C.D. Mock said he announced his intent to retire next year at his performance review last month.
Cunningham said C.D. Mock was fired because of his performance.
“It was simply time for a change,” Cunningham said in an email. “The wrestling program had fallen short of the expectations we have for all of our teams at UNC.”
Corey Mock said his father was fired because of his stance on sexual assault policies.
“Firing him now doesn’t make sense if you look at everything in context,” he said.
C.D. Mock said he is unsure if he will dispute the firing. As a non-faculty Exempt from the Personnel Act employee, he has few protections against termination.
Under the protected activity clause of the non-faculty EPA employment policies, employment must not interfere with First Amendment rights except for limitations on specific political activity. However, his terms of employment may have included other policies about his conduct. In his 2003 appointment letter, the University only listed NCAA or ACC violations and criminal activity as causes for termination.
“His level of employment is probably given the least amount of protection against questionable termination practices,” Mike Tadych, a lawyer with Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych PLLC. “So then we have to look at what other reasons would there have been to terminate him at this point and see if those are valid.”
C.D. Mock said the wrestling program was going to be strong this year.
“I cannot speak for the University, but it seems to me that he was let go for reasons other than performance,” said assistant coach Kyle Kiss.
Tadych said the termination may have a chilling effect on faculty.
“There’s this gross misconception that students should be able to weigh in on what professors teach or don’t teach,” he said. “I think they devalue the purpose of a liberal arts education by not exposing themselves to these competing viewpoints.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the date athletic director Bubba Cunningham announced Coach C.D. Mock's firing. It was June 12. The story has been updated to reflect this change. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.