Shortly after Roy Williams announced his retirement, Hubert Davis was seen as the favorite to succeed the Hall of Fame head coach. Davis received endorsement from Williams himself, former Tar Heel teammates, general members of the Carolina Family, and former colleagues from his time at ESPN. On Monday when it was announced he did in fact, earn the job, more support from the same people, and countless others came pouring in. There was a lot of speculation around the hire, as there were other coaches who many thought were more qualified for the position. On Tuesday when he was introduced as the 19 head coach in program history, the AD Bubba Cunningham, and even the Chancellor of the University spoke passionately about Hubert Davis, as they are entrusting him with the success of the program. As Carolina Basketball is transitioning to a new era of basketball in Chapel Hill, here is what we are getting in our new head coach:
Man of Integrity: A common phrase used by AD”s when they select a new coach to lead a specific program. While many AD’s use that as a form of coach speak, Hubert Davis lives this out every day. Davis is a man of faith, and he’s not ashamed to admit such. You can’t have the overflow of support like Hubert Davis has received in the last week, without having a positive impact. Roy Williams went as far to say “he’s the finest young man I’ve ever known”, and Davis proving that he’s the right man for the job, is allowing Williams to keep his office at the Smith Center. Davis, a former player under Dean Smith, has his $200 check he received when his former coach passed away framed in his office, to honor the legacy of the man that means so much to him, and countless others.
Wealth of NBA Experience: As he mentioned in his press conference, Davis spent 12 years in the NBA, and is well versed in the professional game. Davis played for legendary coaches like Don Nelson, Pat Riley, and Larry Brown, and it’s hard to imagine they haven’t influenced his philosophy on how the game should be played. College basketball has seen an uptick in former NBA players, and coaches, come to the college game and have success. Davis knows that the kids he’ll recruit have NBA dreams and aspirations, and has the background and the knowledge to help them achieve such things.
ESPN Exposure: We’ve seen the positive impact this has had on Tar Heel football since Mack Brown returned to the program back in 2019. The media exposure for the program has been invaluable to the recruiting success, and the brand Brown is building for a second time at North Carolina. Davis spent a handful of seasons on College Game Day, and that allowed him to talk to numerous coaches, and see how they run their program, which will prove to be resourceful. His time at ESPN taught him how to be professional in the media, and if Tuesday is any indication, he’ll have no problems winning press conferences. It will also force the mothership to cover the Tar Heels more in depth, instead of spending time 8 miles down the road. (Kidding of course)
Mentor: All of the support Davis has received, none compares to the former players, who have spoken reverently about their former coach, and mentor. Kenny Williams has always credited Davis with mentoring him, and making him a better basketball player, and member of society. One of the aspects that makes Carolina Basketball as special as it is, is that they win, while also developing players off the court. After playing for Dean Smith, and being groomed by Roy Williams, Davis more than fits the bill for what makes Carolina Basketball successful.
Tireless Recruiter: When he first joined Roy Williams’ staff, a big part of his job was to recruit for Williams. Recruiting is a tireless process, as it never stops, and Hubert Davis knows that. Upon taking the job, he reached out to Walker Kessler who entered the transfer portal, about returning for next season. He’s also contacted Justin McKoy, a UVA transfer, and figures to be working the phones all weekend long. While he doesn't have the same reputation as Williams did on the recruiting trail, Davis knows as well as anybody on how to sell the University, and the program to the nation’s best high school players.
Perfect Embodiment of UNC: There’s a saying that when you choose to go to North Carolina, it’s a 40 year decision, not a 4 year decision. I can’t think of a better example of that, than Hubert Davis. Despite being told by his mentor that it was probably in his best interest to seek basketball opportunities elsewhere than UNC, Davis surprised Dean Smith, and became an All-ACC player during his time on campus. As he mentioned his time at UNC, has been the best time of his life. He made lifelong friends here, met his wife here, raised his family here. Everything significant about his life, traces back to the University of North Carolina. Davis is a perfect blend of Dean Smith and Roy Williams, both legendary basketball coaches, but also legendary people. It appears that Davis is on his way to becoming another legendary figure in Chapel Hill.
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