Tar Heels' Hubert Davis Views Coaching as 'Missionary Work': 'I Pray' for My Players

  • Michael Foust Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
  • Published Mar 29, 2022
Tar Heels' Hubert Davis Views Coaching as 'Missionary Work': 'I Pray' for My Players

The head coach of NCAA semifinalist North Carolina is a man who considers his job “missionary work” and who prays that Jesus will surround his players with good people.

Hubert Davis, who is in his first season as head coach of the Tar Heels, referenced his Christian faith during his introductory press conference last April and has mentioned it multiple times since. Davis played for the Tar Heels from 1988 to 1992 under legendary Coach Dean Smith and helped guide his team to a 1991 Final Four appearance.

In his first season as coach, he has them back in the Final Four.

North Carolina plays Duke in the semifinals Saturday.

“One of the things that I do is I pray all of the time that Jesus would put good people in my kids’ life, like Coach Smith, Coach Guthridge and Coach Williams,” Davis said, referencing three former North Carolina coaches, including Bill Guthridge and Roy Williams. “People that genuinely care for you, that there’s no hidden agenda, they’re genuinely on your side.”

North Carolina entered the tournament as a No. 8 seed before upsetting top-seeded Baylor and fourth-seeded UCLA. Duke is favored in Saturday’s game.

On multiple occasions this year, he called his job “missionary work” – a reference to the positive impact he wants to have on players.

“As I’ve said before, I look at this job as missionary work,” Davis said at a press conference before his team’s upset of Baylor, according to Sports Spectrum. “I’ve been given an opportunity to be the head coach of this program and be a part of this program for the last 10 years. Every day I get a front-row seat to be able to help out these kids, and it puts me in a place of humbleness and thankfulness and appreciation to be a part of their lives.

“I don’t feel any personal validation at all,” he added. “This is 100 percent absolutely nothing about me. This is 100 percent giving back to each one of those players everything that Coach [Dean] Smith and Coach [Bill] Guthridge gave to me while I was [playing] at North Carolina and everything that Coach Williams gave to all the players the last 18 years he was head coach. It has nothing personal about me.”

During his introductory press conference last year, Davis said that his “faith and foundation is firmly in my relationship with Jesus. It just is.”


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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.