CHAPEL HILL -- The University of North Carolina fired head football coach Butch Davis Wednesday citing the need to restore confidence in the university's academics, as well as athletics.
In an email sent at 5:49 p.m. the athletics communication office confirmed the decision after rumors swirled for more than an hour on social media.
“To restore confidence in the University of North Carolina and our football program, it’s time to make a change,” UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp said in the email. “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.”
The email went on to say the decision was not related to any change in the NCAA investigation and it had to do more with the university's reputation. On Wednesday afternoon, News 14 Carolina's Tim Boyum talked with David Glenn of the ACC Sports Journal to hear his thoughts on why Davis was fired.
This comes after a nearly year-long NCAA investigation into academic wrongdoing, wrongdoing by former defensive line coach John Blake who resigned last September, and the acceptance of improper benefits by players. In total, more than a dozen Tar Heels missed at least one game last year including stars Greg Little, Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn, all of whom were ruled ineligible by the NCAA.
A news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday.
Statement from Butch Davis:
My family and I were surprised and saddened to learn that I have been relieved of my duties as head football coach at Carolina. I am not naïve enough to have ever considered this situation anything less than a serious matter and a significant priority. I have worked as hard as possible to address all aspects of the program that have been questioned. I fully believe we were on our way to getting past these issues and moving ahead in a positive direction.
My family and I have been able to endure this difficult period in our lives for several reasons: First and foremost, as a family we have known all along that I personally did nothing wrong. That is the truth. Second, we have also had remarkable support from friends, family, the players, our coaching staff and so many others within the Tar Heel community. That these players and coaches were able to achieve the success they did last season, under such circumstances, makes me enormously proud.
Moving forward, I wish only the best for the current team and coaches. For the players in particular, I wish them nothing but success on the field and in the classroom. The coaches already know how I feel about them. I couldn’t be more proud of their hard work and dedication. In fact, during the past year or so, my respect and love for our players, the coaching staff and the football administrative staff has grown enormously. It’s a wonderful group of people and I will miss them all.
For now, I will not be doing any interviews. Perhaps in time I will feel more comfortable about discussing my future. But for now, it’s important to move on as smoothly as possible, because I absolutely do not want to add any further distraction for the players and coaching staff as they approach the 2011 season.
News 14 Carolina's Andrea Pacetti has more on reaction from fans on Franklin Street.
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