Doherty defends Peppers, tweaks State fans

It’s been almost a decade since former North Carolina forward Matt Doherty was fired as UNC’s head coach. But that didn’t keep him from taking to Twitter on Tuesday morning to defend one of his former Tar Heels -- while taking a crack at rival NC State fans, to boot.

After beginning the morning by tweeting a tip of the day – "TOD: Double knot. All of my players must double knot for practice and games. I hate seeing a shoelace come undone during a game. Costly!” -- @DohertyMatt began tweeting about former UNC football/basketball player Julius Peppers, whose transcript has been the subject of much scrutiny since it inexplicably was found on UNC’s website.

To (try to) sum up that issue: The partial transcript, which Peppers confirmed last weekend was his, showed that numerous classes in the Afro and African-American Studies department helped him stay eligible before he left UNC early for the NFL after the 2001 season. That department has come under intense scrutiny over the past three months since an internal investigation showed poor oversight, grade changes and little or no instruction in 54 AFAM classes between summer 2007 and summer 2011. More than 50 percent of the students in those classes were athletes. The school last week launched a new probe, led by a former governor, which aims to look farther back than 2007, and Peppers has donated $250,000 to a scholarship fund at UNC.

Got all that?

Anyway, @DohertyMatt responded to all of the recent happenings at his alma mater by defending Peppers' intelligence, throwing in a comparison to Steve Jobs -- and then taking some time to “mess with” Wolfpack fans.

Here we go:

@DohertyMatt: Julius Peppers was one of the smartest players I ever coached. He remembered plays better than anyone. He was a good person and a worker...

@DohertyMatt: ...I wish I had a team full of players like Julius Peppers!

@DohertyMatt: Doing poorly in school doesn't mean you are dumb. See Steve Jobs, Bill Gates. Both college drop outs!

@austin_johnson (who covers NC State for PackPride.com) "Seriously, I've coached a ton of dumb players." - How I interpreted @DohertyMatt's tweet.

@DohertyMatt: @austin_johnson can't believe a Pack fan is taking shots at UNC's education? Really? Stay tuned for some famous NC State quotes!

@DohertyMatt: A famous NC State player once said, "I can go left, I can go right. I be amphibious!" Go Heels!

@DohertyMatt: An NC State player said in response to a question on why he chose State, "I always wanted to go to school in the North." He was from SC!

@thedevilwolf: Doherty dropped the “amphibious” bomb right off the bat. Pace yourself, bro.

@DohertyMatt:@thedevilswolf I get paid for not working! SMU owes me thru May 13. Good gig if you can get it! Gives me time to toy with the State "grads"

@DohertyMatt: State fans are so easy! Fun to mess with them.

Doherty went on to tweet that “if UNC demonstrated academic fraud, responsible party should pay penalty. No question. With that, many good schools have ez classes/majors.” The whole point of his tweeting barrage, he added, was to defend Peppers: “Bad student - yes. Dumb person - no. Good person - definitely.”

And he concluded (we think) with:

@DohertyMatt: Still fun exchange w State fans. Like being back in Reynolds!

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.