AM #

    I’m getting frustrated now at the way the powers that be are quickly moving to gloss over what may lie beneath. This realization hit home for me yesterday when I saw Bowles standing up in support of Baddour and Thorpe at the UNC System BOG meeting saying how proud he was of their work. Really? Here we have a classic case of the foxes watching the hen house and they are being enabled to do so by those who should be demanding more. Aside from letter writting, which I plan to do, how else can we demand tht an independent investigation be undertaken? The N&O or other state media outlets should be screaming for the same. Where is the Easley style investigative work provided by the N&O last year? That work was appropriate then and it certainly is now.

  12. LRM 09/10/2010 at 7:54 AM #

    Awesome job guys (for lowly bloggers).

  13. newt 09/10/2010 at 7:56 AM #

    Bowles, Baddour, and Thorp:

    The Three Amigos!

    “Wherever there is athletic corruption, we’ll be there!”

  14. Phang 09/10/2010 at 8:08 AM #

    DB on 620AM now.

  15. PoppaJohn 09/10/2010 at 8:22 AM #

    Outstanding writing, well researched and thought out.

  16. wolfonthehill 09/10/2010 at 8:29 AM #

    Baddour really needs to just shut up and stay out of the media. There’s nothing he can say at this point that makes him sound like anything but a front-man for a cover-up.

    Question for those who lived the pain of the Jimmy V investigation – how long did it take from the time we started hearing details of what might’ve gone wrong til the time the hammer dropped? I’m impatient as hell, and I want that hammer to come down soon – but it seems as if it took the better part of a year back in 88/89. Am I remembering wrong?

  17. Pack05 09/10/2010 at 8:41 AM #

    The all out UNC media blitz this morning sure is strange don’t ya think 😉

  18. primacyone 09/10/2010 at 8:45 AM #

    Really fantastic work Daily. Fantastic. You have really come a long way since the first day you showed up here. Thanks for effort.

    On a side note, I couldn’t help but quote this post from a tar hole as a comment to an article on the wral site.

    “I would refrain from making a comment about integrity on someone that you don’t even know. All you have to go on is what the liberal media put in front of you and they don’t know squat, especially all these bozo’s that work for WRAL or the N&O. Butch Davis was known for cleaning up one of the dirtiest programs in the history of college football (The U). Davis is a stand up guy and if you would take of your rose colored glasses, you might see that.”

  19. Daily Update 09/10/2010 at 8:48 AM #

    ^Note I can’t take credit for this entry. Several people collaborated on this piece.

  20. primacyone 09/10/2010 at 8:53 AM #

    Oh come on Daily, don’t go all Butchy Davis on me. Sure you can take credit for it. You put your name on the top of the paper and turned it in didn’t you. It’s yours!!!!!!!!!

    Anyway, I was not aware of any wrongdoing on your part, so I’m really proud of you for the effort!

  21. Phang 09/10/2010 at 8:54 AM #

    Good leaders spread the credit and keep the blame.

    Good job Daily.

  22. NCStatePride 09/10/2010 at 9:05 AM #

    Everyone is admitting there is a problem. What some Tar Heels are still holding out on is that while Butch Davis and Baddour “lost control of the situation”, they weren’t a part of it and therefore their beloved UNC is still relatively blameless… just these bad individuals working with tutors and agents. The clouds are swirling over Butch Davis with connections to WWW, Blake, and the tutor. Personally, I hope Baddour and Thorp come out in complete support of Davis every day from here on out just because it will look like that worse when the whole thing comes crumbling down.

  23. VaWolf82 09/10/2010 at 9:21 AM #

    Sure you can take credit for it. You put your name on the top of the paper and turned it in didn’t you. It’s yours!!!!!!!!!

    That’s funny right there.

    Seriously though, great job on connecting the dots.

  24. phillypacker 09/10/2010 at 9:22 AM #

    I know that at least one major media outlet is contemplating an editorial or column calling for an independent investigation. Whether they follow through, is anybody’s guess, but the conversation is happening or has happened in the last day.

  25. Hungwolf 09/10/2010 at 9:36 AM #

    Erskine standing behind his guys just like he stood by Clinton! Why didn’t he just say These guys doing a fine job, I know cause our attorney told me so!

    If only Baddour had been with them at the game too!

    Friend of mine at the hill told me things are progressing at a calculated pace and information is obtained only in a setting that does not relate anything to the bball program. Baddour and company realize they can most likely keep their jobs as long as nothing touches the bball program. Which is why an independent ivestigation is a must. Baddour and Company will cover up anything that relates to bball, becuase to release anything regarding bball would be career suicide.

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