April 7, 2003 The PooP
The Matt Doherty scenario that recently played out in Chapel Hill may have shocked and angered some detached national media members and many understandably in-the-dark fans, but it shouldn't have come as a surprise to ACC Sports Journal readers or anyone else with knowledge of the disturbing and persistent behind-the-scenes problems that marred Doherty's three-year tenure in Chapel Hill. The same controversial Sports Journal articles that generated violent feedback and ridiculous accusations from those in denial were described as "uncannily accurate" as they were being discussed by in-the-know officials at meetings of the UNC Board of Trustees. It was really that ugly, folks, and remember: Thanks to the Carolina way, the worst stories may never be told publicly.
Done For Me Lately
|1994||11-5 (2x)||28-7||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1995||12-4 (1)||28-6||NCAA Final Four|
|1996||10-6 (3)||21-11||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1997||11-5 (2x)||28-7||NCAA Final Four|
|1998||13-3 (2x)||34-4||NCAA Final Four|
|1999||10-6 (3)||24-10||NCAA 1st Round|
|2000||9-7 (3)||22-14||NCAA Final Four|
|2001||13-3 (1)||26-7||NCAA 2nd Round|
|2003||6-10 (6)||19-16||NIT Quarterfinals|
xwon ACC title
ACC: 99-61 (.619); No. 3 in ACC
Overall: 238-102 (.700); No. 3 in ACC
Projected 2003-04 Roster
Another Spring Recruit?
NOTE: Scholarship/rotation players only.
The Good News
For now, at least, the Carolina name still carries an amazing amount of weight around the basketball world. Even the recent tidal wave of criticism will be forgotten soon enough, especially if the Tar Heels' records begin to match the talent on the floor. Top-shelf prospects continue to flow into Chapel Hill, with at least four NBA-caliber players on the roster next season. The Heels also have unsurpassed tradition, exposure, facilities, fan support, NBA connections, etc. Now that the dark clouds hanging over the two losingest seasons in school history have departed, perhaps things can return to normal.
The Bad News
The identity and stability of the head coach is by far the No. 1 factor in the success of any program, and there never will be another Dean Smith. Bill Guthridge (recruiting) and Matt Doherty (relationships) had some devastating failures to go along with their impressive accomplishments, and now the Tar Heels are facing their fourth different coach in a period of less than six years. That's bad for stability, as were the player-coach troubles, player-player strife, terrible decision-making and major confidence problems evident in recent campaigns. It's time for a fresh start.
Although it remains one of the most successful programs in NCAA history, UNC faces the difficult challenge of avoiding the prolonged mediocrity that followed the glory days of other high-profile (UCLA, Kentucky) programs. All things considered, the Heels should be a top-25 team in "bad" years and a serious title contender in good years. The new coach needs a good year, and immediately, or the natives will be really restless in Chapel Hill.