May 24, 2024

Carl Torbush, who took over as North Carolina’s head football coach in 1997 following Mack Brown’s tenure, has passed away at the age of 72. Torbush, who had previously served as Brown’s defensive coordinator, played a crucial role in building one of the ACC’s strongest football programs during his more than 40 years in college coaching. Under his guidance, UNC established one of the nation’s top defenses, contributing to the team’s success.

When Mack Brown departed for Texas after the 1997 season, Torbush was promoted to head coach. In his first season at the helm, he led the Tar Heels to an impressive 11-1 finish, culminating in a 42-3 victory over Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl. Despite facing challenges in the subsequent years, including a 7-5 record in 1998 and job uncertainties in 1999, Torbush secured wins over N.C. State and Duke, earning him another season as head coach.

Former UNC Tar Heels football coach Carl Torbush obituary | Raleigh News &  Observer

Torbush’s coaching career at UNC spanned three seasons, during which he achieved a 17-18 record. Notably, he hired former N.C. State head coach Mike O’Cain after defeating the Wolfpack. O’Cain joined Torbush’s staff as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, surprising both State and Carolina fans.

Following his time at UNC, Torbush served as a football assistant coach at six different schools before becoming the head coach at East Tennessee State in 2015. He retired in December 2017. Torbush, who had spent a decade on Brown’s UNC staff, was recognized as a finalist for the Broyles Award in 1997, an honor given to the nation’s top assistant coach. Recently, he had been diagnosed with ALS, according to media reports.

In addition to his coaching achievements, Torbush will be remembered for celebrating victories, such as the definitive triumph over Duke in 2000, where the Tar Heels secured a commanding 59-21 win. Mack Brown expressed his condolences, acknowledging Torbush as a great man who left a positive impact on many lives, emphasizing his love for football, especially defense. Despite the challenges Torbush faced, his contributions to UNC’s football legacy and his influence on the game will be remembered.

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