Douglas Ready to Teach

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Troy Douglas had many motivations to move to UNC from the University of South Florida, a program that has gone 26-13 in the three years he's been there and beaten North Carolina twice in that period.

Want to hear the full interview?

Inside Carolina audio is available to IC premium subscribers.

Chiefly, it was about family ties for Douglas, but he said the lure of working with head coach Butch Davis, and the overall appeal of an up-and-coming program, made his decision easier.

"(It was) a chance to work with a great staff, Coach (Davis) and his reputation, and obviously with Everett and the rest of the staff, is what I thought was key," Douglas said. "Plus my wife's family is from close by, and obviously that's good, because if Momma is happy then everybody's happy."

His relationship with defensive coordinator Everett Withers also played a key role.

"I am a couple of years younger (than Withers), so it's kind of been like a big brother type situation," Douglas said. "I've kind of followed him around through his career.

"I've kept in contact with him and he's always kept in contact with me. We've talked several times during the season about similar opponents - N.C. State, we played Rutgers and Connecticut, and then the bowl game, West Virginia - so we talk several times during the year and we have always kept in contact."

From Davis' perspective, that connection helped make Douglas a good fit for the program.

"He and Everett Withers have a prior existing relationship and as we brought people in, we just felt like that Troy was going to be great addition to the staff," Davis said.

The attractiveness of the UNC job didn't end with family ties for Douglas. He said he's paid attention to the rise of the North Carolina program, and wanted to be part of it.

"They are only looking better because they are going to recruit high-caliber players," Douglas said of the Tar Heels. "This is a great conference, great location, great facilities and all that other stuff, so (Davis) is going to build a good program here and it is exciting to be a part of it.

"I just felt it was time to make a move, and the opportunity to work here at a class place like North Carolina was very appealing and very attractive."

What Douglas brings to the Tar Heel staff, in addition to his meshing with the staff's chemistry, is his reputation for teaching the game.

"I think he'll be an excellent teacher for not only for the secondary kids that we've got now, but we've got a lot of young kids that are coming in," Davis said, referring to UNC's 2009 signing class, which included seven defensive backs. "We've got a couple of new freshmen corners and some safeties, so I think that's going to really help in the transition."

Douglas' efforts as a teacher have produced some accomplished players. In 2008, South Florida cornerback Mike Jenkins was taken in the first round of the NFL draft - the only first round pick in South Florida history. Trae Williams, another Douglas pupil, went in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. What is his approach to tutoring players?

"You've just got to treat them with respect," Douglas said. "If they know that you've got their back, then they'll go to war for you. I'll get after them, but they also know that I love them and I'm going to pat them on the back. It's a fine line; you've really got to coach them like you'd want your kid to be coached."

There's obviously going to be a period of adjustment for all of the new hires. Each new coach has only been on campus for a couple of weeks at most, and they are still settling in to their new digs. It's a situation that Douglas seems to take in stride.

"There's a lot of similar things we that did at South Florida that are here, but most of the time when you go to a new place, it is different terminology," he said. "You have to learn the terminology and how it adapts. And there are a few new wrinkles here and there that I can add from what we did at South Florida, and obviously a few new wrinkles that I can learn from what they've done at North Carolina before I got here."

"It's really just learning the terminology, but football is football - basically, there are only so many ways you can skin a cat. It's not rocket science, it's just football."

Inside Carolina Top Stories