CHAPEL HILL, NC – Newly hired Tar Heels coach Butch Davis has been diagnosed with a non-Hodgkin’s form of “North Carolina head football coach”, a rare affliction known primarily for its high distribution in the city of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Davis was undergoing a routine dental examination when his practitioner’s secretary, Meredith Cho, opened a recent issue of Sports Illustrated and detected the presence of a “North Carolina head football coach” after reading an article about Davis, then looking at him and then back at the article.
“It wasn’t a big picture, but it was obvious to the trained eye. It’s hard to miss a ‘North Carolina head football coach’,” Cho said.
“Usually the stench of impending failure alerts you, in case you miss the visual cues,” she added.
Davis, center, examines the results from the initial battery of tests that diagnosed him as a “North Carolina head football coach”.
Davis has since consulted specialists for his condition and undergone several treatments designed to delay the onset of becoming a full “North Carolina head football coach”. Through it all he has vowed to not let his affliction affect his new job as the North Carolina head football coach.
“My doctors don’t agree but I need to stick to this,” Davis said about his intentions to lead the Tar Heels for the 2007 season.
“It’s the worst thing he could possibly do,” said Geoff Yashin, senior fellow of the University of Washington’s Radiation, Oncology and “North Carolina head football coach” Department.
Continued Yashin: “We usually approach health problems by both treating the condition and coping with the effects. Pursuing life goals and following through with a job or project is part of that. It helps keep the body and mind focused, and is essential to combating depression and other after or side effects of sickness. But what Davis is doing? He’s basically asking ‘North Carolina head football coach’ to take over his body. He’s throwing his life away.”
Despite the concerns of health professionals Davis will lead the Tar Heels into their annual spring scrimmage on April 14.
Sophomore quarterback Cameron Sexton praised Davis for his fortitude, noting that “it takes a lot of courage” to stay with the program given the diagnosis.
“He’s a real example,” Sexton said of Davis.
“Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you’ve got to adjust. It puts things into perspective. My life ain’t so bad compared to something like this. If I ever become a ‘North Carolina head football coach’, God forbid, I hope I’ll be able to deal with it the same way he has: with my head relatively up, and never letting it get in my way.”
Like former UNC coach Jim Tatum – a member of the College Football Hall of Fame - Davis arrived at Chapel Hill after an impressive run at another current Atlantic Coast Conference school (Tatum at Maryland, Davis at Miami). Both won national championships before they were diagnosed as “North Carolina head football coaches” – but that’s where the comparison ends, said Davis.
“I don’t plan on going 19-17-3 [likeTatum]. I figure 23-15 is probably doable. Maybe a bowl win? And instead of dying a year after finishing with the Tar Heels, hopefully someone else will hire me. San Francisco will probably be looking for a new coach by then.”
Former UNC head coach Mack Brown led his Texas Longhorns to the 2005 national championship 17 years after he was initially diagnosed. He agreed that the key to overcoming the affliction is determination and forward planning.
“That’s how you gotta beat being a ’North Carolina head football coach’,” said Brown. ”But then there’s always the risk of becoming a ‘San Francisco 49ers head football coach’. That’s what life is, though. It’s a series of risks. You can’t be afraid to live your life, even if it means coaching North Carolina,” Davis said.
“Closing your eyes on third and long helps too,” he added.