One of the great things about being a blogger for the school you love is that you get to read a lot about it. Those articles/posts/tweets/whatever else can range from a flood about the two main sports to a trickle of the Olympics ones. Or they might about about high high schoolers being recruited to former players now at the next level. And sometimes you find one about the coaching staff.
A couple of days back Gary Parrish, over at CBS Sports, wrote an article about who would replace the older head coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Carolina’s Roy Williams is the third oldest on the list, behind Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (68) and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (66), and this is what the college basketball insider had to say about who could be his replacement…
No program likes to “keep it in the family” more than UNC, but there’s no active coach with UNC ties obviously ready to succeed Williams. Perhaps Hubert Davis could emerge as a candidate after a few years as an assistant. Who knows? But my guess is that North Carolina would be forced to look outside of its family, which is where Shaka Smart could come into play. Yes, I know, Smart has turned down a gazillion jobs to date — jobs like North Carolina State, UCLA and Illinois. But I can’t imagine a scenario where he could pass on a chance to coach the Tar Heels because coaching the Tar Heels might be the nation’s best job, and Smart is a former ACC assistant so he’s familiar with the landscape (even if the landscape has changed since he worked for Oliver Purnell at Clemson).
First off coach Williams is 63 years old, and I highly doubt that he will leave the program before the “few years” Parrish speaks about have passed. Personally believe that it will be Hubert Davis that will replace his current head man when the time comes.
Davis is coaching the JV squad, which was something that Williams in his days as an assistant did for Dean Smith. And while Davis does not have any coaching experience neither did Roy Williams when he left Chapel Hill to take over at Kansas for another former Tar Heel, Larry Brown. His 418-101 record in Lawrence, coming in first or second in his conference 12 out of 15 seasons and having but one season with less than 20 wins season speaks for itself. What both Roy Williams, with Dean Smith, and Hubert Davis, with Roy Williams, had was great teachers. We know that Williams was a great student, now we shall learn if Davis is as well.
Without a doubt Roy Williams will be a great mentor to Davis as he learns the ins and outs of running a program like the one in Chapel Hill. Coming from ESPN Davis has the personality to be in any recruit’s house to convince him to come to UNC. Thanks to a great career as a Tar Heel and in the NBA he has the credentials to show these young men who seek the same path he achieved, both at the collegiate and professional level. But most of all if the now assistant coach became the top man of the program he would do something that few others could… he would keep the attachment to Dean Smith intact as well, as Davis played for the legendary coach.
Scouring the UNC web boards the one thing that I been reading is that a lot of the fan base is scared that staying “in the family” could mean a repeating of when Matt Doherty came from Notre Dame. But the reality is that if Davis was to take over once Williams steps down he would be part of the program already. Meaning that he would probably know way ahead of time, way before the public, when his time is arriving. The transition would be smooth, just like the one between Dean Smith and his long time assistant Bill Guthridge was sixteen years ago.
Almost like buying out a small business, there would be that one year where the old owner stays around to make sure the new one gets things going properly. And I think that is exactly how things would happen, as the time approaches Davis would handle more and more of the duties, while Williams made sure to guide him in the right way.
The program took a hit in the seasons after Dean Smith’s retirement, not just due to Doherty, and if North Carolina was to move towards hiring Davis as the next man to lead the Heels all would make sure that this turnover would only happen once the assistant is ready to do so. From the present head coach, to the Athletic Director, all the way to the top of the governing body of the University, all would assure themselves and the others that the time is right.
While I would like to see Hubert Davis be the next head coach of the program, I can not be certain that it will happen. However, what I can be pretty certain of two things… whomever does accept that position will have huge shoes to fill, and that the University will do its best to bring in their top choice, no matter who that is.