What the Alumni Said on a Coach's Firing

August 1, 2011

Many higher education officials talk about how alumni will react to the firing of popular coach. The Raleigh News & Observer used last week's firing of Butch Davis, the football coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to find out. The newspaper filed an open records request for the e-mail of Chancellor Holden Thorp before and after the dismissal of Davis (whose teams have had success on the field and numerous scandals). Much of the reaction fits the stereotype of how alumni react. There are threats to never give another penny, and e-mails like this one: "You folks are spineless, slimy slugs who have dishonored our whole university." One messages was sufficiently threatening that UNC public safety is investigating.

But there were other messages that supported the move. And one alumnus, who two days before the firing wrote that he stood behind the football coach "110%," wrote again after Thorp acted. "I know that this has been a long and stressful situation but I support y'all and The University of North Carolina 110%."

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