Local News

Bunting Named New Head Football Coach At UNC

Posted December 10, 2000

— John Bunting was hired Monday as the new head football coach of the UNC football team.

Bunting, the former New Orleans Saints' linebackers' coach, showed himself at the 5 p.m. press conference to be a person who is devoted to Carolina.

"It has been 30 years since I have been here, and I'm really glad to be back," he says. "I want to give something back, and that is why I am here."

Bunting, who played at UNC from 1968 to 1971, replaces Carl Torbush, who was fired Nov. 20 after a three-year record of 17-18. He was interviewed twice by North Carolina officials about the job. Bunting also had a two-hour visit last Monday night with Chancellor James Moeser in Chapel Hill.

Bunting's hiring brings an end to UNC's coaching search. Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer turned down an offer to coach the Tar Heels a week after Torbush was fired. Over the weekend, former Kansas City Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer withdrew his name from consideration.

The Tar Heels also reportedly talked with Gary Darnell of Western Michigan and Florida State offensive coordinator Mark Richt about the coaching vacancy, but Bunting had the support of many former North Carolina players.

Bunting has never been a Division I-A head coach. He was the head coach of Division III Rowan from 1987-92, leading them to the playoffs the final two years.

Bunting then left to become an assistant for the Chiefs and later St. Louis. He was the co-defensive coordinator for the Super Bowl champion Rams last season.

Bunting's hiring seemed to generate little excitement around campus.

"I think it is a disappointment to Carolina football. I don't think it is going to attract any more new fans," says UNC fan Paul Badrock. "I think they needed to go with somebody that the system and students know. I think we could have the same sell-out crowds we had when (former coach) Mack Brown was here."

After weeks of speculation, the news of Bunting's hiring was a little anti-climatic for several ACC watchers. Evan Markfield, managing editor ofGoheels.com, says Bunting will have a lot to prove.

"I think the administration heard good stuff from alumni, people who played with Bunting, but fans might not let it because they wanted a big time, offensive coach," he says. "Instead, they are getting an defensive assistant from the NFL, who does not have that big name."

Bunting was reportedly given a five-year contract with a base salary of $160,000. Bunting's total package is expected to be around $600,000. From staff and wire reports


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