According to a University press release North Carolina football coach Butch Davis was fired this afternoon following a closed door meeting of the University's Board of Trustees. Citing a need to "restore confidence in the University of North Carolina and our football program", UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp also indicated that the decision was the result not of any developments in the ongoing investigation into the school's football program, but of accumulated issues.
One has to wonder what exactly accumulated in the past few days that had not accumulated in the preceding months. It's hard to imagine a worse time to jettison your college football coach, what with fall practice a week away. Really, it's hard to justify the decision unless the UNC board discovered something new and troubling, or had to line up the financing to make a move now. Either way, I imagine UNC fans will view this as the school writing off an entire season. At least that's how I would see it if the same sort of lightning bolt struck out of a clear blue sky in Athens.
Davis leaves behind an investigation which deprived his program of many of the stud blue chip prospects he brought in through masterful recruiting. It's in the area of recruiting where Davis's departure could affect Georgia. Specifically, North Carolina has been seen by many as Georgia's primary competition for the services of top-ranked running back Keith Marshall of Raleigh, who's already been discussed at length on this site.
Another thing to bear in mind is that if North Carolina goes the interim route for 2011 they could join the list of major programs coach hunting for 2012, a list which hopefully will not include your Georgia Bulldogs. I don't think a North Carolina program staring down probation is more appealing than Mark Richt's current digs if, Heaven help, change becomes necessary. But the more buyers in the market the more pressure on market participants to make offers and close deals in a hurry. Just something to consider. Until later . . .