A list of early candidates on the the UNC coaching staff

Staff writerJuly 27, 2011 

— Asked who would replace newly-fired Butch Davis as head coach, UNC spokesman Kevin Best said that would be addressed at Thursday morning’s 11 a.m. news conference.

But currently on staff, candidates could include:

• Sam Pittman, the offensive line coach who was recently promoted to associate head coach. One of Davis’ first hires in Chapel Hill, the new title technically put Pittman second in command of the team. But if school officials want to break with Davis’ decisions, they may opt to go another route.

• Everett Withers, defensive coordinator and secondary coach. Entering his fourth season at UNC, he’s never been a head coach, but could appeal to fans because he has 24 years of experience and is an in-state product (born in Charlotte, played at Appalachian State).

• John Shoop, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He’s a former NFL assistant who coached former Tar Heel signal caller to 40 school records before he was drafted into the NFL, Shoop has never been a head coach.

• Ken Browning, the running backs coach who begins his 18th season at UNC. Browning, a former high school coach at Northern Durham, has been through multiple coaching changes in Chapel Hill – and is the only assistant left on staff that Davis didn’t originally hire. Fans would certainly embrace the move, but at age 65, it’s unclear whether Browning would want the responsibilities of a program under fire – even in an “interim” role.

robbi.pickeral@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8944

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