D.C., area, and as a teenager his parents
would drop him off at Cole Field House
at the University of Maryland for basket-
ball games. He said he noticed something
special in the air when 1960s Carolina
teams played there. "There was something
different about them," he said. "When I
got to Chapel Hill, there was something
about the athletes, something about the
way they carried themselves here."
There was no question, he said, where
he wanted to go to school.
He returned Monday with the hearty
endorsements offormer Philadelphia
Eagles head Coach Dick Veimeil and a
former teanmute there, Ron Jaworski, as
well as some of his Tar Heel teammates.
Bunting was co-captain and defensive
most valuable player of the 1971 ACC
title team, which finished 9-3 and won
all ofits ACC games. The Heels were
22-12 in Bunting's three years as a start-
ing linebacker playing for Bill Dooley in
the days before freshmen could play on
the varsity. Bunting's degree is in social
Drafted in the 10th round by the
Eagles, he played there for 11 seasons and
then for two with the Philadelphia/Balti-
more franchise in the now-defunct U.S.
Football League. After two years as an
assistant coach with the USFL team and
at Brown University, Bunting took over
at then-Glassboro State in New Jersey.
He took what he described as a 15-year
losing program and turned it into the
school's first playoff team. Glassboro,
which changed its name to Rowan Uni-
versity while he was there, had two
NCAA Division III playoffyears and a
38-14-2 record under Bunting.
He then coached linebackers and
defenses for the NFL's Kansas City
Chiefs, St. Louis Rams and New Orleans
Saints, resigning from the Saints to take
the Carolina job. He was part of last
year's Super Bowl win with the Rams.
Former teammates and fellow
coaches characterized Bunting as an
intense player who demanded the same
from those he coached; an exceptional
teacher; and one who kept UNC close
to his heart.
His hiring concluded a 22-day period
since Baddour dismissed Torbush, in
which Carolina fans and alunmi intensely
debated what type offootball program
they wanted and expected. The coaching
issue became the first matter ofpublic
debate for Moeser since he became
chancellor in August.
Baddour and Moeser would not say
that they turned Torbush aside for not
winning enough games, saying only that
the time had come for a leadership
change. Torbush's teams won 17 games
and lost 18. Many thought his time at
Carolina should have ended after the 3-8
season in 1999. He was kept on, agreeing
to fire three of his assistant coaches. He
made off-season headlines by hiring
Mike O'Cain, who had just been dis-
missed as N.C. State's head coach, as the
Tar Heels' offensive coordinator.
But a losing streak offour conference
games in the 2000 season rekindl.ed the
talk that Torbush was not the coach to
make Carolina a consistent winner. Also,
Kenan Stadium never was full this fall,
even falling just short of capacity for the
N.C. State game.
Carolina has sent a signal to the col-
lege football world that it wants to be
accepted among the nation's elite teams,
collecting more than $50 million in pri-
vate donations for the Kenan Football
Center, an 8,000-seat expansion and lux-
ury boxes that were fully opened in Tor-
bush's first season.
The feeling of a need to win more
and put more fans in the stands was
countered by alunmi who said that at
Carolina, a modest winning record will
suffice and that Torbush fulfilled the Uni-
versity's highest priority by doing an
exemplary job with academics and other
Moeser and Baddour came under fire
for appearing to put too much emphasis
on winning games.
English Professor Trudier Harris
resigned from the faculty athletics com-
mittee, saying she considered the firing of
Torbush to be "incompatible with the
expressed goals of our athletic program."
Faculty members questioned Moeser's
motives and judgment during a meeting
Dec. 8 of the Faculty Council. Moeser
asked them to be patient, promising that
UNC would keep athletics in perspective
but insisting it must be a viable player in
the increasingly expensive market for the
During the period after Torbush was
dismissed, Moeser wrote a lengthy article
of Raleigh in
which he stated there was no erosion of
UNC's ideals of a winning program that
emphasizes academics but that a football
progranl that is perceived as successful is
essential to Carolina's quest to become
the best public university in the country.
On Dec. 11, he made a point of strongly
endorsing Baddour, who has been criti-
cized for the way this and other high-
profile coaching hires have been handled.
Torbush, who had just completed the
third year of a five-year contract, led his
team to six wins and five losses this year,
finishing with a 59-21 win over Duke on
Nov. 18. Torbush was given the chance to
resign but refused. In mid-December he
accepted the job of defensive coordinator
on a new coaching staff at Atlanta. He
still will be paid the base salary for the
two years left on his contract, $304,000.
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