On the eve of the Duke game, which would give Carolina four football victories in Coach Butch Davis’ first season, Davis was given an eighth year on his contract and a $291,000-per-year raise. The athletics department’s action requires approval of the Board of Trustees.
In a statement, Athletics Director Dick Baddour ’66 said Davis was approached several weeks ago about the possibility of a raise and extension. “We were aggressive in pursuing Coach Davis last year before the season ended, and we wanted to be ahead of the curve this year,” the statement read. Baddour said he saw progress toward the rebuilding of the football program in competitiveness, player recruiting and a renewed excitement among fans.
“My family and I felt like Chapel Hill was the right place last year and are even more convinced after being here for one season,” Davis said in a statement. “I’m appreciative of the show of support from Dick Baddour, the administration, Chancellor Moeser and the Board of Trustees. I’m confident we will continue to make progress in all phases of the football program.
“This should put to rest any speculation of where I’ll be coaching in the future.”
Criticism followed from two prominent UNC voices, one a former co-chair of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and the other a current member of it.
Former UNC System President William Friday ’48 (LLB), who regularly warns against what he sees as the excesses of college athletics, told The News & Observer, “This salary action establishes a level of compensation so dramatically out of balance with the compensation of the faculty of the University that I hope and trust the trustees and the [Board of Governors] will meet their obligation to correct the excessive imbalances, which, if not corrected, establish the real priorities of the University.” Friday said the raise was “an increase far in excess of that presently provided the president or any chancellor and substantially greater than the yearly compensation of an English professor.”
Hodding Carter III, University Professor of leadership and public policy and currently on the Knight Commission, said: “We just bid against a mythical salary to keep a guy we had just given a very good contract … a really fine contract to a coach that may prove himself. But I would say that it’s a little premature. Big-time football has the potential of, and the record of, doing more to corrupt the mission of higher education.”
Trustees Chair Roger Perry ’71 told the newspaper: “It’s lamentable that that’s what it takes to compete. Unless we unilaterally disarm our program, we are going to have to stay competitive. … This is an issue that’s much, much bigger than just us.”
Trustee Bob Winston III ’84 said he would vote for the raise and told the paper he believed academics remained UNC’s overwhelming priority. “I believe that if you look at the reputation of The University of North Carolina and where we have focused the vast majority of our time and resources, it is clear that we believe the academic mission is the most important mission of the University, and it will continue to be so,” Winston said.
Davis’ initial compensation package paid him $286,000 in base salary from the University, plus a $25,000 expense account, an annual media services supplement of $250,000 from Learfield Communications and an apparel contract supplement of $150,000 from Nike. He also receives approximately $1 million a year in a supplement paid by the Rams Club and has incentive bonuses for performance and for player graduation rates. UNC initially agreed to pay him an additional $500,000 retention bonus at the end of five years and another $600,000 at the end of seven.
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