Butch Davis resigned as head coach of the Cleveland Browns earlier this season after a disappointing start to the season.
Miami head coach Larry Coker took over for Davis when he left Miami prior to the 2001 season. Coker was the offensive coordinator under Davis.
Coker invited Davis to attend practice, but not particularly to speak to the team. Davis was in town and called Coker asking if it was okay if he came by to practice. Coker did ask Davis to talk to the team after practice and Davis agreed to do so.
"Butch just congratulated the team," Coker said. "He told them what a great time it was to be here and what an honor it was for him. He talked about how the former Hurricanes live and die with our success. He talked to them for a few minutes and I was really glad he was here."
Fifth-year senior Joel Rodriguez was one of the few players on the current team who played for Davis.
"He talked to us about how much this game means to all of the ex-players, coaches, and people around the program," Rodriguez said.
It was a little different for Rodriguez to see Davis for the first time since he left Miami.
"It was a little bit weird," Rodriguez said. "We haven't seen him in person since he broke down and was crying when he told us he was leaving. I am glad he is in good health. You hear so many rumors about how he had a nervous breakdown and panic attacks. So it was good to see him and hopefully he is on to bigger and better things."
Offensive lineman Chris Myers is another fifth-year player who played for Davis.
"I liked his coaching and the way he did things," Myers said. "The way coach Coker came in here and took over the program changed people's views on how to do things."
Myers was surprised Davis showed up, but it is not uncommon at Miami to have people come back who were close to the program.
"Nobody knew he was coming," Myers said. "But you have to expect that from a place like Miami. Guys are always popping in all of the time."
Davis talked about the importance of playing games against rivals.
"He talked about what a great tradition there is at Miami," Myers said. "And these are the type of games that people will talk about five years from now. The fact that we haven't lost to Florida or FSU yet, is one of the biggest accomplishments for any UM team."
Pete Garcia, a former director of football of operations at Miami, who followed Davis to Cleveland was also in attendance.
Davis walked past the media and declined to talk after practice.
"I'm on vacation," Davis said, smiling. "I don't get paid to do that anymore. Thank you guys, though."
Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Butch at Practice
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