Meet Hubert Davis, the latest former Tar Heel to become men’s basketball head coach

North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — In a year of change, the North Carolina Tar Heels might have had the biggest change.

Longtime head coach Roy Williams retired after 18 seasons with the men’s basketball team and 33 years as a head coach.

In steps one of his assistants, Hubert Davis who will take over a team hungry to show and prove.

Davis, who served on the bench alongside Williams for the past nine seasons, is the fourth former Tar Heel player to become UNC’s head coach and the first Black head coach in Carolina men’s basketball history.

Davis played at Carolina from 1988-92 under Dean Smith and spent the previous nine seasons as an assistant coach at UNC to Roy Williams. He played a key role on Williams’ staff in coaching, recruiting and scouting, and was the head coach of the UNC junior varsity program, a position Williams held before becoming the head coach at Kansas in 1988.

In his nine seasons on the bench with Williams, the Tar Heels played in eight NCAA Tournaments, advanced to the Final Four and national championship games in 2016 and 2017 and won the NCAA title in 2017. The Tar Heels went 228-95, including 107-60 in Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season play, winning the regular-season ACC title in 2016, 2017 and 2019 and an ACC Tournament title in 2016.

Carolina earned three No. 1 seeds and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament in those nine seasons. The four-year run from 2016-19 was the best four-year NCAA seed average in UNC basketball history. He helped coach 13 players who have played in the NBA, including nine first-round draft picks.

Prior to beginning his coaching career, Davis worked for seven years with ESPN as an analyst and co-host of the College GameDay program. 

Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., Davis grew up in Burke, Va., where he attended Lake Braddock High School, the same high school UNC and US Soccer star Mia Hamm attended. Davis was a high school football teammate of future Olympic 110-hurdles gold medalist Allen Johnson.

Davis played in 137 games as a Tar Heel from 1988-92, during which time UNC went 102-37, won the 1989 and 1991 ACC Tournaments and played in the 1991 Final Four. He scored 1,615 points, an average of 11.8 per game. He still holds the UNC record for career three-point percentage at .435 (197 of 453). He scored in double figures 80 times with 23 games scoring 20 or more points.

He scored in double figures in each of his last eight NCAA Tournament games, averaging 18.5 points in those games. That included 19 against Temple in the 1991 NCAA East Regional final and 25 against Kansas (coached by Williams) in the 1991 Final Four.

Davis averaged 21.4 points and earned second-team All-ACC honors as a senior. He scored in double figures in 32 of 33 games that season, including 20 games with 20 or more points and 30 or more in four games. He netted a career-high 35 points at Duke on March 8, 1992. That 35-point game was part of a seven-game stretch late in the season in which he averaged 28.7 points.

The New York Knicks selected Davis with the 20th pick in the first round of the 1992 NBA Draft. He played 12 seasons in the NBA, scoring 5,583 points, an average of 8.2 per contest. He made 728 three-point field goals and is currently second in NBA history in three-point percentage at .441.

Davis played for NBA head coaches Pat Riley, Don Nelson, Jim Cleamons, Leonard Hamilton, Doug Collins, Rick Carlisle and Larry Brown. His NBA teammates included Greg Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Patrick Ewing, Michael Finley, Richard Hamilton, Michael Jordan, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Doc Rivers. 

Davis graduated from UNC in 1992 with a degree in criminal justice. He and his wife, Leslie, have three children – Elijah, Gracie and Micah. Elijah will be playing collegiately next season at the University of Lynchburg. Hubert’s uncle, Walter, starred at UNC from 1973-77 and was a six-time NBA All-Star with the Phoenix Suns.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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