The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday September 20th

Column: Is UNC women's soccer's Anson Dorrance on the hot seat?

UNC women's soccer team head coach Anson Dorrance waves to the crowd as he is being recognized during halftime of the soccer game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Sunday, Sept. 29th, 2019 at Dorrance Field. This marked the official name change of the stadium from UNC Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium to Dorrance Field.
Buy Photos UNC women's soccer team head coach Anson Dorrance waves to the crowd as he is being recognized during halftime of the soccer game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Sunday, Sept. 29th, 2019 at Dorrance Field. This marked the official name change of the stadium from UNC Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium to Dorrance Field.

Editor's note: This is satire. 

With the NCAA nixing fall sports championships and the future of UNC athletics becoming hazier by the day, now feels like a natural time for Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham to take stock of each Tar Heel team and decide if any coaching changes are in order.

A few candidates immediately jump out. There's Roy Williams, whose bad season in 2019-20 should probably negate his three national titles. Or maybe Mack Brown, who won a bowl game last year but wasn't able to turn a team that went 2-9 in 2018 into a College Football Playoff contender. 

If you ask me, though, the most logical pick is women's soccer head coach Anson Dorrance, who's won just six β€” yes, you read that right, only six β€” NCAA championships since 2000, a far cry from the 15 titles he won in the previous century .Then combine that with the fact that the Tar Heels went 175-39-18 in the 2010s, good for *whips out calculator* 3.9 losses per season, and won only one national title.

Plus, he hasn't had Mia Hamm on his team since 1994. Anson Dorrance: Are we sure he's good?

Call it recency bias, but you only need to look at the last few seasons to find evidence for a Dorrancian decline. Take last year, when the Tar Heels went 24-2-1, won the conference title and made the national championship game. Or the year before that, when the Tar Heels went 21-4-2, won the conference title and made the national championship game.

Sure, those are alright runs. But those season-ending losses to Florida State and Stanford will ensure that questions about the Tar Heel coach's ability to win the big one continue to swirl. I've also picked up on an interesting trend, per ESPN's Tim Kurkjian: UNC's shots per game usually hover around 17.8 in a season, but drop to 16.4 on weeknight road games when the temperature is below 65 degrees and Mercury is in retrograde.

If you're wondering what that smell is, it's Dorrance's seat getting hotter and hotter by the day.

If Cunningham looks around, he'll see that I'm not alone on this. After Dorrance signed a five-year extension in 2018, he had this to say:

"I'd like to die on the job, and I hope I die on the field after beating the sh*t out of Duke."

What does this tell us? Only that Dorrance is a guy who hasn't done enough to hang it up, and he knows it. Did you know that he has a career record of 40-3-3 versus the Blue Devils? That's right β€” still 5,954 victories away from a .999 winning percentage. And once he does that, he still won't be able to erase those six non-wins from his resume. 

I haven't even mentioned the worst part yet: the fact that Dorrance was so integral to women's soccer's growing popularity that now he faces infinitely tougher competition than he once did. If he played his cards right and kept his head down, he could've won a few games here and there, kept the sport under the radar and done alright for himself. But no, he just had to win 16 championships in 19 seasons and make things harder down the line. I'll take "short-sighted decisions" for 1600, Alex.

Mr. Cunningham, don't take this as a plea to let Dorrance go. He's always been helpful to us at The Daily Tar Heel, what with his quotes about the "fabulous" Brianna Pinto, the "wonderful" Emily Fox and the "extraordinary" Alessia Russo. 

Rather, take it as an opportunity to reassess what you have. And sure, would it be awkward to bring in another coach to play his home games on the newly christened Dorrance Field? Maybe, yeah, for like a decade or two. But after that, you'll be set up much better for the future, without having to worry about things like "national championships" or "history books" or "singular college sports dynasties." Who needs 'em?

@ryantwilcox

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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