Press Conference: Q&A with Baddour, Moeser

CHAPEL HILL -- Athletic Director Dick Baddour and Chancellor James Moeser fielded questions from the media after announcing the resignation of head coach Matt Doherty.

When did you and Matt come to this agreement?
Dick Baddour: Matt and I have had a number of conversations. The most lengthy one was on Saturday. We did not come to a conclusion on that day. We talked again yesterday and came to the conclusion this morning. The buyout is that Matt is entitled to the remaining three months of the fiscal year. He will receive $150,000 which is compensation for an additional year and the work that is already been complete for basketball camp, which is just a few months away. He will receive payment from that camp for $150,000.

Would he have been fired if he had not resigned? Were there other issues than what you had discussed with the players?
Baddour: That would only be speculation. Matt and I talked about priorities for the University of North Carolina, his priorities, my priorities, priorities for Carolina basketball. We discussed all the various options that might take place. Matt put on the table the notion of resignation. He first brought that up on Saturday, so that was where our focus was.

The other issues are some that many of you have already written about, communication, the fact that he mentioned last year about his meetings with the team about connecting and moving forward. Those kind of things.

Do you think he could have continued to coach after everything that has been written and said in the last week?
Baddour: I think so. I think it would have been a lot of work we would have had to do. I accept the notion in opening the team to interviews in that discussion. You'd like to think you could do that in confidence, but in today's world that can not be done. It had to done. That evaluation had to be conducted and I know it would be irresponsible to be aware of those parameters, be aware of that speculation and not treat it seriously. And to treat is seriously, I believe required that we talk to the student-athletes. That is not uncommon. That has happened here. That has happened in other sports. That has happened at other campuses, so the idea that it is unique is inaccurate. It is inaccurate to say that this is a unique approach.

Did you have a backup plan as this began to unfold? Do you have one now?
Baddour: My philosophy on looking for new coaches is that you don't look for new coaches until you don't have a coach. I know a lot of AD's say that in the bottom drawer they have three people. I believe that you have the coaches in place and you work with them as hard as you can for them to be successful. We will conduct a national search. We will not limit the search to the quote, Carolina Family, unquote. And yes, I have already started thinking about names, but that has not been my focus in the last few hours. It will be as soon as this press conference is over.

Is there any pattern of Coach Doherty's abuses to his players or any other members of the Athletic Department staff?
Baddour: I'm not going to go down that road, because it puts me in a position of answering yes and no and puts me in a position of entrapment. Let me set a larger stage for you. When I met with the team, I promised them they could come to me in confidence and they could say what was on their minds and what was in their hearts. And I asked them to look into my eyes and accept my confidence and I would accept their confidence. And that's what I intend to do. I will not talk about those discussions to anyone. I did talk to Coach Doherty in a very general way about those concerns. I tried to categorize the concerns that were expressed and the positives that were expressed. You would make a serious mistake to take away from those discussions that there were not positives that we talked about. First of all, it's very clear to me how much the student-athletes love the University of North Carolina basketball program. But I also felt it was important from the information that I gathered that Coach Doherty understand that information and have an opportunity to respond to it.

Do you think this was a possibility before you held interview with the players? Was the potential of players transferring considered?
Baddour: I understood when we started the discussion what the options might be and where those discussions might take us. I did have that in my sight.

Again, I would get into divulging some of the confidences that we discussed, but we have had some transfers in the past. Yes, I was concerned about transfers for this year. I was concerned about players' plans for next year and the year after as well. That was paramount and in my focus.

Did you discuss this situation with any former players, specifically Phil Ford?
Baddour: Phil Ford is a treasure and the University of North Carolina is so advantage to have him as a player, but I'll tell you the love and devotion and aspect he brings to it in his adult life outweigh even his playing skills. Phil has been valuable in all of this. He has been valuable to Matt. He has been completely and totally supportive of Matt. He has helped Matt recruit. And yes, I think you know some of these student-athletes went to Phil for advice and for counsel and Matt was completely comfortable with Phil's involvement with that and remains comfortable. Yes, I had discussions with Phil, not in the sense as it relates to Matt, and never for Phil to divulge things the players told him in confidence. To the extent that Phil has some sense of the team or could be helpful to me in finding solutions to communication problems or be helpful to Matt, that is the kind of role Phil Ford has played.

Where does the buyout money come from?
Baddour: The money comes from the Athletic Department.

Will the players have any input on the new hire?
Baddour: No.

Given that Matt Doherty did not have extensive head coaching experience when he came to Carolina, will you be more inclined to select a head coach who has more experience as a head coach?
Baddour: I think that it will be a factor, but in general I want to leave this search wide open. I want to go into this search knowing any and every candidate who can fit in to Carolina will get due consideration. I don't want to set out a parameter of I am looking for this model or that model. Hopefully we would find someone with a good deal of experience.

Moeser: I think this is what many people would say is the premier position in American college basketball. I believe that it will attract the very highest caliber of candidates to it and that is what I expect we will appoint.

Do you think that the program has taken a beating nationally, and what do you do to repair that?
Baddour: I think that there are aspects that we have to be concerned about. Coach Smith and Coach Guthridge and those staffs spent a number of years building the tradition that we know, and we sit in a wonderful building as a result of that tradition. I think that Carolina basketball tradition is strong, it's alive, it's well. If we have lost any luster I think that we can replace it quite easily.

Moeser: My view is that the foundations of this program are built very deep. It is not a difficult building process to build strength on strong foundations. Secondly, as Dick has already pointed out, we have youngest team in American college basketball. We played a very difficult schedule. This is not an empty cupboard. This is a great program, and it will be great again.

How much do you think that the rumor and speculation had to do with this decision being made, in part due to Matt's ability to continue after this week?
Baddour: I think that weighed heavily on Matt and was the reason I supportive of it. I think that you have to have an environment where you can be successful. I can understand why Matt felt and I felt the rumors and speculation were making that difficult. I admire Matt for valuing the traditions of this program and the needs of this program over his own. We thought about going on, `Can I be successful in this environment, can I recruit and should I consider that someone else should take the leadership of this program.' I think that takes a lot of courage, and I respect him for it.

Chancellor, Dick Baddour has hired a football coach and fired him three years later, and hired a basketball coach and had him resign three years later. What is your feeling on his future and his abilities?
Moeser: I am glad to have that question, because Dick Baddour has my full confidence. He's made a great hire in football. You have to look at the overall success of the athletic program at the University of North Carolina, and this is arguably one of the most successful athletic programs at any major college or university in this country. Look at the success of our programs across the board, look at the graduation rates of our student-athletes and the character building and leadership. These are great programs of pride for the university. I think we grew weary of some of the attacks that Dick Baddour has taken from some of the scurrilous things I have seen on the internet, the rumors about his leadership. I want to take this opportunity to underscore my support for him. It's strong and together, I'm confident that we will appoint a great coach to lead the basketball program. I'm grateful for opportunity to respond to that because I would like to lie to rest some of those kinds of scurrilous rumors and allegations that I think are unfairly laid at Dick's feet. Certainly there have been some issues. I was here for the transition in football and in basketball, so I am as much responsible as he is, and I thank you for the question.

Baddour: In retrospect, I am glad that you asked that question as well. Some things have been written about me, and I am OK with that. I believe in the press and you guys and women have the right to write what you want. But, anyone who thinks that I make decisions as director of athletics thinking about my job security doesn't know me very well. That has never been a consideration of mine and that will never be. If my chancellors have confidence in me, then I can operate. If they do not, then I need to be somewhere else. Because I may or may not have a job has nothing to do with how I evaluate and how I hire and how I run this program.

How important was player input, current parents of players and even former parents of players to this whole evaluation?
Baddour: We certainly gave some parents an opportunity to speak and we were glad to have that input. I would say the most valuable things that we learned and listened to in that sense were what the student-athletes had to tell us.

Will Dean Smith have any input into selecting the new coach, will you rely on him any?
Baddour: This is a decision that the chancellor, and I will make. We will use the resources that are available to us. Two of those very valuable resources in this building are Coach Smith and Coach Guthridge. There are no two people who know the game of basketball better than they do.


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