Art Chansky

Butch Davis' Job Interview

 Jeff Gravley’s softball interview with Butch Davis came off as just another smooth move by the former Carolina football coach. This time, at least, Davis looked and acted better than on the self-serving YouTube video he released with a pasty complexion, plastered hair and excuses galore. Davis is obviously back in the job market, and WRAL-TV was a perfect forum for him to once again take no responsibility for anything bad that happened at Carolina. Watch it on www.wralsportsfan.com. If you didn’t know better, you would think this guy was completely railroaded out of town. Davis talked about his current job with the Tampa Bay Bucs, turning down a coaching opportunity with the team to be a consultant. That, of course, allowed him to keep his entire $2.7 million severance from UNC, thanks to a loosely written contract that said he could not take another “coaching job” and be paid off. He counted himself among the “innocent victims” of the UNC scandal, even though Davis padded his already enormous bank account with the 10 million bucks he made at Carolina since 2007.  He said several times that he will coach again, hopefully leading a college or NFL program. His alma mater Arkansas will be hiring after this season, and Razorbacks’ Athletic Director Jeff Long will have to decide whether Davis passes the smell test to take over that scandal-ridden...

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Of Kidneys And Kane

It’s safe to say Roy Williams’ annual preseason meeting with the media Thursday was the strangest of his 25-year head coaching career.   Obviously, the first question was about Williams’ health, and he revealed some details of the scary 24-day period when there was a “95 percent chance” he had  cancer in one or both kidneys.   And, after that was over, more than half of the Q&A with the assembled media was taken up by questions from News & Observer investigative reporter Dan Kane, who heads up coverage of the UNC academic scandal for the Raleigh paper.   Williams said he suffered from heartburn discomfort over the summer and, after his regular check-up and two X-rays, was told he had a mass in his right kidney that was likely cancerous. Surgery was scheduled for September 20, and Ol’ Roy went on a pe-arranged golf trip with his Foxhole Buddies.   “I’ve always said when I croak, I want to birdie the last hole I play and then keel over,” he joked, adding that he had a short birdie putt on the final hole of the trip and was torn over making it. He missed and admitted being relieved.   As we know now, the mass was benign, an oncocytoma that looks like a cancerous renal carcinoma in most x-rays and scans, and is not in only 3-7 percent...

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Art's Angle: All White Is All Right

Hey, Coach, can we wear all white the next two weeks in Dade County and Durham?   White was sure right Saturday, as Carolina kicked old nemesis Virginia Tech around antiseptic Kenan Stadium for a signature win that pretty much showed us the full measure of Larry Fedora’s football program.   The less-than-capacity crowd made enough white noise so it seemed full, increasing the decibel as the slow-starting Tar Heels followed three straight three-and-outs and a Virginia Tech touchdown with Sean Tapley’s 94-yard kickoff return to the White House that tied the game. From there, all those Marooned in the northeast corner had little to cheer about.   Since it was the first such score given up by the vaunted Beamer Ball special teams since 1993, 237 games ago, they kind of knew there was more white lighting to come. Giovani Bernard lost three yards in the first quarter, then gained 265 over the last three to pass names like Voight, Means and Bryant as the 5th highest single-game rusher in UNC history.   Sure there was sloppy play and eight penalties in the first period alone by the amped-up Heels, who relinquished a 93-yard kickoff return and several long bombs of their own. But where the Hokies usually excel, on the ground, they were limited to 40 yards all sun-splashed afternoon. Go figure.   Carolina has now rung up...

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A Coach's Choice

Duke’s Hall of Fame Coach Mike Krzyzewski is very likely one of only two people on the planet who knows what happened with his former player Lance Thomas during the 2009-10 season.  The other person is Thomas. Krzyzewski has to know because he asked and the former player had to tell his former coach the truth.     Coach K Faces Tough Choice?   On Dec. 21, 2009, after Duke had defeated Gonzaga at Madison Square Garden to run the Blue Devils’ record to 11-1, Thomas purchased $97,800 worth of jewelry from Rafaello & Co., in Manhattan. Rafaello & Co. promotes itself as a “deluxe” jeweler which also does business as A+A Diamonds, Ltd. Its website claims to have customers such as entertainer Jay Z.   According to a lawsuit filed by Rafaello & Co. in January, 2012, Thomas made a $30,000 down payment on five pieces of jewelry he carried out of the store and received a credit for $67,800. Thomas, who finished last season with the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets, never paid the balance until the suit was settled in 2012 and all terms were sealed.   The question remains and may never be answered because the NCAA does not have subpoena power and can only ask Duke to produce the facts that would determine if, by making such a purchase and getting such a large line of...

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Art's Angle: From The Couch

Once it started raining heavily Saturday afternoon, my angle for the football game against Idaho was from my couch, clicker in hand, to watch Carolina’s record-breaking 66-0 win and a few other things tangential to the Tar Heels. Good choice because it turned out to be a great, as well as dry, day in that position. Carolina wiped the wet Kenan Stadium turf with the Vandals from Moscow (Idaho) as we figured would happen, but denying a touchdown for four more quarters (now 10 in a row) and setting a school record for most points (by one) in a game were welcome bonuses. Most everyone not only played well, but most everyone played, which means the 3-2 team will be well-rested for when the ACC season starts in earnest this week with Va. Tech coming to town. But it was also a great day because N.C. State lost in a most-embarrassing manner, with all-star cornerback David Amerson letting a Miami receiver slip behind him for the winning touchdown with merely seconds to play. That will have Wolfpack coach and ex-Marine TOB chewing glass. And Duke winning was also good, because the Blue Devils beat Wake Forest for the first time in 12 years, which puts Carolina back in the picture to win the mythical state championship and only title we can claim to win this season. Now if the...

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Art's Angle: A Win For Losing

  A lot has happened since Carolina last won a football game before Saturday’s 27-6 victory over East Carolina.   UNC lost its chief fund-raiser, a former star quarterback who flew the coop with the mother of the school’s most decorated basketball player.   UNC lost a chancellor, who resigned effective at the end of the school year over the distractions his embattled office was causing.   And UNC hoped not to lose, even for a single practice, its beloved basketball coach, who had one of two tumors removed from his kidneys.   While all this was going on, UNC had lost its best football player with whom the Tar Heels would not have avoided all of the above but might have won two games and be standing 4-0 today instead of 2-2.   It’s been one helluva a fortnight.   All is certainly not right with the world after Carolina shook off its third straight sluggish start and put away the Purple Pirates from down east with its third straight shutout third quarter and improved second half performance.      But with Giovani Bernard back at tailback and Bryn Renner continuing to leapfrog other quarterbacks in the UNC record books, the Tar Heels are in a position to peel the winless Idaho potatoes this week and be ready for their “white out” effort against big, bad Virginia Tech...

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Thorp's True Legacy

For a change, Holden Thorp made a decision that left everyone happy.   His detractors who grew since the firing of Butch Davis 14 months ago are happy, and some may be demented enough to think that score has been settled.   Those who support Thorp and care about what he and his family have gone through the last two years are happy that he will be off the hot seat.   And, deep down inside, Thorp himself is probably happy to be returning to teaching and research and helping the university in less visible ways.   Just as the dumping of Davis was the right move, the Chancellor’s resignation is best for the university’s future. The mild-mannered chemist, who once held the promise of being the most interconnected leader in UNC’s history, instead became a lightning rod. And he came to understand that divisiveness would be the enemy of progress as long as he was in the job.   In less than five years, Thorp did untold good for Carolina in terms of weathering a severe recession and budget cuts, retaining faculty and raising research dollars into the top 10 of American public universities. But, as we know, athletics is the “front porch” of any major college, so let’s set the record straight on a few things there.   When Thorp took office in the summer of 2008,...

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'Go, Romar, Go!'

Let’s discuss what happened in the first half Saturday at the Papa John’s Pizza Palace in Louisville.   Either the Tar Heels were still hung over from their disappointing loss last week at Wake Forest (which by the way got waxed by Florida State 52-0 earlier Saturday) and hurting by not having Gio B. and J. Boyd on the team plane to Kentucky.   Or defensive coaches Dan Disch and Vic Koenning out-schemed themselves by attacking the explosive Cardinals so hard that the Tar Heels ran right by the Louisville blockers, runners and receivers and let them build up a 36-7 lead at halftime.   “We made some adjustments and simplified some things,” head coach Larry Fedora said after the game, not going any further in his explanation. He could have meant that his defenders were less aggressive, contained their respective areas and knocked anybody down who came by. Who knows about such coach speak anyway?   Fedora did allow what was obvious to anyone watching — that energy, effort, passion and execution were lacking and that he asked everyone in uniform to play as hard as he possibly could on every down in the second half. Of course, he added, that’s what they should have been doing on every play in the first half.   To Fedora’s credit, his team did not throw in the towel, got some early...

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The Irish: Nowhere Else To Go

Sure, it is a boon for the ACC to add fabled Notre Dame as its 15th school, but let’s look beyond the lore of Touchdown Jesus to the reality of the situation.   Notre Dame, at least for now, will not be a football member of the ACC and will keep all money from its home-game contract with NBC-TV, which expires in 2015. The Irish need a conference in which to compete in all of their other sports, since the reworked Big East is spread out from coast to coast. And the ACC, with myriad connections to Notre Dame over the years, is a good fit in terms of most of the schools’ academic reputations.   But it was clearly a defensive move for the ACC, as well. No other conference wanted Notre Dame without getting at least a piece of its TV contract. Not the Big 10 or the Big 12, the most logical geographical choices. The ACC, which had once taken the same stance, compromised and agreed to let Notre Dame keep all of its football TV money and still get an equal (1/15th) share of the basketball TV revenue from the moment the Irish begin playing in the ACC.   “We didn’t want to wake up a few years from now and learn that Notre Dame had become a full member of another conference,” said one ACC...

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What Was He Thinking?

When Matt Kupec played football for Carolina, he was one of the smartest quarterbacks ever to wear the Tar Heel uniform.   In the final minute of the last regular-season game in his true freshman year, he perfectly executed the option pitch to Mike Voight for a two-point conversion that defeated Duke 39-38 in a Kenan Stadium classic. In his last game at Carolina, he completed 18 of 28 passes to engineer a comeback win over Michigan in the 1979 Gator Bowl, earning co-MVP honors with Famous Amos Lawrence.   Since returning to UNC in 1992 as a fundraiser, Kupec rose to reorganize the complicated development machine and administered capital campaigns that brought in more than $4 billion. Especially after moving his office to South Building to assist James Moeser, he increased his role as right hand man to four Chancellors and was in on virtually every major decision the university made.   So with a $359,000 salary, plus plenty of perks as part of the job, how could he have done something so universally stupid?   It became fairly common knowledge in 2009 that Kupec had separated from his wife and was dating Tami Hansbrough, the mother of Carolina’s most decorated basketball player. Tyler Hansbrough was in the middle of a senior season in which he would break several major career records at UNC while leading the Tar Heels...

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