Football coach John Bunting experienced two personal victories Saturday. One was beating Duke in convincing fashion to reclaim the Victory Bell, which the Blue Devils snatched away from the Tar Heels last season.
The second was a Saturday announcement by UNC Chancellor James Moeser that he would recommend a two-year contract extension for Bunting to the University's Board of Trustees. Any rumors about Bunting's job going to someone else next year effectively have been quashed.
Though the last two seasons were trying, Bunting certainly earned the extension this year. UNC crossed the finish line with a 6-5 record overall and a 5-3 record in the ACC. This is the first year since 2001 that the Tar Heels have been eligible for a bowl game, which will translate into more money and publicity for the program and the University.
The amazing upset win against Miami on Oct. 30 was the first time that a UNC football team has ever beaten an opponent ranked among the top five teams in the nation - it is sure to go down in history as one of the football program's greatest achievements.
After throwing in a satisfying win against N.C. State in a contest that went down to the wire, a strong performance in the Virginia Tech game and the crushing 23-point victory against Duke this past weekend, the season has turned out to be pretty good.
UNC's five losses were to good teams, and for the most part, they were nothing to be ashamed of. Utah, which thrashed the Tar Heels, has finished the regular season undefeated. Virginia, Louisville, Florida State and Virginia Tech are all bowl-bound.
Although UNC is improving, there are still a number of areas that need polishing, such as the defensive line. But the team has come such a long way in a relatively short amount of time that this past season has been nothing short of miraculous.
This season saw more wins for UNC than the last two combined. Even if the bar was pretty low to begin with, the team and its coaches have shown remarkable progress.
Bunting has shown that he deserves more time to try to take the team even further. The players obviously have responded well to him, so it's reassuring that administrators likely will do the same.
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