After a brief four-day search, UNC will hire Hubert Davis to replace Roy Williams as head coach of Tar Heels basketball, according to reports from multiple media outlets. The UNC Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting to approve the hiring, and the team will hold a meeting to inform the players later in the afternoon.
Davis played for North Carolina for four years, ending in 1992, making one Final Four appearance. After a 12-year NBA career and four years as an ESPN basketball analyst, Davis joined Roy Williams’ staff at UNC in 2012. He has been to two Final Fours as an assistant, including the 2017 NCAA title run, where players credited an emotional halftime speech from Davis for helping spark a Final Four comeback win.
Davis has spent time as head coach of the UNC JV team, which is his only head coaching experience. He is the first UNC basketball coach hired without previous head coaching experience since Bill Guthridge in 1997. Dean Smith, who coached from 1961 to 1997, also was hired without head coaching experience.
Davis becomes the first African-American head coach in UNC basketball history.
Davis was believed to be the choice of Roy Williams, who retired after 18 years in the job last week, to replace him at the helm of the program, and Davis had support from many current and former players. Athletics director Bubba Cunningham said that he preferred to hire coaches with previous head coaching experience, but he wasn’t going to be “myopic” if a candidate without it was considered the top choice for the job. Similarly, Cunningham wanted to remain true to the school’s basketball history but said he wasn’t going to be myopic about limiting the search to candidates who, like Davis, were members of the Carolina family.