Blake Steps Down

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- North Carolina's associate head football coach John Blake resigned effective immediately on Sunday afternoon, according to school officials.

In a prepared press release, Blake said that it had become apparent over the past several weeks that his "presence has become a distraction" to his family and to the university. According to sources close to the situation, Blake has been a subject of the NCAA's agent investigation.

"I thank the Lord for the opportunity I have had to work with Butch Davis while at the University of North Carolina," Blake said. "I have grown to love and respect the school, my fellow coaches, and the young men who have worked so diligently to improve both as students and as football players. That love and respect has led me to the conclusion that the best decision for all involved is for me to step aside at this time. I wish the players, the coaches, and the University all the best."

Blake's relationship with Davis goes back to the late-1970s when the current UNC head coach served as his high school biology teacher. They previously worked together as members of Jimmy Johnson's staff with the Dallas Cowboys. Blake joined the Dallas staff as defensive line coach after Davis was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1993.

Blake was in his fourth year as the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at North Carolina.

"Knowing John as I have over the years, it is clear that this was a difficult decision for him to make," Davis said in the prepared statement. "I know how much John loves the players, coaching and the game of football. I am grateful for all of his hard work and effort in helping build this program. As difficult as this situation is, I have accepted his resignation. Throughout his career, I know he has worked hard to help young men become better people and football players. He and his family have made positive contributions to our football program.

"The Tar Heel family has tremendous passion for the University and everything it represents. It's one of the things that made me want to be a Tar Heel four years ago. All of us who are part of the football program have been both disappointed and embarrassed by recent events. Our student-athletes, coaches and I are committed to working every day, both on and off the field, to build a better football program, one that everyone associated with the University of North Carolina can and will be proud of."

UNC Director of Athletics Dick Baddour also provided a statement, saying, "Coach Blake had indicated to me in previous conversations that he would step down if he felt his presence with the football program would become a distraction. I appreciate and respect his decision to do what is best for the University and our football program. I know the young men he coached are tremendously disappointed, but Coach Davis and his staff will help and support them as the season moves forward."

Blake's contract with North Carolina provided him with an annual base salary of $240,000 and would have expired June 30, 2011. He will receive $74,500, which represents his salary for the remainder of the football season. That money will be entirely paid using football revenues.

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