To continue its storied men’s basketball tradition, the University of North Carolina is turning to a Tar Heel who has propelled that success both on the court and from the bench.
Hubert Davis, who helped lead the Tar Heels to the 1991 Final Four as a sharpshooting guard, and to two Final Fours and a national title during nine years as a Carolina assistant coach, has been named Carolina’s new men’s head basketball coach. Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham interviewed a diverse array of candidates from coast to coast, with input from dozens of men’s basketball alumni and senior Department of Athletics officials. Guskiewicz and Cunningham chose Davis because of his dedication to student-athletes, leadership, work ethic, service and passion to win.
He succeeds Hall of Fame head coach Roy Williams, who announced his retirement last week.
Davis, will be formally introduced during a news conference Tuesday afternoon at the Dean E. Smith Center. Time and details about the news conference will be announced soon.
“I am honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to lead this program,” Davis said. “I would not be here without Coach Dean Smith, Coach Bill Guthridge and Coach Roy Williams; they taught me so much – and I’m eager to walk their path in my shoes and with my personality. I also would not be here without Chancellor Guskiewicz and Bubba Cunningham. I appreciate their faith in me and I look forward to working closely with them.
“I love this University. I played here, I earned my degree here, I fell in love with my wife here, I got married here, I moved here after I retired from the NBA and I have raised my family here. I am proud to lead this team, and I can’t wait for all that comes next.”
Said Cunningham: “Hubert Davis is the best leader we can possibly have for our men’s basketball program. He teaches student-athletes on and off the court. He inspires his fellow staff members. He is strongly committed to family. He has a tenacious, burning desire to be the best he can possibly be; we witnessed that when he was a player, a broadcaster and an assistant coach – and I have no doubt he will ensure than our student-athletes and program will be the best they can be, as well.”
The nephew of former Carolina standout and NBA All-Star Walter Davis, Hubert Davis was recruited by legendary coach Smith as well as Williams, an assistant coach at the time. Davis initially wasn’t offered a scholarship to Carolina because the coaches didn’t think he could play at the ACC level. Davis’ response: You won’t know if you don’t give me a chance. Ultimately, they did – and the rest is Carolina history.
Davis, a Burke, Virginia, native, played in 137 games for the Tar Heels from 1988-92; Carolina went 102-37 during that span, winning the 1989 and 1991 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournaments and advancing to the 1991 Final Four, where he scored 25 points in the national semifinals against Kansas. He had 23 games with 20 or more points, and he still holds the Carolina record for career three-point percentage (.435).
After graduating with a degree in criminal justice, he was the 20th pick by the New York Knicks in the 1992 NBA Draft and went on to play professionally for a dozen years, scoring 5,583 points. He currently has the second-highest career three-point percentage in NBA history at .441.
Davis then worked for seven years with ESPN as an analyst and co-host of College GameDay before Williams recruited him back to Carolina as an assistant coach and ultimately head JV coach. At the time of his hiring, Williams said Davis was the perfect choice because coaching is about teaching, relationships and passion – and Davis has all three.
That was reiterated during the coaching search.
“I am very pleased that Hubert Davis will continue his outstanding Carolina career as our next men’s basketball coach,” Guskiewicz said. “He directly connects our storied past with our exciting future and shows a deep passion for putting our student-athletes in the best position to succeed on and off the court. I can’t wait to see him on campus as the face of our men’s basketball program.”
Davis and his wife, Leslie, have three children: Elijah, Bobbie Grace and Micah. He will begin his duties as head coach immediately. Terms of his contract agreement will be released at a later time.