CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina coach Roy Williams recently said that 14 former Tar Heel basketball players inquired about the vacancy on his coaching staff. But he was most interested in one of them, and on Wednesday, Williams announced he had hired his top choice.
Former UNC basketball player Hubert Davis, who worked the last seven seasons as a college basketball analyst for ESPN, will fill the vacancy left by Jerod Haase, the Tar Heels former assistant coach who departed to become the head coach at Alabama-Birmingham. Davis played in 137 games with UNC between 1988 and 1992, and he was a first-round NBA draft pick of the New York Knicks after his senior season.
In a statement that UNC released, Davis said he was ecstatic to become an assistant coach at UNC. Williams used the same word to describe his emotions.
I am very excited, thankful and honored to re-join the Carolina basketball program as an assistant to coach Williams, Davis said in the statement. I loved being a part of college basketball during my time at ESPN by attending practices and developing relationships with players and coaches. Now I will have the opportunity to do this on a more personal level at a university and with a basketball program that I loved my entire life.
Davis spent 12 seasons in the NBA, averaging 8.2 points per game. After his playing career ended, he went into broadcasting. He returns to Chapel Hill with no previous coaching experience.
Still, Williams said he had long been interested in hiring Davis if there was an opportunity to do so. It did when Haase, who played for Williams at Kansas, left the Tar Heels staff after UNCs defeat against Kansas in the NCAA tournaments Midwest Regional final.
Before Williams became the head coach at Kansas in 1988, he helped recruit Davis to UNC. Williams also coached Davis in the World University Games in 1991.
For the last four or five years Hubert has always been on my mind in case a spot did come open, Williams said. I didnt know if I could get him to come back, but I knew I wanted him to be the first option. Coaching is about teaching, relationships and passion and I feel that Hubert is the perfect choice.
Williams said he was overjoyed in the interest that he received in the position from former UNC players. He considered several college coaches, Williams said in his statement, and he also received interest from assistant coaches in the NBA.
It was a fabulous group (of candidates) a diverse group, Williams said. But Hubert is taking the job and I know all former Tar Heels will be extremely happy.
As a player, Davis helped lead UNC to ACC tournament championships in 1989 and 1991. He scored a career-high 35 points at Duke on March 8, 1992.
During his years at ESPN, Davis didnt hide his affinity for UNC. Now, 20 years after his playing days ended with the Tar Heels, he will return.