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UNC hires Hubert Davis as men's basketball coach

Jason Owens
·3-min read

The University of North Carolina has hired Hubert Davis as its next men's head basketball coach.

Davis announced the decision in a video released by UNC Monday afternoon following multiple reports earlier in the day. 

"I'm proud, thankful, humbled, appreciative of being your new men's basketball coach for the University of North Carolina," Davis said. 

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The UNC board of trustees reportedly met Monday afternoon to approve his contract. The decision arrives just days after Hall of Fame head coach Roy Williams announced his retirement last Thursday. 

Carolina keeps it in the family

A former UNC player, Davis was an assistant on Williams' staff since 2012. He played shooting guard at UNC from 1988 to 1992 for Hall of Famer and UNC legend Dean Smith. The decision to hire Davis keeps up with North Carolina's longstanding tradition of hiring from within the Carolina basketball family. 

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 21: University of North Carolina Assistant Coach Hubert Davis looks on during the CBS Sports Classic between the UCLA Bruins and the North Carolina Tar Heels on December 21, 2019, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Hubert Davis was an assistant on Roy Williams' staff for 12 seasons. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Since Smith retired in 1997, UNC has hired Smith assistant Bill Guthridge, former player Matt Doherty and then Williams, who was a longtime assistant under Smith after playing for UNC's junior varsity team as a student.

Davis will be the first Black head coach in the program's history.

Who else did UNC consider?

The News & Observer reports that athletic director Bubba Cunningham interviewed eight candidates for the job, including assistant Steve Robinson and Stanford head coach Jerod Haase, who played for Williams at Kansas and worked on his coaching staffs at KU and UNC. Cunningham also reportedly considered UNC-Greensboro head coach Wes Miller, who played for UNC on the 2005 team that secured Williams' first national championship as head coach.

Two of the candidates Cunningham interviewed did not have previous ties with the program, according to the News & Observer. Williams and some former players backed the hiring of Davis, according to multiple reports.

Big shoes to fill 

Davis inherits a program that has struggled in recent years after winning three national championships in Williams' 18 seasons as head coach. North Carolina most recently won a title in 2017, but posted a losing record (14-19) last season and a first-round exit in this year's NCAA tournament. 

The program is also dealing with the departure of freshman forward Walker Kessler, who entered the transfer protocol in March. Kessler arrived in Chapel Hill as a five-star recruit, but struggled to find playing time in his single season at UNC.

Davis will be immediately tasked with ensuring roster stability amid a changing climate of transfers in college basketball as well as maintaining the program's penchant for landing high-level recruits. Davis was heavily involved in recruiting as a member of Williams' staff.

Davis, 50, played 12 seasons in the NBA after his time at UNC. He broke into coaching as a Dallas Mavericks player and development coach in 2004 before spending time as a college basketball analyst at ESPN. This will be his first head coaching job.

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