Hubert Davis officially introduced as UNC men's basketball coach Tuesday afternoon

Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Hubert Davis officially introduced as UNC men's basketball coach Tuesday afternoon
Hubert Davis, the new men's basketball coach at the University of North Carolina, was officially be introduced Tuesday afternoon.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hubert Davis, the new men's basketball coach at the University of North Carolina, was officially introduced Tuesday afternoon.

Davis spoke publicly at a Tuesday afternoon news conference for the first time since he was named as Roy Williams' successor.

"I wanted this job," Davis said Tuesday. "I've always wanted to be a head coach. I just have always wanted to be a head coach -- only here."

WATCH: Davis talks about what Roy Williams means to him

Hubert Davis talks about Roy Williams and what the former UNC coach meant to him.

Davis was one of Williams' top assistants. He was also a former Tar Heels player for legendary coach Dean Smith.

Williams said in a video message that he was "absolutely thrilled" to be in the Smith Center for the news conference introducing Davis as head basketball coach.

Davis said his time playing at UNC and in the NBA and his experience at ESPN and as an assistant coach have prepared him for this day.

He's a first-time college head coach. He's following a Hall of Famer in Williams. And he's now leading a program that has six NCAA championships and ranks among college basketball's all-time wins leaders.

"Yes, this job brings pressure, yes, this job brings anxiety," Davis said, and he added that he understood the weight of expectations in a program with a legendary coaching lineage.

It's up to him to put his own touches on the program, even as he promises to follow the foundation set by Williams and the late Smith from Davis' playing days with the Tar Heels.

"I don't feel pressure because I'm not comparing myself to anybody," Davis said. "Coach Williams is the greatest. I'm Hubert."

WATCH: Davis recalls his light recruitment as a player

Hubert Davis recounts how he was lightly recruited as a player and how Dean Smith told him he should play at a smaller school.

Officially hired Monday, Davis was emotional and at times choked up describing the feelings of taking over the program where he has deep ties, down to meeting his wife while in college here.

Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham said Tuesday that the hiring process did not involve a search firm but was conducted internally.

He said there were a number of internal and external candidates but he and UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz kept coming back to Davis.

"I think oftentimes, his personality, his passion for this place, and for this job have been obscured because of the legendary head coach, but in the last four days, it became incredibly evident to me that he is the right person to lead our program right now," Cunningham said.

WATCH: Former Tar Heels react to historic hiring of Hubert Davis

Former UNC players such as Eric Montross and Phil Ford react to the hiring of Hubert Davis as head UNC basketball coach.

Williams persuaded Davis to leave his career as an ESPN college basketball analyst to join the staff in 2012. Williams was sitting on the front row at Tuesday's news conference and wiped away tears a few times during emotional moments for Davis.

"I've always wanted to walk the same road, the same path, as Coach Smith and Coach Guthridge and Coach Williams," Davis said.

Davis offered no specifics when asked what he might tweak with offensive or defensive schemes, though Williams has long preferred a push-the-tempo pace with strong point guard play as well as an emphasis on rebounding through a preferred style with two post men.

"The foundation is set here at Carolina, and it's a foundation I believe in," Davis said.

Yet Davis did offer at least one specific plan: re-recruit 7-footer Walker Kessler after the five-star freshman made a surprise transfer announcement following the first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Wisconsin in Williams' final game. In response to a question by ABC11's Mark Armstrong, Davis said he had reached out via text message Monday and the two were scheduled to speak by phone later Tuesday.

WATCH: Davis hopes to re-recruit Walker Kessler to UNC

Hubert Davis says he'd like Walker Kessler to return to UNC. Kessler has announced he plans to transfer.

"I want Walker here. He's a Carolina guy," Davis said. "I've enjoyed being one of his coaches last year. ... He needs to come back here and this is the right place for him. We would love to have Walker Kessler and his family back in Chapel Hill and back at UNC."

The 50-year-old Davis spent the last nine seasons as an assistant coach for the Tar Heels. He will be the first Black coach in the program's history.

"I love this university," Davis said in a statement. "I played here, I earned my degree here, I fell in love with my wife here, I got married here, I moved here after I retired from the NBA and I have raised my family here. I am proud to lead this team, and I can't wait for all that comes next."

Numerous former UNC players and coaches attended the news conference, including Charlotte Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak, Phil Ford, and former Davis teammates Eric Montross and George Lynch.

Davis also said he planned to return a phone call from former Smith player Charlie Scott, the school's first Black scholarship athlete, who went on to play in the NBA.

Williams told reporters afterward that he is "as happy as I've ever been" that Davis was his successor, while the school released a video statement from Williams telling Davis he would "love" sitting in the head coach's seat.

"I will be here cheering," Williams said. "I won't ever criticize you. I'll blame it on the officials."

'An amazing coach to cover:' Mark Armstrong reflects on Roy Williams' legacy at UNC

Born in Winston-Salem, 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.

Davis was a first-round NBA draft pick by the New York Knicks (No. 20 overall). He spent 12 seasons in the NBA with six different organizations. Davis also spent time as a college basketball analyst for ESPN.

He and his wife, Leslie, have three children - Elijah, Bobbie Grace and Micah. Elijah will be playing basketball collegiately at the University of Lynchburg next season.

The Associated Press contributed.