Chancellor Folt: Not Looking Back When Making Hires

CHAPEL HILL – UNC Chancellor Carol Folt hired UNC alumnus David Routh this September to fill the University’s role of Vice Chancellor for Development. In a WCHL News Special with Jim Heavner, she said the former holder of that position, Matt Kupec, and his personality had nothing to do with the new hire.

“David Routh is—in many respects in terms of his personality—the anit-Matt Kupec,” Heaver said. “Matt was big, effusive, bold, and a former football player, a big sort of inspirational speaker. David Routh operates on a quieter plane.”

“Honestly, I’ve never met Matt,” Chancellor Folt said. “I really was looking for the person that could really be right for this position right now and could help take us forward.”

***Listen to Part I of WCHL’s News Special with the Chancellor***

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Matt Kupec resigned from UNC in September 2012 after it was discovered that he and another employee, Tami Hansborough, misused university funds for personal trips.

The Chancellor has nearly filled her executive staff and is scheduled to announce the newest hire of the Vice Chancellor for Communications and Public Affairs on Monday.

Chancellor Folt said the number one priority for that position is crisis management.

“Every public relations person I knew believed that Chancellor Thorp, for example, should never have conducted a televised press conference to announce the firing of Butch Davis,” Heavner said. “Is that the sort of thing that you want your person to be tuned into?”

“Absolutely,” Chancellor Folt said. “The reason I try to keep this distinction is that I do think you have to deal with crisis management. But, you’re also dealing, as I say, with this content and this positive presentation of the work that happens here. I think you get in a problem if you think your public affair is only about crisis management, too. That would be a very narrow focus.”

Tune in to the WCHL Morning and Afternoon and Evening News to hear the interview with Chancellor Folt in four parts Monday through Thursday this week.

To read the other articles in this WCHL News Special series with the Chancellor, navigate below.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4


Like many friends of UNC, I am saddened by the resignation of Chancellor Holden Thorp. His talents as a scholar, entrepreneur, and academic leader illuminate what is best about UNC.  He has acted with dignity during the past two years of painful revelations.  Neither his letter of resignation nor his public comments have reflected anything other than profound respect for this great university.

I do believe that Chancellor Thorp exercised poor judgment in not immediately recognizing and acting upon the brewing scandals in athletics and the inappropriate actions of Matt Kupec.  In my opinion, however, these scandals do not warrant the dismissal or resignation of the Chancellor. 

One has to wonder if, in Holden Thorp’s own mind, this uncritical thinking — so uncharacteristic of him — has undermined his confidence as the leader of UNC.  For their sakes and for ours, I encourage Chancellor Thorp, the Board of Trustees, and other university leaders to ask for forgiveness from the UNC family for missing the mark.

These two scandals do oblige us to grapple with the forces that may be eroding the foundations not just of UNC, but of many of our sister institutions, as well. It is possible that yet more regulations, audits, and reporting forms may prevent some athletes from receiving course credit where none is due or senior administrators from misusing funds. 

It is equally possible that, in the deluge of television revenues and corporate sponsorships in athletics, creative officials will find ways around even the most complicated and burdensome rules.  A very basic question, it seems to me, is: does the leadership culture of UNC encourage transparency, where threats to basic values such as honesty and trust can be acknowledged and addressed?  

We must understand the reasons that advisors and colleagues of the Chancellor did not challenge his oversight of this fundraising fiasco. We need to understand why his advisors and colleagues did not encourage more immediate and thorough questioning about substantial and appalling academic irregularities among athletes.

As the UNC community struggles to emerge from these scandals, as we lament the resignation of a talented Chancellor, so movingly displayed in the recent rally for him, we should all be asking if we have created a system that deters us from doing what is at the heart of a great university — to ask questions and to challenge one another, vigorously, in our search for the truth.

Greatest Comeback EVER… Almost

It was Sept 15, 2012. Not March 2, 1974. This time Walter Davis missed. OK, it would never have supplanted “8 down with 17 seconds to play” regardless. 
It was not in Carmicheal. It was in a stadium named for a pizza mogul in a city more famous for a horse race. It was not against Duke. It was against Louisville and only remnants of a crowd of 55,000 were there at the end.
(Did you know that Papa John Stadium is the ONLY college stadium in America where all 55,000 seats are individual chairbacks? Bubba, can we do that in Kenan some day?)
Speaking of chairbacks…. our Good Sports pre-game show on WCHL Saturday was “Best Ever” with Shows One & Two being tied for second just a smidgen behind. Catch it in archives somewhere on this website. You can skip over Chansky’s parts.
By last count, 138,662 die-hard Carolina fans were in Carmichael in March 1974. That number will go up after this. Every time I ever write about “8 down with 17 seconds to play” I hear from yet another “I was there”…. or “my dad was there and he swears that….”. 
BobLee, Carmichael only held 9,000. Yeah, I know. You tell those other 129,000 who have ticket stubs swearing they were there. Many of those 138,000 were also in Wrigley Field when Babe Ruth “called his shot” versus Charlie Root too. 
Did I channel Charles Dickens’ one week to soon. Surely Saturday in Papa John was “The Best of Halfs – The Worst of Halfs” or vice versa. I’m assuming most reading this are fans of the team that scored 34, not the team that scored 39. 
Carolina lost the game. Let me make that clear. Carolina lost the game. Larry Fedora did not come to Carolina to almost win football games. Larry Fedora did not come to Carolina to give “Don’t get your daubers down men. You played hard. You gave it your all. We’ll get’em next week by golly” post-game speeches. 
To paraphrase George Patton, Larry Fedora came to Carolina so the opposing coaches will give “we’ll get’em next week” speeches.  Make those other SOBs give up their lives for their cause….. Larry Fedora came to Carolina to WIN (and build character, integrity, yadda yadda yadda….) and in Louisville on Saturday last his team did not win. Larry is not a happy Fedora today. 
If a tie is like “kissing your sister” and a “moral victory” is another way of saying “we lost” then an incredible comeback that just falls short is still an L in a young season that now has two of those Ls to just one W with the Purple Pirates coming to Kenan next Saturday.
I watched the entire game. Yes I was flipping back & forth across the plethora of color & pageantry available “on any given Fall Saturday” but I was watching until 00:00. Were you? 
That’s a rhetorical question to which I don’t expect an honest answer.  If a third of the Louisville fans left Papa’s at the half, how many of “our fans” hung around in TV Land to watch Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse scalp Custer’s 7th Cavalry. I mean REALLY! 
So sue me. I like to watch massacres. Besides my sock drawer was already sorted and my car was already washed or whatever most of you chose to do around 5 PM on Saturday. Hey, I don’t blame you. 
The last time TeamRamses went into Papa John was October 2005.  That one really was a massacre – 69-14 in favor of the home team.  That one was two of yesterday’s first halfs without a second half.  Ouch. The only sound we “harked” that day was that damn train whistle those goobers blow after every score. 
As our boys trudged off the Papa John greensward yesterday I “harked” a sound of the seed of optimism germinating.  Optimism that Larry Fedora is “the man” to lead the Carolina Tar Heels to many more Ws than Ls in the months and years to come.
Whatever he said at halftime worked…. almost. “Almost” means “not quite” but gosh-darn it I liked what I saw in that second half. 
I like Larry Fedora a lot and I’m sure glad he’s the head coach of my alma mater.
Bryn Renner had great stats yesterday. OK, stats are for losers but five TDs and 363 yards is a lot. 
In the pantheon of UNC QBs, Bryn Renner had a whole lot better week than Matt Kupec did.

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 to the national championship in Detroit.
At the time, Tami Hansbrough was employed as a fundraiser for the Dental Foundation of North Carolina, and according to current Executive Director of the DFNC Paul Gardner, Hansbrough raised nearly $5 million in two and a half years.  
She had applied for the job along with 40 other people and in November of 2008 was named Associate Director of Development after interviewing with a five-person search committee. Obviously her name and being the mother of Carolina’s most famous basketball player did not hurt.
There were people in and around the UNC Dental School who resented Hansbrough for, one, getting the job with no fundraising experience and not spending a lot of time in the office while she was out visiting with donors and prospective donors. In an internal audit followed by a report from a Greensboro accounting firm, Hansbrough was asked to clarify expenses for trips to Atlanta for the 2009 ACC Tournament and to Memphis for the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional. She documented the travel during which she visited with donors and prospective donors while also cheering on her son and the Tar Heels.
In May of 2009, the Dental Foundation found fault with the travel expenses submitted by then Executive Director Brad Bodager, who resigned on May 29 for reasons unrelated to the expenses charged by Hansbrough. Gardner returned as executive director of the Dental Foundation in December of 2009.
Dental School Dean John Williams reviewed Hansbrough’s expense accounts and shared them with then-athletic director Dick Baddour. “During the 13 months I was her supervisor, we did not have any questions about her documented travel,” Gardner said Thursday.
Nevertheless, sources who know Hansbrough say she was worried about keeping her $82,000 job, considering the controversy at the foundation and some ill will among fellow employees who resented the travel schedule kept by the former Miss Missouri. Hansbrough made an appointment to see Kupec, who managed all development at the university. They became friends and, eventually, began a romantic relationship.
Chancellor Holden Thorp said this week that Kupec informed him of his relationship with Hansbrough in the fall of 2009 after Kupec had separated from his wife. Thorp also said he would not let Kupec hire Hansbrough for a fundraising job under Kupec’s supervision because it violated the nepotism policy at UNC.
Nepotism goes on at all universities, whether couples get together after the fact or, as is often the case, spouses or partners of sought-after employees are hired as a package deal. The policy, at least at UNC, is that they cannot work directly for, or with, one another. That is why Thorp turned down Kupec’s request.
In May of 2010, Hansbrough and Kupec started taking documented trips together that are currently under review by the university’s internal audit. In January of 2011, Hansbrough resigned from the Dental Foundation to raise money for the office of Student Affairs under Dean Winston Crisp, a position that was partially funded by Kupec. She was one of four people interviewed and obviously her success with the Dental Foundation helped her land the job.
When exactly all this turned tabloid is unclear. Apparently, some questions about Kupec’s own expenses came up during his 5-year review. He traveled with Hansbrough on business and they traveled as a couple. Kupec’s resignation this week indicates some of his dalliances were apparently on the public’s dime. With a combined annual salary of more than $450,000, the high-profile pair made it a scandal by not paying for all of their personal travel out of their own pockets.
Not smart for one of UNC’s smartest former athletes and administrators and one of Carolina’s most famous mothers. Their escapades have put Caroina back in the national news.
Though unrelated, the latest episode followed more than two years of an NCAA probe and penalties tied to UNC’s football program under fired coach Butch Davis and an ongoing investigation into academic fraud in the department of African and Afro-American Studies that may have started before Davis arrived on campus.
Kupec and Hansbrough, who resigned from her job this week, will soon become additional footnotes in the most scandalous period UNC has known and one in which the bad news does not seem close to an end.

A Way Out

You remember the classic Kevin Costner movie in which he seemingly had No Way Out of his pickle as a double secret agent?
Carolina avoided that dilemma in the first phase of a path to restore its reputation and integrity. It can also keep its football program on track as a contender in the Coastal Division of the ACC, which could always lead to a conference championship and ultimate BCS game.
With Dick Baddour’s announced resignation, Carolina can begin the search for a new athletic director whose first duty will be to hire the Tar Heels’ next permanent football coach. So the right plan is in place; let’s not screw it up by adhering to Churchill’s old adage “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
In other words, there are times when UNC might be able to promote a young star from within, but not this time, with such a big assignment on top of the in-basket. 
Baddour has held the position for 14 years after being promoted from John Swofford’s senior associate in 1997, when Swofford became Commissioner of the ACC. Baddour, who had previously worked for the Dean of Students and the UNC law school, was basically a compliance guy whose job it was to know all the rules and make sure they were followed.
The late Chancellor, Michael Hooker, wanted Matt Kupec to succeed Swofford because Kupec was UNC’s chief development officer and Hooker believed that fund-raising would be the athletic department’s biggest priority moving forward. But legendary basketball coach Dean Smith, who himself would retire two months later, favored Baddour. And in Dean’s prime, he was the most powerful man at the university.
Loyalty was Smith’s greatest strength and also his greatest weakness, so he supported Baddour, the good athletic department soldier for years. And by backing Baddour, Smith knew he could control who coached the basketball team after he retired. That’s the way it played out, with Bill Guthridge taking the Tar Heels to two Final Fours in three years before stepping down. But the plan hit a bump in the road when Roy Williams decided to stay at Kansas in 2000, the first time he was offered the job.
Williams eventually answered Carolina’s call to come home three years later after Matt Doherty was terminated. Doherty turned out to be one of four major-sport coaches hired by Baddour and eventually fired. The others were Carl Torbush, John Bunting and now Butch Davis. So, aside from the high marks Baddour has received in other areas, hiring head coaches and properly managing those hires was not his strongest suit.
That he has stepped aside to allow UNC time to hire his successor and, in turn, find the next football coach was admirable and speaks volumes about Baddour’s love for Carolina, where he graduated in 1966 and will have served for 45 years. But it is imperative that Carolina goes away from its popular practice of promoting from within because it’s easy and cheap and familiar. The next athletic director must be experienced in hiring head coaches and bring some new ideas to the department. “The Carolina Way” is not the only way, and UNC has been remiss to look at other schools and borrow ideas and ideologies from the best of them. There is nothing wrong with injecting new blood and vision into the mix.
And, like the buyout Davis will receive, hiring an experienced sitting AD from another school at market value will cost Carolina more money. According to the News and Observer listing of state salaries and rankings among ACC athletic directors, Baddour is the eighth-highest paid A.D. for a program considered the best in the league and among the best in the country. As an example, Duke hired Kevin White from Notre Dame and White earns nearly three times what Baddour makes. Market value for a major athletic program is about a half-million dollars a year.
In short, the hiring of the next football coach cannot be even a minor mistake. It must be a home run, and if a pool of the right candidates is developed that can certainly be accomplished. To his credit, Davis left UNC football with better players and facilities than he inherited, and any forthcoming NCAA sanctions will be attributed to him and likely give the new coach a bit of a honeymoon period in which to get established and put his own mark on the program.
Whoever Chancellor Holden Thorp chooses to find Baddour’s successor, the candidates will likely include former UNC football player and current South Carolina Athletic Director Eric Hyman, whose senior associate is ex-Tar Heel star athlete, Charles Waddell. Hyman reportedly would return to his alma mater. Norwood Teague, a UNC grad and one-time marketing director, has been the A.D. at Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) for five years. Teague hired unknown basketball coach Shaka Smart two years ago, and was able to keep him from taking a bigger job after Smart led the Rams to the 2011 Final Four as the Cinderella team of the season.
With the clock ticking on the Davis controversy, Thorp made the right 11th hour call.

The 2011 football Tar Heels, free from the constant presence of an NCAA investigation under a head coach who would have been besieged all season, can now play football unencumbered, improve as their schedule toughens and produce another winning record and bowl team. The players can certainly retain loyalty and respect for Davis, even play the season in his honor if they want, but the important point is they can now reunite what has been a divided fan base that, whether Butch supporters or critics, loves Carolina above all.

Meanwhile, the plan to find their next permanent head coach can be carried out. Hopefully, UNC is smart enough to bring in the best and most experienced athletic director available. That person will not only have to hire a new football coach but within 10 years may also have to choose the next women’s soccer coach, women’s basketball coach and (gulp) men’s basketball coach.
We need the right hire to make those hires right, too.