A new era has begun with the UNC Basketball program and it’s one that will be led by an old friend. On Monday, the Board of Trustees approved the hiring of Hubert Davis to be the 19th head coach in program history.
Davis, a 1992 UNC graduate, played four years at Carolina under Dean Smith. He was a second0team All-ACC honoree in 1992 and he still holds the career three point field goal percentage record of 43.5%.
After graduation, he was the 20th overall pick in the NBA draft that began a twelve-year career where he played for such legendary coaching names as Pat Riley, Jeff Van Gundy, Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown and Doug Collins. His career three-point shooting percentage of 44.1% still ranks third in league history. After his NBA career was over, Davis spent seven years as a basketball analyst with ESPN College Game Day. Then in 2012, Roy Williams called and Davis answered. Roy needed an assistant coach and Davis immediately accepted, returning to a place that he had considered home since the age of four.
His uncle, Walter Davis, had played at Carolina and Hubert would visit campus to see him play. He fell in love with UNC basketball and Chapel Hill. In his senior year of high school, Davis only had two scholarship offers, George Mason and George Washington, but still wanted to be a Tar Heel. Out of consideration for Hubert’s uncle Walter, Dean Smith and Roy Williams made a home visit to Davis. Smith told Davis that he would not be receiving an offer from Carolina because of his athletic limitations. Davis challenged that evaluation but Smith and Williams left the Davis home without extending an offer.
Davis must have been convincing because a few days later Smith called and invited Davis to come to Carolina. Davis accepted on the spot. That led Davis down a path of where, according to an interview with ESPN College Game Day, everything significant in his life happened. He played ball, got an education and graduated there. He met his best friends, fell in love with his wife and became a Christian there. He got married there. When his NBA career was over, Davis and his wife decided to raise their children there.
Davis always wanted to be a coach. He wanted to be a coach at North Carolina. While serving as an assistant under Williams, he coached the JV team and had a heavy presence in recruiting. Davis stated that the foundation of the Carolina program will not change because he believes in it. He believes in it because he experienced it, played it and knows it. He will, however, be adding his own personality to it.
Just like Mack Brown, who has turned the Carolina football program around after just two seasons, Davis credits his time at ESPN as an advantage. Davis was able to visit numerous programs to gather tips and practice routines from several successful college coaches. Combining that with his NBA experience should only add to what he has to offer the future student-athletes that call Carolina home.
There are questions that still remain for Davis, such as who will make up his staff? How well will he manage his roster? Can he recruit? Can he handle the pressure cooker known as Cameron Indoor Stadium? Time will tell. One thing is certain however and that is that Hubert Davis has earned the opportunity to find out. A new era has begun and it is in great hands.
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