Print and Go Back ESPN.com: ACC [Print without images]

Thursday, July 31, 2008
What happened to UNC?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich


Remember the days in Chapel Hill with a guy named Mack Brown? 10-2. Gator Bowl. 11-1. Gator Bowl.

The Heisman Pundit put together a list of five programs that should be great but aren't. UNC is No. 4.

My answer to his question is it CAN be the class of the Coastal.

The bigger question is what the heck happened to this program since Mack Brown left.


Brown was a heckuva recruiter and did an excellent job of cultivating relationships with in-state coaches, and he got the best players in the state to play for Carolina. Eventually he began to branch out into Virginia and other recruiting hotbeds. That's how he turned around the program he inherited - he cleaned house and brought in his kids.

Brown's biggest problem was that he maxed out at North Carolina. No matter what you do, it's always going to be a basketball school first.

Each hire after Brown was an appeasement hire.

Instead of getting a quality coach like Frank Beamer, the Carolina administration settled for a coach named Carl Torbush. Nice guy, but he couldn't sell a blanket to an Eskimo. There are a tremendous amount of inherent advantages at UNC, but obviously the administration there turned off a few high-profile winning coaches who realized they had a better situation where they were.

Torbush couldn't promote the program, and the Tar Heels went from a dynamic, charismatic coach in Mack Brown to a dull bulb, and the program fell behind quickly.

As for John Bunting, was he the eighth or ninth choice? Didn't matter. He made the classic mistake of hiring guys - like Jon Tenuta - who didn't want to be there. The embarrassing salary UNC paid him (somewhere around $300,000) showed a lack of commitment and was used against him in recruiting. Bunting got outschemed until he was fired in the middle of the 2006 season.

With the attrition of coaches and players he faced, Bunting never had a chance.

Butch Davis does.