CHAPEL HILL – Outgoing UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp says that with his self-proclaimed enlightenment about college athletics that he did not have when he first became Chancellor, he would have handled the firing of football coach Butch Davis differently. He made his comments in an extensive end-of-term interview with Jim Heavner.
***Listen to Part I of the Interview***
“The school acknowledged that we had broken the rules, why could you simply not have said…you didn’t have to do anything other than pick up the phone and call Dick Baddour and say, Dick, fire him,” Heavner says.
“Well I think that for all the reasons that I said earlier, it was hard to do it that way,” Chancellor Thorp says. “I think if something happened like that now, that is how it would go down…”
“So that’s meaning that’s what you would do today?” Heavner asks.
“Yeah,” Chancellor Thorp says. “And I think Bubba Cunningham—and you can get him on, and I think he’d say the same thing.”
“What you have said is that over the course of these years you would have learned that you would have done this differently, and I believe that you have said that you would have fired him earlier,” Heavner says. “You would have fired him when it was very clear that he had broken the rules, did I hear that correctly?”
“No,” Chancellor Thorp replies. “What I said was I would have wanted to have a system in place where the athletic director and I would have been able to talk the way that Bubba and I talk now which I take a big part of the responsibility for myself—which is to say that if we have a major violation in a program then that’s inexcusable.”
With less than three months until his departure, he says he’s not afraid to be honest in expressing that Carolina still has a lot of problems in the way it governs its athletic program.
You can hear part one of that interview Friday at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. on WCHL. The complete interview will air next Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5.