Finally, North Carolina got it right.
There was no better choice on the current staff for interim head coach than defensive coordinator Everett Withers. Why? Because he has been through adversity like this with the team before and won.
Last season's defense was hit hardest by the NCAA investigation -- all four starters in the secondary were ineligible for the opener against LSU -- and Withers, also the secondary coach, guided them through it. I'm often asked which assistants in the ACC are likely next to make the jump to the head coaching level and Withers is always on my list.
He has served as Carolina’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach the past three seasons. Last year, Carolina’s defense ranked fourth in the ACC and 30th in the country despite a roster decimated by personnel losses and injuries.
His contract for the 2011 season will be amended to reflect his promotion to interim head coach. Details will be available at a later date. With Withers' promotion, the Tar Heels will begin the process of hiring a full-time assistant to complete the staff.
“I’m excited for this opportunity and I’m honored the Chancellor and Dick Baddour have faith in me to do this job,” Withers said in a prepared statement. “I realize this appointment is coming during a tough transition for our football players and staff. My job and the job of our assistant coaches is to prepare these students to perform at the highest level this season. I love Carolina and this community, and I will do everything I can to make the Tar Heel fans proud of this team.”
He certainly managed to do that last year.
Withers will address the media Friday at the Kenan Football Center at 3 p.m.