Blake's UNC résumé skipped time with agent

Staff WriterSeptember 8, 2010 

John Blake did not list an affiliation with sports agent Gary Wichard's company, Pro Tect Sports Management, on the résumé he provided the University of North Carolina before he was hired as associate head football coach, records show.

Blake, whose ties with Wichard have been scrutinized by fans and the media with UNC under investigation by the NCAA, resigned Sunday, saying his situation had become a distraction to his family and the school.

Archived Pro Tect Management websites list Blake as vice president of Wichard's company during at least part of the time between his firing as Oklahoma's head coach in 1998 and hiring as an assistant coach at Mississippi State in 2003. In addition, Antwoine Sanders, a former NFL player from Fayetteville who trained for the 2003 draft with Blake, has said Blake was an employee of Pro Tect.

Blake's lawyer, William Beaver of Orlando, Fla., has said that Blake did not have a business relationship with Wichard.

The UNC chancellor's office released Blake's résumé to The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer under the integrity exception to the state's personnel laws, which allows the head of a state agency to provide personnel records that ordinarily would be private to prove the agency is acting in the public interest when that agency's credibility is questioned.

Blake's résumé states that while he was out of coaching, he was:

Director of football operations for A Chance to Advance Football Camp.

A consultant for recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.

Managing partner of a residential development in North Tulsa.

Each of the 11 players Blake listed among his clients at A Chance to Advance also was a client of Wichard's.

Phone records released to The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer on Tuesday show 152 communications between Blake and Wichard in a 235-day period. UNC athletic director Dick Baddour has declined to answer when asked whether he or coach Butch Davis knew of Blake's relationship with Wichard.

In an interview Tuesday, Davis said there were a lot of gaps in his relationship with Blake.

Davis has known Blake since Blake was a student at Sand Springs High School in Oklahoma in the late 1970s. Davis was an assistant coach and a biology teacher at Sand Springs. Davis and Blake, 49, also coached together with the Dallas Cowboys in 1993 and 1994.

"You have to put it into context: I coached John Blake for two years in high school," Davis said. "Then there was at least a 12-year period of time when I didn't see him until he was minority intern to the Dallas Cowboys for one summer and then came back the following year for two years as defensive line coach. Then when I went to Miami, from 1995 until here, another 12 years, between our relationship."

Baddour said Davis would have been the "hiring supervisor" in charge of checking Blake's references and employment history. The extent to which a hiring supervisor checks the employment history of an applicant varies depending on how well the supervisor knows the candidate, according to a policy explained by Steve Kirschner, UNC's sports information director.

Davis also said that before any athletics employee can be hired at any school, including North Carolina, there has to be a background check with the NCAA. He said that the NCAA tells the administration whether there are any violations in somebody's past and that there were "no red flags" with Blake.

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said in an e-mail message that when conducting a background check, schools may choose to contact the NCAA to determine whether the individual has been involved in past major infractions cases. But the process is not formal or mandatory, and hiring decisions are made by the schools.

Kirschner said UNC public safety conducts criminal background checks of candidates. Athletic department human resources representatives check applicants' educational backgrounds.

Robbi Pickeral, J.P. Giglio and J. Andrew Curliss contributed to this report.

ktysiac@charlotteobserver.com or 919-829-8942

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