Last week, legendary coach Roy Williams announced his retirement after 18 seasons at North Carolina, winning three national titles, which was preceded by 15 stellar seasons at Kansas. The Carolina job immediately became the best open job in the country and, arguably, was a job that could not be topped by any other opening in America. There was speculation that the Tar Heels might go hunting for a big name, like making a call to Gonzaga’s Mark Few or any other established star in the coaching industry.
However, it should probably come as little surprise that UNC will be reportedly keeping the job in the Tar Heel family, as C.L. Brown of the News & Observer reports assistant coach and former UNC player Hubert Davis will be the next head coach in Chapel Hill. Davis, who played at Carolina under Dean Smith from 1988-92 before a lengthy NBA career has been an assistant under Williams since 2012 when he left his analyst job at ESPN to join the Tar Heel coaching staff.
Word emerged on Monday afternoon that the UNC board of trustees was having a meeting to discuss a contract, which many assumed meant the hiring of a new coach was imminent. Davis is apparently that man, and according to Brown, the focus has now shifted to building his staff with some calls already being made to former players to try and bring them on board.
To ensure Davis has the support he needs as a new coach, there will be an emphasis on constructing his new staff. Cunningham has asked some of the former players with coaching experience about their interest in serving a supporting role. Others like George Lynch, Davis’ former teammate and a member of the 1993 national championship team, have reached out expressing their interest. Lynch was the head coach at Division II Clark-Atlanta University and also had served two stints on the staff at SMU during the tenures of former Tar Heels’ Matt Doherty and later Larry Brown.
Davis will become the first Black head coach at North Carolina, which is a not insignificant achievement given the general lack of diversity in the head coaching ranks of blue blood programs in college basketball. It is a massive opportunity for Davis but also one that comes with the knowledge that he’s been ingrained in the program for nearly a decade, allowing for what one would think will be a fairly seamless transition from the Williams to Davis eras.