Rick Stroud: Butch Davis will be a front-office ally for new Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano

Published Feb. 18, 2012

Bucs coach Greg Schiano is an organized, detailed man; some even say, a micromanager who concerns himself with every facet of a football program.

That's not a criticism because it was a strength of Schiano's that enabled him to build Rutgers into a Big East contender.

It's not a surprise, then, why he would hire at least a handful of assistants from his Scarlet Knights staff. They know what he expects, how he works and prepares.

But Schiano didn't stop with the coaching staff. He wanted a trusted adviser in the front office, and that's why Butch Davis is at One Bucs Place.

"I think also the other part of it, which I think Greg is doing a great job, is surrounding himself with guys that he knows," Davis said.

There has been a lot of talk about Davis' $2.7 million settlement with North Carolina, which prohibits him from taking another coaching job. But it's obvious when you listen to Davis that, at 60, he's more interested in a front-office position at this point in his career.

Davis' title is special assistant to the head coach. But in the football operation of an NFL team, there is the coaching/support staff (trainers, strength coach, etc.) and the front office, which includes general manager Mark Dominik, director of player personnel Dennis Hickey, coordinator of pro personnel Shelton Quarles and the scouting staff. Davis isn't going to instruct players on the grass or run meetings. Regardless of his title, he's another layer to the front office.

By contrast, senior offensive assistant Jimmy Raye, who was a candidate for the Bears' GM job, is a member of the coaching staff and will work with players.

Schiano and Dominik share the same vision for building the Bucs. The last three years, it was all about building through the draft. But it's obvious Schiano received a commitment from the Bucs that they will invest in free agents. To that end, the Bucs have approximately $67 million of salary-cap space, which might be the most in the NFL.

Davis will begin by evaluating the roster and sitting in on player interviews at the combine.

"That is something that I look forward to, taking a look at the team," Davis said. "Taking a look at where they are in the growth. I know it is a very young football team."

As for helping with free agency, Davis said: "I will be there to help any way that I can. Try to have knowledge of guys that I have either coached or played against or coached against. … A lot of times getting information is extremely important. A lot of times it keeps you from making a bad decision. Hopefully sometimes it will help you make a good decision."

Good decisions. That's what Schiano wants. Davis has been part of several transitions from college to the NFL and back. He was part of Jimmy Johnson's Hurricanes staff that went to Dallas and won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys. He made his share of mistakes as the head coach and general manager of the Browns.

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"The small pieces of advice that I have shared with Greg is just be yourself," Davis said.

"Hopefully I can help be a sounding board for him. Look over his shoulder at times and say here are some things that I did that were the wrong things to do. Maybe learn from some of my mistakes and hopefully maybe some of the things that I did right I can help."

How long will Davis be part of the Bucs organization? He will receive deferred payments from the Tar Heels through 2015.

"I don't have a crystal ball," Davis said. "I am committed to try and help this team win a Super Bowl as quick and as fast as possible. … As we have talked about it, you never know, this could be 10 years, who knows?"