UNC Punting Bunting

Give Dick Baddour credit, he didn’t make John Bunting suffer any more than he had to. After UNC’s crushing 23-0 loss on national television to the mediocre Virginia Cavaliers, it was no longer a question of if but of when Bunting would be let go. By doing it now, Bunting might just get a sympathy win when his team steps up in his honor. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it now – UNC will beat State and they’ll do it for their coach. Then they’ll remember who they are and who’s coaching them and they’ll lose to Duke.
But back to Big John. Caulton Tudor has a nice (well, “nice” if you aren’t a member of John Bunting’s family) piece running down some reasons why and how Bunting failed.
Now comes the fun part, guessing who the next Tar Heel coach will be. I think Baddour learned his lesson – picking a guy just because he’s an alumnus is a bad idea. Being an alum is nice, but in the long run it’s completely irrelevant. Bear Bryant didn’t go to Alabama, Bobby Bowden didn’t attend Florida State, Mike Krzyzewski didn’t go to Duke and Dean Smith graduated from Kansas. Instead, Baddour needs to find a guy who’s been a head coach for a while, had been very successful and is ready to step up to a bigger program. No, UNC is not a major football program but they are big name overall in college athletics. The ingredients are there to be successful.
The N&O has a preliminary list of potential candidates (see the sidebar here). I’m guessing they they made this list up themselves without any inside sources to Baddour’s list. Of the N&O’s list, I’d say that Bobby Petrino would be the #1 candidate if they can land him. The one concern would be whether he could deal (or would want to deal) with the higher academic standards in the ACC and at UNC. At Louisville, he can pretty much bring in anyone he wants.
A more realistic get might be Paul Johnson of Navy, but I think he’d be a bad choice. He’s won at Navy by basically running an option attack that is successful in part because it’s so rare these days. That’s not going to work at a big-time program, because you’ll have a hard time landing top-flight quarterbacks and receivers. Also if conference coaches see it every year, they’ll figure it out quickly. I’d stay away from Johnson.
Whoever UNC goes after and gets, it should make for a very interesting soap opera over the next few months. I can’t wait to watch.
p.s. I’m an idiot. Bear Bryant did go to the University of Alabama. I got a bit overzealous there. You can substitute Tom Osborne if you’d like or maybe Ara Parseghian, Bobby Knight or John Wooden.

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