The Case Against John Bunting

It looks like I am a little late to the party. Caulton Tudor fired the first salvo in the “Fire John Bunting” war this morning. I purposely have not read it because I was in the middle of writing my own manifesto against the beleagured Tar Heel coach. I had originally planned to wait until UNC was mathematically eliminated from bowl contention to write this post but there has been a perceptible shift in the fan base to the point that I think it is better to put this out sooner rather than later. Based on the massive number of hits this site has seen just in the past two days as well as comments and emails all calling for Bunting and to a less extent Dick Baddour to be held accountable I think the time has come to examine Bunting’s tenure. Here are a few provisios. The purpose of this post is to ask questions, present what I consider to be relevant data, and ultimately set forth the premise that Bunting has tried and failed to elevate the UNC football program. I will also offer my opinion on some other relavant issues. I am seeking, more or less, to facilitate a discussion amongst Tar Heel fans and to address the current state of the program. My stance is if John Bunting is to be damned then the facts, the historical context, and ultimatelty the fan base, particularly those pouring money into the program will damn him not the opinion of one lonely blogger. So in terms of addressing this issue I ask for anyone to comment and offer their opinion as long as they keep it civil and keep the profanity to a minimum. If you think I am full of it and being disloyal to UNC then that is your opinion but all I ask anyone to do is examine the facts and be intellectually honest. I said at the start of the season that I am for a winning program regardless of the coach. If Bunting gets it done that is fine. If is has to be someone else, that is fine too. However, there comes a time when the hard questions need to be asked about a coach and that is what I intend to do here. Also feel if you want to comment directly to me instead of in full view of the public you can email me here. For this post only I will lift my “fair game” stance on incoming emails.

Also this post is long so consider yourself warned.

Coaching Comparisons

I think the best way to get an perspective on the performance of a coach at a particular school it is necessary to evaluate that coach against his predecessors. The presumption in this is that past coaches are a good barometer for how good or bad a program can be. In my opinion it serves as a fair measurement while bearing in mind that each coach is different and brings different skills to the table. Here is the list of UNC coaches beginning Dick Crum until present:

Dick Crum, 1978-1987, 72-41-4 overall, 38-24-1 in the ACC

Year Overall ACC Bowl Game
1978 5-6 3-3 None
1979 8-3-1 3-3 Gator
1980 11-1 6-0 Bluebonnet
1981 10-2 5-1 Gator
1982 8-4 3-3 Sun
1983 8-4 4-2 Peach
1984 5-5-1 3-2-1 None
1985 5-6 3-4 None
1986 7-4-1 5-2 Aloha
1987 5-6 3-4 None

Mack Brown, 1988-1997, 69-46-1, 40-35-1

Year Overall ACC Bowl Game
1988 1-10 1-6 None
1989 1-10 0-7 None
1990 6-4-1 3-3-1 None
1991 7-4 3-4 None
1992 9-3 5-3 Peach
1993 10-3 6-2 Gator
1994 8-4 5-3 Sun
1995 7-5 4-4 Carquest
1996 10-2 6-2 Gator
1997 11-1 7-1 Gator

Carl Torbush, 1998-2000, 17-18, 10-14

Year Overall ACC Bowl Game
1998 7-5 5-3 Las Vegas
1999 3-8 2-6 None
2000 6-5 3-5 None

John Bunting, 2001-Present, 25-39, 16-26

Year Overall ACC Bowl Game
2001 8-5 5-3 Peach
2002 3-9 1-7 None
2003 2-10 1-7 None
2004 6-6 5-3 Tire
2005 5-6 4-4 None
2006 1-3 0-2

Analysis

There are some discernible patterns found just by looking at the records. The first is a fairly noticeable improvement in the program by the third season with every coach except John Bunting. Dick Crum went 5-6 his first season, improved to 8-3-1, and then finished his third season 11-1 and won an ACC title. Mack Brown had one of the worst starts of any UNC coach going 2-20 but in the third year he posted a 6-4-1 mark. The tie that season? Against Georgia Tech who finished 11-0-1 and claimed a share of the national title. Obviously a watershed game for UNC and a harbinger of good things to come. Even Carl Torbush how went 7-5 in his first year, found trouble in his second at 3-8, but came back to a 6-5 mark before being dismissed by the university. As for Bunting he had a successful 8-5 first season only to dip down to 3-8 and then 2-10 by his third. Why is the third year important? By the third season the coach owns the program. A third year coach has had two years to establish his system and even bring in two classes of his own players. For the most part he still might be playing with most of the cards from someone else’s hand but in the third year it is all on the coach. For Crum, Brown, and even Torbush the third year was great, good, and average. For Bunting it was a absymal and perhaps that should have been an indicator that something was amiss.

Another telling pattern is evaluating how a coach finished up. Mack Brown is disqualified from this discussion since he left for greener pastures on his own. However the University’s handling of Dick Crum and Carl Torbush should establish a standard of what is considered a situation deemed critical enough to force the head coach out. In Crum’s case he won an ACC title and was cruising along until 1984 which began a string of three of four seasons with only five wins. The only exception was 1986 in which the Tar Heels went 7-4-1. Following the 1987 season and a 5-6 record Crum resigned with four years left on his contract. According to the New York Times this was the reasoning behind Crum’s ouster:

A statement was released jointly by Crum, Chancellor Christopher Fordham and Athletic Director John Swofford. It said that a study was conducted to determine the status of the football program under Crum. ”This study found that the program no longer enjoyed the full support of all elements of the university community,” they said. (Source: NYT)

So here we have a case of a coach who won big early on but over the course of four seasons posted a few average wins totals. The response from the administration at UNC was patience to a point and then a mutual parting of ways simply because the support for Crum had evaporated. Also consider Carl Torbush, who went 7-5, 3-8, and then 6-5. Despite 2 out of 3 winning seasons and only three years on the job Torbush was fired outright and Bunting was hired.

The importance of these two situations cannot be overstated when compared to Bunting. In Crum’s case he was a proven winner whose team then slid from glory to mediocrity. The response? Crum resigns under pressure. Contrast that to Bunting who has never had success at UNC outside of the first season and in the past four years has posted a worse record than Crum did in his last four seasons and what is the response from the AD? Faith in Bunting despite the obvious signs that the fan base no longer supports him. In Carl Torbush’s case it was apparent he was not up to the job though his record through three seasons was hardly disastarous. UNC’s response was swift and they did not even afford him the opportunity to graduate a single class. Contrast that to Bunting who wins a total of five games in years two and three, follows that up with six and five wins. UNC’s response? Patience for Bunting because they believe he still capable of getting the job done even though they cut Torbush off with a better three year mark than Bunting had at the same point.

So the question I have to ask is: What has Bunting done that permits him to receive a level of patience and tolerance which was never shown to the winningest coach in UNC history in the late 1980s or a head coach with two winning seasons out of his three on the job? What has changed in the way UNC handles its football coaches which grants Bunting seemingly full immunity while in the past UNC would have never tolerated the extended period of mediocrity Bunting had posted in his six years on the job?

The bottom line is that in almost 30 years of UNC football coaches there have been two cases were coaches were dismissed or forced to resign and in both cases it was done after only a short period of mediocrity and done so in response to a disgruntled fan base. The question that needs to be asked of Dick Baddour is why Bunting is being subjected to a completely different standard in this regard?

Team Performance

It should be noted that win-loss records only tell part of the story, though in this case I think that story is fairly damning on those facts alone. There is another part which lies beneath the win-loss record and that is a question of how the teams performed in those games, even if they lost. If a team goes 3-8 but four of those losses are by a touchdown or less, it can be argued that team is on the cusp of breaking through. Conversely speaking if a team is winning games but against a weak schedule and giving up a lot of points it may serve as an indication that despite a winning record the team might not be as good as people think(see Notre Dame last season and this one for an example.)

For our purposes here it is necessary to evaluate how UNC has performed as a team regardless of the final result. UNC teams that perform well and are competitive even when losing tend to tell you a great deal about the state of the program, the quality of the talent, and the coaching in general. If UNC teams are routinely getting blown out by superior opponents and show a serious lack of effort on the field it could be a sign that the coaching staff is failing to properly motivate or prepare the team for a game. I also happen to believe that surrendering huge numbers of points on defense against inferior opponents or failing to score points on offense against the same type of teams is also indicative of problems with the coaches. It is my opinion that this is the case at UNC during the past six seasons. And here are numbers which seem to support this premise. One set of statistics which is particularly interesting is how UNC teams have performed in the course of a loss.

Under Dick Crum(41 games)

Average Margin of Defeat : 10.9
Worst Losses: 41-7 Oklahoma, 52-20 Boston College, 31-0 Ga Tech, 28-0 Oklahoma
Most Points Allowed: 52 against Boston College
Worst Margin of Deafeat: 34 against Oklahoma
Average Points Allowed in a Loss: 24.2
Average Points Scored in a Loss: 13.2

Under Mack Brown(46 games)

Average Margin of Defeat : 16.0
Worst Losses: 48-3 NC State, 41-0 Duke, 38-0 Maryland, 40-7 Clemson
Most Points Allowed: 50 against Virginia
Worst Margin of Deafeat: 45 against NC State
Average Points Allowed in a Loss: 28.7
Average Points Scored in a Loss: 12.7

Under Carl Torbush(18 games)

Average Margin of Defeat : 17.6
Worst Losses: 63-14 FSU, 45-7 Maryland, 39-13 FSU, 28-3 Furman
Most Points Allowed: 63 against Florida State
Worst Margin of Deafeat: 49 against Florida State
Average Points Allowed in a Loss: 33.1
Average Points Scored in a Loss: 15.5

Under John Bunting(39 games)

Average Margin of Defeat : 19.6
Worst Losses: 69-14 Louisville, 52-7 Clemson, 59-7 Maryland, 59-21 Maryland
Most Points Allowed: 69 against Louisville
Worst Margin of Deafeat: 55 against Louisville
Average Points Allowed in a Loss: 37.7
Average Points Scored in a Loss: 18.0

The numbers seem to indicate that John Bunting teams have posted some of the worst losses in UNC history. In fact the 69-14 drubbing at Louisville in 2005 is the worst single game loss in UNC history in terms of points allowed. You can also add to that the fact UNC has surrendered 59 points twice and 52 as recently as Saturday all under Bunting. Only the 63-14 loss to FSU under Carol Torbush rates in this range.

On average UNC loses games by 19 points under Bunting versus 17.6 under Torbush, 16.0 under Brown, and 10.9 under Crum. In other words UNC losses under Bunting tend to be bad no matter who they are playing. In fact if you compare Bunting and Brown by tossing out the their worst two seasons the contrasts becomes even more stark. The margin of defeat under Brown sans the first two 1-10 seasons drops to 13.8. If you take the three plus Bunting seasons sans the 3-9 and 2-10 marks in his second and third years the margin of defeat for those 20 losses is actually higher at 19.75 than the 19 other losses which comes in at 19.59. In other words the 20 losses UNC has suffered in Bunting’s better seasons are actually worse by the margin of defeat than the 19 losses in his second and third years. The point is that Bunting is into his sixth season and UNC continues to lose games by almost 20 points a game on average. This is a stark contrast to the Mack Brown era which saw UNC lose by 19 points a game in the first two seasons but in the remaining eight seasons only lost games by an average of 13 points a game.

Another point of interest is the number of games where UNC has given up more than 45 points. According to another UNC blog, Carolina March, Tar Heel football has given up over 45 points on 24 occassions. An astonishing nine of those instances have happened on John Bunting’s watch. In fact there have only been 12 such instances in the past 30 years, two under Brown, one under Torbush, and nine under Bunting.

Another startling statistic is comparing overall points scored versus points allowed. Under Dick Crum UNC was outscored by its opponent over the balance of the season a total to two times out of ten years, his first and his seventh. Under Mack Brown UNC was outscored only twice, those coming in the first two seasons. Under Bunting UNC outscored its opponents in Bunting’s first season and since then have been outscored every single season and appear to be on the way to the same result in 2006. This seems to indicate that UNC cannot stop other teams from scoring or in some cases are incapable of putting points on the board. In fact Bunting teams through the Clemson game surrender an average of 30 points a game while only scoring 23 points per contest. Under Mack Brown the offense was only slightly better at 24 points a game but the defense was an astonishing 11 points a game better than the past six years. In fact the Carl Torbush teams only gave up 24 points a game but were more anemic on the offensive end at 21 points a game. I also am painfully aware that this is also a little simplistic since winning is based on scoring more points than your opponent. That being said it is a huge red flag when you see that UNC gives up 11 more points on average than they did under Brown while maintaining a similar offensive output.

Another point of consideration is what UNC does not tend to acquit itself well even when it wins. A win over William and Mary in 2004 came at the cost of 38 points to a I-AA team. The same thing was true more than a week ago when UNC gave up 42 points and 521 yards of offense to a Furman team which did nothing more than run some unusual offensive looks. In that respect there is very little joy in winning because even wins are marred by such substandard play on the field it feels like a loss. The failure to win big games is also a sticking point with UNC recording only a handful of significant wins in Bunting’s tenure, the Peach Bowl win over Auburn in 2001, the win over Miami in 2004, and wins over NC State in 3 of 5 meetings. Then again, not to offend Wolfpack nation, wins over NC State are not high quality wins at this point.

Numbers do not lie and the question that begs to be asked here is why do UNC teams under John Bunting routinely get the living daylights kicked out of them? What is so wrong in the UNC football program that so many losses end with UNC 20 or more points behind their opponent consistently for six years? Is there any explanation for giving up 30 points a game for over five seasons? Since Bunting is a former linebacker it was expected that defense would be a priority which does not seem to be the case. And while total point averages do not account points scored off turnovers and special teams, the issue is relative because the averages for Brown and Torbush teams are still better on the whole.

Personnel

There are basically two questions to be asked in regard to the players. The first concerns what caliber of player is Bunting bringing in through recruiting. And the second is an issue of discipline. I actually will tackle the latter question first and commend Bunting for having the guts to suspend players who break the rules and kick lawbreakers off the team. I cannot think of many people who prefer the Miami/FSU model of lawbreaking players who suffer no discipline. Bunting has been very good at kicking players off the team who commit crimes in general and for that he should be held in the highest regard. My only question in regards to this policy is how does Bunting account for such issue in the recruiting process. Are trouble players identified and passed on in recruting or brought in hoping they will behave? Does Bunting have a good system setup to help keep these kids out of trouble as much as possible off the field? I actually do not have the answers to these questions I just toss them out there for speculation. Obviously Bunting is doing the right thing by suspending these players but at the same time he is under obligation to win football games and needs to make sure he is working to avoid these issues in an effort to keep the best players on the team and winning games.

On the question of recruiting, Bunting has done very well. Everyone knew that it would take two years or so for Bunting to get a recruiting apparatus in place. Since that has been established UNC has brought in quality players. According to Scout.com UNC has had Top 25 recruiting classes three of the last five seasons. The two seasons they were outside the top 25 they were ranked 35(2002) and 34(2005) The three yeas in the top 25 included rankings of 13(2003), 18(2004), and 25(2005). Based on this the recruiting has been adequate and in theory the personnel has been present in Chapel Hill since 2003.

The looming question is why hasn’t UNC won more with good recruiting classes? I agree injuries are a factor as is the aforementioed discipline issues but I have to think there comes a point where someone needs to stand up and ask why these top 25 recruiting classes have failed to produced anything more than a 6-6 season? On top of that, it is not like the other two years were horrible since UNC was just outside the top 25. Now I do understand there can be a world of difference in between recruiting predictions and realistic development of any player. That being said I also think that if the coaching staff is halfway decent they should be able to parlay a few top 25 recruiting classes into something more than we have seen in Chapel Hill. If UNC is recruiting the athletes then how is it the defense is so bad, the offense is mostly in effective, and the losses are coming faster than the wins? Has John Bunting and his staff mismanaged and failed to develop talented players or worse yet turned a bevy of good players into perpetual underachievers? I think some account must be given for seemingly bringing in the right personnel and then not producing on the field. Then again there is also something to be said for coaches who seem to get every ounce of effort and talent out of the players they have regardless of ranking. Good coaching can overcome a multitude of player deficiencies and also develop good players from limited talent. In Chapel Hill this kind of coaching seems to be absent.

Perceptions and Expectation

UNC football is a laughingstock. I will grant this may be more opinion than fact but I see no way around the idea. Take for example the comment made by SI’s Peter King a few weeks ago when he called out the UNC coaching staff for being stupid in regards to Willie Parker. On this blog I refuted the premise because I believe it was intellectually dishonest but there is on inescapable fact in that there must be a foundation on which to build such a premise. That foundation, more or less, is that the UNC coaching staff is not very good. Let’s frame it this way: Had Willie Parker lanquished under Mack Brown, not seeing the field, and then left to succeed in the pros would that same statement been made about Brown? Possibly but not with the same vitrol. Given Brown’s success, Willie Parker would have been a footnote and in fact you probably could find apologists left and right to give you 100 reasons why Brown failed to play Parker. With Bunting the underlying perception is he is not a good coach and while there may be some disdain from King towards Bunting from the latter’s NFL days it does not change the fact that the public and media see Bunting as mediocre at best. I also think some of Bunting’s in-game decisions lend to this perception. I know I have questioned Bunting’s decisionmaking countless times, the most fervent being his decision to kick a field goal on 3rd down to tie the game with only second left instead of taking another shot at the end zone to try and win the game against Maryland last season. This season the decision to run the ball into the line on 4th and goal from the 1 only to be stuffed killed almost any chance UNC had of coming back against Rutgers. The play calling is continually cautious and the lack of serious player development as well as the poor play of the defense as cited above all add to the perception that Bunting simply is not a good coach nor does he seem to have good coaches in his employ. Marvin Sanders was allegedly an up and coming coaching star but to this point his defenses have been pourous. The defensive efforts this season have reeked of poor coaching and insufficient player preparation. What other explanation is there for allowing Furman and Rutgers to run over your defense like a bus. Bunting’s comments after those games where he spoke of being “surprised” and that the players were “confused” indicate to me the coaches dropped the ball even if the players are missing tackles like they did on Saturday.

As for the fan base, I honestly believe the fans are entitled to expect as least as much as they have seen out of the program in the past. In this case I will even lower that expectation to say that if UNC can play football like they did in the early to mid-nineties winning seven to nine games and go to a decent bowl(not the Tire Bowl) that would be sufficient. Of course I do not think there is anything wrong with expecting UNC to occasionally break the 10 or 11 win mark either but I can live without that. The point is the fans deserve more that they are getting at present. The apathy in the UNC fan base has crescendoed to the point that the opening home game of the season against a decent opponent shown to the entire east coast garners 12,000 empty seats at Kenan Stadium. This is a tell-tell sign than UNC football simply does not matter to people enough to fill the stadium. The fans have lost confidence and see little hope he turned it around like Bunting keeps promising to do. The point here is the fans are embarassed. The football team is represenative of the university and while I think Clemson is a very good team, it is not like it was the first time UNC had been whipped to a bloody pulp in a game under Bunting. The numbers above are very clear that UNC is an easy mark for an opponent plus they are routinely humiliated. Is it too much to ask that we keep the humiliations to a minimum? Is it too high an expectation to say that we prefer to have only one blowout loss a season instead of multiple ones as we have seen?

John Bunting and the Media

This is actually should be a minor point but I think it bears mentioning. In a previous post I dissected a John Bunting press conference partly as means of criticism and partly for humor. In that press conference it was clear Bunting is not a capable communicator and is also predisposed to say things which are best left unsaid. His persistence in saying Joe Dailey will play even though there is no plan on the board to play Dailey is not only dishonest but downright asinine to think that anyone is buying it. His answers to questions can be convuluted and most of his comments are simplistic observations everyone already knows. His mantra when addressing the concerns about his program have been the same worthless platitudes for six years straight now. Telling fans to “hang in there” and promising that the program will eventually get to the next level over and over and over without any real results has become trite and worn out. Bunting is the public face on the program and the manner in which he addresses the media adds to the perception he is inadequate for the job and casts a very confusing picture. And while I do not expect Bunting to be Steve Spurrier behind the microphone it would be nice if his comments and press conference banter with the media at least inspire the casual fan as well as those of us who pay close attention to such things a tinge of confidence that he actually knows what he is doing with the team.

Summary

This is the case against John Bunting as this fan sees it. I think numbers are a very powerful argument. It is easy to sidestep fan complaints and the perceptions of others. However the win loss record and the performance of the defense and the team in general as well as the blowout nature of many of UNC’s losses should be an immediate warning sign that the program is on thin ice. I do not think fan expectations at UNC are unreasonable. Granted UNC is a basketball school but many fans also think it is permissable to have a good football and basketball program at the same time. Florida does it and so does Texas. There is no reason why UNC should not be in the business of putting a bowl winner on the field in the same year as a Final Four team in basketball as was the case in 1996-97. It also should be noted that Bunting does not enjoy the good will NC State’s Chuck Amato has enjoyed for make significant headway with the program off the field. There is no body of accomplishment Bunting apologists can point at to say, “Hey the wins have not been there but at least the facilities are better and the stands are full.” I just do not think this is the case and that leads to two questions:

1. Is UNC football better off than it was six years ago?

2. What has John Bunting done to make UNC football better?

If you cannot answer the first question with solid evidence both in terms of stats and public response then the time has come to consider a change. If the list of items in response to the second question is short then you have a reached a point where change must be debated.

The facts before us indicate that UNC has never shown the level of patience and tolerance in the face of such mediocrity with past coaches. The numbers indicate that UNC is more likely to get blown out on the football field while giving up a humiliating number of points more so than any time in it’s football history. It is clear that despite some good rated recruiting classes, the off the field issues as well as a failure to develop players has hindered any progress. The perception of UNC football by the general public is that the program is an also ran and perpetually destined for the middle to lower tier of the ACC. The feelings of the fan base are ones of apathy and the empty seats at Kenan Stadium are a huge indicator that people would rather spend their Saturdays and the money on other things than attending UNC football games. Bunting has failed as a coach on the field and his efforts to build the program despite his passion and loyalty to the school have been below average at best.

The fans have been patient. The fans have heard the promises every preseason and seen them broken by season’s end. The program is not moving forward and in light of the Clemson game it is clear that the program is in exactly the same place as it was when Carl Torbush was shown the door, in fact it may be worse. Yes there is a season to be finished but barring an astounding turn around on UNC’s part there is no hope left in the hearts of Tar Heel fans that this season will be anything other than a complete disaster. One more year is simply not going to fly. One more year only delays the inevitable. Bunting says “everything is not broken” but will all due respect I am not sure Bunting can fix it.

So that is the case against John Bunting. What say you Tar Heel Nation? What say you Dick Baddour?

Standard Disclaimers

1. I am not advocating a return to Carl Torbush. Any implication I have made that things were better under Torbush is simply to illustrate how bad things are now. I also think that the AD’s handling of Torbush is a total reversal from the way Bunting has been handled. With Torbush it was swift justice but with Bunting we are told to be patient when Torbush had a better record after three years than Bunting did.

2. I am a loyal and long time UNC fan. By own admission I am a basketball fan first but I still take a passionate interest in everything UNC does athletically. So please spare me any diatribes about my support for the football program. I will confess that I am not a donor nor am I able to attend games due to family and financial constraints. I am for winning football at UNC and if Bunting can get it done fine, I just have seen too much to think that is true anymore.

3. Please feel free to correct in wildly inaccurate statements I may have made or tell me I am flat wrong. I tried to research as much as I could and in some cases I relied on my memory which is human in every respect so I may have missed something.

4. I did make one comparison to Chuck Amato simply as a comparison to someone who had a body of accomplisments off the field. I tend to think the best comparison for any coach is within the context of the school he is at since that is the enviroment in which he must do his job. In other words if Dick Crum and Mack Brown can win at UNC then (A) we know it is possible and (B) we should use that as an expectation.

5. As for sources to write this I got a lot of information from Tar Heel Blue and Wikipedia as well as some articles at the New York Times, Tar Heel Daily, News and Observer, and Carolina March. Most of the stats came from past UNC media guides. It also should be noted that I have not read any other articles written within the past two days about Bunting other than factual ones quoting Dick Baddour and John Bunting concerning his future. I have not seen the Tudor column other than that I know it exists and I linked it. All of the above material is original unless quoted or sourced by me in the article. Any resemblance to other works out there at present is conincidental. However, if it appears something is not properly credited on my part please let me know so I can correct it.

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42 Responses to The Case Against John Bunting

  1. marc oneal says:

    It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the quality of opponents faced by the four coaches you compare. I would dare say that Bunting has faced far tougher opponents both in and out of conference that the others. Remember, Crum coached before adding FSU, Brown and Torbush before adding Miami, VaTech and BC.

  2. Tony Jackson says:

    UNC has now lost by at least 30 points 12 times since Bunting has been the coach. His record is a disgrace. Baddour is the real problem. He botched up the Roy Williams deal on the 1st try and is in denial with the football program. My opinion is they both need to go TODAY!

  3. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Marc raises an interesting point and after doing a little research I can tell you that Bunting through five seasons was 5-17 against ranked opponents having an average ranking of 13.2. Mack Brown through five seasons was 3-13 against ranked opposition with an average ranking of 15.8 So comparing Brown and Bunting by the first five years shows Bunting with a slightly better record against ranked opponents. In those losses Mack Brown teams gave up fewer points on average than Bunting teams 30-39 but scored fewer points than Bunting teams 9-16. The margin of defeat against ranked opponents was 21 for Brown and 23 for Bunting. So in this respect there is a lot of similarity between Brown and Bunting through five years. If you start adding the sixth year in Brown went 10-3 and lost in the Gator Bowl. He had a 2-3 mark against ranked opponents. So far Bunting is 1-3 and 0-2 against ranked opponents with a best case scenario at this point of 6-6.

    So in one respect Bunting has faced a tougher schedule albeit only by six more ranked opponents with a marginally higher average ranking in the first five years than Brown did. That being said Brown enjoyed three straight winning seasons culminating with a Peach Bowl win to finish 9-3 in his fifth season. So while Brown and Bunting had similar marks by the end of the fifth year, the signs all pointed to nothing but positives for Brown while questions still loomed for Bunting.

  4. Charlie says:

    I have been around since the Dooley years – Crum came in and won with Dooley’s players (LT, etc.) and then when it came time to recruit went to Ohio and Pennsylvania and made comments which completely alienated the NC high school coaches and all the while lost consistently to Clemson. In the end his personality flaws led to losing the team, the fans and the confidence of the university administration. (Name another coach from a major university who has been fired and NEVER received another coaching offer from any school – D-I, D-IAA, D-II – besides Crum). Brown repaired that and put an emphasis on recruiting speed. However, he never beat FSU (or UVA in Charlottesville, go figure) nor really won a marquee game but he did beat State, Clemson, Wake and Maryland. He gave the program a sense of excitement (and brought lots of money – particularly mine) by going 10-1, 9-2 which meant beating the teams he was supposed to beat and winning his share of the others.

    John is a nice guy, I went to school with him, and he was a great player in college and a very good player in the pros. However, you can’t barely beat Furman and get routed by teams like Clemson and VaTech on a regular basis and believe the money will keep flowing in. In the end, all coaching changes are made for economic reasons – the losses on the field mean losses in revenues. This has been happening over the last couple of years and is accelerating now. If it goes too far things can go downhill in a hurry and it becomes very difficult to recover.

  5. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Thanks for your comments and some of the historical context. According to Wikipedia Crum was hired as head coach at Kent State in 1988 and was there for three seasons. He left after a 7-26 mark.

  6. year2 says:

    I appreciate the earnestness and thoroughness in this post. I am a spoiled Gator fan (but no, I did not boo Chris Leak) and I can’t imagine anyone surviving a sub-.500 season here save Steve Spurrier himself. You have to show improvement, or you’re out the door, and Bunting has been inconsistent at best in that regard.

    Still, I think the Mack Brown years were probably somewhat of an aberration. It’s just plain hard for the mid-Atlantic teams to win consistently. Virignia Tech has been good, but was only elite with Mike Vick. Maryland had its heyday early this decade until Spurrier single-handedly destroyed the program in his final game in the Orange Bowl.

    It takes an exceptional coach (and players, like Vick or Julius Peppers) to make a winner out of that region since the SEC, FSU, and Miami take care of most of the best Florida and Georgia recruits and the Big 10 cleans up the Ohio and Pennsylvania recruiting grounds.

    In the end, I think UNC will have trouble winning at football consistently if for no other reason than like Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Cincinnati and the like, it’s a basketball school. It’s very rare that schools can dominate consistently in both.

  7. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Thanks.

    I actually think there can be something along the lines of 7to 8 wins a season is possible at UNC. Granted it takes being able to get and hold onto someone like Mack Brown and the whole basketball school issue makes that difficult. Mack Brown was offered a longer more lucrative contract to stay at UNC but opted for the opportunity to go to a football school and who can blame him. I mean when spring practice gets more discussion on the message boards than playing LSU in the regional final you know which sport rules the day.

    So based on your logic do you think Florida basketball will be able to win consistently?

  8. Bob Arrington says:

    I think the whole basketball school issue is overblown to an extent. All it really takes to be good in both is the will to do it. Is Louisville a basketball school? Is Florida a football school?

  9. Tar Heel Blue Eyes says:

    I agree. The basketball school thing is a cop out. UNC succeeds in almost EVERY sport, except football. Why?

    The answer is simple. We don’t have leadership competent enough to succeed. I argue that if we hadn’t managed to get Roy back, we’d be in the same spot with basketball. Bunting is simply not a competent leader, and Baddour has proven he can’t properly evaluate football coaches.

    We need to appoint a committee consisting of some top UNC football minds and, yes, perhaps even a Dean Smith or Roy Williams or Anson Dorrance, etc. We need to draw on the entire strength of our university to recruit a top notch replacement candidate and send a message that we are ALL committed to succeeding in football. That kind of bold approach might make a worthy candidate interested in our program. If not, we’ll be forced to pick a mediocre replacement for our current mediocre coach for our formerly mediocre and now desperate football program.

  10. Joey says:

    As a loyal FSU fan since1986, I can feel your pain. We dominated not only the ACC. but all of college football for years and now we have since lost our identity and swagger. A big part of that in my opinion is for a very very fixable reasons. One is Jeff Bowden’s play calling. Bobby used to call the plays with wreckless abandon and defenses were always on their heels…no pun intended. A trick play or reverse was always looming. When Mark Richt took over, he was a little more conservative, but more efficient. Under Richt, FSU achieved th identity of a more pass happy offense, but still enough of a running game to keep opponents honest. Yes, he had better QB’s than Jeff has had, but still no excuse. At FSU there are always enough playmakers to make plays, if the calling is decent. To relate this to the UNC situation, a team is not always going to excel just because they have the players. The coaching is a huge part of a teams overall success. You cant tell me that Pete Carroll and Mack Brown are better coaches than Bobby Bowden or Joe Pa, or for that matter have more talent. But Bunting isn’t even worthy to be mentioned with these guys. As an FSU fan it is hilarious to me, but at the same time a disgrace. I hope UNC signs Bunting to a lifetime contract and they continue to lose forever. But there is the sense of sorrow as a fan to know that as long as your team keep a coach on the staff, success will never be there. For Bowden, he has the tools around him, but chooses to call ultra conservative and rely on the great job that Mickey Andrews defense does year in and year out. Bunting on the other hand suffers in mediocrity and gets pounded on defense then cant settle on a quarterback year in and year out. The only good thing I can say is that he ussually runs the ball decently. And to add to that, how in the hell do you miss a talent like Parker who is now with the Steelers. 4.3/ 40 and 210, and Bunting wants him to bulk up? Has Bunting ever heard of Marshall Faulk, Ladanian Tomlinson, or Warrick Dunn. Parker often runs between tackles with great success. Now he is a Super Bowl winner and Bunting didn’t see the talent there? Its bad when fans of another team can tell how bad your coach sucks. But then again, you probably can say the same about Jeff Bowden and you’re right. I’m sure you’re thinking about the 1 win you guys did have against us a few years ago. I was there at Kenan and had to suffer watching Chris Rix force play after play. I had to watch a uncharacteristic defensive letdown as well, but not to be a sore loser, UNC played great and deserves credit for a good win. The mark of a good team is to win the games you are supposed to win. The mark of a great team is to beat opponents that you’re not supposed to beat. The mark of a champion is to do both. However, the mark of a poorly coached team is to pull an occasional upset, but consistently lose to inferior opponents. For that Reason, Bunting must go. As a fan of football, I feel for you guys that the powers that be allow this to continue. For us I fear that until Bobby gives up his reins, Jeff will be there to keep us out of contention for a national title. For you guys, you have no reason to hang onto Bunting. No icon Father in the program. No national Title to speak of. No Great bowl games and no consistency or consistent big wins, Just ignorance by the AD, and a stubborness to remain a bottom feeder in one of the best football conferences in the nation. Good luck and Go Bunting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. jc says:

    Very cogent analysis, and you’re right. The numbers do tell the story. Both in terms of results and competiveness of the teams under Bunting. What bothers me quite a bit is the recent admission by Bunting that at this point in time, he EXPECTED to be only 2-2 (hence the statement, “we’re only 1 game behind pace if you look at it realistically) in 06. That indicates that the clown “prepared” in preseason feeling that he couldn’t even dream about beating VT and Clemson, before we even got on the field with them! COACHES can’t do that; penciling in Ws and Ls is for FANS to do in preseason.

    This big oaf we have roaming the sidelines at UNC, looking consistently clueless as to what is happening around him, is deepening the damage he’s doing week by week. He needs to be let go NOW! Name Cignetti interim coach; he can’t do any worse….lookit, Cig is gonna be a head guy someday; we might as well get a look-see if he might be the guy for us. Not saying that he will be, but if we lay down at Miami like we did at Clemson, it’s time to IMMEDIATELY get rid of JB. He says he “loves UNC”….well, it’s time for him to prove it. Either win, or leave town and don’t let the door hit you in the arse!

  12. doug says:

    HEY, LETS TAKE A DEEP BREATH. THE PROBLEM WITH FOOTBALL AT UNC REACHES FAR DEEPER THAN JOHN BUNTING. ALL THESE STATS AND RECORDS OVER THE YEARS ARE MEANINGLESS. iT STARTS RIGHT WITHIN THE UNIVERSITY. KIDS COMING OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL THESE DAYS HAVE VISONS OF PRO FOOTBALL AND FALL AFTERNOONS IN STADIUMS OF 80.000 PLUS WILD FANS THAT LIVE, EAT, AND SLEEP COLLEGE FOOTBALL. AS RECRUITS COME IN FOR VISITS THEY DO SEE BEAUTIFUL FACILITIES, BUT NOT A REAL COMMITTMENT FOR FOOTBALL. THEY SEE A QUOTE HOMECOMING CROWD TYPE FAN BASE ON GAME DAYS. TAR HEEL TOWN IS A JOKE. KIDS HAVE FUN AND PARENTS MINGLE BUT WHERE ARE THE GRILLS WITH THE REAL FANS AND EXCITEMENT OF PREGAME RITUALS. MAYBE IN CARBORO. THE UNIVERSITY HAS EVEN TAKEN AWAY THE MIKE MAN INSIDE THE STADIUM THAT ALWAYS GOT THE STUDENTS GOING AND EVEN SOME OF THE REST OF US. CHAPEL HILL IS A BEAUTIFUL COLLEGE TOWN ON SATURDAYS. KENAN STADIUM CAN BE A REAL HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE AS PROVED LAST YEAR ON YOUTH DAY WHEN A BUNCH TEENAGERS CAN FILL THE END ZONE WITH NOISE AND EXCITEMENT. MAYBE BUNTING IS NOT THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB. TIME WILL TELL. IN THE MEANTIME INSTEAD OF TURNING OFF OUR POTENTIAL RECRUITS FOR 2007. FINISH OUT THE YEAR AND LETS GO FROM THERE. NEVER HAVE BEEN IMPRESSED WITH BADDOUR.
    HE AND THE UNIVERSITY NEED TO MAKE OUR FOOTBALL SATURDAYS SPECIAL. THE RECRUITS ARE SOLD ON BIG TIME ATMOSPHERES. CLEMSON WAS AN EMBARESSMENT. NEW OFFENSIVE COORDINATER MAKES ABOUT AS BIG A CHANGE AS HEAD COACH. I BELEIVE WE HAVE A GOOD ONE IN CIGNETTI. DEFENSE LOST SOME EXPECTED HELP ON THE LINE DURING THE OFF SEASON. THINGS HAPPEN. REMEMBER CLEMSON HAS WANTED TOMMY BOWDEN TO BE FIRED THE FOUR PREVIOUS YEARS PRIOR TO LAST. THEIR PROGRAM WILL NOW TAKE OFF. NONE OF THE BIG NAME COACHES ARE GOING TO COME FLYING INTO CHAPEL HILL. JOHN BUNTING WAS NOT OUR FIRST CHIOCE. I FOR ONE SAY LETS GET OUT THERE AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE FAN WISE THIS YEAR, AND LEAVE ALL THIS COACHING CHANGE TALK TO OUR CONFERENCE RIVALS. THEY WILL CERTAINLY USE IT.

  13. kyle in hendersonville (nc) says:

    Carolina should keep Bunting because:

    1. every man’s learning curve is different. bunting has shown he can arrive on the recruiting scene clueless, learn the ropes, and succeed in a very difficult region. didn’t chucky the cheese bust his chops at first? not happening now. With rare exceptions assistant coaches make the program. Why has preacherman Bowden, the winningest coach of all time, lost his grip on national title challenges? H.S. football not as good in Fla. anymore? C’mon! his assistants are not as good. sound familiar Happy Valley? bunting has shown progress with the hiring of cignetti. is still deeling with defection of tenuta.
    2. Tarheel fans can learn from fans in Knoxville and Columbia. Vols stunk in the 80’s, still fans came in droves. Cocks…well they have always stunk (now mediocre with spurrier), and fans have always been loyal. Can you believe those idiot fans in Miami? airplanes flying around the stadium with streaming banners urging the firing of coker? after a recent national championship? (doherty haters you can only be indignant because Roy is here). go against the grain! support this program and this decent man who knows football. things take longer than when mack was here. and honestly, how great was brown? the call in charlottesville remains the single most stupid coaching decision i have ever seen. i am certainly not saying all is well. or that i am satisfied or you should be. but changing coaches every few years gains at best a quick fix.
    3. why does baddour stay? lets face it. he has done a great job with womens sports. stood behind dorrance. and honestly. in a politically correct world in a POLITICALLY CORRECT TOWN that counts a bunch. kinda….well…sissy but true. that and Roy comming home beacause of Dean. i dont care for the bean counter but he probably gave us the best hire he could with bunting. it is up to us to make it work. support the heels. let them feed off our commitment. talk to potential recruits back at old highschools. things will get better. and better at Carolina when it comes to football is respect, not national championships.

  14. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Kyle,

    I appreciate your comments but I take issue with some of your assertions.

    “support this program and this decent man who knows football. things take longer than when mack was here. and honestly, how great was brown? the call in charlottesville remains the single most stupid coaching decision i have ever seen. i am certainly not saying all is well. or that i am satisfied or you should be. but changing coaches every few years gains at best a quick fix.”

    How great was Brown? Go back and read the post again. Brown was 6-4-1 in his third year and tied the eventual co-national champion that season. His worst season from that point on was 7-5 which was followed by 10-2 and 11-1. Scoring defense was 11 points better than Bunting. I am not familiar with the call in Charlottesville you refer to but I can name at least two Bunting has had in the last 15 games which were costly. The point is UNC football was competitve under Brown and perenniel Top 25 so saying it was not that great is a little short sighted. As for changing coaches every few years, that also lies at Baddour’s feet who failed to give Torbush longer than three season despite two winning seasons. Patience was not the mode of thought when it came time to dismiss Torbush or Dick Crum but it is now? Baddour is protecting his own job by trying to hold on to Bunting because letting him go is a mea culpa.

    “i dont care for the bean counter but he probably gave us the best hire he could with bunting.”

    No actually the best hire would have been current Georgia head coach Mark Richt who was the OC at FSU from 1990-2000. Go and read the Tudor article which describes how Richt was interviewed but Baddour had already made his mind up to hire Bunting because he was being pushed by a few former players and Baddour was interested in more of that “in the family” patronage that gave us Matt Doherty. Tudor’s aritcle made it clear that Richt could have been hired on the spot but some sense of loyalty drove Baddour to get Bunting. Georgia is 57-13 since Richt was hired. Hard to argue with those results.

    I think it is nice Bunting is a decent man and loves the university but so does Roy Williams and he wins games. You cannot honestly tell me things getting better is about respect when no one respects UNC football at this point. I fully support the program and the players but my support for Bunting has waned in the light of a consistent string of futile efforts on the football field. If he can turn it around, great let’s keep him, but there is such a dark cloud over the program right now it is hard to have any optimism with the status quo in place.

  15. kyle in hendersonville (nc) says:

    Tar Heel fan

    1. last night’s state win over fla. state makes things tougher on bunting. Huge Crowd all dressed in red. Very loud. ESPN. Great game. Pack wins. crap! oh my! you think those airplanes have enough fuel to fly from miami to tallahasee and diss preacherman next game? you think maybe they re-fuel , fly to spartanburg or gainesville and wait to take back Tommy or Richt back to ressurect the program?

    2. the point is none of those guys are going to stay. bunting will.

    3. charlottesvile…..mack’s next to the last year…. heels are up by 10…. heels have the ball on VA’s 4 yard line ….. 3rd down….. less than 4 minutes left in the game….(we beat V.A. and all we have to do is beat dooky….which we end up doing… to go 10-1 and get a bid to a major bowl.)…..cavs look beaten….don’t even try a t’down mack….. just run the f’ing ball and kick a field goal…….at worst u run time off the clock…….BUT NO!…..MACK DECIDES TO PASS THE F’ING BALL…….INTERCEPTION……….TOUCHDOWN V.A. ! 99 YARDS! …..UVA KICKS OFF….HOLDS HEELS TO 3 and OUT. GOES RIGHT DOWN THE FIELD>>>SCORES A TOUCHDOWN AND WINS!!! …………………as a true carolina fan this single scenerio desturbs me as much or maybe more than Joyce out jumping Dedmon in the ACC finals to give those bastard gamecocks victory over my Heels. Now ….if you do not remember these scenerios…..u aint a tarheel!

    -kyle

  16. Craig says:

    Well Kyle, even if he is a good recruiter, maybe he should be a recruiter and not a coach. Please fire Bunting and Baddour PLEASE FOR GOD’S SAKE!

  17. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Kyle,

    1. What happens at NC State has nothing to do with whether Bunting is to be dismissed or not other than removing the possibility of dual coaching searches which might have caused Baddour to hold on to Bunting, now at least that particular excuse is off the table.

    As for the second part of that point: What the heck are you talking about?

    2. Good thing you have a bead on which coaches will leave UNC after a few years to take a better job. Be sure to send that list onto Baddour if Bunting leaves. If Bunting cannot put a good team on the field then who cares if he is willing to stay or not. I think most fans would sign up for another 10 years of Mack Brown(bad play calling and all) even if they knew he would leave when the decade was up. And if you go back to compare Mark Richt to John Bunting in 2000, hiring Richt is a no brainer for most every AD in the country except for Baddour. Richt had been running one of the best offenses in the country for 10 years at Florida State. He would have had numerous recruiting contacts in Florida and other hotbeds in the South. He also was an assistant at ECU in the late 80s which means he would have been well versed with in-state recruiting. Richt was experienced on every aspect of college level coaching and his record at GA is confirmation of what we knew in 2000 that he was head coaching material and total capable of being successful. Compare that to Bunting who had no college level experience outside of five years at Glassboro State from 1987-92, very few recruiting contacts, and would have a serious learning curve when it came to devloping a college level offense and defense which would have been very different from the NFL. It should be noted that Bunting only reached as high as co-coordinator status in the NFL, but was mainly a lineback and defensive line coach which most likely means he was not involved in the play calling and game management aspects of coaching. All he had going for him was a degree from Chapel Hill and a AD hung up on patronage for UNC graduates(see Matt Doherty.) On paper, hiring Richt was a no brainer and the question of how long he might stay before looking for a “football” school to jump to would have been a minor concern.

    3. As for remembering specifics of plays, that has nothing to do with my loyalty as a fan. And all you mentioned was that it was a game in Charlottesville. UNC played at UVa at least five times under Brown so it would be pretty hard to guess which one you were referring to. I did remember that the 1996 game was one UNC gave away late I did not remember the specifics. Which is pretty much beside the point. You seem to want to downplay eight winning seasons and a 20-3 record in the final two seasons under Brown all because he(or his offensive coordinator) made one bad play call against UVa in 1996. He must not have made too many bad calls because he managed to win 67 games in his final eight seasons which is over 8 wins a year. We have multiple instances of futility every season for six seasons under Bunting and you want to give him another chance. That in itself is contradictory and short sighted.

    As for Dedmon vs SC. I wasn’t even born when that game happened, so I’ll take a pass on that one.

  18. I fully agree with your observations. I am a Rams Club member, but failed to but season tickets this year because the football team’s performance under Bunting has become so bad. Bunting makes Torbush look like Vince Lombardi. However, I do not think replacing Bunting is the only thing that needs to be addressed. The athletic director needs to be fired as well.

  19. bhmercer says:

    Is Bunting a good man? Yes. Does he care about his players as men and not just for football a la SEC schools? Absolutely. Is he a good Coach? Hell no.
    All of the excuses have reasons beyond them that are being ignored.
    1) Excessive key injuries. The frequent occurence of freak injuries likely goes back to physical training. I have never seen such consistency in key injuries over such a long period of time.
    2) Excessive turnover and shuffling of assistants. Bunting can’t even stick with his own decisions for more than a season, so why should fans be expected to do the same? I give you John Tenuta, likely the biggest loss Bunting suffered at his own fault.
    3) In accurate evaluation of staff. John Tenuta and Tranquill remain the only quality assistant to come to UNC. All of the others except Browning either came from staffs that were fired from football schools that are almost impossible to lose at (Sanders) or from Bubba Tech (everyone else), just like Bunting.
    4) Lack of leadership and motivational qualities. Our defense is almost entirely made up of Upperclassmen. Yet they STILL do not know how to tackle, how to intercept passes, how to cause fumbles, or stop a team on 3rd down.
    5) Lack of planning. Bunting seems to know all about what the coaches have to do a better job of, but he has no idea HOW to do it because HE HAS NO PLAN.
    6) Adminstration that makes decisions in the heat of the moment. I give you the announcement after the Dook game in 2004, that is IMMEDIATELY after the game, that Bunting had earned a contract extension because he won the oh-so-difficult state title and was going to a bowl game. Last time I checked, beating Dook, Wake, and NCSU was not exactly a watershed event that deserves committing millions of dollars of TAXPAYER AND PRIVATE $$$ to an unproven, unexperienced, mediocre coach. Why did this happen? Because Baddour and Moeser don’t have a plan either.
    7) The “In-the-family” crap. UNC administration needs to wake up and realize that there are ZERO, yes that’s ZERO UNC alumni that have gone on to be great head coaches in college football. So why would it be practically a prerequisite that the person have a UNC degree? Loyalty? You mean like the “loyalty” he showed Doherty until something better came along? Come on. Granted, Doherty was a jerk, but would he have been fired if Dick wasn’t very sure that Roy would come here? Roy saved Baddour’s tail.
    8) Lack of an enthusiastic crowd. Where is the mike-man? I give you the Wake game a couple of years back where we blew a 24-0 lead as Wake drove down the field in the waning moments for the winning score after our long snapper hiked the ball through the endzone for a safety while up by 7. The crowd in the “cushy” section wasn’t even watching the game. Wake was audibling with ease with what looked like a no-huddle practice drill in an empty stadium. I was so disgraced that I turned around and asked them collectively why they even come to the game. As a teenager I would have given my older sister up to get even one ticket to those seats. We need a different demographic in the crowd. Recruits see these things.
    9) Kenny Browning should be the interim head coach. He has been at UNC since the Mack Brown days, and before that was the winningest high school coach at my alma mater Northern Durham High School. He was not only a winner, but he was DOMINANT. We won the conference every year, we were consistently deep in the state playoffs, including a state title which he won in Kenan Stadium. He has strong recruiting connections and knows how to win, and he is firmly rooted in the area.
    10) Lack of respect for the football program (now, not before). I doubt that we have any shot now at getting a proven, high quality football coach because of the tarnished image that we now have. The embarassments we suffer week in and out has killed recruiting and TV time and respect. Teams come into Kenan and show complete disrespect for us as they blow us out at home. Just look at our sorry home record.

  20. John Bunting says:

    I am a Football Coaching God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. jhill says:

    Fire Bunting! I thought he should have been fired after year 3.
    Carolina needs someone new to turn this program into the
    right direction. Don’t believe the Spin on how 3-5 wins this
    year is improvement. E-mail our sorry excuse for an AD to
    make a change.

  22. mwilliford says:

    But if they fire him, are they gonna spend the money on a quality coach like Larry Coker who will more than likely need a job or will they stay with a coach of his level that will keep us at the .500 or below level. It took Frank Beamer alot longer than 6 years to get va tech to the level they are at and I think UNC needs to remain loyal. We are first and foremost a basketball school and unlike Mack Brown, Bunting isn’t going to leave for a bigger school when he experiences success. I like Bunting and I think he will turn it around. He’s doing well recruiting with Mike Paulus coming next year and off. coordinator Cignetti aboard. Dean Smith didn’t have great success his forst couple of years but thankfully UNC stuck by him. Quit your bitching

  23. John Bunting on the hotseat

    [b]Up to the minute news about the North Carolina Tar Heels from GoTeamsGo. We’ll find the latest North Carolina Tar Heels news so you can chat about here.[/b]

    [quote][URL=http://news.google.com/ne…

  24. year2 says:

    Florida is absolutely a football school. It always has been and always will be. Home basketball games were not selling out at the beginning of last year, and there even were some student tickets available the day of games. Once they went on the long winning streak to open the season the ticket availability ended, but it’s not like a UNC or Kentucky that automatically sells out every game and has mammoth waiting lists. Florida doesn’t even fill up the arena to capacity for Midnight Madness like a real basketball school would do.

    It’s hard to say whether Florida has made the jump to permanent elite status in basketball. I have last year’s poster that documents how well the team has done in Billy Donovan’s tenure, and it says that before he got there Florida had been to only one Final Four and had just 5 NCAA tournament berths (5!) in its history. UF also had had only six 20-win seasons. Basically, Florida had no tradition before Donovan, and it’s only players of note were Neal Walk, Dwayne Schintzus, Vernon Maxwell, and Andrew DeClercq.

    There’s no way to guarantee that Florida will remain a national power after Donovan leaves. It probably will, just because of how large Florida’s alumuni base is and how deep its pockets run. Plus, the so-called Gator Nation (I hate that term) is learning to appreciate basketball more, I think. I don’t know what this year will be like now that the basketball team has won a title, but I can tell you that people are already more excited about Tim Tebow than Joakim Noah and the basketball season is right around the corner.

    Being a power in both football and men’s basketball is extremely hard, and only the schools with the most passionate fans, and more importantly the most financial resources can do it. Florida pumps out doctors, engineers, lawyers, and MBAs by the thousands, so it is realistic for them to do it. UNC does that too, but is hurt by the fact that it’s in a recruiting no man’s land and I said and that it has no football tradition.

    For UNC to be consistent winner, it’s going to take a Bill Snyder or Barry Alvarez-type who is a great coach and can recruit great players to a less than ideal place (K-State is in the middle of nowhere, Wisconsin had been dreadful and it’s frozen for 9 months of the year, and UNC is perceived nationally as a school that doesn’t care about football, fair or not). Most importantly, Synder and Alvarez were committed to staying at their schools despite chances to go to more traditional powers. Those guys are very rare. Even Michigan State, a pretty good Big 10 program, couldn’t keep Nick Saban from leaving for LSU. Until the Tar Heels find a Synder or Alvarez, it’s going to be the same as it is now because as you know, Bunting is no Snyder or Alvarez.

  25. Tar Heel Fan says:

    1. I do not think money is an issue. The best bet is to go after someone like Paul Johnson at Navy or even a current assistant coach with a proven system at a successful school like Mark Richt was in 2000.

    2. As for Frank Beamer, he actually had a similar record to Bunting after six seasons. The difference was that Beamer’s teams were still competitive while losing 40 games in his first six years. In Beamer’s first six seasons only six times was VT beaten by more than 30 points compared to UNC’s 12 times under Bunting at UNC. In fact Beamer’s sixth season with was 2-8-1 including losing margins of 3, 9, 4, 20(to #1 Miami), 1, 19, 1, 3 and a tie with #17 NC State. Also, Beamer’s teams in those six years allowed only 40+ points eight times and 50+ points only twice. Under Bunting 50+ has happened nine times and 40+ has happened 14 times. And if you go back and read the post you see I spent an awful lot of time talking about the numbers as it pertained to on the field performance not so much wins and losses. If UNC were acquitting itself better on the field in terms of losing margin and points surrendered then I could be persuaded that Bunting just need to get some good breaks and win some close games. That is not happening though. UNC is not in the games enough wheras in Beamer’s case there was a sense that the program was heading in the right direction even if the record was not so hot.

    3. You are the second person to raise the issue concerning Bunting’s willingness to stay versus a better coach’s propensity to leave for a football school. I just do not understand why people are satisfied with perpetually bad losses just because Bunting is loyal to the school. UNC is not on the same level as Utah or a MAC school where a coach would stay five years and then jump like Urban Meyer did. I would rather enjoy 8-10 years of success and HOPE that a coach stays than keep beating the dead horse with Bunting.

    4. Yes the recruiting has been decent but if the coaching is suspect then unless you have NFL talent who can win in spite of the coaching then it does not matter.

    5. Comparing Dean’s first few years is (1) a different era altogether and (2) apples and oranges considering basketball has a shorter time table.

    6. I would hardly characterize asking the UNC administration to be consistent with their previous assessments of UNC football and for accountablity to answer the egregious failures of the football team as “bitching” The numbers do not lie and neither does the perception found across the nation concerning UNC football. If winning is not important then I would think reputation would be worth something and right now the UNC reputation in football is mud.

  26. John Bunting says:

    I said before and will say it again, “I am a football coaching God!!!”. Ya’ll need to recognize that I am “The Bunt”, and were on to something here at UNC. We have had some injuries and despite the fact that we can only beat a division I-AA school, we have some good recruits comin’ in!!! Be patient and we’ll get to the next level. National Champs in ’07. WE have to answer the Bell. Speaking of which, I need to eat. Time to get to Taco Bell and feed my fat @$$. I am the greatest coach of all time!!!! I will prove it by going into South Bend and coming away with a win to once again salvage my job, kiss Badour’s @$$, and return to cause you to suffer through another miserable season of Tarheel football. But don’t worry fans, there’s always basketball!!!! Oh, but wait, Coach K will probably wax the floor with Roy’s overhyped recruits now that Duke has some true athletes and can run the ball and play perimeter D again. But UNC fans can always be nostalgic and “remember when”. Ah, the Carolina Tradition!!!!hahahahaha….
    John Bunting is the greatest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. JB says:

    No, but really, JB does love his school but can’t get the job done. Personally, I think the right move is to take a page from your rival’s playbook. Remember Les Robinson at NC State. He was a terrible basketball coach, but rather than fire him, they promoted him to AD to get him out of the position as Head BB coach. Baddour is the REAL problem at UNC. I hate the damned school and even I can see your problem. JB loves the school and is someone who does want to make the school better, but as a football coach just doesn’t cut it. Some people make great coordinators, some great coaches. You got to keep the man in some way or form. Plus, I, personally would miss his fat @$$ always talking about “This is the year” lol.

  28. Kevin says:

    I am a rare football first UNC fan and I think the basketball school stigma is a bigger factor in this than some think. The last game Mack Brown coached was against Duke in 1997. This may have been the best UNC football team in modern history but the crowd was an absolute joke. Mack noted how unimpressed some high level recruits were at the atmosphere at Kenan. He also pointed out that many fans had skipped the football game to go to the blue white basketball game. Mack realized the football was not a priority at UNC.

    UNC is in the same league as Kansas, Indiana and Kentucky where basketball is the top priority. Any of these schools would be happy with football success but when push comes to shove basketball is where the majority of fans hearts are. Louisville is proof that this can be reversed; they used to say football season was yell practice for basketball.

    All that said, I am growing weary of the pathetic performances we are seeing week after week All I want is competitive games and even the later Crum years had that. What I am seeing is just bad football. I want John Bunting to succeed because he loves the school and has a passion for the game but my patience is running out.

  29. John Bunting says:

    On Saturday, I proved once again that I am a football coaching icon. I will be a Hall of Fame inductee when its all said and done. I will go down in coaching lore. I am the greatest football coach of all time. Paterno and Bowden got nothing on me. National Championship, here we come. I know I say every game that we are headed in the right direction, but this time we are, really. We have some great recruits coming in next year, and I’m here to stay(just ask Baddour). I can’t understand why anyone would want me gone. I love this school and I am committed to excellence(like the Oakland Raiders…just look at them this year). How can anyone question my leadership?
    Here is my prediction for the rest of our season, but keep in mind that we will win it all next year, or my name is not John Bunting(I hope you get the pun here)- If I were really him, I’d be apologizing and taking the blame and at the same time pretend nothing is really wrong and telling everyone that were moving in the right direction. Anyway, back to my prediction…..
    At UVA…UVA 49 UNC 24. Why, because its at UVA, they suck on defense, but are capable of putting up points, and considering their defensive woes, we should score a fewe TD’s
    Wake at Home…Wake 35 UNC 10. Why, to be honest we will be lucky to get on the board and they are for real. Really, I just talked to Chuck.
    At Notre Dame…College football game of the year..umm…no.
    Notre Dame 51 UNC 3(maybe worse)
    Georgia Tech at Home
    Georgia Tech 44 UNC 13. Calvin Johnson has a career day. 4 TD’s, 200 yards. After Bunting will probably say, well I thought we defended Johnson pretty well…
    N.C. State at Home
    Amato pulls it out…then sticks it back in!!!.
    N.C. State 28 UNC 24
    At Duke
    This will be the year that even Duke, yes, even Duke, I will say it again, Duke beats UNC. They have actually showed signs of life like when they played Bama close. Bunting has beaten, ummm, Furman…and barely did that.
    Duke 31 UNC 14.

  30. Kevin says:

    Well “John Bunting” I would have to say that unless something changes for the better, which I do not expect to happen, that those predictions for the rest of the season are probably right on the money.

    I think Duke has a better defense(which isn’t saying much) and even though their offense is terrible, our defense will make them look very good. Duke will get its only win vs UNC. Pretty sad.

    I wish I could explain what has happened to the Heels this year but it is beyond me. What I saw Saturday against South Florida was about as pathetic as anything I have seen in 20+ years of following UNC football. It’s like the players don’t have a grasp of basic footall principles like tackling and blocking. They quite honestly looked like the keystone kops at times.

    I really thought we would compete this year, never did I expect to fall so hard.

    If Bunting does leave who can we get? I think Coker is history at Miami so that’s probably where Butch Davis will go.

  31. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I am not sold on Butch Davis simply because he coached at Miami and I think that brings a certain level of thugginess I could do without. I have heard names like Navy’s Paul Johnson thrown around quite a bit on IC with the reason being he knows how to win with less talent which seems to be a Bunting weakness. At this point I think you might want to give USF’s Jim Leavitt a look. Or evaluate some experienced OC or DC running a successful offense or defense at a winning program. Whoever it is Baddour(if he survives) needs to hire someone with serious college game management experience, someone with recruiting connections which can be immediately used and someone who knows how to win. Obviously issues like character are important, but I am convinced you find someone of Bunting’s character and likabilty who also can recruit and win games.

  32. Chuck Walker says:

    The Tar Heels have enough talent in place to win at least seven ball games each season. John Bunting has proven time and time again he can’t get the job done. It’s beating an old horse, but Carl Torbush and Bunting both should have never been fired. It’s hard to believe that 9 years ago Mack Brown was our coach and we were headed to an 11-1 season. Then Dick Baddour doesn’t offer Mack a contract extension after he informs him that Texas wants to speak with him. Carolina doesn’t have a raise until its too late and as they say, the rest is history. Then Baddour hires Torbush, when, if we waits until after the Gator Bowl, he can get Jim Donnan. Why Baddour felt he needed to name a coach “BEFORE” the bowl game is anyone’s guess. Then Baddour doesn’t fire Torbush after year two, when he could have gotten Terry Bowden. Then, finally decides to fire Torbush after year 3 because he thinks he has Frank Beamer, who was playing the idiot Baddour like a Strativarius. Then, hires Bunting when he could’ve have hired Mark Richt.
    I guess the bottom line I’m making is… Yes, Bunting and Torbush suck, but Dick Baddour is the true MORON working in the athletic department at UNC. He has hired three coaches who were in over their heads: Torbush, Bunting, Doherty.
    So, while we get ready for a new coach, why don’t you guys start another web site called FireBaddour. com, then we can kill two birds with one stone.

  33. Kevin says:

    I agree on not really wanting a Butch Davis type coach. I would rather win 7 games a year with class then 10 without it.

    I think someone hit the nail on the head on why it isn’t working for John Bunting. He knows football but from the NFL perspective not college. He probably is not the type to do as Mack did and defer much of the actual coaching to his assistants.

    We UNC football fans don’t ask for much. We want competative teams that win 7-8 games a year with an occational crack at the top 10. With the faclities we have this amounts to a dream job in today’s college football world. Certainly there must be
    a good fit out there somewhere. John Bunting has all the ingrediants but something is missing. I sincerely wish it had worked out for him.

  34. Tom T says:

    Baddour needs to be fired first. Then, there is a great coach in Conway, S.C. at Coastal Carolina. His name is David Bennet. He established the program and has done nothing but win. People who know say he’s a great recruiter and its obvious he is a good field coach. He will end up at a major program, I just hope Carolina (the real one, not SC) gives him a look!

  35. cordell avery,AB'73;JD'76 says:

    I agree that the real problem is an ineffective AD who has consistently taken the easiest hire route to the detriment of our great university. His ineptitude, laziness and arrogance are a disgrace and disservice to the school, its alumae and fans. Mr. Baddour just does’nt get it that he works for us the fans, taxpayers and contributors. It is time for the Chancellor and Trustees, who also work for us to give us the football program our university merits.

  36. MPickettUNC92 says:

    Three years ago when I was still a season ticket holder, not Rams Club but just an average joe ticket holder, I realized the direction the Football team was headed at a Fans Day event. I had taken my two young sons to meet players and get autographs and the music of James Taylor was playing…. you know the song….”Carolina in my mind.” A table of players said they couldn’t understand why they played that stupid song so much. They hadn’t heard it before and couldn’t wait not to hear it again.

    I agree that the entire atmosphere of Kenan has changed. Tailgaiting is at a minimum but that has always been the case. I was there as a student when the mike man roamed in front of the students and raised a rucuss. He worked in conjunction with the band, the cheerleaders, the fans…and I feel really added to the game. He helped create the 12th man feeling for the fans. You don’t see coordinated cheers anymore- nothing more than “On your feet, make some noise” There just isn’t any excitement in the stadium. It doesn’t help when you get whipped time after time. The two 1-10 seasons under Mack where hard to sit through but you could see improvement week to week. As I remember, we went from getting smacked to loosing close games to actually winning. There was marked improvement. A fire in the team. Energy. Belief.

    This team, this sport for UNC has lost that energy. Bunting is done. Anyone who thinks otherwise is out of tune. There are no more excuses. Youth, injury, schedule, assitance. It is time for Bunting to man up and go or be gone. Baddour is next. I blame him as much if not more than Bunting for the state of the Football program. How many times can the guy screw something up and get away with it? Sure the smaller sports are doing good but the Marque sports… Football and Basketball have to carry the others and football is not doing it at UNC. Thank GOD Roy came home. I will never believe that it was Dickies doing. Perhaps it is time to clean house, name Dean AD and get a new Football coach.

  37. Kevin says:

    I thought this year’s Fan Day was symbolic of the way things are in terms of excitement around the program. Most of the small crowd was on the field ready to rush the autograph tables and grab for free T-shirts(that they didn’t have this year) when Coach Bunting gave his speech. In reference to the home opener against Rutgers he pointed to mostly empty sections of Kenan and shouted “Will you be there!” The response was a smattering of “Yes”. I felt sorry for him.

  38. rick says:

    An impressive analysis of the problem, yet you overlook the root of the problem. Dickie Baddour is that ROOT. Why continue to plant saplings and acorns with the expectations of great oaks in 2-5 years. Baddour does not have a green thumb when it comes to sports; witness the basketball coach fiasco, the long line of Baddour choices who have blown into UNC only to be gone with the wind, yet Baddour remains. Someone needs to look into why Baddour remains unscathed will others are dismissed for poor work performance from UNC both coaches and employees alike. A CEO with his track record would have found a golden parachute a long time ago.
    Bunning may go no matter what, but what about Dickie?

  39. cordell avery,AB'73;JD'76 says:

    I could’nt have said it any better than Rick. Baddour IS THE PROBLEM! He has taken advantage of his family’s connections and wormed his way in to a job he has no aptitude for. What is even sadder is that he does’nt recognize he has no aptitude and as is the case with many inadequate performers, covers incompetence with stubborness and arrogance. It’s his way or no way and to hell with the alums, fans and contibutors. Did he not see the sparse crowd at the USF game? As for those pollyannas who complain that those who want Bunting fired are bad fans and disloyal, wake up and smell the coffee. Fans want some semblance of competiveness if not a winning record all the time. Bunting and Baddour should care what the alums, fans and contributors are saying, but they don’t. If I hear one more time how Bunting loves Carolina, I’ll explode! If he loves Carolina so much he needs to write that letter!

  40. Julio says:

    I beleive John Bunting needs one more year. This decision would not be based on his performance but on the University’s obligation for past and present coaches contrats. One more year will allow the University not to be handicapped in searching for a coach. The adminstration should make it clear to bunting that after the fist 5 games in 2007 if singficant improvement is not shown he will be fired. The ACC is now one fo the top three conferances in the country. UNC has been trying to develop a coach while the conferance has been improving and transforming. The program has not kept up with the conferance. Some of the state best talent is playing in the SEC. If UNC selects a new coach the University can no longer higher developing talent. We need a proven winner a football equvilent of Roy Williams. The adminstration must select a top tier coaching talent. If we select another developing coach ther rusults will be the same in the new ACC. Bottom line nwe are going to have to pay through noise to recruit the type of coach that can turn the program arround in the new ACC. I enjoyed your analysis but would have like to have seen these points addresed.

  41. Kevin says:

    I think at this point it would be best for JB and the football program if he annouced his resignation effective at the end of the season. I’m starting to wonder if the decision in retaining him is out of Baddour’s hands now and that is why he is being so evasive.

    I think a much bigger loss than Mack Brown was John Swofford. The football program rose from the dead under Swofford.

    Dick Baddour appears out of his eliment and while I know little of his past I would guess he was never an athlete or coach.

    This has reached the point where a decision of some sort needs to be made. Either John Bunting returns next year or not. Contiuing the cycle of rumour and point counter point is just going to prolong the misery.

  42. CHUCK85 says:

    I guess the matter has been settled at least as it relates to Bunting. Now Bad-odur (mispelling on purpose) has one chance in my mind, and only one chance, to make the hire of a life time or he must go. We have the money, the facilities, the fans and the best University in the world, so there is no excuse not to get the coach of a life time. Raid somebody else, pay them a ransom that will make them think twice before having the “I can cancel my contract if Notre Dame comes calling clause” put in their contract. But get it right. If you hire the best coach there is and he doesn’t get it done here, so be it, but get it right this time.

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