Possibly no other athletics department in the nation can match North Carolina in homegrown talent.
The 15-year athletic director hails from Goldsboro, both the men’s basketball and baseball coaches were born in the mountains, the women’s basketball coach has a drawl you can only find in Gastonia and the interim head football coach went to high school in Charlotte.
So while the new UNC athletic director is not from the Old North State, he at least has to have a name that sounds like he is.
Bubba Cunningham is no more North Carolinian than clam chowder, but his hiring may be the best athletics move in the Holden Thorp era. What’s more, he’ll be able to ease into his job, for all intents and purposes, when he takes over Nov. 14.
Some may get hung up on the fact that Cunningham has been at Ball State and Tulsa during the past decade. But would you rather have an athletic director from a big-time school that kept the status quo, or an up-and-comer who took two different athletic departments to all-new heights?
Cunningham’s biggest challenge will be figuring out whether to keep Everett Withers or to find a permanent head football coach, and that’s a big enough task for a guy who’s yet to even pack up his office in Tulsa.