Butch Fired: What folks are saying (Thursday 10AM update)

Apparently there are, after all this, a few adults left over at the Flagship. Holden Thorp isn’t one of them. In fairness to him, he very possibly belives this nonsense (ABC11.com):

To restore confidence in the University of North Carolina and our football program, it’s time to make a change,” said Thorp in a statement released by the school. “What started as a purely athletic issue has begun to chip away at this University’s reputation. I have been deliberate in my approach to understanding this situation fully, and I have worked to be fair to everyone involved. However, I have lost confidence in our ability to come through this without harming the way people think of this institution. Our academic integrity is paramount and we must work diligently to protect it. The only way to move forward and put this behind us is to make a change.”

Regardless of what Thorp says, something changed. Was this a last ditch effort to convince the NCAA to go easy on the upcoming punishment? Did Jennifer Wiley finally talk to the NCAA?

Matt Hayes at the Sporting News says they followed “Ohio State’s path:”

It’s pathetic, really. The rats see a ship sailing to probation, and it’s every dirty, cheating program for itself.

Ohio State got out first, and now North Carolina sees the opening. Soon enough, Oregon will too…

Seriously, you don’t think North Carolina saw this? You don’t think the hoity-toity, stuffed-shirt crowd in Chapel Hill saw that Ohio State’s arrogant response to the infractions committee was to blame Tressel for everything this side of the trees at Toomer’s Corner, change their story from Tressel resigning to being forced to retire and then plead ignorance to the entire mess?

Dear NCAA: We’ve fired our coach. Have mercy on our soul.

Our own VaWolf82 says that maybe Butch lost his biggest fan (UNC’s version of Bob Kennel):

This looks to me like BobLee was right all along. As long as Butch had BOTBob in his corner, then he was safe. The first BOT meeting after Winston rotates off, Butch is gone. Doesn’t look like a coincedence to me.

It also looks like Holden Thorp has to get permission from the BOT to take a leak (Shawshank reference for those in Faison).

Andy Thomason at The Daily Tar Heel offers support for this:

The announcement comes on the same day that lawyer Wade Hargrove was elected chairman of the Board of Trustees, succeeding Bob Winston.

ESPN’s Pat Forde asks “Why Wait?

There are two reactions to North Carolina’s firing of Butch Davis on Wednesday.

It’s about time.

But it’s also about timing.

And the timing makes a whole lot less sense than the termination itself.

This could have and should have happened much earlier. North Carolina had a dozen compelling and reasonable occasions in its miserable, scandal-scarred past year to fire Davis, and it declined to do so. A partial list of opportunities:

When the NCAA began investigating last summer and suspected that agents were crawling all over the Tar Heels’ program, Davis’ job was safe.

When the school had to bench 14 players for the season opener — and several of them stayed benched for the entire 2010 season — Davis’ job was safe.

When associate head coach and recruiting coordinator John Blake — a longtime Davis friend — was linked monetarily to agent Gary Wichard, Davis’ job was safe.

When former UNC tutor Jennifer Wiley — at one time privately employed by Davis — was linked to allegations of academic fraud, Davis’ job was safe.

When the NCAA notice of allegations was delivered to the school in June and the Heels were formally charged with nine major violations, Davis’ job was safe.

And when Carolina sent the coach to Pinehurst, N.C., on Monday to meet the media, discuss the entire sordid affair and describe his support as “overwhelming,” well, it certainly seemed Davis’ job was safe. I listened to him talk for an hour — in fact, Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com and I followed him out of the room and probably were the last reporters to talk to him as UNC coach — and there was absolutely no way Butch knew he was getting fired. Not in the next five months, and certainly not in the next 48 hours.

Now, boom. He’s gone. After allowing a year of tarnish to build up before taking action.

Andy Staples at SI.com has the same question as Forde (and many of us), “Why do it now, UNC?

If someone does the right thing at the wrong time, is it right, or is it wrong? Or is it a little of both?

Maybe there is another explanation. Maybe a revelation is forthcoming that will make the timing of the firing of North Carolina coach Butch Davis make sense. Maybe a smoking cell phone record surfaced. Something. Anything.

ESPN’s ACC blogger Heather Dinich says “future in limbo for UNC:”

Eight days.

That’s how long North Carolina has to name an interim head coach, get a plan together, and develop a new identity before they line up on the field for the first time as a team during fall camp.

For the second straight summer, North Carolina’s football program has absolutely no idea which direction it’s headed. Just two days after Butch Davis sat at a table at ACC media days and talked to reporters about the support he had from the university, he was fired.

And fans were concerned about the October date with the NCAA.

They should be more concerned about their leadership at the university, or lack thereof.

Tony Barnhart at CBS Sports says to understand this, “you have to understand the culture” over at the Flagship:

To understand why this played out the way it did, you have to understand the culture of this university and the importance it places on its reputation.

In 1961, UNC chancellor William Aycock forced popular basketball coach Frank McGuire to resign after a series of scandals that included charges of point shaving. Aycock hired 30-year-old Dean Smith and told him not to worry about the wins and the losses. Smith’s No. 1 job was to run a clean program.

And he did, winning 879 games and graduating 96 percent of his players over the next 36 seasons. Smith also won two national championships and went to 11 Final Fours without even a whiff of a rules violation. Smith’s value system set the standard for the entire athletic department for a couple of generations.

That changed when the football program received its notice of allegations from the NCAA. On that day, North Carolina was lumped in with all of the other big-time football schools that have been caught cutting corners over the years.

What the school had to face was that Butch Davis had done exactly what he was hired to do. He brought in top-tier talent to Chapel Hill. That was borne out in the 2011 NFL Draft when North Carolina had nine picks, more than any other school.

But along with that exceptional talent, there has been a series of world-class embarrassments.

WRAL’s Erin Summers feels sorry for Butch, which seems to be a common theme among UNC fans tonight:

Too bad Butch Davis cant get back all the stress endured over past 13 months they coulda saved him years on his life doing this last yr #UNC

And why shouldn’t they feel sorry for him? Other than hiring Blake and Wiley and letting Austin tweet, he was nothing but a class act who simply packed out Kenan and beat the lowly Wuffies and won championships represented The Carolina Way to the best of his ability.

Some of Carolina’s fans offer up their version of the Carolina Way, by tweeting their displeasure with Thorp.

Wiley’s attorney speaks, but good luck trying to make sense of it.

Meanwhile, Don Curtis has no comment.

Thursday 9AM Update:
Luke DeCock at the N&O says that Carolina faces “a season in purgatory.”

By firing Davis now, Thorp and the trustees put the players on their football team who didn’t do a thing wrong – the vast majority of the players on this year’s roster – in an almost impossible position going forward. After waiting this long, after Thorp declared last November that Davis and athletic director Dick Baddour would return for the 2011 season, what was the harm in letting the NCAA process and the football season run their course

A coaching change a week before the start of training camp is about as big a negative as you can slap onto a team’s season. It’s an uphill climb for the Tar Heels now, a season in purgatory, and there are a lot of innocent players who already saw last season diminished by the misdeeds of their teammates.

Butch Davis makes his own statement, where he claims he isn’t naive, but don’t tell that to the UNC fans that support him this, since they all clearly feel that was his only real crime in all of this.

Danny Flynn at The Bleacher Report talks about how “North Carolina football will fare in 2011:”

With so much talent on defense and so much potential on offense, this is a team that should in no way be thinking about waving the white flag right now just because they lost their leader—if you can even call Davis that after all of these allegations and rumors.

Remember, if there’s one thing Davis could do right, it’s recruit.

He brought that old Miami mentality to Chapel Hill, and he ended up with a roster ripe with future pros and quality depth. There’s a reason North Carolina had nine players picked in the 2011 NFL draft.

Davis may have lacked control of the players that were actually on campus, but he excelled at promising young star high school recruits an awful big future and convincing them of that future.

Sadly for Davis, he won’t be on the sidelines anymore to see his recruiting gems blossom into highly coveted pro prospects.

Kyle Tucker at the Hampton Roads Pilot asks “Who else pays the price?” and shows us some of the sad comments from recruits who were convinced this would all be over by Friday.

This obviously puts the football program in a tough spot. But the folks I’m most curious about today are the Tar Heels’ newest players, the Class of 2011 recruits who signed with UNC in February after Davis and his staff sold them on the notion that nothing too terrible was going to come of all this NCAA investigation mess. What now for those guys? Will they get a break, be cut loose from their obligation, without having to sit out a year for transferring (two if it’s within the ACC)? And could they even find suitable teams that can take them on such short notice?

It’s a pretty unfortunate situation, and one that must be absolutely maddening to Virginia Tech fans, who watched in frustration as Davis and UNC stole several of the Hokies’ top recruiting targets in the Class of 2011. One of them basically even said he’d have picked Tech if it hadn’t been for Davis’ assurances that everything was going to be OK.

Thursday 10AM Update:

Bruce Feldman and Heather Dinich both think Bud Foster is a good choice to replace Butch, and to be honest, that sounds like a realistic candidate. Many UNC fans (and apparently Joe Schad is enamored with the rich football tradition in Chapel Hill) probably still believe theirs is one of the best jobs in the nation and Urban Meyer will jump at the opportunity to continue the Heels’ march to Charlotte football dominance, but those folks are just as delusional as folks like LRM were to think we actually had a shot at Billy Donovan or Sean Miller. But just in case, some of the IC folks may want to stake out RDU for Nick Saban sightings.

The overwhelming, common response — from UNC fans and rivals, the media, radio personalities, and supporters and detractors alike — to this has been: the timing makes no sense. Thorp and Baddour are scheduled to address the media at 11am, and if the previous 12 months have been any indication, will no doubt make the picture even less clear than it already is.

This isn’t the end. This is more like the Normandy invasion; the Flagship still has to respond to the NOA and then take it’s spanking. And it will be no suprise if Baddour and/or Thorp “resign” in the coming days, as it’s starting to look more like they don’t have the support of the new Board of Trustees (which is even a theory Greg Barnes suggested this morning on 99.9). There will no doubt be more to come, so stay tuned.

If you’ve got something to say about it (and be honest, as a true State fan, you most certainly do), then head over to the SFN Forums.

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34 Responses to Butch Fired: What folks are saying (Thursday 10AM update)

  1. STLPack01 07/27/2011 at 11:37 PM #

    I have arroved to a conclusion. This will all be over by Friday, when justice will provail and new and improved sign out procedures will fix all this mess.


  2. TAEdisonHokie 07/28/2011 at 1:03 AM #

    Ready for this? I was reading the PackPride board tonight and found this gem from one of their top posters:

    Posted: Yesterday 11:38 PM
    Re: INSIDE CAROLINA: Butch Davis Has Been Fired

    “Was checking my inbox tonight and someone send me a P.M. They said that when the Swahili class is audited and it will be they will find that the paper that Macadoo turned in will not be the first time that this paper was turned in as an original work. Also was told that this particular class had quite a few BB players that took it as well. More than Hansblow and Will Graves.”

    Okay, let’s piece this one out…

    “…when the Swahili class is audited and IT WILL BE…”

    “…they will find that the paper that Macadoo turned in will NOT THE FIRST TIME THAT THIS PAPER WAS TURNED IN AS AN ORIGINAL WORK.”

    “Also was told that THIS PARTICULAR CLASS HAD QUITE A FEW BB PLAYERS THAT TOOK IT AS WELL. More than Hansblow and Will Graves.”

    The firing of Butch Davis has not even come close to ending the pain in Chapel Hill. There is MUCH more to come!

  3. TruthBKnown Returns 07/28/2011 at 7:05 AM #

    Reason for the Timing of this:

    Butch Davis is out.

    38 days before the start of the season.

    9 days before the start of football practice.

    Most agree this had to happen for Carolina to restore some integrity to their program.

    But why now?

    There is ONE GOOD REASON for Carolina to do this now. According to ABC11, Butch will likely receive $1-4 million dollars because he was fired without cause.

    When in doubt, follow the money. Had they waited a couple of months for their sanctions that ARE coming, they could have fired him then — WITH cause — for free.

    It is clear that the timing of this ensures that Butch’s mouth will remain shut because he will have $1-4 million rea$on$ to keep it shut. Like John Blake, this is Butch’s hush money.

    It is also clear now that Carolina doesn’t care about integrity. What they are interested in is preserving their basketball program. Butch knows all about the dirty underbelly of Carolina academics and athletics. And Carolina is in the process of buying his silence.

  4. Old MacDonald 07/28/2011 at 7:07 AM #

    FWIW, here’s a a rumor from a VT guy on the Pack Pride board:

    Board of Governors (BOG) told the Board of Trustees (BOT) to fire Butch Davis (BD). The BOT said no. The BOG then told Holden Thorp, Chancellor of UNC Chapel Hill, to fire him and he went to Baddour (the AD) and said “you hired BD, you fire him.” Baddour refused and said I am not firing him. So ultimately Holden Thorp fired him and DB is going to resign tomorrow because he did not support the decision. Supposedly that is how it went down. Key BD supporter on BOT was out of the country so this seems to be orchestrated by those that wanted BD gone.

  5. AirWolf 07/28/2011 at 7:27 AM #

    And Little Jonny Swofford is no where to be found.

  6. Bowlpack 07/28/2011 at 7:32 AM #

    Don’t you remember? John Swofford crawled out of his hole at the ACC event in Pinehurst. He saw his shadow and crawled back in – six more weeks of winter.

  7. MP 07/28/2011 at 8:15 AM #

    “I have lost confidence in our ability to come through this without harming the way people think of this institution.”


  8. BJD95 07/28/2011 at 8:33 AM #

    Well known sack of monkey shit Bill Friday was running his piehole again, insisting that it was all over and we can now link arms and move on (paraphrased).

    Still waiting for Bill to apologize to the Valvano family or turn in his diploma.

    My best guess (and this is not fact) is that Thorp wanted to fire Butch all along, but Winston’s BOT wouldn’t let him. Stupidly, however, he played the “good soldier” too well and undermined his credibility to such an extent that he can’t effectively lead in the aftermath (IMHO). The Winston-less BOT was much more amenable to cleaning house, and Thorp pounced while the opportunity arose.

    There’s no question that Baddour doesn’t agree and there is absolutely no way he can function as the athletic director going forward. He will be gone, it’s just a question of whether that’s days, weeks, or months before he announces his retirement.

    Thorp is going to try to hold on (pun sorta intended), and I give him about a 50/50 chance to survive. He certainly looks weak and spineless, at best.

  9. IamGumbyDammit 07/28/2011 at 8:43 AM #

    Let’s not overlook this scathing bitch-slapping of Prince Tassel-Loafers written by Thayer Evans at Fox Sports: http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/North-Carolina-Tar-Heels-fire-head-coach-Butch-Davis-athletic-director-Dick-Baddour-should-resign-072711

  10. GAWolf 07/28/2011 at 8:43 AM #

    Look no further than the face Thorpe was giving Butch at the very first press conference for support of your theory, BJD.

  11. GAWolf 07/28/2011 at 8:45 AM #

    I, too, am convinced this story will get better. It’s made for TV material already, but will without a doubt get better.

  12. wolfbuff 07/28/2011 at 8:47 AM #

    Agreed BJD95. We all have choices in life. He could have made a stand against the BOT. But it appears HT chose retaining his dream job over his personal integrity. In the end, I think he’ll have neither.

  13. NCSU84 07/28/2011 at 8:48 AM #

    Just because Butch is gone, this year’s game with the heels should not be overlooked by our players:

    1) PackPride played a role in this (Butch being fired) by exposing the plagiarism that occurred. Trust me, tarheel fans are steaming over this. Not so much because of Butch, but because their reputation took a huge hit with this finding.
    2) I do not have to remind anyone of the “heartbreaking” loss the heels suffered last year on their home field.
    3) On top of all that, TOB has four straight wins over the baby blues.

    Make no mistake, the Tarheels will be out for blood this year when they arrive in Raleigh. Unlike any other season they will be out to beat NCSU at all costs. As has been stated, their upcoming season is “purgatory”. The only way to salvage their season will be to beat the pack. They understand this – I hope our team does also.

  14. ShavlikLeague 07/28/2011 at 8:54 AM #

    And the flagship goes down…


  15. VaWolf82 07/28/2011 at 9:07 AM #

    I forgot to cite GC as the source of “for those from Faison”. I guess I need a tutor as well.

  16. nav 07/28/2011 at 9:08 AM #

    Is it me or is the air a little cleaner today, the sky a little brighter, and the birds chirping a little louder this morning. Ahhhhh…..

  17. nav 07/28/2011 at 9:10 AM #

    Though the negative side of my State personality tells me that this is the year that TOB has the team rolling, UNC a losing season, and that’s when they come into C-F and win big over us on a last second heartbreaking play.

  18. beavis214 07/28/2011 at 9:15 AM #

    Best thing we State Fans can do now is sit back and enjoy the moment silently. The media has taken over are voice finally. We need to focus now on what we have and to stay on track. Not get blinded by the Mushroom Cloud to the west. Go Pack!

  19. nuclearwolf07 07/28/2011 at 9:38 AM #

    I wish I had some marshmallows. Could easily roast them safely from Raleigh on the flames raising up out of Chapel Hell.

  20. PackerInRussia 07/28/2011 at 9:51 AM #

    “By firing Davis now, Thorp and the trustees put the players on their football team who didn’t do a thing wrong – the vast majority of the players on this year’s roster – in an almost impossible position going forward”

    I guess you figured out the little secret. It’s not about the players. It’s about the great UNC.

  21. WTNY 07/28/2011 at 9:52 AM #

    This is like Thanksgiving — so much good news from so many different places. I can only take in so much!

  22. PackerInRussia 07/28/2011 at 9:55 AM #

    Could UNC survive this? By denying everything to their recruits and allowing Davis to hang around, are they in a position to have a good season if they can get a competent coach? Granted, we have yet to see what kind of punishment they’ll receive which would negatively affect recruiting from here on out, but they’re not automatically dead in the water at this point. I realize getting a competent coach could be a problem, but they seem to have a knack for getting what they want at any cost.

  23. Par Shooter 07/28/2011 at 10:00 AM #

    The timing of this makes perfect sense if one of the original tenets from last fall is kept in mind – that saving last year’s recruiting class was paramount. While some folks thought they had to keep Butch until after signing day in Feb, that really would not have been good enough. Guys could have asked for a release from their LOI on the basis that they had been lied to, etc. and unc-ch would have had no choice but to release them. The high profile guys would have had lots of choices if they had been released last spring or even early this summer.

    However, all of that recruiting class (that they could get past admissions) has now enrolled at unc-ch. It’s no longer a matter of releasing someone from a LOI – they would now have to transfer and deal with the NCAA and sit out a year (at least). So unc-ch waited until this class was handcuffed to chapel hill and then pulled the trigger. Pretty devious but also pretty shrewd if they were intent on keeping that class intact at all costs.

    My question is whether that class is really worth it and I can’t help but think that the answer is NO. Any guys who really have their eyes open and see what happened have to be very unhappy with this and just because they don’t have many good options right now does not mean that they will just go with it. Guys could talk publicly. Guys could leave. Or guys could just stick around all year with a really negative attitude that will help undermine an already overwhelmed coaching staff. As with so many of their strategies throughout this mess – it must have sounded good sitting in a conference room with the football faction but will likely end up looking pretty foolish in the rear view mirror.

  24. primacyone 07/28/2011 at 10:03 AM #

    Things are not well at the Flagship!

  25. blpack 07/28/2011 at 10:06 AM #

    The gift that keeps on giving is only beginning. Is that the bus to which Butch will be thrown under pulling up outside the presser?

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