CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When Syracuse's head coach Jim Boeheim was asked about Hubert Davis’ accomplishments in his first year at the helm of the UNC program, the Hall of Famer cracked a joke about the fans' perceptions of Davis when the Tar Heels were limping through the early stages of conference play last season.
“He was fired about halfway through the year by the fan base,” Boeheim said. “If they have a bad half-season this year, they’ll want to fire him again."
Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastner quipped that “40-0” is the expectation for North Carolina this year, and anything else is a "total disappointment."
“It’s hard to repeat what he did,” he said. “I said they should’ve built a statue already of Coach Davis.”
Needless to say, the expectations for Davis entering his second season as UNC’s head coach are at an all-time high.
Last year, Davis nearly led the Tar Heels to a national title, securing the 2022 NCAA East Regional Championship, a historic Final Four win over Duke and an upset of No. 1 Baylor along the way. This year, the team is entering the season practically a consensus No. 1, being tapped as the top team in the nation by Andy Katz's Power 36 and ESPN's Way-Too-Early Top 25.
Despite all of this, at the ACC Tipoff on Wednesday, Davis was quick to dismiss the mere notion that he is feeling any pressure. He doesn't view his expectations in his second season as any different than those of his first or of any year he’s been a part of North Carolina’s program, for that matter. To him, this high bar has always been a “foundational part of Carolina.”
“The nine years that I was an assistant coach and now the two years as a head coach, we want to win every single ACC title, we want to win every tournament title, we want to get to the Final Four and we want to win a national championship,” Davis said.
While Davis emphasized that his approach this season is no different than it was last season, junior guard RJ Davis said that the coach has left a stamp on the program that is more evident this year.