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Butch Davis
Butch Davis at the 2007 ACC Football Kickoff
Title Head coach
College North Carolina
Sport Football
Team record 20–18
Born November 17, 1951 (1951-11-17) (age 58)
Place of birth Tahlequah, OK, U.S.
Annual salary $1,800,000
Career highlights
Overall 71–38
Bowls 4-2
Coaching stats
College Football DataWarehouse
Playing career
1970 Arkansas
Position DE
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Fayetteville High (DC)
Pawhuska High (DC)
Sand Springs High (DC)
Tulsa Rogers High
Oklahoma State (TE/WR)
Miami (DL)
Dallas Cowboys (DL)
Dallas Cowboys (DC)
Cleveland Browns
North Carolina

Paul Hilton "Butch" Davis, Jr. (born November 17, 1951 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma) is the current head football coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels. Previously, Davis was the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes 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, where he was an All-State fullback and defensive end for the Spartans and graduated in 1970. After graduation from high school, he attended the University of Arkansas and played defensive end for the 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 Charles Page High School(Sand Springs, OK) 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 for the Cowboys, 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[1]. 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), Clinton Portis (RB), Frank Gore (RB), Bubba Franks (TE), Dan Morgan (LB), Damione 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), 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)[2]. 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 was forced to resign 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 coming through campus before UNC's game against Florida State in 2009

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 only crossed the six-win plateau only two other times. 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.[1]

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.[3]

The Tar Heels were expected to be much improved in 2008, with most outlets picking them to finish second in the Coastal Division. They didn't disappoint, finishing 8-5 and appearing in the 2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl--their first bowl appearance in five years. On October 4, the Heels dismantled the then 24th-ranked Connecticut Huskies 38–12 for their first defeat of a ranked non-conference opponent in 11 years. This victory vaulted the Tar Heels to #22 in the weekly AP rankings, their first appearance in a major poll in seven years. The following Saturday, the Tar Heels defeated Notre Dame to notch their first regular-season win as a ranked team in 11 years. A 16–13 loss at Virginia on October 18th briefly knocked the Heels out of the rankings, but they were able to rebound with a convincing 45-24 victory over Boston College on October 25, making them bowl-eligible for the first time since 2004. It also vaulted them into the Bowl Championship Series rankings for the first time since the BCS began in 1998. A week later, they defeated Georgia Tech to clinch their first winning season since 2001, and only their fourth since Mack Brown left the school after the 1997 season. However, the Tar Heels lost three of their last four games, including a loss in the Meineke Car Care Bowl to West Virginia.

Davis' arrival has seen renewed enthusiasm for the football program, which has spent most of the last half-century in the long shadow of the school's powerful men's basketball team. Despite a losing record in 2007, North Carolina fans averaged over 57,000 fans in Kenan Stadium during the season--the highest average attendance in a decade. Tickets have become almost as difficult to find as they were during the mid-1990s under Brown. The Tar Heels have sold out every game in Davis' short tenure, and the actual turnstile counts have been the highest in a decade. For example, the matchup against South Carolina saw a standing-room-only crowd of 61,000--the second-largest in school history. This continued into 2008; a crowd of 60,500--third-largest in school history--watched the Tar Heels edge past Notre Dame.

Davis led the 2009 Tar Heels to another 8-4 regular season record and a second straight bowl appearance. It was the first time since the 1997/1998 seasons that UNC had made consecutive bowl appearances. UNC faced Pittsburgh on December 26, 2009 in its bowl game, but the Tar Heels lost the Meineke Car Care Bowl for the second straight year, giving UNC another 8-5 final record.


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


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Coaches# AP°
Miami Hurricanes (Big East Conference) (1995–2000)
1995 Miami 8–3 6–1 T–1st 20
1996 Miami 9–3 6–1 T–1st W Carquest 14 14
1997 Miami 5–6 3–4 T–5th
1998 Miami 9–3 5–2 T–2nd W Micron PC 21 20
1999 Miami 9–4 6–1 2nd W Gator 15 15
2000 Miami 11–1 7–0 1st W Sugar 2 2
Miami: 51–20 33–9
North Carolina Tar Heels (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2007–present)
2007 North Carolina 4–8 3–5 4th (Coastal)
2008 North Carolina 8–5 4–4 3rd (Coastal) L Meineke Car Care
2009 North Carolina 8–5 4–4 4th (Coastal) L Meineke Car Care
North Carolina: 20–18 11–13
Total: 71–38
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches Poll.


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
CLE 2001 7 9 0 .438 T-3rd in AFC Central - - - -
CLE 2002 9 7 0 .563 2nd in AFC North 0 1 .000 Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers in Wild Card Game.
CLE 2003 5 11 0 .313 4th in AFC North - - - -
CLE 2004 3 7 0 .300 4th in AFC North - - - Resigned mid season
CLE Total 24 34 0 .414 0 1 .000 -
Total[2] 24 34 0 .414 0 1 .000 -


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
John Bunting
University of North Carolina Head Football Coach
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Chris Palmer
Cleveland Browns Head Coach
Succeeded by
Terry Robiskie
Preceded by
Dwight Clark
Cleveland Browns General Manager
Succeeded by
Phil Savage
Preceded by
Dennis Erickson
University of Miami Head Football Coach
Succeeded by
Larry Coker

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