Butch Davis

Paul Hilton "Butch" Davis, Jr. is the current head football coach at the University of North Carolina. Previously, Davis was the head coach at the University of Miami and later the Cleveland Browns of the NFL.

Early years

Davis was born on November 17, 1951 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He attended high school at Bixby High School, in Bixby, Oklahoma and graduated in 1970. After graduation from high school, he attended the University of Arkansas and played defensive end for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Due to an unfortunate knee injury, Davis was sidelined after his freshman year. However, he would become a student assistant with the Razorbacks throughout the rest of his college days. After graduation from college, he had several assistant coaching positions at several high schools including Fayetteville High School in 1973, Pawhuska High School from 1974–1975, and Sand Springs High School from 1976–1977. He landed his first head coaching job at Tulsa Rogers High School in 1978.

After that, Butch began a successful 15-year association with Jimmy Johnson, first as a receivers and tight ends coach at Oklahoma State, then later as defensive line coach at the University of Miami. During that time, the Hurricanes won the 1987 National Championship.

First NFL Venture

Butch would follow Jimmy Johnson to Dallas where, as defensive coordinator and coach of the defensive line, he helped Johnson and new owner Jerry Jones create a back-to-back Super Bowl champion out of a Dallas Cowboys team that went 1–15 in 1989 (Johnson's first year as head coach). Davis would be promoted to Defensive Coordinator in 1993 after the departure of Dave Wannstedt.After Jimmy Johnson left, Davis continued at Dallas for one more year as assistant coach under Barry Switzer.

Head coaching

University of Miami

Davis returned to college football when he got his first chance as a head coach. Back at the University of Miami, he helped turn around a program that was in disarray. Not long after he was hired, the Hurricanes were found to have committed several violations of NCAA rules during the tenure of his predecessor, Dennis Erickson. As a result, the Hurricanes were barred from postseason play in his first year (despite an 8–3 record) and lost 31 football scholarship spots over several years.

Despite these handicaps, he managed to post a 51–20 record during his tenure as head coach and by his last year, the Hurricanes finished 11–1 and #2 in the country. However, due to a quirk in the Bowl Championship Series formula, the Hurricanes didn't get a spot in the Orange Bowl (that year's national championship game). The snub still rankles Miami fans to this day, especially since the Hurricanes were passed over in favor of bitter rival Florida State, whom they'd beaten in the regular season.

The Hurricanes earned recognition from the American Football Coaches Association for outstanding graduation rates in each of his six seasons at Miami The following players were coached or recruited by Davis in his stint at Miami: Ray Lewis (LB), Yatil Green (WR), Kenard Lang (DE), Kenny Holmes (DE), Duane Starks (CB), Edgerrin James (RB), Bubba Franks (TE), Dan Morgan (LB), Damion Lewis (DT), Santana Moss (WR), Reggie Wayne (WR), Bryant McKinnie (OT), Jeremy Shockey (TE), Phillip Buchanon (CB), Ed Reed (S), Mike Rumph (CB), Andre Johnson (WR), Jerome McDougle (DE), Willis McGahee (RB), William Joseph (DT), the late Sean Taylor (S), Kellen Winslow II (TE), Jonathan Vilma (LB), D.J. Williams (LB), Vernon Carey (OT), Vince Wilfork (DT), Antrel Rolle (CB), and Kelly Jennings (CB) Moreover, Davis' smaller-than-usual recruiting classes are widely considered to have laid the foundation for Miami's undefeated national championship team of 2001 (under Davis' former offensive coordinator, Larry Coker), since many of his recruits were forced to play right away.

Cleveland Browns

Returning to NFL Football in 2001, Davis walked the sidelines as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. In 1999–2000 under head coach Chris Palmer the Browns, led by quarterback and 1999 number one draft pick Tim Couch, who was injured in the 5th week, posted a dismal 3–13 record. Davis led the team to a 7–9 record in his first year at the helm, missing the playoffs by a game. The Browns posted a 9–7 record and got a playoff berth in Davis's second year, getting in after winning two close games in a row against the Baltimore Ravens and the Atlanta Falcons. In 2003, a quarterback controversy erupted between Couch and backup Kelly Holcomb after Holcomb, starting the 2002 playoff game for the injured Couch, threw for 429 yards and three touchdowns. Davis would ultimately give the starting job to Holcomb, though Couch did start a few games. In the 2004 offseason, Davis signed Jeff Garcia and cut Couch. Davis resigned in early December 2004 after a 3–8 start and ended with a 24–35 overall record as coach of the Browns.

University of North Carolina

On November 13, 2006 Dick Baddour, the Athletic Director at the University of North Carolina, announced that Davis had been hired as the new head football coach at UNC. On November 27, 2006, he replaced John Bunting who was fired in October 2006 after posting only one winning season in six years as head coach of the Tar Heels.

Davis took over a program that had fallen on hard times. After a run of six straight bowl games from 1992 to 1997--the second-most successful period in school history--the Tar Heels had only notched three winning seasons in the past nine years, and had been bowl-eligible only one other time. He inherited a very inexperienced team; many of his players had never played a down of college football before. However, the Tar Heels were far more competitive than expected in Davis' first season. While they finished 4–8, six of those losses were by a touchdown or less, two of which were against teams ranked in the top 15 at the time. They also remained in bowl contention well into November.

For much of the 2007 season, unfounded rumors swirled that Davis would leave UNC after just one year if the head coaching job at his alma mater, Arkansas, opened up. Davis steadfastly denied he was leaving. On November 21, 2007, Davis agreed to a one-year contract extension, along with a raise. Davis now stands to receive an extra $291,000 annually due to the extension, according to the campus newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. Davis said in a statement that one year at UNC convinced him that this was where he wanted to be, and that he intended to have "a long and successful career in Chapel Hill." He also hoped it would put to rest any talk of him leaving for Arkansas.

Davis originally signed a seven-year deal worth approximately $1.86 million per season, with a base salary of $286,000. He also gets $25,000 a year in expenses and a supplement from the Educational Foundation (Ram's Club) that ranges from $1 million in 2007 to $1.3 million in 2013. Baddour said he could not release all the details of the contract until it is approved by the trustees but did say the base salary will rise $29,000, the expenses will go up $5,000 and Davis’ supplemental income will go up $100,000.

In 2008, Davis was expected to lead the Tar Heels back to a bowl game for the first time in four years. They got off to a strong start, including a 38-12 thrashing of UConn on October 4--UNC's first defeat of a ranked nonconference opponent in 11 years (the Huskies were ranked 24th in the AP poll at the time). That vaulted them to #22 in the weekly AP rankings--the Tar Heels' first appearance in a major poll in seven years.


On March 20, 2007, ESPN reported that, while undergoing a regular dental examination, Davis had a cancerous growth removed from his gum which was later revealed to be non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Further testing revealed no evidence of other cancerous tissue in his body. He underwent an initial round of chemotherapy in Cleveland and has completed a precautionary chemotherapy and radiation regimen in Chapel Hill. Subsequent testing has found no evidence of remaining cancer in his body.


Davis also appeared on NFL Playbook, an NFL Network program where he discussed the week's upcoming games with fellow panelists. Davis also had his own segment of the show in the NFL Playbook War Room where he would break down key match-ups.

Personal life

Butch Davis has a wife, Tammy, and a teenage son, Andrew (Drew).

Head coaching records



Season Team Record Postseason Pct.
2001 Cleveland Browns 7-9
2002 Cleveland Browns 9-7 0-1
2003 Cleveland Browns 5-11
2004 Cleveland Browns 3-8
Total 4 24-33 0-1 .407


External links

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