by Mike Potter
UNC associate head football coach John Blake has resigned effective immediately in the wake of Saturday night’s season-opening loss to LSU in Atlanta.
A release from UNC’s department of athletic communications said Blake will receive $74,500 of his base salary of $240,000, to be paid entirely from football revenues.
With a two-pronged investigation in progress regarding possible improper relationships with agents as well as possible academic improprieties, the Tar Heels had six players ineligible for the season opener and did not dress seven others whose status was uncertain.
“While I have enjoyed my tenure at the University of North Carolina, it has become apparent to me over the course of the past few weeks that my presence has become a distraction to my family and to this great university, too,” Blake said in the release. “Consequently, I have determined that it is in the best interests of my family, the university community at large, and the football program for me to step down.”
Head coach Butch Davis said in the release that he had appreciated Blake’s contributions to the program.
“It is clear that this was a difficult decision for him to make,” said Davis, who added that he was disappointed and embarrassed by the recent scandals around the program. “I know how much John loves the players, coaching and the game of football. I am grateful for all of his hard work and effort in helping build this program. As difficult as this situation is, I have accepted his resignation. Throughout his career, I know he has worked hard to help young men become better people and football players. He and his family have made positive contributions to our football program.”
A quote from UNC athletics director Dick Baddour said he accepted Blake’s decision.
“Coach Blake had indicated to me in previous conversations that he would step down if he felt his presence with the football program would become a distraction,” Baddour said. “I appreciate and respect his decision to do what is best for the university and our football program.”