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Hubert Davis Hired as UNC HC; 1st African American to Lead Program

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2021

University of North Carolina head basketball coach Roy Williams puts his hands to his face as he laughs with assistant coaches Hubert Davis, left, and Steve Robinson during a joint session of the North Carolina House and Senate where they honored the 2017 NCAA championship team in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, May 3 , 2017. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP, Pool)
Chuck Liddy/Associated Press

North Carolina found its next men's basketball coach, as the Tar Heels promoted assistant coach Hubert Davis to replace the legendary Roy Williams.

Carolina Basketball @UNC_Basketball

Hubert Davis: "I'm 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗱, 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗸𝗳𝘂𝗹, 𝗵𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗱, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 of being your new men's basketball coach for the University of North Carolina." #CarolinaFamily https://t.co/Lev1CwyTQD

Davis is the first African American to lead the men's basketball program, per Holden Kurwicki of CBS 17.

The 50-year-old is a former North Carolina player and has been on Williams' staff since 2012.

Jeff Goodman of Stadium provided further insight into the coaching search:

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanHoops

Bubba Cunningham swung for the fence and took the temperature of a bunch of the big boys, but none willing to make the move. UNC assistant Hubert Davis is now on the verge of succeeding Roy Williams, source confirmed. Keeping it in the Carolina family. https://t.co/slUweRMeOM

Goodman also noted Davis was "Williams' choice to succeed him and that went a long way" in terms of determining the hire. However, Goodman noted "there were multiple former players in the Carolina family that felt as though Wes Miller was the better pick for the job." 

The position became vacant after Williams announced his retirement on April 1 following 33 years as the head coach of the Tar Heels and Kansas Jayhawks. His departure meant whoever was the next coach would be following in the footsteps of one of college basketball's most successful and enduring figures.

Williams went 418-101 with the Jayhawks and won nine regular-season conference crowns, four conference tournament titles and two Big 12 Coach of the Year awards while making four Final Fours.

He then took over at his alma mater starting with the 2003-04 campaign and went 485-163 in 18 seasons with three national championships, five Final Fours, nine ACC regular-season championships and three ACC tournament crowns.

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Williams was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Replacing such a successful head coach isn't the only reason Davis will be under the microscope following this hire.

North Carolina is among the top jobs in all of men's college basketball as a program with six national championships and 20 Final Fours. Some of the sport's most notable former players, including Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Tyler Hansbrough, have laced it up for the Tar Heels, and there is a tradition of excellence that can be matched by few.

However, the program has not lived up to its lofty expectations of late and went 14-19 during the 2019-20 campaign and lost by 23 points to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA men's tournament following an up-and-down 2020-21 season. 

The recent struggles will only serve to dial up the pressure on Davis, who will look to successfully follow a giant and return the program to its expected level of greatness as a consistent championship contender.

While he doesn't have any head coaching experience to fall back on while attempting to do so, Davis is familiar with what it takes to succeed at North Carolina from his time as a player under Dean Smith.

He also played in the NBA from 1992-2004.

Now he will look to find immediate success at one of the most prominent positions in all of college basketball. 

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