Tar Heel Tour Notebook

Inside Carolina
Posted Apr 25, 2012


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham, football coach Larry Fedora and basketball coach Roy Williams addressed Tar Heel supporters Wednesday night in Charlotte as a part of the Rams Club's Tar Heel Tour.

**The event was held at the McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square in uptown Charlotte. Prior to the speakers, guests enjoyed heavy hor d'oeuvres while interacting with each other in addition to well known Tar Heels such as Al Wood and Gunter Brewer.

The format was similar to a town hall meeting. Emcee Woody Durham introduced the speakers and asked a few questions before opening it up to questions from the audience.

Bubba Cunningham

** Cunningham was the first of the speakers to take the stage. Asked what attracted him to the North Carolina job, despite the football investigation, Cunningham mentioned the success on the field and in the classroom. Cunningham called it, “the perfect mix of academic and athletic balance.”

On the investigation, Cunningham said, “You feel sorry for the institution, because we’ve had some individuals make some mistakes that caused a black-eye for the institution.”

He emphasized to the crowd that the investigation was not representative of the true colors of the program or North Carolina.

** There was 89 years of experience within the athletic department between the five members on the football coach search committee, there was 89 years of experience within the department. Based on the feedback from those five, it “became very clear” that Fedora was the guy to bring North Carolina football to prominence.

** Fedora and Cunningham met on Wednesday about possibly playing a football game in Charlotte in the future.

** Cunningham, a Notre Dame graduate, mentioned that his youngest son, who graduates high school next month, told him last night that he has decided to attend North Carolina over Notre Dame.

Larry Fedora

** Cunningham and Williams elected to sit on stools as they answered questions. However, the energetic Fedora asked to stand for his portion.

Before he answered any questions, Fedora had all the lettermen from UNC, in any sport, stand up and be recognized. There were probably around 20-30 who stood up and they received a rounding ovation from the rest of the audience.

**Fedora has spent the past two weeks trying to generate support for Tar Heel football among students and “whoever will listen to me.” He called on students and fans to fill Kenan Stadium this fall.

Fedora, like many other coaches have in the past, called the Tar Heel football program “one of the last sleeping giants.” To him, Carolina has the support, facilities and in-state high school talent to be a prominent program.

** In regard to the NCAA sanctions placed on the program, Fedora never thought much about them save for the loss of 15 scholarships over the next three seasons.

“Our margin of error on recruits will be that much smaller,” Fedora said.

He said the one season bowl ban is not an issue, because the players play for more than a bowl game.

** As evidenced by the scheduled scrimmage that was canceled due to inclement weather earlier this month, Charlotte is a place of emphasis in recruiting for Fedora and his staff.

“We have to own Charlotte,” Fedora said.

He said success will be achieved with primarily North Carolina recruits and Gunter Brewer will recruit the Charlotte area.

**The inevitable question about the N.C. State game came from the audience. Fedora quickly responded, saying the game was “184 days” away.

However, he emphasized that there are other games on the schedule that need to be concentrated on as well.

“I don’t want to talk about it too much, because I don’t want to legitimize their program,” Fedora said of N.C. State.

Roy Williams

** Williams called this past season “hard”. Despite the 32-6 record, Williams said the team never “had the chance to celebrate” aside from the victory over Duke to end the season.

However, the team thought about cutting down the nets in Cameron Indoor Stadium, but Williams thought it “might cause a scene.”

** Asked about the early departures Williams said it was a great opportunity for Kendall Marshall, Harrison Barnes and John Henson.

“If somebody told you that you could make a few million dollars by going ahead and leaving school early, you would have done it,” Williams said. “There’s no question and don’t give me that ‘rah rah Carolina’ stuff.”

Speaking of early departures, Williams mentioned former Tar Heel Marvin Williams never cut a single class during his one year in Chapel Hill. Williams has come back every summer since to study for his degree and will be less than 30 hours from graduating after this summer.

**As for next season, Williams specifically named James Michael McAdoo, Reggie Bullock, Leslie McDonald and Dexter Strickland as players that need to step up.

“It will be an exciting year,” Williams said. “I think it will be a year that we’ll really band together and try to have everybody care about their team.”

** Williams called John Clougherty, the ACC Head of Officials, this season for the first time in three years in reference to the home loss to Duke. Specifically, Williams called to contest the physical play against Tyler Zeller in that game.

“When he inadvertently tipped that basketball in, he got shoved like crazy from the back,” Williams said. “It was a huge play four feet in front of the official.”

**According to Williams, 14 former Tar Heel players and three former Kansas players have inquired about the assistant coach position left vacant by Jerod Haase, who accepted the head coach position at UAB.

Citing the fact that he brought over two former Kansas players when he came to North Carolina nine years ago, Williams said the new hire will be a Carolina guy.

**A member of the audience asked if Williams stopped recruiting Mason Plumlee because he did not want to go head-to-head against Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. As expected, this elicited quite a response from the Tar Heel coach.

“I went to freaking Ames, Iowa eleven times and his [rear end] went twice,” Williams said in reference to the recruitment of Harrison Barnes. “Don’t tell me I'm not going to go head-to-head.”

Regarding Plumlee, Williams said, “It was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done, because I needed two post players and all of a sudden I get a phone call from the Wear family.”

The commitment of the Wear twins locked up both post player scholarships Williams had remaining (after the earlier commitment from John Henson), leaving no scholarship room for an additional post player such as Plumlee.

**Williams addressed the movement in college basketball towards the “one and done” players and how it changes his strategy.

“College basketball to a lot of kids is basically a bus stop and the culture creates that,” Williams said.

The college game is unable to compete with the NBA as far as money and status and therefore Williams “has made some decisions over the last four or five years to not recruit certain kids, because it’s just going to be a one and done.”

At the same time, Williams said he recognizes that he needs to do what is in the best interest of the basketball program and University and that sometimes involves recruiting a player who may only stay one season, such as Marvin Williams and Brandan Wright.

“Everything is aimed towards the NBA game… everybody is trying to find the next Michael Jordan,” Williams said.



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