A decade ago when Hubert Davis left the booth at ESPN, to join Roy Williams’ staff it was believed that he would one day succeed Roy Williams as the head coach of the Tar Heels. Today, that became reality as he will become the 19th head coach in program history. Following the retirement of Roy Williams, AD Bubba Cunningham made it known he wanted to have a new coach in a timely manner, today marks just the fourth full day since the Hall of Fame head coach retired after 18 seasons in Chapel Hill. When he announced his retirement, Williams made it known the direction he wanted the program to go, many believed that was an endorsement of Hubert Davis. In addition to becoming the 19th head coach in program history, Davis becomes the first African-American coach in this storied history of Carolina Basketball. This move comes decades after Dean Smith integrated a once segregated Chapel Hill, with the recruitment of future All-American Charlie Scott.
The Carolina coaching job is one of the most prestigious jobs in college athletics, and the basketball world. Not many programs can match the lineage of success like the Tar Heels have experienced over the last 60 years or so. Bubba Cunningham didn’t rule out him hiring a coach without any ties to the Carolina Family, something that hasn’t been done since 1952 when Frank McGuire was hired. Names like Mark Few (Gonzaga), Jay Wright (Villanova), Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics), were rumored to be legitimate candidates outside of the Family prospects. Of the coaches with ties to UNC, Wes Miller and Jerry Stackhouse were seen as legitimate candidates, and interviewed over the weekend for the job. Add in Monmouth coach King Rice to the mix, Hubert Davis had to check all the boxes for Cunningham to award him the job.
Davis was a part of Roy Williams staff for the last 9 seasons, after being hired following the departure of Jerrod Haase to UAB. Like Williams, Davis was tasked with leading the JV program for a number of seasons before Brad Frederick took over the role. While the JV program doesn’t get the notoriety or the fame like the Varsity, it was a great learning experience for Davis to put together a practice plan, make in game adjustments, etc all while coaching less talented players.
There is no telling how successful Hubert Davis will be in his new role as the head coach of his alma mater. Following the footsteps of Roy Williams wasn’t going to be easy for anyone, let alone a first time head coach. Davis has had the blessing of playing for Dean Smith, while being groomed by Smith’s protégé in Roy Williams, and that blend of Smith/Williams will be appreciated by all of us Tar Heels. One thing is certain: Hubert Davis loves the University of North Carolina as much as anyone, and if history repeats itself, we’re in for a lot of fun, and a lot of winning.
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