Butch Davis takes blame for scandal
PINEHURST, N.C. -- North Carolina coach Butch Davis said Monday he has never thought of quitting amid an NCAA investigation into his program, adding that he takes responsibility "fully and completely" for the events that created a year of turmoil in Chapel Hill.
Speaking at the Atlantic Coast Conference's preseason media day, Davis said it has been "reassuring" to have the support of athletics director Dick Baddour and chancellor Holden Thorp as the NCAA investigated improper benefits and academic misconduct within the program. It was his first extensive comments since the NCAA outlined numerous potentially major violations in its notice of allegations sent to the school last month.
Davis was not linked personally to any allegations, though he said the burden still falls on him as head coach.
"Anything we can do to make sure this doesn't happen again, that's part of my responsibility," Davis said. "I regret greatly that these things have transpired and these things have happened. I don't take them lightly. This is a very, very serious issue. It's caused a tremendous amount of embarrassment and a tremendous amount of hard times for Carolina alums and fans. But we're going to get through this. And because of it, we're going to come out of it and we're going to be better than we were before."
In all, 14 players missed at least one game and seven were forced to sit out all last year. The NCAA also alleged that former associate head coach John Blake worked to steer players to late NFL agent Gary Wichard, though Blake's attorneys have denied there was such an arrangement.
Davis had a long history with Blake, starting when he coached him in high school and including a stint as assistants to Jimmy Johnson with the Dallas Cowboys. He said he knew Blake had worked briefly with Wichard after he was fired from Oklahoma in 1998, but pointed out Blake made stops as an assistant at Mississippi State and Nebraska before joining Davis in Chapel Hill in 2006.
According to the notice of allegations, Blake received more than $31,000 in financial transfers from Wichard from 2007-09, though Blake's attorneys have described the transactions as loans from one friend to another during financial trouble. Davis said he hasn't spoken with Blake since his resignation in September and had previously said he was "sorry" he trusted Blake.
"There were no apparent red flags put out through that investigation (during Blake's hiring) and obviously I certainly don't like where our program is today," Davis said. "We will be a lot more diligent in future years as we have been with three or four people we've added to the program in a variety of roles, whether it's position coaches or in the strength and conditioning program.
"Guys that are going to be in a role where they have an opportunity to mentor and to teach and to interact with our student-athletes, there needs to be a pretty highly significant sense of confidence that we're putting the right people in those positions."
The school is scheduled to appear before the NCAA infractions committee in October.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press