Former UNC coach Davis hoping to coach again

Butch Davis wants to be a head coach again.

North Carolina fired him last July amid a series of embarrassing

revelations during an NCAA investigation of his football program.

The school said there was too much damage for him to stay even

though he wasn’t linked to a violation, and now he’s working as a

consultant with an NFL team hoping to become a head coach

again.

”I would love to think that the things we’ve accomplished over

37 years, that this one particular deal will not define me as a man

nor as a coach,” he said in an interview with The Associated

Press.

The former University of Miami and Cleveland Browns coach said

he tried to build a reputation of ”someone that people can believe

in, somebody that people can trust.” He pointed to his success

rebuilding a Hurricanes program racked by NCAA sanctions into a

power that won the 2001 national championship the year after he

joined the Browns.

However, Davis is still involved in a public records fight with

media outlets seeking his personal cellphone records. The outlets,

including the AP, have argued he used his phone for job duties

instead of his university phone. His attorney has said the records

aren’t public records, though Davis – who said he’d release them

before he was fired – wouldn’t object to a judge reviewing them to

protect the privacy of friends and professional contacts.

The school has said outside counsel reviewed Davis’ records and

found ”nothing of concern.” A hearing is scheduled for

Thursday.

Davis is fighting to rebuild his reputation, which was tarnished

by the investigation of improper benefits and academic misconduct

at UNC.

The only career opportunity currently on the table is working as

a ”special assistant” to Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano,

a former Davis assistant at Miami. But Davis is ready for the next

round of job openings, armed with the NCAA’s March ruling that

doesn’t cite him for wrongdoing.

Dick Baddour, UNC’s former athletic director who hired Davis in

2006, said that report will help. He even called schools supporting

Davis for jobs last fall and is willing to do it again.

”I hope Butch gets another chance,” Baddour said. ”I believe

he will get another chance. I think he deserves another opportunity

at the collegiate level.”

The infractions, including players taking jewelry from outside

the program and receiving improper assistance on papers, touched

Davis only by occurring on his watch. When he fired Davis,

Chancellor Holden Thorp said he didn’t believe Davis knew of the

violations, including by a tutor who had worked previously with

Davis’ teenage son and an assistant tied to an NFL agent.

Since the firing wasn’t ”for cause,” it could cost $2.7

million by 2015 in contractual obligations unless Davis gets

another coaching position.

Seven months later, the NCAA imposed a one-year bowl ban and

additional scholarship reductions (15 total) on top of self-imposed

school penalties that included 16 vacated wins from 2008 and 2009,

and probation.

”The timing of the dismissal made everybody look like the other

shoe was going to drop: `Why would they do it a week before the

start of the season? There’s got to be something,”’ Davis said.

”And you can say to people that, `Well, here’s what I know: I’m

not going to be named in the allegations when it comes out.’ But

now it’s us sitting here having to wait … to finally prove in

writing what we had been saying all along.”

Davis, 60, said he wanted UNC to be his final coaching stop.

Instead, he’ll watch Southern Mississippi’s Larry Fedora take over

this fall with a roster that includes his son, Drew, as a walk-on

freshman quarterback.

Davis’ wife, Tammy, described the past two years as

”excruciating.” She said investigations by the NCAA, school and

North Carolina Secretary of State’s office – which reviewed whether

state sports agent laws were broken – would’ve uncovered any

wrongdoing by her husband and that he was punished for others’

misdeeds.

Davis has denied any connection to the school’s investigation

into the Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM).

The probe found fraud and poor oversight in 54 classes between

summer 2007 and summer 2011, with football players representing 36

percent of enrollments.

Davis said he never met the now-retired department chairman

cited in the probe nor steered players to AFAM classes, adding that

coaches only told players to avoid conflicts with practices.

Regardless, the mess hangs over an otherwise strong resume.

An assistant to Jimmy Johnson with Miami and the Dallas Cowboys,

Davis won five bowl games and coached 32 first-round picks as a

head coach. He led the Browns to their only playoff appearance

since returning to Cleveland in 1999. The American Football Coaches

Association recognized his teams for graduation rates, a point of

pride for the former high school biology teacher.

But he’ll also have to talk about how everything went wrong at

North Carolina.

”To me, past and previous experiences have an awful lot to say

about what you’ve done,” he said. ”I would like to think that

people would look at the successes and the things we did with the

program at Miami. I am regretful that things got out of hand here.

I wish that I would’ve been able to have prevented it.”