UNC defensive line coach leaves - again

Baker joins Cowboys after 4 weeks with Heels

Staff WritersFebruary 9, 2011 

North Carolina needs a new defensive line coach - again.

Former Carolina Panthers assistant coach Brian Baker, hired four weeks ago, left the Tar Heels for the NFL's Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday, citing a "huge" financial difference and the prestige of the Cowboys organization.

UNC has had three defensive line coaches since the start of the 2010 season.

John Blake, coach Butch Davis' top assistant the previous three seasons, resigned following the first game of last season after his ties to NFL agent Gary Wichard drew the attention of the NCAA, which opened an investigation of the Tar Heels program last summer.

Charlie Coiner replaced Blake in late September for the remainder of the 2010 season, but the former NFL assistant was brought in as a temporary solution. Baker was hired on Jan. 10 to fill Blake's role on Davis' staff on a full-time basis.

Baker, who was the Panthers' defensive line coach last season, told The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald on Tuesday that the Cowboys' undisclosed offer was too much to turn down.

"It was a huge difference ... I mean huge," Baker said Tuesday.

Baker never signed a contract with UNC, according to a school spokesman. Blake, who was in the final year of his contract, had a base salary of $240,000.

An assistant in the NFL for 15 seasons, Baker said when he was hired by UNC that his career goal was to become a college head coach. That goal hasn't changed, Baker said Tuesday, but he believes he can make the jump from an assistant in Dallas to head coach, like Davis and Blake did earlier in their careers.

"I mean, it's Dallas," Baker said. "The thing that made me entertain the offer after such a short time with North Carolina was who it was from. The Cowboys are a special franchise."

Davis was unavailable for comment on Tuesday. With signing day in the rearview mirror, there's no pressing need to fill the staff spot until spring practice, which begins March 16.

jp.giglio@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8938

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