FROM THE HILL
JEFFRE Y A. CAMARATI/ATHLE TIC COMMUNICATIONS
Cunningham was at Notre Dame before becoming athletics director at Tulsa and Ball State.
Lawrence R. “Bubba” Cunningham, who has been athletics director at he University of Tulsa since 2005, is
the new AD at Carolina.
Cunningham, 49, signed a six-year contract, approved by the Board of Trustees,
that will pay him an annual salary of
$525,000 and provide an expense account
of $40,000 a year. He takes over Nov. 14
from Dick Baddour ’ 66, who is retiring in
his 15th year in the position.
The new head of UNC’s 28-sport varsity
program made it clear he will be known
simply as Bubba. He said the nickname
developed because his father went by Larry
and his sisters couldn’t pronounce “brother.”
His middle name, Richard, would have relegated him to “Richie Cunningham,” and he
vetoed that while in college at Notre Dame.
Cunningham, a native of Flint, Mich.,
is in his 10th year as a Division I director
of athletics. In addition to his tenure at
Tulsa, he was the athletics director for three
years (2002-05) at Ball State University.
A year ago, Cunningham was in the
running for the athletics director job at the
University of Kansas, and news media
reported he was about to be hired. He
took himself out of consideration and
signed a contract extension with Tulsa. He
told a news conference in Chapel Hill it
was a family decision to not go to Kansas.
A 13-member search committee recommended Cunningham to Chancellor
Holden Thorp ’ 86 after it had interviewed
13 of 60 aspirants for the job since early
August. Thorp said the committee’s mission
had been to have a hire by mid-October.
Cunningham said the NCAA investigation of UNC’s football program was not a
factor in his decision to pursue the job.
“It really didn’t play into it,” he said. He
called the football situation “a blemish, but
we will continue to work on the compli-
His first major task at Carolina is
Tulsa’s Cunningham Named Athletics Director
Cunningham continued on page 4
Athletics Fee Increase
A$45 increase to the student fee for varsity athletics has been turned own by the student fee advisory
The athletics department’s original
request of a $90 annual increase — an
addition to the existing $274.50 fee — was
halved in negotiations over two weeks in
October. The department had asked for
$45 to cover scholarships for out-of-state
athletes and $45 for operating and recruiting budgets for nonrevenue sports. The
request later was reduced to half that, all for
The request stemmed in part from the
N.C. General Assembly’s 2010 decision
to eliminate a waiver for scholarship athletes that had enabled them to attend
UNC at in-state tuition rates. That change
increased the athletics department’s cost of
At the time the request was halved,
Senior Associate Athletics Director Martina
Ballen ’ 80 said, “The message we heard
back from the students, given the climate
and other needs across campus, was the
feeling that this wasn’t seen as something
that the students needed to fund.” Ballen
said compensation for coaches and the
operating budget for nonrevenue sports at
UNC rank in the bottom third of the
ACC. “If we are not able to fund those
programs at the level we believe they
needed to be funded at, they could slide.
We pride ourselves on having a broad-
The fee committee voted 4-3 to deny
the request. The Daily Tar Heel reported
that Student Body President Mary
Cooper said she couldn’t understand the
need for the request in a budget-cutting
In addition to the varsity athletics fee, all
students pay a campus recreation fee of
$136.57, which covers workout facilities all
students can use.
“I think that there’s this opinion by
some that because our budget is so large
we aren’t in need of money. But we have
$72 million for 28 sports and there’s no
surplus for contingency,” Ballen said.
CAROLINA ALUMNI REVIEW