John Bunting was born in Portland, ME in 1950 to James M and Ethel Bunting and grew up outside of Washington, DC. He was a 3 year starter in Basketball and Baseball and an All-County, All-Met DC in football his senior year. He was recruited by Coach Bill Dooley and received a scholarship at UNC Chapel Hill in 1968. Coach Dooley stated, “John was the Defensive Captain of our team. He was not only an outstanding linebacker, he was a team leader and had a tremendous ability to inspire his teammates.” As a Tarheel he started and played on Peach Bowl/Gator Bowl teams in ‘70-1. John was All-Conference/Def MVP in 1971 and played in the Senior Bowl All-Star game in 1972 in Mobile, Alabama.
In 1972 Bunting was drafted in the 10th round by the Philadelphia Eagles. During his time with the Eagles he was Def MVP in 1979, was in playoffs in 1978 and 1981. The Eagles were the NFC Champions in 1981 and went to Super Bowl 15. John was the NFLPA Player Representative for six years. He was released after the ’82 season.
Bunting then joined the USFL Philadelphia Stars and played in 2 Championship games winning the USFL Championship in 1984 after which he retired and moved into the coaching side of football. He coached for Jim Mora and in final season of USFL he won the USFL Championship in 1985. He then was assistant coach at Brown University and Glassboro State College before becoming head coach at GSC. It was there he met his wife Dawn. He coached 5 years as head coach winning 2 Conference Championships and advancing to semi-finals of NCAA tournament in 1992.
John became assistant coach of the Kansas City Chiefs from 1993-96 under Carl Peterson/Marty Schottenheimer then joined Dick Vermeil in ’97 as assistant coach of the St. Louis Rams. Won SuperBowl 34 as Co-Coordinator and Linebacker Coach in 1999-00. In 2000 John joined the New Orleans Saints as Linebacker Coach.
He became Head Coach of UNC Tarheels 2000-06. During that time he was the only coach to beat top 5 team…FSU 2001 and Miami 2004.
After leaving UNC, Bunting has worked at ISP Radio covering the ACC game of the week….ESPN TV broadcasting college football and in football off-season he has been a mentor/trainer at IMG Academy, Bradenton, FL to Jerry Hughes, Luke Kuechly (2012) and Manti Teo (2013). He also mentored/trained UNC Linebackers Jeff Schottmer and Shakeel Rashad in Dallas, TX.
John was a Professional Football Coach for 10 years, a College Football Coach for 13 years, 11 as Head Coach and a Professional Football Player for 13 years. As the Head Coach of the University of North Carolina, he won more games in the first season than any other first-year coach in school’s history.
John and Dawn Bunting live in Hampstead with their dog Bella and have made the Wilmington community their home. John has served on the Board of the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame since 2008, has been a board member of the Miracle League National Organization since 2009 and is a commentator on WECT’s Friday Night Football Program. He has served as a Key Note Speaker at various are events such as the Ashley High School Football Program, New Hanover County Domestic Violence Shelter, the Topsail High School and the New Hanover County Boy Scouts.