CHAPEL HILL - UNC system president Tom Ross and UNC Board of Governors chair Hannah Gage this morning issued a joint statement proclaiming the board's full support of chancellor Holden Thorp's leadership at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Many fans have voiced criticism of Thorp for firing football coach Butch Davis with the Tar Heels facing NCAA allegations of nine major violations. Fans have been upset with Thorp for firing Davis even though he wasn't personally cited in the violations, and for the timing of the dismissal nine days before the start of preseason camp.
"We are well aware that there are some alumni and other friends of UNC-Chapel Hill who strongly support the decision to make a coaching change, some who vehemently oppose it, and others who support the decision, but not its timing," the statement read. "We also know that making difficult and unpopular decisions comes with the job of being a university chancellor, and that Chancellor Thorp is committed to doing everything possible to maintain both academic integrity and athletic success at Carolina."
During a news conference following the end of the Board of Governors' regularly scheduled meeting this morning, Ross said it's important to look at the full body of Thorp's work when evaluating his performance.
"I think if you look at the overall responsibilities of a chancellor and consider all of those, he has done an extremely good job," Ross said. "I know there are a lot of people who disagree with this decision and there are a lot who support this decision. The board looks at the broader picture and supports his leadership."
Thorp spoke to reporters following Thursday's Board of Governors committee meetings; a UNC spokesman said he won't be available for interviews today. On Thursday, Thorp said he intends to continue leading UNC and said the Board of Governors has been "great" as the school has dealt with the NCAA investigation.