Bunting Announces Staff Adjustments

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- University of North Carolina head coach John Bunting announced Monday that offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill will return for the 2004 season and assistant coach Dave Huxtable will relinquish his role as UNC's defensive coordinator. Huxtable will remain on the Carolina coaching staff as the linebackers coach.

"Gary's return is a real plus for Carolina football," said Bunting. "We averaged nearly 400 yards per game last year and made great improvement in the running game. He has consistently shown the ability to coordinate an exciting game plan. The continuity Gary provides our offense will be important for Darian (Durant), our other quarterbacks and the entire offense."

"I'm happy to hear he is returning," said Durant, Carolina's record-setting quarterback. "Not all quarterbacks get to play for the same offensive coordinator for all four years in college. I think he has helped me become a better overall player and I look forward to working with him again next season."

Under Tranquill's guidance, Durant has set several Carolina career records, including total offense, passing yards, touchdowns, completions and attempts. Carolina averaged 394.3 total yards of offense and 150.4 rushing yards per game last season, the highest average in either category since 1995. Carolina also led the ACC with an average of 4.7 rushing yards per carry.

Huxtable served as Carolina's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for each of the past two seasons. In his first year on the staff in 2001, he coached linebackers and coordinated the special teams.

"Dave Huxtable is an outstanding coach, but after evaluating the entire season I feel we must bring in a new approach for coordinating the defense," said Bunting. "Dave has laid a groundwork for us to build from. He will continue to be a big part of our turning this defense around."

In Huxtable's first season, he coached a group of relatively inexperienced linebackers, including current NFL players David Thornton and Quincy Monk, into one of the top units in the ACC. A former walk-on who had never started a game prior to the 2001 season, Thornton was named the team's defensive MVP and earned All-ACC honors. He is currently fifth in the NFL in total tackles.

"I am disappointed in the results we had this past season, but I appreciate the players' effort and commitment to improve," Huxtable said. "I understand John's need to make a change, and I am glad I have the opportunity to work with the players and the new coordinator. We all want the same thing and that is to get Carolina football winning again."

Inside Carolina Top Stories