Baddour staying busy

Staff WriterNovember 10, 2011 

After 15 years as UNC's athletics director, Dick Baddour's last week in the job hasn't been much different from others of late.

"I'm surprised how busy it's going to be right to the very last day," Baddour said between staff meetings and packing boxes Tuesday.

After traveling with the basketball team to San Diego today for Friday's game against Michigan State, Baddour will return in time for his final official appearance as athletics director.

"It's a fund raiser for our golf teams on Saturday and Saturday night," Baddour said. "It's an annual event we've been doing for I don't know how long. I'm really looking forward to it because the night really is one of the things I've just enjoyed so much year after year."

Come Monday, Bubba Cunningham moves into the director's office and the 66-year-old Baddour will be in a process of relocating to new quarters near Finley Golf Course.

"I'm sure that when things settle down and there's more time to reflect, I'll probably get sentimental. But I already know I'll miss working on a daily basis with the people in this building," Baddour said.

There may not be all that much down time. Baddour remains under contract with the school through June 30, 2012, and will have a busy second semester schedule teaching, conducting seminars and continuing to help raise money for the Loudermilk Center, a basketball endowment drive and the athletic leadership project.

"I sent a letter to several university departments offering to help teach or speak or help in any way I could," Baddour said.

"I've heard from several - from graduate studies programs to ROTC to the Friday Center. It'll be a busy schedule, but it's something I'm sincerely excited about."

Baddour said he will continue to assist Cunningham and school officials through the final phases of the NCAA investigation into the football program.

"But we're very near the end of that process and corrective action measures are already in place," Baddour said.

"I've spent a lot of time during the last few weeks with Bubba. I've told him I'll be available to help for five minutes, five hours, five days, five weeks, whatever the time frame - but only at his request.

"I want to continue to go to sports events because I really do love to watch our teams compete. But I don't want be seen as hanging around or in any way give the impression that I'm peeking over Bubba's shoulder."

After June, Baddour says "he'll see" what develops next.

On a personal note, I will miss Baddour and the decorum he maintained through some rough times. We didn't always agree on the issues. In fact, we were at direct odds a few times.

But during and after all of our disagreements, I knew that Baddour was a good man with a good heart and an unwavering commitment to his school and UNC athletes.

The mainstream sports public had no way of seeing it, but Baddour was as visible at track meets, field hockey games and tennis matches as he was at football and basketball games.

Something else: Baddour was an important person in a high-profile job, but never once did I see him big-time a single person. Like all of us, he made some mistakes. But a lack of respect for others certainly was not one.

My hope is that Baddour enjoys a long, happy retirement.

But I also hope he develops into an active orator on matters pertinent to college football and basketball.

Baddour has seen how the sports sausage gets made. He's participated in the process at the highest levels.

Few people in the country have more knowledge about what needs to be left in and what needs to be weeded out. He's still young enough and more than smart enough to make a difference.

Tudor: 919-829-8946

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