Dailey Responds

Joe Dailey was caught off guard by the negative attention he received from North Carolina fans this week.

"I got a call [Friday] night about it and a bunch of Tar Heel fans hit me up on Facebook upset," said the former UNC football player and current assistant coach at Kansas.

The Tar Heel faithful were upset about an article published online Friday by The Press Box, a New Jersey sports website launched in August 2010, that said Dailey "convinced" Savon Huggins, a five-star running back, to choose Rutgers over UNC.

Dailey said he immediately read the article in question and did some research.

"I found out the guy that wrote the article is a Rutgers grad and he's an amateur columnist for a startup website," Dailey said. "And [the writer] quoted me through someone else… And it was blown out of proportion."

Dailey recalled that he received a phone call from Rich Hansen, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep's head football coach. Hansen coached both Dailey and Huggins during their prep careers.

"He said ‘Savon has some questions about Frank Cignetti and North Carolina,'" Dailey said. "He asked me ‘Could you fill [Savon] in on some things, because you played for both Cignetti, [John] Shoop, and Coach [Butch] Davis."

Dailey agreed to help.

"The kid asked me a couple of questions about Cignetti and I answered the questions for him," Dailey said. "I said, ‘I played for the guy, he's one of my mentors, [and] I love the guy dearly. He's a guy that's going to take care of you after football is all said and done. He has always stayed in contact with me. And I said he'll always have a relationship with you.'"

Then Huggins asked Dailey about UNC.

"I said, ‘You're asking me to compare two universities that are like apples and oranges,'" Dailey said. "‘It's a no-brainer, in my opinion, that North Carolina is where you should go. But that's neither here nor there – you asked me a question and I'm going to answer it for you.' I can't turn my back on a university that took me in when I didn't have a home."

Dailey said he concluded the conversation with more pro-UNC sentiments.

Photo courtesy Topeka Capital-Journal
"I said, ‘Hey, listen, either place you go, you're going to have a great opportunity, but you're going to do more in life if you go to North Carolina,'" Dailey recalled. "‘When you leave North Carolina, you leave with a degree that means something. You'll leave with an education in the league that will allow you to play in the league.'

"Never did I say you need to go here or there, because that's not up to me. I gave him both sides and I treated it fairly. I gave him all pros – I never gave him any cons about going to either university."

As a nationally ranked dual-option quarterback prospect out of St. Peter's Prep, Dailey signed with Nebraska in 2003. After two seasons in Lincoln, including starting 11 games in 2004, he transferred to UNC. In 2006 he started seven games under center for the Tar Heels.

While at UNC, Dailey had three offensive coordinators – Gary Tranquill, Cignetti, and Shoop. Under Shoop, Dailey was moved to wide receiver for his final year of collegiate football.

"Shoop is responsible for a lot of my knowledge outside of the quarterback position and how I view offensive football," Dailey said. "I was extremely appreciative of everything he did for me, because he's the one that sat me down and said ‘Hey, listen, I know you like the quarterback position, but this is what you could do for us. If you move to this position, you could help a wide receiver group that's young. You can bring some experience, some maturity, [and] some knowledge to a room that's never really had it before.'

"He said, ‘You want to coach ball [in the future] right? This will be a good experience for you. Look at it as an opportunity to coach these young receivers, be a part of that group, and make them better. You'll elevate their play by increasing their knowledge.'"

After graduating from UNC, Dailey became a graduate assistant at Buffalo under Turner Gill. After less than a year, he was promoted to the tight ends coach. When Gill left for Kansas prior to the 2010 season, he took Dailey with him and made Dailey the on-campus recruiting coordinator.

"I owe a lot to [Shoop] for sitting me down and talking to me in a mature manner and educating me on how this [move to wide receiver] is going to help me become a better football coach," Dailey said. "So there's no bitterness between me and Shoop about moving me to receiver. I think that's one of the best things that's ever happened to me in college football."

Dailey reiterated his loyalty to UNC.

"I'm a Tar Heel born and I'm a Tar Heel bred and when I die I'll be a Tar Heel dead," Dailey said. "I'm never going to go against a university that took me in, welcomed me in, and made me feel that I belonged. I hope that Tar Heel fans know that's not how I conduct business."

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