Friday, July 29, 2011

UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour “Stepping Down”

BADDOUR (L) (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer)
Yesterday when we said that Roy Williams and his UNC basketball program was all that was keeping North Carolina Athletic Director Dick Baddour from sharing a cab ride out of Chapel Hill with fired head football coach Butch Davis, we were kidding…sort of.

Evidently, the same thought occurred to Chancellor Holden Thorp as well.

Now, one  day after the school fired Davis amid an NCAA investigation into his program,  Baddour said Thursday he will step down after 14 years. In the final year of a three-year contract extension that expires in June, Baddour will stay until the school can hire a replacement who will select the next coach instead of inheriting a hire.

“It is my responsibility to do what is in the best interest of the program, and this is my decision,” Baddour said in a news conference to discuss Davis’ firing.

Chancellor Holden Thorp said Baddour will attend the school’s hearing before the NCAA infractions committee in October, then serve out his contract in another position once the school hires a replacement.

It was an unceremonious way for Baddour to announce his exit from the school where he started working in 1967 as assistant dean of men. He took over as athletic director in 1997 after John Swofford became ACC commissioner. Baddour successfully lured Roy Williams from Kansas back to Chapel Hill to take over the struggling men’s basketball program in 2003, while the Tar Heels won 13 national championships during his tenure.

(Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
Baddour’s tenure will end in upheaval like it started. Less than four months in, Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith retired as the winningest coach in Division I men’s basketball history. Two months later, Mack Brown left for Texas after guiding the football program to consecutive top-10 national finishes.

Baddour never stabilized the program after Brown’s departure. Carl Torbush and John Bunting combined to go 43-63 in the next nine seasons, while the once-praised hiring of Davis in 2006 ended even uglier.

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