North Carolina’s trustees will meet today to approve the hiring of Tulsa athletic director Bubba Cunningham as the school’s next AD, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday.
The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement has not been made. The school has scheduled an emergency meeting of its board of trustees for this morning to discuss “a personnel matter.” The school also said it expects to hold a news conference afterward, though it didn’t say why.
If approved, Cunningham would replace Dick Baddour, who is stepping down after 14 years amid the ongoing NCAA investigation into the football program. Chancellor Holden Thorp has said Baddour would remain on at least until the school’s appearance before the NCAA infractions committee on Oct. 28.
Baddour’s successor will inherit a 28-sport department that stands as one of the flagship programs in the Atlantic Coast Conference. That person would have an immediate job in hiring a new football coach after the abrupt firing of Butch Davis just before training camp in July, including whether interim coach Everett Withers — who has the Tar Heels off to a 5-1 start — should be the permanent choice. In addition, that person might have the monumental task of eventually hiring the successor to Hall of Fame men’s basketball coach Roy Williams, though the school announced earlier Thursday it had extended Williams’ contract through 2018.
It’s not the first time Cunningham has been the target of a BCS program. He appeared close to taking over as athletic director at Kansas University in December and had even begun contract discussions there before reversing course and agreeing to a contract extension to stay at the Conference USA program.
Obama to watch Carrier game
San Diego — President Barack Obama, the nation’s basketball-fan-in-chief, will have the seat of his choice at the Carrier Classic hoops game on Veterans Day on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier that buried Osama bin Laden at sea.
The White House announced Thursday that Obama has accepted an invitation to attend the Nov. 11 matchup between North Carolina and Michigan State, the first college basketball game on an active flat top.
It’ll be an impossible ticket, except for the lucky 7,000 or so who will be granted permission to come aboard the 1,092-foot, nuclear-powered carrier. Most of the tickets will go to active military personnel. Tickets won’t be sold to the public.
Big East, Boise pondering
New York — The Big East is considering adding Boise State football to help bolster the conference’s chances of retaining its BCS automatic bid, though both sides still need to be persuaded that it’s the right move.
A college football official, who spoke Thursday to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the Big East’s plans, says some Big East presidents are resisting adding Boise State, and the school itself has reservations about joining a conference in flux.
Simpson, Miller lead McGladrey
St. Simons Island, Ga. — Webb Simpson signed up for the McGladrey Classic because it gave him a shot at winning the PGA Tour money title.
He played Thursday as though he was intent on doing just that.
Simpson matched his best score of the year in the opening round at Sea Island, making eight birdies for a 7-under 63 that gave him a share of the lead with tour rookie Zack Miller.
Four tied for Malaysia lead
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — American Brittany Lang and South Korean star Na Yeon Choi shot 5-under 66s on Thursday for shares of the first-round lead in the LPGA Malaysia.
Sweden’s Maria Hjorth and the Netherlands’ Dewi Claire Schreefel also opened with 66s at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. American Paige Mackenzie and Spain’s Azahara Munoz were a stroke back.
Boogaard pleads guilty
Minneapolis — The brother of former NHL strongman Derek Boogaard pleaded guilty Thursday to a gross misdemeanor in his brother’s overdose death, admitting to what his attorney called “an error of judgment” in destroying evidence in the case.
Aaron Boogaard reached a plea deal in Hennepin County that lets him walk free with a stayed six-month sentence, plus probation and community service.
Boogaard, 25, was charged with interfering with the scene of a death after admitting he flushed pills down the toilet after finding his brother dead in his Minneapolis apartment May 13.
Stewart takes Charlotte pole
Concord, N.C. — Tony Stewart took the pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway, outracing Matt Kenseth and points leader Carl Edwards on Thursday night.
Stewart covered the 11⁄2-mile layout with a speed of 191.959 to start up front for the Bank of America 500 on Saturday night. Kensenth was a tick slower at 191.918 mph, while Edwards was next at 191.870 mph.
Berkman, Ellsbury honored
St. Louis — Lance Berkman didn’t set out to prove the skeptics wrong. He just figured that, even after struggling through an injury-riddled 2010, he still had good years ahead of him.
The St. Louis Cardinals outfielder made that clear in 2011, hitting .301 with 31 home runs and 94 RBIs to win the National League comeback player award.
Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury won the American League award.
The honors were announced Thursday, and were picked by the 30 team beat reporters from MLB.com.
The 28-year-old Ellsbury played just 18 games in 2010 because of injuries and hit only .192.
Ellsbury came back as a force this season. He set career highs in most offensive categories, hitting .321 with 32 home runs, 105 RBIs, 46 doubles, five triples, 119 runs and 39 stolen bases.