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October 21, 2006

A Letter to our Readers

Hello TarHeelIllustrated.com subscribers and those who just want to get an idea of what is happening with UNC coach John Bunting and the future of the football program.

For those who are not subscribers, I urge you to join. We would love to have you as part of our family.

As with most families, we disagree and bicker here some, but we also share information, debate strategies and just about anything else concerning UNC athletics.

In other words, we have some fun with something we all love - college sports.

OK, now for the business.

The next month is going to be messy.

In nearly 20 years of covering Atlantic Coast Conference athletics, I've been involved in coach firings and hires at different schools. They are all similar in some aspects.

No. 1, it will be painful for everyone concerned.

The coaches have families and they are people about to lose their jobs.

Their assistants have families and they are worried about future employment.

I see several former coaches I've covered now and again, people who never made it back into a business they love.

No. 2, misinformation is the rule of the day.

Multiply this by 100 with the Internet.

The Web, in my opinion, is one of the greatest inventions by man, but it does have its downside as with most things. Whenever you read anything for the next month or more, in a paper, on the Web, especially on a message board, beware.

Most people have good intentions, but the waters grow muddy easily in this kind of situation.

No. 3, here is what Adam Powell and I know as of right now, and when I say know, I mean to the best interpretation of the information we've been able to gather.

It appears that negotiations for a buyout of Bunting are occurring.

Some official at UNC could categorically deny this, and he could be honest, lying and simply out of the loop.

But our sources, in this case, are good ones, and they claim this is happening.

No. 4, the next coach. Neither of the last two coaches have been what we would describe as "big-name head coaches." Both had limited experience as head coaches.

There is no guarantee UNC will get it right this time.

One of the determining factors in whether the school does get it right or not is who is actually overseeing the process.

No. 5, my sources claim in all sincerity that the process is beyond the AD and chancellor.

Maybe that is true. Maybe not.

I'm sorry I cannot be more definitive, but I believe this to come from a good source, but see No. 2 again for how I take guidance in these situations.

No. 6, do not expect a quick, clean process.

That almost never happens.

The best-case scenario is the legal part will get handled somewhat easily and without hard feelings, and there is someone who has an understanding of who he wants and how to hire that next coach.

No. 7, my guess - and that is all it is because I don't think this has been determined - is John will finish the season as coach. He loves Carolina.

He and the staff will try to hold the recruiting class together, while the university works to move forward in getting a new coach.

No. 8, the new staff may include some of the current assistants, but these assistants would be the first to tell you they have no idea who that will be or if anyone will be retained.

No coach of any stature is going to be hindered by administrators, particularly administrators who do not know football, telling him who to put on his staff.

And just remember, Matt Doherty dumped Phil Ford, so anything is possible in this regard.

No. 9, Adam and I can offer no guarantees that we will be the ones to break the news that comes from this every day or ultimately who the next coach is going to be.

No reporter doing this can make such a promise. But I can say we will work for you and for this site to break the news if at all possible, and to do so in a responsible way.

If we miss on some information, just remember there is no malicious intent. We're human beings doing a tough job in what is always a trying situation.

No. 10, let me say I do understand how much you all love Carolina and want to know what is happening.

Let's hang tough, and you guys give one another a break on the boards.

You all really do want the same thing: for the Tar Heels to succeed.

Your passion and love for this institution is admirable, and I believe the right people may finally be working to get the football program headed in the correct direction.

No. 11, and finally, support the kids.

They are trying; they really are. This team just isn't very good.

That's a shame but it's no crime on their part.

Most of you cannot imagine how hard it is for them to walk to the locker room every day right now, put on that gear and go through the hard work it takes to be a college football player, and to summon the enthusiasm to keep going.

As with any situation involving kids and adults, the kids are nearly always the victims. These guys deserve your support in this trying time.

Thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for being subscribers. And for those who are not, come onboard.

We would love to have you.

Eddy Landreth is a former beat writer for the Durham Herald-Sun, the Winston-Salem Journal and the Charlotte Observer, in addition to being the editor and project manager for the ACC's 50th anniversary book: "Golden Glory: The First 50 Years of the ACC."


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