CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina athletics director Dick Baddour announced at Thursday's press conference that he is stepping down from his duties prior to the end of his contract next year so the new athletic director can hire the next football coach.
"I've given my heart and soul to the University for 45 years," Baddour said. "As many of you know, my contract, which was already in the final year of a three-year extension, ends in June 2012. The Chancellor and I have had conversations about staying beyond that date to help stabilize the program, however as someone who has hired coaches I know that it is even more imperative that my successor be able to name the next coach."
Baddour, whose UNC employment began in 1967 and was named Director of Athletics in 1997, will stay on in some capacity until the end of his term next year.
"I'm reluctantly accepting Dick's offer to step down sooner," Chancellor Holden Thorp said. "He will step aside when a new athletics director arrives. Dick Baddour is a true, true Tar Heel."
Baddour is one of three athletics directors in UNC history to serve 10 or more years since the Tar Heels joined the league in 1954.
"I don't know I have the emotional wherewithal to tell how hard this is on me," Baddour said. "But you can obviously tell it's extremely difficult."