Now that the ink is dry on Al Golden's walking papers and the initial jubilation has subsided, it's time for Miami Hurricanes fans to come down from the clouds and accept what might be a painful realization: Butch Davis isn't the right choice to take over the program moving forward.
It seems blasphemous, but it's true. The Hurricanes would be making a terrible mistake by hiring Davis just so the much-criticized program can hear fans roar in approval again. Now is not the time for the Canes to get nostalgic. This program needs a new leader who has his best days ahead of him.
Butch Davis isn't a Notorious B.I.G. album. You can't just pop him in and hit play like you did in 1999. Here are a few reasons the Miami Hurricanes should leave all Butch Davis coaching tape on VHS and concentrate on finding a better candidate — because they can't afford to get this coaching change wrong.
Butch Davis would have serious trouble recruiting.
Imagine being a 17-year-old star who has every team in the nation after a commitment. Now imagine Butch Davis coming into your home after Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and Jimbo Fisher, and he's talking about games that happened when you were an infant. Which way would you lean? It's important for Hurricanes fans to consider the viewpoint of a five-star kid who lives in Atlanta in 2016, not a grown adult who is well aware of the things Davis accomplished in a different era of college football.
But Butch has an even bigger obstacle to overcome: forming recruiting relationships on the run. Mario Cristobal was in South Florida last week recruiting for Alabama. The kids and coaches know him well. Some of the former Canes players and coaches might tell recruits that Davis and Miami is the way to go, but it would take some guts to wager the biggest decision of your life on a guy you basically just met and/or heard about.
Last, while the Hurricanes have improved their facilities, they still don't measure up to many programs around the country. Butch won't have an advantage there, just another thing working against him.
The Hurricanes need a long-term fix, not a short-term Band-Aid.
Asked if he believes he's too old to take the Miami gig, Butch told 790 AM the Ticket's Zaslow & Joy Show that "age is just a number." Well, he's right, and his number is a serious issue. Davis is 63 years old. Do you really want to be looking for a coach again in five years? Isn't the point to find a coach who can stick with the program for the long haul?
Frank Beamer recently announced his retirement at the age of 69. Steve Spurrier just stepped away at 70. Even if he wanted to, it's absurd to think a coach could succeed in today's game north of 70 years old. It rarely happens outside of Kansas State. The Hurricanes need to make a change with 2020, not just 2016, in mind, and Butch simply doesn't fit that thinking.
Unfortunately for Butch Davis, people don't forget.
You can forgive Butch Davis, but you can't forget what he once did. Butch pulled the original "Nick Saban" when he bluntly told everyone that he wasn't leaving UM for a job in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. And then he promptly took the Browns job a few days later. Butch has openly discussed how much he regrets that decision and the way he handled his departure, but the damage to his reputation is done.
Can a recruit trust him when he says this is his last job? Based on his age alone, he probably should — but it makes you wonder what other promises he might break if presented with the opportunity to improve his own situation.
North Carolina happened, no matter how hard you close your eyes and try to act like it didn't.
This coach went 28-23 overall and 15-17 in the ACC — and no, it's not Al Golden. These are records Davis put up while head coach at the University of North Carolina. His tenure at UNC should be the better gauge when it comes to the quality of coach he is today, not things he did in the late '90s. In addition to putting together a Golden-esque resumé at UNC, he was at the very least there when the NCAA hit the football program with a one-year bowl ban and docked the Tar Heels 15 scholarships over three years for previously discovered improper benefits, including cash and travel accommodations. Butch will be the first person to tell you he was cleared of all wrongdoing, but it still happened on his watch.
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SHOW ME HOW
If Butch Davis Era 2.0 ended poorly, it would be a shame.
Imagine a world where Hurricanes fans are flying "Fire Butch Davis" banners for the second time ever — how sad would that be? Davis is basically on his knees pleading for the Miami Hurricanes to give him a job he in no way deserves, and if it goes poorly, the result would be sadder than if the Canes swung and missed on a head coach who actually had a resumé that led the program to believe he was the man for the job.
Do Hurricanes fans really want to realize in two years that they let their emotions get in the way of sane thoughts, and now they have to send Davis into forced retirement for good? Butch obviously has a lot of love for the University of Miami. Let's keep it that way.
The Hurricanes need to look to the future and leave Butch Davis and his coaching in the past.