Davis went 51-20 during his tenure at Miami ('95-'00), and is well-respected throughout collegiate football for his ability to overcome the '95 NCAA sanctions that included a one-year postseason ban and a scholarship reduction of 31 over a three-year period. The situation at Coral Gables that Davis walked into was so dire that Sports Illustrated ran a cover story titled "Why the University of Miami should drop football" in the spring of ‘95.
While the infractions occurred during the Dennis Erickson regime, Davis put in the time and effort to resurrect the program, eventually leading the Canes to an 11-1 record in 2000.
New NCSU head coach Tom O'Brien competed against Davis while at Boston College, including several thrillers in Chestnut Hill – a 45-44 shootout in '97 and a 31-28 battle in '99, both Eagles' losses.
"Those Miami teams were fast – they had great speed, and great players," O'Brien said. "[They ran] a pro-style offense and a 4-3 defense. They were fundamentally sound and played good football. "
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer also collided with Davis during their time together in the Big East.
"I think he'll recruit very good players, and I'm just basing this on what he did at Miami, but I think they'll be very well-coached," Beamer said. "I think they'll be very physical. And I think that they will be very successful."
There was speculation when UNC hired Davis that high school recruits would not be familiar with the former Cleveland Browns head coach's name, seeing as how he had been out of the collegiate game for almost seven years. But his success in Coral Gables has not been easily forgotten.
"I didn't play with Butch Davis, but I heard what he was like, and just what he did," Miami senior guard Derrick Morse said. "Everybody's got the upmost respect for that guy. I didn't play for him, but people going back said how crazy he is about football and how he just loves what he does, and does everything full-tilt. I think that him going to North Carolina is big. They've got the athletes, and now they've got the coach."