They wanted a teacher: Someone to raise young players’ skill levels and invoke a more disciplined, high-energy approach to the Charlotte Bobcats.

That’s exactly what they got in Mike Dunlap, and the day they introduced him as coach to Charlotte media last June that’s all team officials could talk about.

“We have a plan and a strategy, and to get to the next step we need a teacher,” Bobcats vice-chairman Curtis Polk told the Observer that day.

“This guy is going to be able to relate to young guys, and we’ll continue to be young. This is the guy to put that structure, that culture, in place and get the guys to buy into it. He will be a mentor.”

If you judge Dunlap’s job performance exclusively by that narrow focus, then he succeeded in his only season in this job. He did improve Kemba Walker’s skill set, and to a lesser degree those of young players Bismack Biyombo and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He did work this team harder than predecessor Paul Silas, and he never shied away from conflict in holding players accountable.

That’s what they told him to do up front and, according to Dunlap last Friday, what owner Michael Jordan constantly reminded him to do. Asked by the Observer what advice Jordan offered, Dunlap repeated, “Be more aggressive, demand more of the players.”

So then you must ask why Dunlap lasted a single season before being fired Tuesday. He won 14 more games than the previous, lockout-shortened 7-59 season, he worked as hard as any of the five head coaches in Bobcats history, and he was devoted to the player-development agenda set out by front-office executives Rod Higgins and Rich Cho.

Except that doesn’t tell the whole story. Dunlap’s sometimes-frosty personality, his micro-managing style and his unpredictable player rotations left some players – particularly veterans – confused and frustrated with their roles. Dunlap is clearly brilliant about basketball, but even close friends say that causes him to talk over people’s heads.

Over the two months of last spring’s coach search – when a list of 40 candidates was whittled down to 10 interviews, then one job offer – was Dunlap sufficiently vetted? Because what he presented during his season with the Bobcats, both good and bad, seemed predictable and in character to the basketball coach Dunlap has always been.