UNC head coach Hubert Davis was only 16 when his mom, Bobbie Webb Davis, died of oral cancer, which took away her ability to talk before she passed, so she would instead write notes to her son.
"She was still telling me what to do, telling me how to act," Davis told the New York Times in 1993. "The things that have happened to me, like becoming a professional basketball player, are great. But I'd give it all up to have my mom back."
More than three decades later, after being selected in the 1992 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, former UNC shooting guard Hubert Davis made history. After replacing legendary coach Roy Williams — a man who really isn't replaceable — Davis led the 8-seed North Carolina Tar Heels to a Final Four in his first year as head coach. After defeating Duke, Davis was one win away from becoming the first first-year coach to win the NCAA Tournament. The ACC basketball team would eventually fall short to Kansas, but you still can't knock the man for a fantastic first season.
Davis, a family man through and through, wouldn't have been here without his families. There's his North Carolina basketball one. There's also the one at home, led by his wife, Leslie Davis.
Hubert Davis' Wife Leslie Davis
A 16-year-old losing his mom before his junior year of high school is an awful, awful thing. Davis needed someone to lean on, and that person was Leslie.
The future star for the New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors met Leslie at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. He told Chapel Hill Magazine that she was an Army child, and her dad Bob Seigle was working at the Pentagon at the time.
They were best friends in high school and wound up at the University of North Carolina together, where Hubert would go on to set the program's career record for three-point percentage under coach Dean Smith.
"We just did everything together. After she graduated, we just looked at each other and said let's date and get married. We've known each other a long time and been married almost 22 years. But it feels like even more because I've had my best friend with me since I was 16 years old," Davis told Chapel Hill Magazine.
You can't tell Hubert Davis' story without mentioning Leslie and UNC.
In fact, when the couple had their three children, they went back to their roots to raise them. Chapel Hill was calling.
"It was a place where not only I knew that they would be cared for, but [where] they would grow up in an environment where people genuinely cared for them and genuinely were on their side. I wanted my kids around that," Davis told Chapel Hill Magazine.
From Hubert's college career to his NBA career and into coaching, Leslie's been there every step of the way.
Hubert Davis is "Proud" His Wife is White
Davis caught flak for some interesting comments he made during his introductory press conference as North Carolina's newest head coach in 2021.
After saying he was proud to be the program's first-ever Black head coach, he said he was proud his wife was white. Here are his full comments:
"It's significant that I'm African-American and I'm the head coach here. It's significant, Hubert said. "I know that in terms of Division I head coaches all around the country, only 26% of the head coaches for Division I men's basketball are composed of minorities, specifically African-Americans. I know that it is significant that I'm the fourth African-American head coach in any sport in the history of the University of North Carolina. I'm very proud to be African-American. But I'm also very proud that my wife is white, and I'm very proud that my three beautiful, unbelievable kids are a combination of both of us."
The comment raised eyebrows and generated thoughtful discussion about race relations in America.
The interesting beginning to his head coaching career has undoubtedly been put in the rearview mirror, however. He took the 24-9 Tar Heels and ran through Marquette, Baylor, UCLA and Saint Peter's in the NCAA Tournament, becoming the first men's coach to lead his team to a Final Four in his first year since fellow UNC coach Bill Guthridge in 1998.
Hubert Davis' Children
Hubert and Leslie have three children together: Elijah Davis, Micah Davis and Bobbie Grace Davis (or just Gracie).
Elijah Davis wrapped up his second college basketball season at the University of Lynchburg in Virginia, which is a short drive from Chapel Hill.
The UNC basketball coach never forced Elijah — or any of his kids — to play the sport he starred at, because he knew they'd be unfairly compared to him.
"He's always loved it. And I always felt horrible for him. Because everywhere he goes, he's always compared, critiqued, judged. I've always wanted people to celebrate him, absent of my career. My life is my life," Davis told Chapel Hill Magazine.
Davis' family has a chance to witness their dad make the ultimate history.
Roy Williams didn't win his first title at North Carolina until his 17th year. It took Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski 16 years before he won his first.
Davis has already enjoyed one of the greatest first seasons for a head basketball coach in NCAA history. Two more wins and he'll undoubtedly have the greatest.
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