Paving The Road To Hell

August14/ 2011

Q: How do you pave the road to Hell?  A: With Good Intentions.  Today’s cyber-sermon examines how well the primary pavers did in building UNC’s expressway to Hell.  In 50s westerns the good guys wore white hats.  The bad guys always wore black.  In real life it’s rarely that cut & dried.   We insist on making it so regardless.

“Many” will refuse to believe the following.  “Many” also insist we faked the moon landing and believe that professional wrestling is real.

….. This past Saturday I met Everett Withers AND received a personal tour of The Blue Zone.  I came away with opinions to be found in Rimshots.


From the media to the mouth-breathing goobers, there has been a quite mad rush to assign white or black hats (mostly black) to assorted participants in the ooey-gooey melodrama of Kenan Fall Down Go Boom.  I wish to refute that stereotyped perception just a bit.

Much of this is repetitous to regular BLSays readers but apparently we haven’t reached every living soul yet. Ignorance still abounds.

Meet the paving crew – The Stripper – The Gullible John – The Naïve Chancellor.

The Stripper:  Butch Davis 

As I said in a memorable column:   “there is nothing wrong with marrying a stripper, unless you care a great deal about your reputation.”   

Carolina “married a stripper” when it hired Butch Davis.  Being a stripper is not illegal nor is marrying one.  UNC is, alas, very very very image conscious.  Their odd coupling was doomed from the get-go.

Butch Davis knows how to develop a winning football program using a tried&true method of assembling talented athletes that is perfectly acceptable in the SEC.   Where academics and athletes never entwine by general agreement of all parties involved….. Butch Davis’ method is fine.  Institutionally, UNC was not ready for that level of commitment.  A % of UNC fans are well beyond “ready”.  That faction is not responsible for the day-to-day operation of the institution.  Hopefully they never have that responsibility.

Did anyone – Bob Winston, Dick Baddour, Holden Thorp, et al – ever sit down with Davis and explain the mythical much-maligned Carolina Way?  BEFORE that infamous press conference in September – where Butch’s confidence was replaced by confusion.  Butch’s Football program became home to dozens of feral cats doing pretty much whatever they pleased.  With the blessing of Davis or via his sham veneer of implausible deniability.   They did as they pleased as others had done in Coral Gables some years ago.  Davis’ (im)plausible deniability – an insult to human intelligence.

Butch Davis did what he was hired to do the way he knew how to do it.  His intentions were “good”.   Butch’s Way was certainly not the Carolina Way.   The stripper was dismissed for simply being a stripper”.


The Gullible John:  BOTBob Winston 

Bob Winston is by all measure “a very nice man”.   His personal and professional reputation was without blemish until he headed a 3-man committee sent forth to hire Butch Davis five years ago.

If Bob Winston ever played football, he certainly did not play college football.  His insight into the sausage factory of “big time college football” was minimal at best.  An avid fan, he had risen thru the ranks of UNC lay-leadership to find himself in a Chicago hotel room one October evening in 2006.  There he met an engaging fellow with two super bowl rings.

Bob Winston selecting a big time football coach was as clueless as BobLee selecting wine for a gourmet feast.

Butch Davis charmed those fancy suits as he charmed blue-chippers in South Florida for Jimmy Johnson and later with his own program at The U.  Butch had them at “Hello, I’m Butch”

BOTBob wanted to “win”.  Butch knew a way to “win”.  Both sides assumed they were all on the same page.  They never were.

BOTBob just wanted Carolina football to achieve the national prominence of UNC basketball.  He had no concept of the train wreck he was setting in motion as he giddily proposed marriage to the comely stripper.   Bob Winston’s intentions were good.

….. and the asphalt trucks moved inexorably along the road to Hell.


The Naïve Chancellor:  Holden Thorp 

I tell this story because I’ve heard Holden tell it publicly to a civic club.  …. When Holden Thorp was first interviewed by The UNC Brd of Governors he admitted he did not, as a rule, attend UNC Football games.  He had nothing whatsoever against the game or any childhood traumas related to it or those who play it at all.  He simply was not a fan; like yours truly and women’s basketball. The BOG assured him his sports affinities were not relevant to his overall skill set as chancellor.

That story is insightful to the point that 12-14 months ago Holden Thorp probably knew less about what really was going on with UNC Football than any other department in the hydra-headed institution he oversees.  He knew how The Zeiss Instrument worked at The Planetarium but did not know what “a $100 handshake” was. 

When Marvin’s tweets let loose the hellhounds, Holden Thorp’s star was rapidly ascending into the celestial firmament of America’s top university administrators.  He was scoring high in all the areas that chancellors must master to keep the trains running on time on their campuses.

He became a UNC Football fan learning to appreciate the basics of the game.  His wife is much more “into it” as anyone who has sat near her at a game can attest.  I have and I can.  Holden Thorp does not know “the rules for overtime” or “secondary recruiting violations”.   Obama does not know how many states are in the United States and Joe Biden has no clue who Millard Fillmore was.

Chancellor Thorp could not imagine the percolating caldera about to erupt.  In retrospect, he should have known.  In retrospect Maria Schwarzenegger should have known Arnold was a horn dog.

When Marvin tweeted– (1) Butch went immediately into Sgt Schultz mode. – (2) Dickie started channeling Charles Kuralt. – (3) BOTBob told Holden – “It’s nothing.  This will all blow over quickly.  We must trust Butch 110%.  You deal with the budget.  I’ll handle this”.   BOTBob had married the stripper.  He meant well.  What had gone so wrong?

By November Sgt Schultz was blowing more smoke than Cheech & Chong.  BOTBob was desperate to cover his own butt.  Dickie was making motorboat sounds in his Maypo.  Thelma was flooring the accelerator towards the edge of the canyon.

Should Holden have dropped the hammer then?  In hindsight – of course he should have.  BOTBob urged him not to do so?  BOTBob urged him VERY aggressively not to do so on multiple occasions.   BOTBob’s reputation was at stake not to mention UNC’s.   Holden’s legacy will forever bear the impact of BOTBob’s aggressive urges .

Would Harry Truman have fired Butch a year ago?  Ask Doug McArthur.  Harry would have rammed an A-bomb up Sgt Schultz’s butt and blown him to smithereens.   Holden Thorp’s key advisors pleaded with him not to on multiple occasions over a six month period.  “We can cover this up.”

Holden Thorp’s naïveté was his Achilles heel.  His intentions were honorable, charitable and good…. to a tragic fault.

The Road To Hell Is now fully paved all the way to Indianapolis in October.


Is there MASSIVE CORRUPTION throughout UNC?  NO.  Of course not.   Rabid Wuffie wishes don’t make that so.  Must the piper be paid for the embarrassing malfeasances committed and revealed?   The piper must always be paid.

I’m being asked by many – Do I think Holden Thorp will survive?  Absolutely.  UNLESS the barbarians breech the walls.  In an increasingly insane world, that could happen.  I hope not.

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