10 Questions with Dick Baddour

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Dick Baddour will enter his tenth year as North Carolina's Director of Athletics this fall. The Golsboro, N.C. native and 1966 UNC graduate, who is entering his 40th year of service to the University, received a two-year contract extension last month. Inside Carolina spoke with Baddour this week ...

This past season Baddour led the Tar Heel athletic department to a 4th place finish in the 2006 Director's Cup -- its 5th straight top 10 finish -- which honors the nation's top overall athletic institutions.

Carolina is the only school in the nation that has placed teams in a football bowl game, the NCAA Men¹s Basketball Final Four, the NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four and the NCAA Baseball College World Series in the last two seasons.

In his nine years at the helm, the Tar Heels have won national championships in men's basketball, men's and women's soccer, and field hockey. In the last five years, the Tar Heels have won 20 individual NCAA titles in swimming, track and field and gymnastics. Carolina has also won a league-leading 49 Atlantic Coast Conference championships during that period.

1. You made a clear financial commitment to football this offseason to retain one coordinator and bring in another one. What prompted that decision now?

"Coach [John] Bunting had worked hard to put together a very strong staff and it was obvious to all of us the more continuity we could have in maintaining that staff together was going to be to the benefit of the program. All of those guys were a great fit for Carolina, so we wanted to keep them. We also knew with Gary Tranquill's departure, we were going to have some big shoes to fill. We certainly didn't want to take a step backwards there, and that meant we had to commit some resources to make that happen."

"I just have felt like [John Bunting] is the right person for Carolina and I just want to do everything I can to see that he's successful."
2. Coach Bunting appears to have the program poised for big things moving forward as he enters his sixth season. Some athletic directors might have lost patience during the struggles in year two or year three. What was it about Bunting that made you confident he'd be able to turn the program around?

"When we hired John, he and I talked about changing the culture of Carolina football, which starts with the implementation of values. I know that his values are right, that he is a great fit for Carolina and that he could put great people around him. So knowing that it would take a while and knowing that he would build his foundation brick-by-brick, I just have felt like he is the right person for Carolina and I just want to do everything I can to see that he's successful."

3. In light of the financial commitment and the increasing expectations for success in terms of more wins, is there added pressure for the football team to succeed?

"There's tremendous pressure on Carolina football, basketball and every sport that we play. It's pressure to win, to win in the right way and to be successful academically. That's what we're about. There's been pressure from Day One, but it's not any different for John than it is for any of the other coaches feel. I've always said they put more pressure on themselves than from the outside. Coach Bunting is going to take this program where it needs to be and should be. But there will always be emphasis on winning football games, but accompanying that will be the emphasis to do it in the right way."

4. What are your expectations for success this year and beyond?

"My expectations would be to continue to show the kind of improvement we showed last year. I would never talk about the number of wins and losses you have to get in the season. This foundation that is being built, as I said, brick-by-brick. I expect to see, as John expects to see, continued improvement, continued competitiveness and expect to see success."

5. What other steps do you think still need to be taken to put the UNC football program at the forefront of the ACC?

"We've got continue to keep this staff together. We've got to continue to put back-to-back recruiting classes together as he has been able to do in the last couple of years. Then we, the University and athletic department, have got to continue to upgrade that stadium and look at opportunities to improve the environment in football as well."

6. How have fans received the baseball team's success?

"Oh, wow, it's been just wonderful and amazing. It's special to see not just Carolina fans, but fans across the board embrace and adopt this team. I've had so many people tell me how they've followed this team. This was an exciting team to watch, well-coached, just a lot of fun. That run was really special."

"This interest and focus on baseball across the board will help it from attendance to recruiting and to improvement in the facilities."
7. What do you see as the long term impact of the World Series run on the baseball program.

"Coach [Mike] Fox has had that program in place, but I think the drawing of attention to it will help us in recruiting. I hope it will help us raise the funds we need to renovate Boshamer [Stadium]. It's a great facility, but there are just so many needs that we have over there, and there has not been a lot done to it since it was built. I just think this interest and focus on baseball across the board will help it from attendance to recruiting and to improvement in the facilities."

8. Similar question, but this time for women's basketball. With such a successful program and an exciting team, what is needed to raise its popularity and bring up attendance?

"I've been working on that aggressively for some time. I think our success last year will help. Especially our home schedule will help. I just think we're ready to capitalize – as we are in baseball – on this national attention that it got. I suspect that the interest will grow."

9. With the men's basketball program on such solid footing right now, with one of the game's top coaches at the helm, is it difficult to look at the program with a critical eye to find room for improvement?

"Gosh, Coach [Roy] Williams and his staff do such a good job of refining and tweaking, it doesn't need a lot of critical view, if any, from me. Coach has a wonderful staff together, and they're just doing a fantastic job. As long as they're there, we're going to be successful."

10. What long-term athletic department projects are on your plate right now that Carolina fans should be aware of?

"We're real pleased with the development of the leadership programs. We know that's an evolutionary process, so we'll be taking a hard look at that, especially the first year. We've got a number of projects such as I mentioned baseball, the renovation of Carmichael [Auditorium], the sports medicine facility, Kenan Stadium, improvements to the wrestling facility; I could just go on and on. And then we've got what we do on an every day basis that requires constant attention. That's doing things the right way, compliance, academic support; so there's just so much going on right now."

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