CHAPEL HILL — On his last day of coaching on UNCs campus, Everett Withers reflected on his season as interim coach by joking hes still waiting for that book deal.
There would be a hot market for Withers behind-scenes observations during what has been almost 18 months of unprecedented upheaval in the Tar Heel football program.
Withers wouldnt dare trash the school, of course. Odds are hell take most of what happened to the grave, certainly deep into the future.
On Wednesday, as the Heels (7-5) began their final practice before leaving to meet Missouri (7-5) in Mondays Independence Bowl (Shreveport, La., 5 p.m., ESPN2), Withers remained upbeat and grateful for the opportunity he received after Butch Davis was fired in late July.
Its been entirely positive, Withers said of the season. Its been a very good learning experience. Its been a very positive experience ... This experience will help me.
Withers will leave after the bowl game to join the Ohio State staff as an assistant to Urban Meyer.
Running back Ryan Houston, who graduated Sunday, said the bowl trip and the next few days would be special and emotional in large part because of Withers calming influence on the team.
Hes been great, Houston said. I think well all remember how much hes meant to us.
Asked what was on his Christmas wish list, Withers said only a bowl win.
And his spare time at the bowl? A movie, he said. Id like to see one of the new movies - Mission Impossible.
That would be fitting.
From the day he got the job, Withers faced almost impossible odds. But he gave it his best shot, had his moments and never once allowed his players to wallow in what had to be a lot of internal misery.