Butch Davis fired in connection with NCAA investigation

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UNC Coach Butch Davis protests a call.

Butch Davis, head coach of the North Carolina football program, has been fired in connection with the ongoing NCAA investigation, according to a statement released by the University on Wednesday.

The surprise announcement came as Chancellor Holden Thorp met with the University’s Board of Trustees in closed session for more than an hour, and only two days after Davis spoke to reporters at the ACC Football Kickoff.

Davis’ job was assumed by most to be safe after the NCAA’s notice of allegations did not implicate him in the ongoing investigation into improper benefits and academic assistance for players. The University’s administration and Board of Trustees have previously been steadfast in their support for Davis.

Thorp said in the release that Davis was not dismissed as a result of a specific charge in the investigation, but because the probe had begun to “chip away at this University’s reputation.”

“Our academic integrity is paramount and we must work diligently to protect it,” Thorp said in the release. “The only way to move forward and put this behind us is to make a change.”

The statement did not mention who will succeed Davis as head football coach.

Athletic director Dick Baddour declined to comment after the board meeting, and said he and Thorp will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Friday Center.

The announcement comes on the same day that lawyer Wade Hargrove was elected chairman of the Board of Trustees, succeeding Bob Winston.

Thorp and Hargrove declined to comment on Davis’ dismissal after the meeting.

Staff Writer Paula Seligson contributed reporting.

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