We couldn’t believe it when the rumors surfaced about UNC hiring Chizik who is known in the coaching circles as extremely shady. It would take some serious ignorance or audacity for UNC to make this hire. They still might but things are being held up by a background investigation according to ChapelBoro.com
Despite widespread reports last week that UNC football would name Gene Chizik as its new defensive coordinator, sources close to the university and athletic department say the vetting process for the former Auburn head coach is still going on.
This, apparently, is a much more detailed review than has occurred with past coaching hires due to the NCAA sanctions and academic scandal that have rocked Carolina over the last three-plus years. It could be considered redefining what “institutional control” means at UNC.
Chizik coached Auburn to an undefeated season (14-0) and national championship in 2010, but he was fired two years later amid reports that his program was immersed in similar issues that have confronted Carolina since an NCAA investigation began in Chapel Hill over the summer of 2010.
Chizik went 8-5 and then 3-9 in 2012, after which he agreed to a buyout of the remaining years of his contract. Chizik stayed out of coaching for two seasons, working for Sirius XM Radio and ESPN while being paid off by Auburn. In the wake of reports that he was headed for UNC, stories of Chizik’s unpleasant parting at Auburn have been rekindled by the media.
It almost sounds like an admission that John Blake was shady too.
In UNC’s initial vetting process, it found Chizik to have no charges from the NCAA and not directly involved in any of the controversial issues that led to Auburn buying out his contract. But with background checks yielding the same results for former UNC coaches Butch Davis and John Blake, who were both fired during the NCAA probe, Carolina is apparently looking much closer at Chizik’s past.
The university has suffered immeasurable public relations damage, including a continuing NCAA investigation into the academic and athletic scandal, and a review of its accreditation. Thus, Chancellor Carol Folt is asking for more information on Chizik and checking more deeply into his associations than was done with Davis and Blake under former Chancellor James Moeser and Athletic Director Dick Baddour.
“This could be a seminal moment in UNC’s definition of institutional control,” said one prominent alumnus close to the situation. “Had some of the things that Folt is doing now been done in 2006 [when Davis was named head coach], John Blake would have likely never been hired. ”
Blake was the first UNC employee to be fired in the first NCAA investigation and was eventually charged with accepting money to steer players to now-deceased agent Gary Wichard for professional representation.
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