UM Coaching Hot Board: Butch Davis

The University of Miami is in the beginning stages of a head coaching search. CanesTime's Mike Bakas will be profiling several legitimate candidates in the coming days. Today, we focus on a very familiar name to Hurricane fans everywhere.


Background: Davis was an assistant under Jimmy Johnson during part of Miami's championship run in the 80s. He left with his head coach when Johnson took the Dallas Cowboys job. Davis became Miami's head coach before the 1995 season, taking over a program that would soon be hammered with NCAA sanctions. He successfully navigated the Canes through it and helped build the most talented roster in the history of the game. He took over the Cleveland Browns for a few seasons before becoming head coach at North Carolina. Davis has been working as a television analyst for ESPN the last few years.

Where he is now: Davis has spent the last two seasons working as a college football analyst for ESPN. His last coaching job was at North Carolina from 2007-2010.

Why would it be a good fit: Davis has already proven he can successfully turn a major program around. He did it at Miami once, and there's every reason to believe he could do it again. He's been successful here a few different times. He understands the culture here. He understands the expectations. He understands that big crowds aren't a thing here. He understands that the Canes will never be on the same level as some elite programs when it comes to facilities. None of that matters to the guy who many consider to be the best recruiting talent evaluator in the game. You can count on one hand how many college coaches have NFL head coaching experience. He'd bring instant credibility to the South Florida community. People would get excited about what could potentially happen here. He's proven the ability to put together great staffs. His coaching tree includes guys like Chuck Pagano, Greg Schiano, Rob Chudzinski, and Todd Bowles.

Why it may not be a good fit: Davis turns 64 next month, which would make him one of the oldest head coaches at the major college level. He was a great recruiter at Miami back in the late 90s but he was also in his late 40s then. How much coaching life and energy would he have could be possible concerns. He does have some NCAA baggage from his days at North Carolina, which may make UM administration hesitant to hire him.

Bottom Line: Davis is my number one choice. He's the real deal. He understands the culture here, which is the biggest reason why I thought Al Golden was unsuccessful here. Some of college football's best coaches have NFL head coaching experience (Nick Saban, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Mora). Davis could be next. He has a tremendous eye for coaching talent, and would likely put together a top notch staff. It remains to be seen whether his exit from UM 15 years ago or his time at UNC during their NCAA issues will have a negative impact on his chances of getting hired but he's the best realistic candidate, would almost certainly accept if offered, and would likely cost less than most other high profile coaches (leaving more in the pot for top flight assistants). He's a championship caliber coach, and UM should do everything it can to hire him.

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