UNC’s Davis transitioning from TV to coaching
Hubert Davis is ready for the challenge of starting his first coaching job at one of college basketball’s top programs.
North Carolina hired Davis as an assistant coach this week, bringing back a former Tar Heels and NBA player. For Davis, working for Roy Williams is the “perfect” opportunity and the only coaching job that could have lured him away from his job as a college basketball analyst for ESPN.
“This is the right thing at the right time and the right place for my family,” Davis said. “I’m just really excited about being given this opportunity by Coach Williams.”
Davis replaced Jerod Haase, who left in March after nine years as an assistant in Chapel Hill to become head coach at UAB. Williams had said he planned to hire a former UNC player — and he chose one he helped recruit during his time as an assistant to Dean Smith before taking over at Kansas in 1988.
Davis played for the Tar Heels from 1988-92, helping them win two Atlantic Coast Conference tournaments and reaching the Final Four in 1991. Davis scored 25 points against Williams’ Jayhawks in that Final Four loss, and Williams coached Davis in the World University Games that same year.
Davis said Williams recently asked him to drop by the UNC basketball office so he could ask a favor. Davis thought Williams wanted him to change the dates on his annual Christian basketball camp at the Smith Center. Instead, Williams wanted Davis to join the staff — a request Davis called “a total surprise.”
“For the last four or five years, Hubert has always been on my mind in case a spot did come open,” Williams said in a statement announcing the hire. “I didn’t know if I could get him to come back, but I knew I wanted him to be the first option.”
Davis — who starts work next week — admitted he’s a little nervous about the new job.
“All the emotions of being excited, honored, thankful and grateful, there’s always the emotions of nervous and scared because I’ve never done this before,” he said. “But it’s a good nervous and scared from the standpoint that I was nervous coming to Carolina, going to the NBA and when I first started at ESPN in large part because it was unfamiliar.
“I think being nervous is a good thing as long as it doesn’t stop you from what you want to do and what you need to do.”
Davis ranks 22nd in school history with 1,615 career points, holds the school’s career record for 3-point percentage (43.5) and shares the school’s single-game record with eight 3-pointers made.
The New York Knicks chose Davis in the first round of the 1992 NBA draft. Davis played 12 seasons in the league, scored nearly 5,600 points and entered the 2011-12 season ranked third in NBA history for career 3-point percentage (44.1).
Davis had spent the past seven years with ESPN.
At least he won’t have to move for this job. Davis, 41, lives with his wife and three children in Chapel Hill.
“I don’t just love this basketball program,” Davis said. “I love this university and this community. It’s why my wife and I moved back here. It wasn’t to go to basketball games.”