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Davis' dismissal came two days after he fielded questions about the aftermath of the investigation from reporters at the Atlantic Coast Conference's preseason media days in Pinehurst. The coach said he found the university's public support "reassuring," said he had never considered quitting and that he "fully and completely" takes responsibility as head coach.
Davis compiled a 28-23 record in four seasons with the Tar Heels after taking over for John Bunting. His program looked ready to contend for an ACC championship and a BCS berth last year before NCAA investigators arrived on campus last July.
In all, 14 players missed at least one game and seven were forced to sit the entire season.
The allegations included unethical conduct by former associate head coach John Blake. The NCAA said Blake worked to steer players to late NFL agent Gary Wichard and reported Blake had received more than $31,000 from Wichard, though Blake's attorneys had previously described the transactions as loans from one friend to another during financial troubles. Davis had said he knew nothing of the loans and that he was "sorry" he trusted Blake, a longtime friend who resigned in September.
The news caught current and former players off guard, including T.J. Yates -- the quarterback who served as defacto team spokesman last season during the height of NCAA scrutiny.
"In shock about Coach Davis, that man put Carolina football back on the map," Yates, a Houston Texans draftee, posted on Twitter. "And to do it right before training camp starts is just wrong."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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