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Just The Sports: Why Bunting Is Synonymous With Coaching Incompetence

Just The Sports

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Why Bunting Is Synonymous With Coaching Incompetence

Originally, I intended this post to be about why John Bunting should be fired, but since it has been announced that he has already been fired by UNC, I will instead show, beyond simply wins and losses, why Bunting needed to be fired for Carolina football to have a chance to compete in the ACC. In fact, Bunting should have been fired three years ago, but with an athletic director like Dick Baddour I'm not surprised it took this so long to happen.

The real story begins with Carl Torbush, who took over as the UNC head football coach after the incomparable Mack Brown rightfully took a job at a university where college football is king and not just an afterthought. He was allowed three full years plus one bowl game to be a head coach before he was fired in 2001 after a 17-18 coaching record.

After Torbush's firing, Bunting was hired for reasons that I do not think have ever been explained except for the fact he has a UNC diploma, which seems to be all a coaching candidate has to have to be hired by Baddour. Now, when one coach is fired and another one is hired, the point is to hire someone who will make the program appreciably better than his predecessor. So did Bunting did anything from 2001 to so far in the 2006 season that Torbush did not do in his 1998-2000 tenure?

Offensively speaking, the only real difference between Bunting's teams and Torbush's teams has to do with quarterback play, most notably quarterbacks for Bunting had a much higher completion percentage than the ones under Torbush (55.4% to 50.2%). Also, Bunting's teams passed more and run less than Torbush-led Carolina teams. Beyond that, there was nothing notably different between the two coaches, meaning in points scored, yards per rush, or yards per attempt so Bunting improved nothing there.

Comparing the two coaches as far as how their teams performed defensively is interesting since both coaches had a background in defense before taking over the head coaching gig. Torbush had been a defensive coordinator under Mack Brown and Bunting had been a head defensive coach with the Rams before Baddour regretfully hired him. As far as improvement under Bunting, it was non-existent. There was no defensive statistic that was significantly better for UNC during John Bunting's tenure. However, his teams were significantly worse in points allowed (30.7 ppg to 24.0 ppg), rushing yards allowed (186.0 ypg to 140.8 ypg), yards per rush (4.5 to 3.4), and completion percentage (58.3% to 50.2%). With no translatable improvement on offense, there is little mystery why Bunting has a 25-42 coaching record as of today. Sadly almost a third of those wins came in his first season (8).

This is probably too much to ask, but Baddour will hopefully hire a football coach this time who will be able to build up the Carolina football program to a point where bowl games are not big events for the college, but games the teams expect to play in.


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