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Heel Tough Blog: Bubba Cunningham Lays Foundation as Search for New Basketball Coach Begins

It’s been a day full of emotions for those close to or involved with Carolina Basketball, as Roy Williams announced his retirement after leading the UNC program for the last 18 seasons. Williams held a press conference this afternoon at 4 PM inside the Smith Center, on the floor that bears his very name to confirm his retirement. After signing an extension back in the 2018-19 season, the process to find the next coach for the program was seemingly delayed for the foreseeable future. As emotional as today was, Bubba Cunningham is now tasked with the most important hire of career.

The retirement of Williams’ comes at an auspicious time, as there’s no clear cut favorite to lead the program, unlike when Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge both retired from coaching. Following the retirement press conference for Williams, Bubba Cunningham the AD at North Carolina met with members of the media via Zoom, where he discussed how the athletic department and University will find the next head basketball coach for the Tar Heels:

No Search Firm:

As is common in today’s coaching searches, schools often have a search firm or committee to help best identify the best candidate for the job. Bubba made it clear today that the decision would be made by him, the chancellor, with input and support from Roy Williams. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as there are plenty of knowledgeable people at Cunningham’s disposal to help identify who’s the best fit to succeed the Hall of Famer.

UNC Will Move Quickly:

When Matt Doherty got hired in 2000, he was hired during the summer, and that decision was one of many that led to ultimate decline of the Carolina Basketball program. Cunningham made it known that he intends to move very quickly, as we’re still in the recruiting process for next season, and the longer it takes, it's possible to lose more players to the ever growing transfer portal.

Ties to Carolina Not a Requirement:

As important as this decision for Cunningham, he knows he can’t limit the search to coaches tied to North Carolina. As hard as that is for Tar Heels fans to come to grips with (this writer included), this is the right decision. This is just the third time since 1961 that the job has been available, so Cunningham needs to vent out every possible candidate, to ensure the program returns to the top of college basketball.

Head Coaching Experience Preferred, Not Required:

Lastly, Cunningham made it known that the next head coach doesn’t have to have experience as a head coach, although that would be preferred. If you can recall that both Dean Smith and Roy Williams got jobs at college basketball powerhouses Kansas and North Carolina, without any prior head coaching experience. That means that assistants Hubert Davis, Sean May and Brad Frederick will all be in play for the head coaching vacancy. Steve Robinson has served as Roy Williams’ right hand man, as has head coaching experience at Cornell and Florida State. The move to make him the next head coach would be similar as to when Bill Guthridge succeeded Dean Smith.

Make sure to stay tuned to the Heel Tough Blog as we’ll have up to the minute coverage as UNC looks to find the next head coach of the Tar Heels.

Roy's Boys Podcast:

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