Butch Davis will help the Bucs in many ways -- just not as a coach
Butch Davis will play a lot of important roles for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, from evaluating talent for free agency and the draft, to interviewing college players at the scouting combine, to observing the communication between coaches in the press box on game day and advising head coach Greg Schiano. While he may wear a lot of different hats, you won't see a whistle around his neck.
In fact, the only thing certain about Davis' role is that it won't involve coaching.
“Obviously, I’m not going to be on the field and in the meetings and actually teaching and coaching and hands on and those kinds of things,'' Davis said. "I hope players and guys in this organization come and maybe there are things that I can tell them about being a professional, watching film, having a great attitude, just being a kind of a mentor and sounding board for those guys. As far as the actual 'go on the grass' and those sort of things, that’s not my role.''
Davis, 60, was fired by the University of North Carolina just before the start of the 2011 season when his football program was found to have committed multiple NCAA rules violations. Because of his $2.7-million settlement with the Tar Hells, Davis cannot coach. The buyout package includes deferred payments of $590,000 each January through 2015. Before accepting the Bucs' position as special assistant to the head coach, Davis checked with the administration at North Carolina to make sure they were okay with the arrangement.
“The other thing that I feel very comfortable in trying to talk about this is that I’ve discussed with Carolina’s administration this particular role and that they are very comfortable with the arrangement and the roles I’m going to play in this organization,'' Davis said. "So this is a terrific opportunity, I’m really excited about it and can’t wait to get started and help this organization any way that I can.’’
Davis, who has coached for 37 years, said the opportunity to work again Schiano is what attracted him to the job. Schiano served as Davis' defensive coordinator with the Miami Hurricanes from 1999-2000.
"A lot of people have said, “Why would you want to come and do something like this with Greg?'' Davis said. "And the thing that I’ve continually told people is Greg is one of the best football coaches and the best men that I’ve ever had a chance to work with.''
Davis has experienced making the transition as a college head coach to the NFL. He coached the Cleveland Browns from 2001-04, going 24-34 and reaching the playoffs once. Davis said he made his share of mistakes and hopes to help Schiano avoid some of those pitfalls.
"I’ve got 10 years experience in the National Football League, and there are so many things within an organization that need attention to detail and one person can’t do it all,'' Davis said.
“First of all, I think there’s two differences in the two organizations, which I hope will help Greg just in the sense that this is an established organization that has had a history, they’ve won a Super Bowl recently. Things have maybe not gone as well as they’ve liked over the last couple of years and stuff, but going to Cleveland, it was two years removed from being an expansion franchise and I think one of the things I’ve already shared with Greg a little bit is make sure you understand who you have on your football team before you start adding all the pieces.
"Sometimes you get the sense that you’re a little bit like a kid in a candy store like I was when (I) went to Cleveland, that gosh, you need these guys in free agency and sometimes you over value them and sometime you don’t. Just have a devised plan that I’m sure Greg and (general manager) Mark (Dominik) have talked long about, that this is the way we want to build this team through the draft and add certain things. But that would’ve been some of my first things, here’s some of the things we did wrong in Cleveland and I think also the other part of it Greg is doing a great job is surrounding himself with guys that he knows. I think that’s a big thing.''
Davis said after being fired by the Browns, he volunteered for a similar advisory role with the Kansas City Chiefs. The night before Schiano decided to leave Rutgers and accept the Bucs head coaching job, he telephoned Davis and offered him a chance to join him in Tampa Bay.
"This was a great opportunity," Davis said. "I've coached for 37 years now. This was just something that when Greg made this presentation and we started talking about it … it just seemed like this would be a great fit.
"It's something that I'm excited about. Anytime you're around a football organization, you're adrenalin gets running. And you can impact an organization in a lot of different ways without actually having to have the chalk in your hands and go on the field.''