Five challenges for Cunningham

October 15, 2011 

1. Football coaching hire: It's possible interim head coach Everett Withers could win so many games that the decision becomes relatively simple. If not - or if Cunningham wants his own person - the decision will largely define the new AD's career. Whether it's Withers or someone else, Cunningham has to make 100 percent certain that the transgressions of the past few years aren't repeated.

2. Fence mending: The pro and anti Butch Davis factions need to be united. But the academic scandal and player/agents dealings have damaged the school's image in general and the football program specifically. The faculty hasn't been overly critical, but there are probably some skeptics.

3. Finances: With a 28-sport operation, 850 athletes and an $11.6 million annual sports scholarship bill, UNC is in the financial fast lane of college athletics. A recent proposal for a $90 annual increase in student athletic fees has been reduced to $45. If passed by a student government committee, the annual fee for students will be $319.50. But departing AD Dick Baddour thinks a major tuition hike is coming in 2012-13.

4. Basketball balance: For better or worse, football has hogged the headlines for more than a year, but basketball is still the undisputed king of UNC sports. Cunningham will need to develop and maintain a close friendship with Roy Williams to keep true harmony in the department.

5. Realignment, expansion: There's no reason to assume the framework and foundation of college athletics will stabilize. Conference shuffling is likely to continue and the ACC isn't immune to fragmentation. Cunningham will have to be prepared to keep UNC in the best place possible.

Caulton Tudor

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service